Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wild Wild West--"The Night of the Vicious Valentine"

Agnes Moorehead guest stars as Emma Valentine, the villain of the episode. She won the 1967Emmy for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Drama for playing Valentine. Her Emmy is the only major award the series won to date.

Wealthy men all over the United States are turning up dead under strange circumstances shortly after marrying women much younger than themselves. By sheer luck, Jim and Artie discover the thank you note from the most recent widow expressing gratitude for their condolences is from the same printing shop as the wedding invitation for a beef baron about to enter a may-December marriage himself.

Through some investigations, they discover an Emma Valentine has been behind the matchmaking, wedding planning, and, of course, the murder of each wealthy man. Her plan is to consolidate thee wealth inherited by their widows to the point she can create a matriarchy I the United States.

The most exciting part of the episode is an elaborate escape from falling through wedding chapel skylight once “Here Comes the Bride” has finished playing with the result of said beef baron being flattened by two trussed Secret Service agents. A close second is watching Moorehead chew scenery in a manner that would embarrass William Shatner. She is relishing the villainous role. I am certain her obvious affectio for the character won her the Emmy.

Sherry Jackson plays the beef baron’s bride to be. She has a change of heart at the end and betrays Valentine. She winds up marrying the guy anyway. What they have is beautiful.You may remember Jackson best as the three-quarters of the way naked girl in Star Trek’s ’What Are Little Girls Made Of?”“The Night of the Vicious Valentine” is a fun episode largely because of Moorehead’s performance. There is a disconnect between the original premise, wherein the wealthy mean were being killed on holidays ad the wedding/murder our heroes are trying to prevent a few days after Easter when there is no holiday. I have no idea why the holiday idea was even mentioned since even the characters remark Valentine is abandoning her usual pattern but that is a small gripe. Ignore it and enjoy the story.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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