Friday, February 16, 2018

Are You Afraid of the Dark: The Tale of the Pinball Wizard

And so Gary (Ross Hull) returns to tie up the season in an episode that’s...okay.  It’s safely not the worst of the season, The Tale of Jake and the Leprechaun sewed that title up nicely.  However, there have been such high points in this season already that this finale really can’t compete. The Tale of the Captured Souls stands out as a tale head-and-shoulders above this finale.

The opening sequence is a bit more relevant this time.  The Midnight Society are passing around a Gameboy, apparently taking turns playing a game.  The conversation they have seems to indicate that the writers had no idea how a video game works.  I wonder if the actors told them that randomly passing your game system around mid-level without pausing is a fantastic way to lose lives.

Gary, however, asks the ominous question: what if you had a play a game in which you couldn’t just reset.  I found myself asking how such a situation would be “game” specific, rather than simply a description of every important activity we ever do in our lives, or even of life itself.  That said, however, I digress.

The story that Gary tells suffers from one basic problem: the characters seem directionless.  Our main character, Ross (Joe Posca), while not necessarily contradictory, seems to have an almost random assortment of unlikeable traits given to him.  He’s desperate to get ahead, and will steal from a mall wishing well, but when a store owner (AJ Henderson) gives him a single shot at a job, he’s so lazy and game-obsessed that he uses the opportunity to play an antique pinball game he was forbidden from touching.  And lest you think he faked interest in the job to get to the pinball machine, he came asking about the job before seeing the machine.
Yes, such contradictory people exist in the real world.  In fact, almost all of us are bundles of contradictions.  However, in this case the contradictions leave us with no traits to latch onto our main character, and by extension no way to understand what he should or shouldn’t be learning from this life-lesson.  There’s also a love interest (Polly Shannon) thrown in because...reasons…

The boss, Mr. Olson, is even more confusing.  Mr. Olson agrees to hire Ross if he can mind the shop while Mr. Olson is at lunch.  However, Ross is forbidden from touching the cash register, or any of the merchandise.  How Mr. Olson expects him to help a customer I don’t have the first clue, and naturally this suggestion is ignored.  To make it even more confusing: Mr. Olson fearfully warns Ross away from the pinball machine, but the ending of the episode indicates that trapping Ross with it was his intention.

To circle back around: Mr. Olson, having recently fired, another teenager, is reluctant to hire Ross.  His concerns prove to be well founded, as Ross begins playing his antique game the instant he’s out of sight.  The writers seem to confuse pinball with video games, as Ross describes a story he can apparently follow from the ball whizzing around in the machine.  Before Ross knows it, it’s night, he’s locked in the Mall, and Mr. Olson has not returned.

Then, Mannequins in suits begin attacking him, and it soon becomes clear that he’s in the storyline of the pinball game...why a pinball game about medieval fantasy involves mannequins in a modern shopping mall is another thing I don’t know, but there’s also an Executioner (Normand James) and a Witch (Nathalie Gauthier), and his love interest returns as a Princess...also, the characters are afraid of water for some reason…

The final twist: after fighting a series of villains, Ross discovers he’s physically inside the pinball game, and Mr. Olson appears above him to tell him he’ll be playing the game forever.  Given that he learned the first time through “smash the glass, take the super soakers, and you can take out all the enemies easily” I imagine he could hold out for quite some time, unless the rules change in every repetition, which makes the ending seem far less frightening.

Was he supposed to learn to be less selfish from this?  Or less lazy?  More honest?  I’m not sure, and in a half-hour show like this I really shouldn’t have any doubt about the nature of the lesson.

The closing sequence gives minimal indication that’s it’s a season finale.  A standard ending, the Midnight Society are now scared of a Gameboy, and the meeting closes out.  Gary says “till next time” while breaking the fourth wall for a split second, and dousing the fire, but that’s it.  I suspect that they didn’t want kids to know they’d be watching reruns for the next few months, but looking at it in the day of serialized storytelling, it just seems strange for a season finale to not be remarked on.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Are You Afraid of the Dark: The Tale of the Prom Queen

And, in this episode, Kristen (Rachel Blanchard) dresses up in a veil and comes to the Midnight Society late to tell a story that she claims is ancient, and has been retold many times. I was expecting them to pull a twist where a real ghost had replaced Kristen, or make the ending ambiguous. But, nope, she breaks character moments into the episode. Furthermore, this is a story about a Prom Queen’s ghost, so how old could it actually be? This is yet another episode where the introduction seems almost random, and unrelated to the story being told.

