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alsplacebartender 02-18-2003 01:22 PM

322 Shock Theater
 
Shock Theater
October 3, 1954


Havenwell Hospital, Pennsylvania


Sam leaps into the life of a mental patient and immediately undergoes electric shock therapy. But he is administered a severly high dosage and it brings out the personalities of several people he has leaped into. With each personality change, it becomes harder and harder for Al to communicate with Sam. If Al and Dr. Beeks cannot get Sam out of the situation he is in, they may lose contact forever.


Written by: Deborah Pratt
Directed by: Joe Napolitano


Rate and comment on the third season finale!

mstalanon 03-06-2003 01:28 AM

One of the highest emotional threads ever that poor Sam and Al have been on! Scott Bakula is just exceptional in this show, and the anquish on Al's face is sooooo believeable!

Matt

S4TuRn3 03-19-2003 12:27 PM

Oh boy, one of the most brilliant episodes ever, if you'd ask me :)

Vince Beckett 10-05-2005 11:08 PM

This was the perfect way to end the third season. This was the first flashback episode. It was also the first time that Sam wasn't himself.

Samantha Beckett 02-05-2006 02:40 PM

If there were ever an episode where Scott deserved an Emmy, it was this one. He was so incredible in it...the first time i saw it I was so terrified throughout it. It was really well done, Deborah Pratt is a real genuis!

Samantha Beckett

LadyKayoss 02-06-2006 12:07 PM

This is an excellent episode, one which really gives Scott the chance to stretch his acting abilities. And it's really gut-wrenching to watch, too; the scene after Sam wakes up after his shock treatment, where he's gripping onto the bed and babbling is particularly painful to watch. And poor Al just looks so helpless all throughout... Definately one of the best episodes.

Julie 01-10-2007 08:41 AM

I'm watching this now. It disturbed me the first time I seen it, and it's disturbing me now. I've seen it more than once. I feel so sorry for Sam - poor guy. Brilliant acting by both actors.
The character "Timmy" works great with Al, also.
I just love this episode.

Sophie Oliver 01-10-2007 02:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Julie
The character "Timmy" works great with Al, also.

Tibby, short for Tibido

jmellissa 01-10-2007 03:46 PM

I remember the first time I seen this... I was clued to the T.V.

Every moment seemed like it hunge on the last. I didn't see the ending comeing. I couldn't see how AL and others were going to get Sam out of this one. I too feel that Dean and Scott did a wonderful job, more then they ever got credit for. This one is hard for me to see, so I don't watch it a lot maybe once a year. I wish it didn't bug me so. Its just hard to see Sam have to go through that and Al not able to really help. But I love what happens the man that Al rocks out with and teach's him, his ABC's. I don't remember his name, but he did a good job too. They all did!

Sophie Oliver 01-10-2007 04:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmellissa
But I love what happens the man that Al rocks out with and teach's him, his ABC's. I don't remember his name, but he did a good job too. They all did!

His name was Tibby, short for Tibido

jmellissa 01-10-2007 07:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sophie Oliver
His name was Tibby, short for Tibido

Hay thanks!:D on friday night I have a few friends coming over and I think I will show this one...to get them hooked...:heybaby

I think this one will due just fine...yes...yes I do think so.

SamBeckett94 02-01-2007 02:40 AM

I thoroughly enjoyed this episode, and I too think the acting in it is great. This is definateley one of my favorite episodes.

jmellissa 02-06-2007 02:13 PM

I thought I would share this with you all. About a week ago I had up town with my sister and mom and when we came home I found my dad watching this episode, by himself. (The thing is he has always told my mom and I that we in so many word were wasting out time. That he could't see what we liked in this.) After he had seen it, he said that he really liked it and asked if he could see another. So we oder pizza and started with the first episode. I think he's doing rather well, I don't know how many we seen that night, but I know that he wants to get the 5 season now almost as bad as I do. LOL!! I never thought??? So I think its safe to say that this one episode is a great one to show to first timers.

samnal 02-13-2007 09:34 AM

One of the finest, hands down. Not a second left to chance--the skill of Deborah Pratt, truly the best writer on the series. I truly feel anything written with compassion and feeling, as this episode is, has Deborah in the Captains chair. This is a mix of humor, pathos and smarm. Plain & simple. Can't be beat. It's #2 as far as my faves go--Catch a Falling Star and Dearheart are #1.

cookiemom6067 05-18-2007 01:34 PM

I was gobsmacked by Scott's acting in this episode, especially because we really get to "see and hear" Samantha, Jessie, Tom Stratton, Kid Cody, Magic Williams, and Jimmy LaMotta. My only quibble was that I didn't get why Kid Cody would sound like a Brooklynite when he was from Sacramento.

