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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

2.05 --- The Storyteller

Directed by : Paul Lynch
Written by : Rockne S. O'Bannon
Starring : Glynnis O'Connor, David Faustino
First aired : 11th of October, 1986.

While visiting her niece, Dorothy Livingston (Glynnis O'Connor, Jeremy, Melanie), a retired schoolteacher, accidentally stumbles upon a man who she thinks is someone she knows from long time ago. As the man, a gray-haired gentleman with glasses and a rather visible scar, enters a cab, Dorothy and her niece decide to tail him. On the back seat of their own taxi, Dorothy's story starts to unravel...

The year is now 1933., and Dorothy, just fresh out of college, is assigned to a teaching post during the summer somewhere in West Virginia. The outgoing teacher tells her all should be smooth, but makes a note that a certain youngster called Mica Frost should have library accessible at all times. Dorothy soon meets Mica (David Faustino, Married...with Children), who seems to fill time at school by just manically scribbling things in his notebook.

Dorothy finds this behaviour rather peculiar, so she asks Mica if she can see his parents. When she is informed that his parents are dead, she asks to see his grandfather who takes care of him, but Mica denies her that in furious manner, and bolts the playground. Later that day, Dorothy decides to spy on Mica in his house, and sees him telling stories to his grandad. While leaving, she makes a loud sound and Mica, alerted, runs out and catches her red-handed.

Rather than angry himself, Mica patiently explains to Dorothy that he writes stories every day...so he can keep his grandfather alive ! Dorothy can't believe this, but Mica says that this man is not his grandfather - it is his grand-grand-grand-grandfather who was born in 18th century, and the family was keeping him alive for generations by telling stories. The catch is - the stories must end on a cliffhanger every night, so he would have something to return to tomorrow.

Some time later, Mica is involved in an accident - he falls of a tree in the schoolyard, and is incapacitated for one day. His arm is broken, and he spends the night at the village doctor's house, against his wishes. Realizing that it's up to someone to keep the old man alive, Dorothy heads to his home after school and reads grandpa Frost a story of his own. When Mica comes back the next morning, he's overawed his great ancestor still lives, thanks to Dorothy and her effort.

Fast forward to present, where Dorothy and her niece speculate that Mica's great granddad might be 200 years old now - if Mica's still reading him stories that is. They cautiously follow Mica, follow him to the second floor...and as the door swings...

...we suddenly hear Dorothy narrating the story...to her own mother ! The old woman seems to be following the story with great interest, and would really love to know how it ends. To which, Dorothy casually replies that she will tomorrow, and leaves.

***

Well, well, well...what do have here ? An 80s Twilight Zone with slightly conservative leanings ! The main story arc is interesting, if somewhat flat and predictable, but what really catches one's attention is the discussion Mica and Dorothy have on the front porch. When Dorothy simply asks Mica if it ain't a crime to keep an old man alive for so much, Mica retorts that men should live as long as they are clear-headed and capable. Clear-headed he was, but "capable", hell, he was stuck in his bed the whole day. Twilight Zone speaking against euthanasia ? There's a slight possibility...obviously, I might be ways off, but that line of dialogue was somewhat too pointed to slip by me.

Other than this curiosity, this is a run of the mill episode, with some decent acting by young Faustino and O'Connor, but I doubt I'll be revisiting this one soon. The twist at the end is minor and somewhat forced, however the idea and execution are decent enough to keep this episode away from Bronze Rod category. One potential blemish - O'Connor's makeup in the present scenes...she looks nowhere near 70-something she should be.

Inside Trivia : at the very beginning of the episode, Dorothy mentions to her niece how she really should visit them back home in Beaumont. No prizes given for guessing who's this line of script referencing.

Comments on "2.05 --- The Storyteller"

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:05 PM) : 

I sort of like the Filght 33

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:46 AM) : 

hey said clear headed and COMFORTABLE

 

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