Regarding the story, I’m not sure if I’m unusual in my susceptibility to a particular type of twist, or if it’s true of most people: I tend to see the main character as an audience surrogate. So, if you want to get one over on me, just make the twist “the protagonist isn’t who were were led to believe he or she was.” This is how the film Lucky Number Slevin got me, despite the hints. It’s also how this episode got me, despite even more obvious hints.

To go through the basics: We have a protagonist, Dede (Katie Griffin), who says she’s from out of town, shows up shortly before a prom queen’s ghost is set to reappear, is unfamiliar with modern technology, immediately agrees to go on a ghost hunt with two local boys (Graeme Millington and Andre Todorovic), and is shocked when she learns that the prom queen’s boyfriend died shortly after the queen herself. Oh, and her plan to deal with the ghost? Convince her boyfriend’s spirit to come and pick her up, as she was apparently hit by a truck when he didn’t get a message to come for her.

And that’s just an over-view. Going scene-by-scene I could break down how every single moment of this episode screams “she’s a ghost!” Analyzing the actual plot is much simpler than analyzing the hints: She’s at a cemetery, she meets the two boys named Jam and Greg. Jam tells her the story of a prom queen who died in an accident because her boyfriend didn’t know to pick her up. They team up, and go to the library to see if there are any records of such an incident, and find that there are...and that the boyfriend, Ricky (Matthew MacKay) died in a crash shortly afterward (the episode leaves it unclear if this was suicide, or an accident caused by his emotional state). They hold a séance at the river where he died, and something strange starts moving in the water and chases them.

Returning to the cemetery at the appropriate time, a cloaked figure appears, and Greg confronts it to find...Jam’s cousin Chuck (Amyas Godfrey) playing a prank...and then Ricky shows up in a car, and Judy magically changes into her prom dress. Surprise! And it got me. Dede was a nickname for Judy, the name of the girl who died.

I do have to give this episode credit for all the hints. While Dede’s demeanor was never quite that of a girl from fifty years in the past, a fair amount of outdated slang was thrown in. Also, her clothes were simple enough to keep her temporal location ambiguous. They were probably a bit masculine for a woman in the fifties, but they likely could have at least existed in that time period.

Is the episode scary? Not really. Not supposed to be. Ghosts exist...and they’re perfectly fine people. They mean no one harm. The show does seem to equate “supernatural” with “scary,” which isn’t always the case, but it works as a story.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Are You Afraid of the Dark: The Tale of the Dark Music

For this review I won’t pretend that I haven’t read the relevant wiki for this show: Jacob Tierney, the actor who plays Eric, left before the second season and Eric disappeared from the group without explanation. That makes this second story, told right after the first, his final chance to impress. It certainly out-performs his first attempt, and I’d say is overall one of the better, if not the best, episodes so far. However, I feel that it’s quality may almost be accidental.

Eleven episodes in and I’m finally starting to understand the show enough to level some real criticisms in it’s direction. While this will make two reviews in a row where I start by ranting away in a tangent, I’m going to just run with it, because I think it definitely relates to what makes this episodes so good.

I think with a show like this, the production staff must have sat down at some point and asked questions of tone. To what extent should the different stories have a consistent tone, and to what extent should they shake up the formula. I think that, for the most part, the episodes up until now have been more-or-less consistent in their tone. They shake it up a bit on their range between humor and horror, but both still have to be present. You can’t scare the kiddies too much, but you also can’t risk making an episode all laughs and having them worry they’re watching the wrong show.

I also noticed that The Tale of Laughing in the Dark is the only episode in which the horror might have a rational explanation. Technically that makes this show as much if not more a sci-fi/fantasy anthology, than a horror anthology. However, this is understandable as the kind of horrors humans usually visit on each other are hardly family friendly.

So, The Tale of the Dark Music gets points simply because it does vary quite a bit from the standard tone. It’s the closest I’ve ever seen to the show staying completely straight in horror, and it has some legitimately frightening visuals. Having the main character (Graham Selkirk) turn evil at the end doesn’t hurt either, and I suspect the host segment reassuring us that he doesn’t actually murder his sister (Jennie Levesque) may have been added in.

