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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

3.08 --- Our Selena is Dying

Directed by : Bruce Pittman
Written by : J. Michael Straczynski (story by Rod Serling)
Starring : Terri Garber, Jennifer Dale, R.H. Thompson, Charmion King
First aired : 12th of November, 1988.

Debbie Brockman (Terri Garber, Toy Soldiers, Dynasty) is a young woman suddenly summoned to the home of her aunt Selena (Charmion King), who is on her deathbed. As she arrives to her family house, the dying Selena clutches her hand quite firmly, leaving a odd looking spot on it.

Soon, Debbie starts feeling ill, while Selena, who the local doctor (R.H. Thompson) already wrote off some time ago, is suddenly revived and reasonably healthy. The doctor can't quite fathom it, but when Debbie develops certain signs of premature aging, and Selena - and her protege niece Diane (Jennifer Dale) - just keep on getting better, he starts to suspect foul play. His suspicion is aroused even further when the deaf servant Orville shows him some excerpts from the family diary, which reveal the fact that Diana's now catathonic mother Martha is supposed to have a burn scar identical to Diana's.

The following night, doctor sneaks into the Brockman home and examines Martha's arms, finding that she has no scars at all. As Diane interrupts them, he figures it all out - Diane and Selena are some sort of witches, who can replenish life by "leeching" off younger people. Obviously, Diane is just Martha kept alive by leeching off, while Martha is real life Diane at her real age, which is furtherly proven by the colour of her eyes.

Doctor storms to Selena's room and urges her to release Debbie from her curse, a plea which falls on deaf ears. A struggle ensues, and Martha (er, Diane) joins in, accidentally breaking a gas lamp and setting the whole estate on fire. In the aftermath of it all, doctor survives, Debbie returns to her normal age, and Diane (er, Martha) manages to escape with serious wounds by jumping through the window.

At the hospital, she is registered as Jane Doe with heavy burns, and no chance to survive whatsoever. That is, until we see a young nurse complaining about a sudden rash which looks like a burn on her hands...which accidentally appeared after contact with the new patient.

***

A tremendous mess of an episode, Our Selena is Dying is the weakest link of the third season so far, going even lower than The Crossing or The Hunters. A twist given away at the very beginning, a cast of cardboard characters, weakish acting, those are just some few of the flaws which plague this piece. Not even the fact that the original outline was conceived by the great Rod Serling helps its credentials - J. Michael Straczynski's script makes no attempts to clear up any mysterious about the dark family powers of the Brockmans, and uses lame excuses such as mother/daughter switch to advance the plot. Not to mention that the original premise is not highly original to begin with.

What takes the cake is an absolutely atrocious faux-gothic horror soundtrack, which only amps up the ineptitude factor. Worth watching only perhaps for the reasonably attractive Terri Garber, otherwise, avoid it.

Comments on "3.08 --- Our Selena is Dying"

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:25 AM) : 

Personally, I liked the fire stunt when the evil woman Selena burst into flames.

 

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