Episode 805- The Thing that Couldn't Die

Movie Summary: Her husband having committed suicide (one presumes), a viciously greedy widow named Flavia (?) raises her dim daughter Jessica on an arid southwestern ranch. While out "dousing" for water one day, the comely Jessica stumbles on an ancient box, buried back in the long ago times. Nasal Flavia keeps bleating about "traysure," but instead the box contains the goateed head of a not-to-be-trusted Englishman. With the unwitting help of some dude ranch guests (did I mention Flavia also runs a dude ranch, and employs rock stupid criminals?), said head is freed from his box and uses about 14% of his other worldly powers to mind-control the majority of this wretched crew.
Within minutes he is connected to his also-buried body and is then knocked over and dies. Alternate title: The Thing That Died.

Prologue: Servo, working with funds provided by a grant from Crow, produces fearless art that does not hold back in its relentless attack on Crow. Crow attends Servo's gala show opening and remarks that it all seems kind of negative. "Oh I suppose you'd like me to paint dogs playing poker," says Servo; Crow is enthusiastic and provides another grant.

Segment One: The SOL is pulled untold light years at impossible speed toward an unknown planet. There they meet the "Observers," three guys who have evolved beyond language and brains who talk a lot and carry their brains in pans. Pearl and Bobo are there, of course. Pearl: "Hi, Nelson - what do you think of these characters - pretty evolved, huh?" The Observers simply wish to observe Pearl's ongoing experiment.

Segment Two: A thin condescending observer appears in the SOL, to observe. He's pretty annoying. "I am certain," he says of Mike from a distance of an inch, "that we shall find him to be an animated piece of refuse, or feces..." Mike and the 'Bots get fed up, hit the Observer with a clown hammer, put him in a bag, and send him back to the planet.

Segment Three: The Observers, displaying a skill remarkably like a trait found on planets in certain episodes of Star Trek, are able to create whatever Mike is thinking, only they get it wrong. Their first manifestation is Finnegan, the Starfleet Academy upperclassman who tormented Kirk so. Finnegan leaps, laughs, and pummels Mike, while an Irish tune gaily plays. Mike tries to think of Adrienne but mistakenly thinks of the Emperor Hadrian (who pummels him), before finally settling on Ms. Barbeau (who pummels him).

Segment Four: Crow produces a Civil War documentary, at once elaborate and hastily thrown together. Reminded that Ken Burns has already made the ultimate Civil War documentary, he's resolute: "Oh, but was it about the Civil War?" It's an instant classic, combining Crow's huge ambition with his innate inability to really work at anything. "The Civil War was a war that took place during a certain period in our nation's history. When, exactly? No one can say..."

Segment Five: An excited Servo, mimicking the movie, demands that Mike hold his head by some hastily-assembled hair so that he can terrify and mind-control Crow. Unfortunately, Mike knocks Servo's head against the desk and sends it flying, leaving him holding only the sad wig. Crow's not frightened.
On the Observer's planet, Pearl and Bobo prepare to retire for the night. There is only one bed; Bobo quickly realizes his horrible mistake in presuming to settle in ahead of Pearl. Under her withering stare, he straightens the blankets, fluffs the pillow, leaves a mint, and heads outside to sleep on the ground.

Reflections: Stupid people: that's who seem to populate most of our movies, and if ever there were an exception this is not it. Of course you've got your obviously stupid people, like the great lunk Mike whose mind is first controlled by the dead Englishman, yet there's a straightforward honesty to his stupidity that is refreshing in comparison to the more aggressive variety displayed by his boss, the dry and greedy Flavia. Every character in this movie, each in his own special way, is stupid, including the evil Englishman (the guy who couldn't die who dies) and the dim fellows who originally cursed and buried him.
Am I being unfair? No. -- Paul Chaplin


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