Sam Beckett Fan 07-09-2007 06:58 PM

This episode was phenominal. At first it saddened me how Hevenwell was such a cruel place where people were mistreated like that. So I almost never wanted to see it again after the first time. But then my BFF wanted to see it again and her mom won't watch it again for the same reason I did not, so I agreed to watch it with her and now I love it for the phenominal desplay of Scott's talents. Even my mom was blown away by his acting in this episode. Its great how we get to finally hear some of Sam's previous hosts in their own voices. I love the concept of how each person he became has a reason to believe they had been put in the hospital, Samantha for hitting Buddy, Jesse for sitting at a whites only table, Magic because he was at war and I studied the vietnam war a lot and read Tnings They Carried by Tim O'Brien. Things can happen to the men's minds from war that could cause them to not be themselves anymore. This is also desplayed in The Beast Within as Roy and Henry had to settle with a lifetime campout. So Magic could have been there because of that, and then Tom Stratton (the real one in the waiting room) thought that he had crashed his plane and was suffering amnesia or at least that's what the novel version says and although the novel's are not canon that does make sense. And Sam did keep asking if he had made Mach 3 because he did not remember. Jimmy of course is obvious because he's retarded. The only one that made no sense was Kid Cody. I also agree with Cookiemon about his voice although he could have been born in Brookyln. But even in the behind the scenes book Another Time, Another Place they even state that each of the identites Sam assumes in this ep were people that would have a reason believe they were there so I don't get why they threw Kid Cody in there he did not have a reason to be there. Even Samantha makes little sense because why would you be put in a loony bin for hitting someone unless it also had something to do with her telling Buddy that she was a man. And she was Sam's first woman leap so it also makes sense that way. Kristen and I thought it would have been better if Sam had woken up from his dream before the Kid Cody scene and had assumed the mind of younger Sam. That would even make sense because he could think he was there for babbling that he knew the future. And it would have been cute.

It was not just Scott's acting that was great all the doctors at the hospital did wonderful acting and Dean Stockwell has some emotional moments in the episode which he portrayed excellently. Plus I loved that we finally got to see Dr. Beaks. Kristen and I just feel bad that she had no lines not even in The Leap Back because they cut out the one little scene where she actually spoke.

Scott's acting though is what makes this episode what it is and a delight to watch, I agree with Claire that he really deserved an Emmy for this episode. This episode really shows what an extremely talented man he is. :)

isz 08-03-2007 05:08 PM

A good episode,but not excellent,in my opinion.Both Dean And Scott did a great job in this episode,but...
First of all this is an episode i always had problems with- it seemed to my too histerical and too sorreal.
Second of all - The story itself never gave a mark on me. O.K this leap was very emotional for both Sam&Al but...if i'll look back on the episode,i think ,that the only thing in this episode All QL fan will always remember is - The revisit of old Sam's Hosts(his "first woman",His "first Black",His "first Boxer",His "first soldier" ,his "first pilot" and of course - Jimmy).
In the Bottom Line A good episode,without a doubt ,But not Excellent. This episode wouldn't, probably,get into my top 25 of QL.

Sam's Crow 08-01-2008 09:54 AM

This was an excellent episode in my opinion. Although I did find it very distressing.

ohboy 08-12-2008 08:40 PM

I loved this episode! Perhaps one of my favorite parts was Al's updated, hologram-friendly version of the ABC's song. I couldn't get the song out of my head, althought I really wish I could find the lyrics. If I have a song in my head that I can't get out, then I at least want to be singin the correct song.

