episode #37 - Demon With a Glass Hand

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episode #37 - Demon With a Glass Hand

Post  BoG on Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:56 am

Episode #5 of 2nd season
Air Date: 10/17/64 Arrow writer: Harlan Ellison Arrow Director: Byron Haskin

This was Culp's 3rd and final appearance on this show (after the 1st season's Corpus Earthling). It's another tale with a cosmic slant from writer Ellison. Culp is a 'man' without a memory named Trent, on the run from hostile aliens from the future - both he and the aliens are from about a thousand years in the future. In this future, all 70 billion members of mankind have mysteriously disappeared, evading these aliens somehow. The aliens have been altered to look like humans - the main difference are these blackened areas surrounding the eyes, making them look a bit ghoulish. They seek to find the location of the missing Earthlings; the key is this artificial hand that Trent has, which is actually a sophisticated speaking computer, and each finger is a separate computerized module. Trent also runs into a young cleaning woman (Arlene Martel) in the old office building he becomes trapped in; she gets swept up into his struggle.
It might be argued that the plot of this episode is less important than the style of the presentation and the subtexts of the story. This is one of those shadowy episodes, each shot filled with dark corners and expressionist compositions. Trent always seems to be surrounded by spooky, eerie danger, and his opponents almost seem to have stepped out of one of those old German expressionist films of the twenties & thirties. The method by which Trent steadily acquires info was a bit standard - each missing finger of the computer hand has additional intel - but there's ample suspense and revelation by the conclusion. The vulnerability of Trent's foes is also suspect - all Trent has to do is rip off an amulet each alien wears - so this tale comes across as a new age sci-fi fable, perhaps wrought with symbolic meaning rather than coherent threats. Trent becomes the archetypical lonely hero at the end, the guardian of the human race but unable to share in its glory. BoG's Score: 8.5 out of 10

Outer Trivia: Star Trek TOS actor alert - a few here - Martel would play Spock's wife by arranged marriage in Amok Time; three of the aliens are played by Abraham Sofaer, Rex Holman and Robert Fortier; Sofaer showed up in Charlie X while Holman played a ghostly Morgan Earp in Spectre of the Gun; Fortier, back from Production and Decay of Strange Particles, played an alien in By Any Other Name.
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