episode #98, 99 - Date With Danger

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episode #98, 99 - Date With Danger

Post  BoG on Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:25 pm

episodes #19,20 of 5th season / Air Dates: 02/20/78, 02/27/78  Arrow  
written by Wilton Schiller,John Meredith Lucas Arrow directed by Rod Holcomb

The penultimate episode of the series is another 2-parter (there were a lot of these in the last season). There's no special reason for the double-length in this case, however.  The plot involves machine intelligence, midway between the film Colossus:The Forbin Project (1970) and the future Terminator film (1984), but this is hampered by the TV budget and a daft representation of the eventual culprit - a computer. In the first part, the villain seems to be crooked OSI employee Harold Bell (Robert Walker, Jr.); he secretly keeps an office elsewhere, where he disguises himself with long hair and a beard, and apparently steals secrets via a computer and modem. Also figuring into the plot is a young lady, a computer expert who runs a dating service, who keeps an office directly across the hall from him; Austin teams up with her to get to the bottom of the funny business, since she can use 'puters to get info. Unfortunately, she & Austin end up in a building that is suddenly scheduled for demolition. Then, an assassin (Luke Askew) is hired to off Austin. Something is playing the computer game even better than Bell - something called Cloche - and it may not be human.
The entire premise of this 2-parter is spelled out by another OSI computer expert (Noah Keen) near the end of the 1st part: that computers are now tied into everything, including telephones, and this makes them way more mobile than Austin believes. If computers ever get out of our control, they would be a million times more dangerous than an out-of-control elephant (the analogy used), like a Frankenstein's Monster with unlimited access. The only thing is, there is never any explanation for why one particular computer is suddenly way more advanced, even self-aware, and even why it is doing all that it's doing. Austin's final battle with the machine, in some abandoned building, is pretty hokey, as are all the overload attacks by the machine (such as causing a telephone booth to explode). Probably the best scene is Austin's confrontation with the assassin; Austin bets him that he can make the 40-foot jump to another building and the killer takes the bet... Razz  BoG's Score: 6 out of 10
Star Trek TOS actor alert: Robert Walker, Jr. played the superhuman teen Charles in the 1st season episode Charlie X
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