Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tales from the Darkside: The False Prophet

The first season of Tales from the Darkside had its ups and downs. Some of the episodes were inventive and compelling. Others not so much. Sadly, "The False Prophet" concludes the inaugural season with a whimper.

My main problem was Ronee Blakley. Her character, Cassie Pines, who bases all of her decisions on an astrology machine, is a complete ditz, too stupid to root for and not bad enough to revel in her comeuppance. Plenty of stories depict characters who try to alter their fates based on the words of fortune tellers, but for those stories to work, the characters need to take some kind of action to be compelling. MacBeth, told he will be king, murders the current king. In a Tales from the Crypt episode, Demi Moore marries a man she finds repulsive after learning he will inherit a fortune and die.

Cassie doesn't do much of anything. The whole episode takes place in a diner where she has stopped while on her way to Texas where she is going to find love (per the advice of a fortune teller machine in Iowa), but Horace X, the astrology machine of the diner, tells her not to go. There's also an encounter with a sleazy traveling preacher named Heat Jones (Justin Deas, who probably would have been the more interesting main character) after the diner closes, but Cassie stays inside, alone, continuing to feed quarters into Horace X.

I honestly have clue what's going on this episode, and not far into it, I just stopped caring. I couldn't buy that this woman was so stupid that she'd put so much stock into mechanical fortune tellers, and at the end, when Horace X apparently absorbs her into the machine, I didn't know why. I don't know if she did something to anger it, if it was just using her all along or what. In the end, all I could ask was so what.

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