This had excellent acting on both parts of Sam and Al. I felt a little sorry for Sam the entire time, since not only did he have to go through that torture of changing personalities every couple hours (although I thought that his Jessie bit was the funniest in the episode), but also that angry nurse that electrocuted him. Not the woman, but the guy that shocked him in the beginning of the episode (I think he's a nurse?)

Sam's Crow 08-12-2008 08:59 PM

It was a great way to end the season.

Al R. 08-22-2008 06:59 AM

First episode I ever saw and I am still adicted to the rapping bit, the ending with Al and sam going oh boy was great, I completely enjoyed it and felt sams fear at the end

Al R. 08-22-2008 09:07 AM

[quote=ohboy]I loved this episode! Perhaps one of my favorite parts was Al's updated, hologram-friendly version of the ABC's song. I couldn't get the song out of my head, althought I really wish I could find the lyrics.

if you would like the lyrics then here they are:

you're a loony toon in a big wide room
and I'm a hologram from the future
And I'm speeding fast, right back into the past
And I've gotta say I'm pleased to meet yah
coz you're my man and you've got understand
that you've got the power, to write read
that's garanteed, I' gonna give you what you need
say ABCDEFG -HIJKLMNOP-QRS-TUV-WX- Y Zee (x2)
(reapeat whole song twice)

hope that helped you out =] sorry for double posting

ohboy 08-22-2008 10:41 AM

Thanks, Al R. One of my problems about rap music is that I have a hard time understanding the lyrics. I know that Al went much slower than most do, but still.

Thanks again.

Al R. 08-22-2008 04:47 PM

your welcome, I guess it comes from how much I love that scene and how much I have watched it =]

Sam's Crow 08-24-2008 10:24 PM

Normally I can't stand rap music but I really enjoyed the bit where Al was doing the rap for Tibby. I loved it when a load of the patients joined in.

Sam's Crow 09-01-2008 05:44 AM

The alphabet rap under Ziggy's Sounds on the website; the lyrics are different. I prefer the lyrics in the show.

Sorry about double posting.

miss_sashay 03-30-2010 11:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mstalanon (Post 1425)
One of the highest emotional threads ever that poor Sam and Al have been on! Scott Bakula is just exceptional in this show, and the anquish on Al's face is sooooo believeable!

Matt

It was that very look of anguish Al had when he realized what happened to Sam that made my blood run cold. Excellent actors, they both are.

Trudy 01-22-2012 10:33 PM

I agree that this was a good episode; Scott and Dean really showcased their acting skills in this one. I just think that some parts of the episode could have been handled a little more sensitively.

Also, just curious: did he not leap out because Sam needed to be rejoined with himself before the leap could be done, or because his true objective was to get the other nurse removed from his post? I'm curious to know what people think.

Lightning McQueenie 01-31-2012 11:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Trudy (Post 58931)
I agree that this was a good episode; Scott and Dean really showcased their acting skills in this one. I just think that some parts of the episode could have been handled a little more sensitively.

Also, just curious: did he not leap out because Sam needed to be rejoined with himself before the leap could be done, or because his true objective was to get the other nurse removed from his post? I'm curious to know what people think.

I expect it's the first reason. GFTW wouldn't put Sam in a situation he couldn't handle, so it makes sense that he (or rather Sam) wouldn't allow Sam (himself) to leap until he would be able to handle what was still to come...

Al's the Best 03-13-2012 12:27 AM

Seeing as I'm on a MAC I couldn't play the video on here of the QL Convention where Dean expressed what it was like to rap in this episode. Could someone tell me what he said?

iMonrey 09-06-2013 03:36 PM

What an emotional, gut-wrenching episode. Was Scott Bakula ever even nominated for an Emmy? This episode proves he should have been. Leaping in only to realize he was about to get electro shock treatment must have been just as horrifying as when he realized he was about to die in the electric chair. Maybe even worse. I really found it disturbing.

Sam Beckett Fan 09-06-2013 03:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iMonrey (Post 60147)
What an emotional, gut-wrenching episode. Was Scott Bakula ever even nominated for an Emmy? This episode proves he should have been. Leaping in only to realize he was about to get electro shock treatment must have been just as horrifying as when he realized he was about to die in the electric chair. Maybe even worse. I really found it disturbing.