The host segments in general for this episode are quite weak. Apparently the theme of this episode is supposed to be fear of the dark. Frank (Jason Alisharan) is mad that Eric left him in the woods without a flashlight. The main story has nothing to do with the dark, except that the horror is in a dark basement, and since most bad things in this show happen in dark places that hardly helps.

Andy, our main character, moves into a new house his mother (Kathryn Graves) inherited from a great-uncle he had never met or heard of. The uncle was apparently a recluse, who somehow made a fortune without ever leaving his house. He was hated by the neighbors, and a boy named Koda (Leif Anderson) immediately attacks him for simply being related to the old man. I think we’re supposed to interpret Koda’s father (Ian MacDonald) as abusive, and feel some sympathy for him, but all Mr. Koda does is tell his son not to talk back, and that he will have to do chores to earn his allowance (apparently by scrubbing the front steps for hours, as we never see him do any other work), so on this count they fell down.

As Andy helps his mother around the house, he makes several trips into the basement, in which strange things begin to happen. Each time, something strange, comes from a closet to greet Andy and invite him to join it. Over the course of the episode we get a glowing set of red eyes, a giant doll, and a carnival barker (AJ Henderson) who turns into a skeleton.

Intermixed with the basement and Koda’s periodic attacks, we see Andy trying to be the ideal son. He delivers newspapers, helps his mother around the house, and tries to take care of his bratty little sister. His character is established well without the need for two much exposition: despite now living in a big house, he’s an underpriviledged kid who feels that his lot in life is unfair.

Two events come together to create the climax: Koda destroys Andy’s bike, and Andy realizes that the force in the closet is summoned by music (no explanation why, but we don’t really need one). In an effort to simply punish Koda for his bullying, Andy lures him into the basement, locks him in, and blasts the music. When he comes to see the cowed bully, he finds that Koda is gone, but has been replaced by a new bicycle.

The closet opens, and a voice tells Andy that it will give him anything he wants as long as he feeds the being in the closet, just as he did his uncle. Just then his sister comes home saying the famous last words “Mom says you have to make me dinner.” We then get the aforementioned cop-out on the ending.

I imagine that if this show had been lower on humor and heavier on pure horror, this episode probably wouldn’t have impressed me as much. That said, with the season we have, this episode stands above most of the previous offerings. Definitely one to check out.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Are You Afraid of the Dark: The Tale of Jake and the Leprechaun

The Tale of Jake and the Leprechaun is pretty much universally regarded as the worst episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark’s first season. I don’t disagree with that sentiment, but I am somewhat curious how it was received upon initial release, before the Tumble crowd was around to scream “cultural appropriation!” It reminds me of when Superfriends wanted to be more diverse, so they added on a Native American who spoke in grunts and dressed in stereotypical buckskins, because that was the only thing they knew about Native Americans.

In the same way, this is an episode about Irish folklore that knows nothing about Irish folklore except that leprechauns are a thing, and banshees are bad. I’m not an expert in Irish mythology, but even I know that banshee are female, and a “changeling” is a fairy child left in the place of a kidnapped human child. Here, we have a male banshee who keeps himself young by turning twelve-year-olds into “changelings” that eventually become animals.

All of this might have been explainable with the standard excuse that the narrator is a child just using a few Irish buzzwords to sound exotic, but Eric (Jacob Tierney) opens his first story by telling the Midnight Society that his Irish grandfather recently passed away, and this entire story was one his grandfather told him. I have no idea why an Irishman who was a grandfather in 1992 would tell a story set in the modern United States as a way of passing on his culture to his grandson. I guess you could say that Eric, being the Society’s goof, just made up the whole story about a dead grandfather, but then the whole episode is simply pointless.

I know I’m spending more time ranting about the awful set-up of this episode than I’ve spent ranting about entire episodes or films in the past, but this one really bugs me because it was such a great opportunity blown. They could have actually used this as a chance to film a real Irish folktale. Perhaps even get a few real elderly Irishmen in to tell stories until they hit on the most obscure one they can find, and film something truly original.

To deal with the story we do get, Jake (Benjamin Plener) wants to be an actor, and finds himself cast in the lead of a local play based on Irish folklore, written by a man named Erin (John Dunn-Hill), who we’re told is a genius (to be fair his play does seem better than this episode). Jake, however, feels that he’s not up to the challenge. Hoping to become more creative, Jake learns that Erin drinks specially brewed tea, and goes to a nearby herbalist to ingredients.

