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Monday, April 17, 2006

2.04 --- Aqua Vita

Reviewer's note : yep, we're at it again. This one is 2.04, The Storyteller is 2.05, and Nightsong is 2.06.

Directed by : Paul Tucker
Written by : Jeremy Bertrand Finch & Paul Chitlik
Starring : Mimi Kennedy, Joseph Hacker, Barbara Horan, Christopher McDonald
First aired : 4th of October, 1986.

Christine (TV actress Mimi Kennedy), a succesful TV anchor, has just turned 40 and is on a downslide. She doesn't feel as young anymore, and as an added bonus, the network plans on replacing her as the ratings are down. Her colleague and friend Shauna (Barbara Horan) teases her about her looks, but what's really strange is that Shauna, while being a few years older than Christine, looks like a 20-year old. When asked how is that possible, she produces a hip flask of ordinary water.

Christine doesn't quite buy into it, however, she gets desperate soon enough and decides to install a water tap from that special company - called "Aqua Vita" (or, "the water of life" if you'd please) - in her own flat. The delivery boy (Christopher McDonald, The Boys Next Door, Thelma & Louise) warns her that the first delivery is free - but the rest will be charged.

After mere glass of water, Christine is amazed when she looks into the mirror - she looks at least 10 years younger ! Rejuvenated, she heads out for a vacation with her boyfriend Marc (Joseph Hacker), and all runs smooth until she sees the sideffects of the magic drink. After a certain time, the recipient rapidly ages for another 30 years. Shauna explains that this nasty "glitch" lasts only until the next drink.

Things take a turn for the sour when Shauna asks for a two-thousand dollar loan to cover her water expenses, and Christine's next water delivery rings up at five grand. Marc, worried about Christine, looks Shauna up and finds her during her "cold turkey" - she looks at least 80 years old without the water. He returns to Christine, who is now in absolute panic because she broke a glass with water, and convinces her to kick off and stay as she is. Christine agrees, but tells them that that would also mean the end of their relationship - they look way too disparate to be seen as a couple. Hearing that, Marc opts for drastic measures - he takes a drink of Aqua Vita, and "ages" himself, thus saving their relationship.

***

Written by Jeremy Bertrand Finch and Paul Chitlik, Aqua Vita comes relatively close to recapturing some of the season 1/old series spark. What works in this episode are the good performances of the leads, as well as the well-done makeup which increases the dramatic effect. What doesn't work is that the story has been somewhat done before (Serling's classic TZ episode The Trade-Ins seems like an obvious inspiration for both the basic concept and finale), and that in general, you never really feel "grabbed" by your collar and sucked into the plight of Christine and Shauna. I did praise good acting up there, but the principal characters are somewhat shallow written.

I really ought to single out Christopher McDonald here, as he's absolutely devious as the Aqua Vita delivery boy. He easily steals those two scenes in which he's given time, and gives the episode a bit more of a lively colour.

So far (and further, as you'll see with my review of The Storyteller which I wrote ahead of this one, then realized this episode came before that one), Season 2 is yet to produce a dependable TZ classic. The pieces so far have been entertaining, if a bit short on inspiration, and at very worst, this season kicked off at leisure pace.

TZ Trivia : Christopher McDonald returned to the zone in 2002., in an UPN episode Mr. Motivation.

Comments on "2.04 --- Aqua Vita"

 

Anonymous MrRSerling said ... (3:38 AM) : 

I'd also say that 'A short drink from a certain fountain' and 'The long morrow' were very strong influences too.

Great work! Excellent as always.

 

Blogger Mairosu said ... (4:12 AM) : 

You're right on with that. Even without those, "the fountain of youth + nasty sideeffect" concept has been beat to death somewhat, both in literature, and film.

 

Anonymous aquabot said ... (3:23 AM) : 

That's right...The reviews of the other 2 are all certainly going to be even more better....I'm sure...I loves the screenplay...

 

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