episode #16 - Controlled Experiment

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episode #16 - Controlled Experiment Empty episode #16 - Controlled Experiment

Post  BoG on Wed Apr 14, 2010 9:36 pm

Air Date: 1/13/64 Arrow written and Directed by Leslie Stevens
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The rare comedy episode of O L: this concerns two aliens - Martians (this version of the solar system has a secret advanced civilization on Mars and its moons, with Earth regarded as a primitive outpost) - who conduct an experiment of repetitive observation. One alien (Carroll O'Connor) has been stationed on Earth for years; he's disguised as a pawnbroker. His superior (Barry Morse) arrives and wants to examine the act of murder, which apparently doesn't happen anywhere else in the galaxy. They go to a nearby hotel and witness a lady (Grace Lee Whitney) shooting her two-timing boyfriend (Robert Fortier). Using a special machine, they watch this play out over & over, also in slow motion, backwards and sped up. Some of this reminded me of the Twilight Zone episode, Mr. Dingle the Strong.
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The risk with playing the same scenes over & over is that it may become tiresome, which happens here, including the same annoying affect created by the machine. Most of the dialog by the two Martians, meant to convey knowledge of far advanced science, is just nonsensical - this can indeed be amusing to listen to, especially nowadays, when one knows that their talk about Earth possibly becoming a super-nova (planet, not a star!) due to widespread use of atomic bombs is utter nonsense. There's a lot of this silly talk, of freezing electrons, of microseconds and fiddling with the controls of a machine that looks like it came out of a magician's suitcase. But, the purpose of the experiment - finding out if murder is like a contagion or pattern which may spread (necessitating canceling Earth) or just random stuff - makes some sense. There's also a good moment when the time continuum is affected and the new future is explained after the two experimenters interfere with the progress of events. BoG's Score: 5 out of 10
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Outer Trivia: Star Trek TOS actor alert - Grace Lee Whitney, of course, would join the crew of the starship Enterprise on Star Trek TOS a couple of years later as a regular, Yeoman Rand, though it didn't last long. Fortier appeared as an alien in the episode By Any Other Name.
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