The herbalist, surprise-surprise, is an Irish little person names Sean O’Shaney (David Steinberg), who may or may not be an actual leprechaun (the episode never gives a definitive answer). Recognizing the herbs, he believes Jake to be evil, and chases him off. However, in the next rehearsal Jake is surprised to find his voice changing during a spell he recites with Erin, and returns to Sean for guidance.

Sean, realizing Jake is a harmless dupe, comes to watch the rehearsal, and disrupts it, realizing that Erin is a (*groan*) banshee trying to keep himself young by turning Jake into a frog. To prove this, Sean makes Jake look into the mirror to reveal pointed ears...despite the fact that he’s changing into an animal without external ears…

Jake, now being half changeling, will die if he stays in his current state. The only way to return to a full human is to outsmart the Banshee. This leads to a confrontation where Jake has to follow a series of rules (be fearless, keep his gaze...), and Sean shows up dressed in stereotypical leprechaun clothes.

Beyond these basic descriptions, I can’t tell you much about the battle, because I don’t really know what happens. Earlier in the episode we established that pixies can’t refuse a trade if you say “mine be yours, and yours be mine.” However, I have no idea how such a trade helps the situation. Erin turns Jake into a frog, Sean reveals that he has the Banshee’s tail, and trades it for Jake...and Erin disappears for some reason, leaving Sean to restore Jake. With that, the episode closes to the Midnight Society clapping, telling me how much I should like this story.

Seriously, what is this? Why did anyone think this episode was a good idea? We finally get a story from Eric, and this is what they give us? I don’t think I have ever seen a truly awesome opportunity blown so spectacularly.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Are You Afraid of the Dark: The Tale of the Sorcerer's Apprentice

Okay, finally a serious criticism to be leveled at this show: they really should have used some clear rotation of story-tellers. Perhaps it’s intended to highlight the personalities of the different characters by depicting some as more eager than others. However, this is Betty Ann’s (Raine Pare-Coull) second in a row, and third overall, while troublemaker Eric (Jacob Tierney) has told one brief fragment, and gets his first actual episode next week. It seems a bit unbalanced.

That said, however, I think this is another episode that hits it out of the park, to the point of being a viable season finale. One again, this story that affects me more now, as an adult, looking at it as a commentary on our educational system. While I’m certainly not in the crowd that cheers on Charter Schools, I do find myself nervous about the idea of bad information being inserted into our school systems by ideologues. I also constantly find myself horrified at the realization that much of the information I was taught as a student was, at best, wildly oversimplified.

In this story, that’s exactly what we see. Dean (Matthew MacKay) is a low-performing student who finds himself fascinated by a brief lecture given to his class by an archaeologist named Dr. Oliver (Emma Stevens). I’d say it was absurdly simple,, this is the kind of watered-down understanding I received. “Many ancient civilizations believed some variation of x.” Information without context, designed only to convince school boards that their kids have been given a smidgen of culture.

In the lecture, Dr. Oliver tells the story of the ancient sorcerer Goth. She fails to tell anything about his historical context or the significance of his life, except that his followers gain good fortune. Just enough to intrigue a student desperate to feel special. Dean quickly finds himself meeting with her, and Dr. Oliver tips her obvious hand by saying she hopes she’s won “another convert.”

We’re told that Dean has only a single friend, Alix (Staci Smith), and as Dean falls to the dark side she becomes our viewpoint character. Dean begins hanging around with a strange group of students, and acting as their leader. He also somehow mesmerizes a jerk teacher (Jane Gilchrist) into giving him an A on a blank test. Finally, Alix follows him down into the school’s basement, and sees him using a staff from Dr. Oliver’s lecture to speak to the ghostly head of the mysterious sorcerer (Stephen Hart).

I’d say this episode has a peculiar way of using it’s short running time to it’s advantage. Obviously, we don’t have the time to tell Goth’s full history, nor would most of the viewers particularly care about his fanciful past. However, in this episode that’s part of the point: Dean has no idea who Goth is, how he was apparently trapped in another dimension, or the history of how he became a powerful sorcerer. Dean has been given just enough information to bring Goth back into our world, Goth’s apparent goal. He has to combine two simple ingredients: Belladonna and Mercuric Acid (I suspect the writers wanted to use a fictional “don’t try this at home kids” chemical, but according to Google they may have accidentally used a valid name for mercury mixed with any acid) to create the “mystic vapors.”