I believe the episode was submitted for nomination by Scott and Dean themselves but that's as far as it went to my knowledge. I however completely agree that it's extremely messed up that Scott never relieved an Emmy for this performance he was absolutely amazing.

Personally I would have loved to see behind the leap into how the project was handling this intense situation while Al was not in the imaging chamber. I think it would have been interesting and in this particular case have added to the direness of the situation.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Al's The Best
Seeing as I'm on a MAC I couldn't play the video on here of the QL Convention where Dean expressed what it was like to rap in this episode. Could someone tell me what he said?

I am unsure about this video you speak of but I do happen to know from my BTS book that the rap took around 8 takes because he kept forgetting the alphabet, LOL.

Sam Beckett Fan 11-07-2013 07:45 PM

As amazing as this episode is there are a few aspects of the leapee persona jumping that don't add up for me.
Sam offers information about the leapees that I am certain isn't revealed in the actual episodes from which they originate.

*As Samantha Stormer, the whole smoking bit and the request not to tell Gloria. Samantha was never even revealed to be a smoker.
*Jesse's background and attempt to learn to read, we don't even learn too much about Jesse in the episode if memory serves.
*Herbert 'Magic' Williams' serial number which Sam never had to recite.
How could he possibly know this information?

Is it possible that somehow in this unique state of mind he was able to mind merge with these leapees though separated from their auras?

ladystoneheart 11-08-2013 03:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sam Beckett Fan (Post 60694)
*As Samantha Stormer, the whole smoking bit and the request not to tell Gloria. Samantha was never even revealed to be a smoker.

Yeah,I noticed that one,too.I even checked the episode to look whether there is a scene with her smoking.But I can't remember what was Sam saying exactly there.Was he talking about quitting?

Sam Beckett Fan 11-09-2013 05:44 AM

He basically asked the doctor not to tell Gloria he was smoking because apparently she doesn't approve of Samantha doing so in the apartment, which now that you had me take a close look at that is actually curious. Obviously the main concern of each persona was the thought of being in the institution. Why would he worry about violating a roommate agreement?

Donofrio_QLTD 01-14-2015 06:16 AM

This is one of my all-time favorite season finales. I've seen it over and over through the years, to the point of losing count. The first thing I loved was that this time it was not Donald who wrote the screenplay but Deborah, which perhaps was quite rare for a QL season finale. The second thing was the sort of twist she gave in some way to the history of television: In most TV shows, being them under any main genre, like sci-fi, comedy or even drama, there's almost always an episode where the recurring characters remember some things that happened to them in past episodes from past seasons. They reunite in a place and talk about their memories from those past episodes. That adds a tone of nostalgia to the current episode and to the audience those sorts of installments are always either a hit or a miss. Some people love that approach and some consider them just pretty boring fillers. In some way, Deborah Pratt did exactly the same thing with Shock Theater. It was a "recall-that-episode/season" story, but she added her own brilliand turns, visions and notes to it, not only making it very interesting and engaging, but fully remarkable. At every point where Sam changes to another personality, the suspense just keeps growing and growing and this is one of the few true times where you keep wondering how or if Sam is going to get out of that safe at all!! The nostalgia factor was handled greatly: Hell, it even makes me miss "The Right Hand Of God", one of my least favorite episodes from the series. Brilliant move and what a brilliant episode it was this finale!!

The part I loved the most: All the final act, where the crescendo has reached its maximum potential (and that potential was pretty intense!!, almost as if I, as the viewer, was the one who was going to get those electro-shocks myself). Another thing I loved was that all the ep. was sort of an introduction to Deborah Pratt's theories on how sometimes a leapee can take mental charge of Sam's mind to some extent, which was later used on her own "Dreams" and on Donald's "LHO". My favorite moment: The simo-leaping, of course.

Favorite Al line: Tibby asks him if the cars fly and the air is clean in the future and he says: "No, the air is filthy and the cars are still on the ground, but we're working on it." Makes me chuckle everytime.

The only thing in this ep. I was neutral about was the character of Tibby himself. I don't have anything against him and I like him but sometimes he was a bit annoying and "meh!"... Just a little bit.

