Sunday, October 3, 2010

Wild Wild West--"The Night of the Turncoat"

“The Night of the Turncoat” adds the naturally logical extra element to a plot line that has been used before. Jim is manipulated y a villain into joining his cause. This time, however, Jim goes deeper into the role of traitor than he ever has before. His act makes for one of the better episodes of the season.

When the episode begins, Jim is being systematically discredited by persons unknown. He foils a bank robbery that was not actually a bank robbery, is falsely accused a beating up a preacher, and winds up “engaged” to an international jewel thief. Because of his apparent erratic and irrational behavior, he is discharged from the Secret Service. Alone and adrift, he is kidnapped by his manipulator.

He turns out to be Elisha Calamander, a high end thief who steals objects d’art for wealthy clients. He offers Jim $ 50,000 for his special skills in stealing something far more valuable than art--an unstable element that, when exposed to certain conditions, becomes a deadly nerve gas. Trilicium, as it is called, was stole from a government lab a month ago. Calamander wants Jim to steal it back from the thieves.

Fortunately, Jim’s act is all a ruse. While he goes through the elaborate process of stealing the Tillicum from a container at the bottom of a salt water tank at a certain temperature to keep the Tillicum from converting to a gaseous state, Artie is on is way to save him.

“The Night of the Turncoat’ is a fun, action-filled romp tat would probably have fit better I the second season, but I am glad is within the third to remind me of how good the show was when it had more colorful villains plotting big schemes and will be again in the fourth season. John McGiver is great as Calamander. His performance has echoes of Sydney Greenstreet. Jim spends a lot of time dodging sharks and other nasty aquatic critters while in the tank. Aside from a clearly visible cameraman in a diving suit at one point, it is a very well done action sequence.

I like ’The Night of the Turncoat” a lot.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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