Goth is actually a perfect cult leader. His promises to Dean are vague (“all you desire”), and he uses the word “apprentice” to give a sense of commonality with the child he clearly doesn’t feel. We’re watching an angry adolescent being used by the first adult to show interest in him. Sincerity is not required.

The Midnight Society interruption in this episode is especially annoying because there are no major mysteries for them to speculate about in the episode. Instead, Alix gets captured, and they suggest that she’ll be boiled in the mercuric acid. Not only do Dean and his followers never attempt this, Dean has already been clear that he wants to convert Alix, so the suggestion seems silly.

The ending is a bit too convenient. Goth crosses over, attacks Alix, and Dean shakes off his control to protect his friend. He warns Alix to use chlorine to kill the Nightshade, thus forcing Goth back into the other dimension...he apparently concluded that vapors produced from belladonna could be stopped by the chemical because it kills bacteria, and “the leaves were organic...well, to be fair, it seems like the contrived ending a Middle Schooler trying to wrap up a story might use. My own head canon: They stopped Goth because chlorine is a base, and counteracted the acid. It’s not hard to imagine that was the original intention, and the “killed the leaves” was a way to dumb the episode down for the kiddies.

The ending revealed the painfully obvious: Dr. Oliver was a servant of Goth who goes High School to High School trying to recruit kids because...she can’t summon Goth herself for some reason. Well, we don’t know the reason, but it’s beside the point. She’s an authority figure corrupting young minds.

So, yes, for the most part it’s a strong episode. As cheesy and over the top as we’ve come to expect, but still a good time. And, it has some nice themes behind it.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Are You Afraid of the Dark: The Tale of the Nightly Neighbors

As strange as this sounds, I’m honestly getting kind of annoyed at how consistently good this show is. I’m eight episodes in and haven’t had any criticism except “occasionally the acting isn’t great.” No gaping plot holes, or moments of incredible stupidity, and many of the stories do seem like something kids might make up to scare each other (if a bit elaborate).

I spent most of this episode thinking that it would be my first mildly-negative review. Not horrible, but a bit generic and predictable...and then came the twist. I’ll be honest, I didn’t see the ending of this episode coming, but it didn’t create any obvious plot holes or logical inconsistencies.

This is another returning storyteller, Betty Ann (Raine Pare-Coull). While we’ve only heard one of her past stories, Eric (Jacob Tierney) sets us up by complaining that her stories are always “gross and boring,” but with happy endings. When we’re thrown an easier twist, we’re prepped to accept it.

The story concerns Emma (Suzanna Shebib) and her brother Dayday (Noah Godfrey). Emma is bored with her life and monitors the neighborhood in search of excitement, while Dayday is quite content watching television. So, when new neighbors move in, Emma is immediately suspicious.

The neighbor’s are the Brauns, a couple from the Ukraine (Carl Alacchi and Francoise Robertson), and their son Lex (Johnny Morina), supposedly paramedics studying the American healthcare system to see what improvements can be made in their own. The clues are laid out blatantly enough for children to get at a glance: they have large boxes, supposedly containing “refrigerators,” delivered to their homes, they only go out at night, and they constantly visit people who suddenly get sick and wear bandages on their necks.

Emma, picking up on the obvious “vampire” hints, warns Dayday not to invite them into the house. Unfortunately, when the couple stops by, their mother pushes past Dayday and invites them in, just as Emma is sneaking into their house. This leads to the fairly clever and time-saving plot device of Dayday simultaneously wanting to get rid of them (as he’s unable to completely convince himself Emma is wrong), while also not wanting them to return home.

Emma, meanwhile, discovers a freezer (which she calls a “refrigerator” for some reason) in their basement, filled with bottles of blood. When the family leaves, Dayday rushes to warn her, and the two barely make it out in time.

Thinking they’re now targets, the two attempt to slip into their neighbor’s house during the day to kill them with “wooden spikes.” They suspect the two are sleeping behind a locked door in the basement. Unfortunately, Mrs. Braun is still awake and walking around, and so the two run, abandoning their plan, apparently undetected.

...and then, the first twist: The Brauns are out in the daylight, carrying bottles of blood into the house. They explain that they’re no longer working the night shift, and the hospital had a surplus of blood so they’re storing some of it at home. They then ask Dayday if Lex could come over the play video games later. Everyone laughs.

