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Sunday, October 29, 2006

3.05 --- Dream Me a Life

Directed by : Allan King
Written by : J. Michael Straczynski
Starring : Eddie Albert, Frances Hyland, Barry Morse
First aired : 22nd of October, 1988.

Roger Simpson Leads (Eddie Albert, Green Acres, McQ), a cantankerous old man whose life seemingly stopped three years ago when his wife died, is having recurring nightmares in which an old woman beseeches him not to unbolt her door. The nightmares only reinforce his bad mood, and in turn his friendly relations with old pal Frank (Barry Morse, Asylum, The Changeling) only deterioate further.

What takes Roger by surprise is the appearance of a new retirement home resident, a cataleptic lady called Laura Kincaid (Frances Hyland), who just happens to be the very woman from his nightmares. When the bad dreams continue, Roger decides to confront Laura, and, in a fit of rage, just begs her to leave him alone. As Laura, who's wheelchair-ridden, didn't speak for a decade since the death of her husband, his request seems to fall on deaf ears.

The following night, Roger is in another nightmare, with the same scenario. This time though, he decides to make an end to it - he opens the jammed door, despite Laura's cries that what's inside will kill her. As the door swings open and smoke around it clears, we learn that the person inside is actually Laura's late husband. He approaches his wife and tells her it's time to let go of him, and continue her life. Roger is uncertain why was it that the spirit picked him for this mission, but the late mr. Kincaid retorts that "he knows", and walks away.

Next morning, Roger again decides to talk to Laura, but this time in a more pleasant tone, telling her that he can wait for her reaction, and that he knows why was he summoned. Laura finally responds, and two of them head for breakfast - their broken lives finally mended.

***

Not a half bad episode which deals about loss of loved ones, and recovery from grief, Dream Me a Life is a decent season 3 entry, bolstered by strong lead performance by TV veteran Eddie Albert. Albert, one of pioneers of TV acting, gives his all as a tortured old man - Barry Morse is a perfect foil as the more mild-mannered, sarcastic Frank.

Director Allan King is also on good form here, with the nightmare sequences, shot in distorted, grainy, black and white (see screen cap), a definitive standout. As season 3 goes, this one is gold.

TZ Trivia : Barry Morse is a returning TZoner, having played in a classic '60s episode A Piano in the House (16th of February, 1962.).

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