I was all fired up to bash how stupid this ending is. I’d honestly been expecting the couple to be vampire hunters, but “it was all a misunderstanding” is obviously a cop-out for a show billed as any kind of horror. To say nothing of the fact that storing blood in a private residence almost certainly being prohibited under some rule. Also, in the real world when one hospital has a surplus of blood, some of it is immediately shipped to a place with a shortage.

Yes, I was all ready to rip into this “everyone laughs” ending, when the real twist hit: Mr. and Mrs. Braun aren’t vampires...they’re thralls. Their “son” Lex is the vampire they serve, and is planning on feeding on Dayday that night. Irritatingly, this twist fits all the evidence perfectly: they’ve been arranging their schedule to accommodate Lex (they waited until night to bring the freezer in, but they presumably could have been sleeping), they had to be invited in when all three of them were present, and they immediately change their schedule when they realize they were being suspected to “prove” their innocence.

It’s also worth noting that, in their vampire killing mission, Emma and Dayday hid very obviously under a table right in front of Mrs. Braun, who should have been able to see them easily. While the viewers assume this is just a convention of television, the ending makes it pretty clear she knew they were there and was playing along. So, the ending seems quite intelligent.

The Midnight Society scenes are a bit weak in this episode again, discussing “why things are scarier at night,” which is no more a theme of this episode than of any other vampire story. However, I can’t think of much else they could have talked about, so I’ll give it a pass. It at least felt like it fit with the story.

So, yeah, another irritatingly good episode, and I still have nothing major to complain about with this show.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Are You Afraid of the Dark: The Tale of the Captured Souls

This episode to a child: A mad scientist turns a girl’s parents old to keep himself 15 forever.

This episode to an adult: A white man born in 1907 attempts to kill the upper-middle class parents of a black 13-year-old and seduce her.

While most of these episodes can still be watched as an adult for a mixture of humor and creepiness, this story goes from generically scary to absolutely horrifying when you’re old enough to realize the implications of racism and ephebophilia.

This is the first story for Kiki (Jodie Resther), the tomboy of the group.  I get the impression that the episode was reworked at some point, because the opening sequence really doesn’t fit.  While the episode contains both the use of mirrors and cameras to show the villain as an old man, it’s the mirrors that he ultimately uses to “capture souls,” but Kiki’s opening is a ramble about the power of cameras.

Danny (Maria Taylor) and her parents (Barbara Eve Harris and Don Jordan) go to a hotel out in the country for vacation.  The “Hotel” has no other guests, and the owners are away “on a cruise,” leaving their “teenaged” son Peter (Ethan Tobman) to check the guests in.

Peter is a creepy guy, but Danny’s parents seem to miss it.  From the first moment they meet, he’s clearly undressing Danny with his eyes.  He shows her his room, and seems to constantly try to isolate her.  He’s also terrified of having his picture taken.  And, we as the audience see his laboratory, from which he can spy on the family through all the mirrors of the house (there’s a running gag about the “bad wiring” in the mirrors shocking Danny, to her great confusion).

Over the course of the episode, the family begins to grow older.  Danny’s parents age decades, and approach death.  However, Danny seems to age just enough to give her acne, and (in a moment that took me a third viewing) just enough to give her bigger breasts.  Given that he clearly intends to keep her young, it seems 13 is just a bit too young for his tastes…

Danny catches on when she finds her way into his lab, and see him through the cameras installed behind the mirrors he’s scattered about the house: he’s an old man.  She then notices the numerous graves and tally marks in the back yard, indicating dozens of people he’s killed, and his own grave giving his birthday in 1907, but no death date.

The climax has the standard “it’s already too late” refrain, as Peter offers to keep Danny young and with him forever (...or, in my expectation, until he gets bored…).  Then, predictably, she shoves him in his own machine, reverses the process, and turns her parents young again, and he becomes a 90-year-old (he says that he plans to join his family in the graveyard.  With Danny’s family leaving, I’m wondering if he plans to bury himself alive, and then die.).

The acting isn’t fantastic from Danny or her parents, but Peter really steals the show as a charismatic creep who you love to hate.  I kind of wish the actor was someone I saw more, but it appears that Tobman’s career has mostly been bit-parts.  Still, he’s a scary guy.

Kiki could have used a better introduction as a story-teller, but the story itself is one I really enjoyed.  Seriously, just marathon this show, you won’t be disappointed.