Anyway...

My rating: Excellent!!

Review of the season: Still not my fave one. It had many mediocre or "conventional" episodes throughout, but even with that the way of story-telling had improved as well as the tone of the series. The style of the show settled on this season and defintely the special effects were also better. One important thing this season introduced was the handlink's Gummi Bear design, which is a classic and the most remembered thing about QL even to this day!! The classic "festivity" episodes came from this season, too, and the fact that this is the "middle season" of the show and those sort of episodes (halloween, christmas) were here makes it even more special and that works on its favor. Very good season, and I'm glad it was not the last one, as it was originally intended.

Now finally on to review season four!!! Let's go...

Sam Beckett Fan 09-17-2018 05:14 AM

Despite sporadic comments, I've never written a full review for this episode and am getting the itch to now.

NOTE: A lot of observations I've pointed out in past posts will be revisited.

This episode, the script and Scott's performance were phenomenal and should have won an Emmy.

Here was the official introduction to the underdeveloped concept of willful or induced mind-merging; that the state of mind can be manipulated/altered to allow the host aura to dominate.

We see this twice more in the form of hypnosis. What was unique about this instance, however, was that the procedure used, electroshock therapy, unlike hypnosis, is untargeted and in this case, was administered at a lethal level, it short-circuited Sam's brain which created a vacuum that somehow managed to summon several of his past hosts.

Although this has us so on the edge of our seats that we don't miss the absence of the current host including as a standard reflection shot, I am a bit disappointed that it was only scratched at the surface.

We see how strong a state of psychosis Sam is in during the Jesse personality when he recalls his own actions in that leap that were out of Jesse's character (Nell's accident) and was unable to make sense of them. Not a sliver of familiarity manifested.

This raises the question of why the Jesse personality, who was portrayed as outwardly respectful of segregation or probably more accuratly respect for his white employer Ms. Melanie, didn't question sitting down at the counter at the diner. "because I was hungry" was Sam's excuse.

Perhaps Jesse's having used Sam's medical education stood out because it's the most pronounced distinguisher.

I'm also interested in the Samantha Stormer personality expressing the belief that she'd been institutionalized for hitting Buddy Write but nor for insisting to him that she was a man which is far more unstable behavior.

What I'm utterly unclear on is how Sam had taken on some of the hosts' personalities to the extent of being able to access information outside his experience in the respective leaps:

- Samantha Stormer's being a smoker and Gloria's hatred of it.
- Jesse Tyler's background as a sharecropper, his won Willis trying to teach him to read and his rheumatism.
- Herbert "Magic" Williams' Navy serial number.

I borderline hate that this episode wasn't the introduction to the project's end of a leap. Considering the severity of the situation, the danger of losing contact with Sam which is another indication of how deep the psychosis was, it would have been interesting to see their perspective.

On a positive note, I love the pattern of the hosts chosen. Each of them, though not all directly, offered a reason for being institutionalized.
- Samantha Stormer for hitting Buddy Write
- Jesse Tyler for sitting at a counter in a white diner.
- Magic Williams presented as a PTSS (I'm pretty sure it's been re-established as a syndrome rather than a disorder) episode.
- Jimmy La Mata is the most obvious having down syndrome.
- Tom Stratton seemed to present with amnesia as he recalled crashing but not breaking Mach 2.

Stratton, however, seemed to be a particularly obscure personality as it didn't develop, the aspects of his life apart from breaking Mach 2 didn't present and he recognized the rap music Al played via Ziggy which is familiarity exclusive to Sam because rap music didn't exist in the 50's.
It's quite clear he was thrown in there as a sentimentality because he was the first host.

Though he still fit in better than Kid Cody who had no basis.

I'm guessing that Kid Cody intercepted an incomplete transference because he'd presented from a dream that was interrupted while seemingly shuffling through various hosts.
Shame, Al's inturruption didn't come in a bit sooner if that's the case. I'd have liked to see the 16-year-old Sam present with a fear that his parents institutionalized him for claiming to know the future and upsetting Katie.

Moving on to some more basic critiques, I liked Tibby. That it was he who'd added the mentally unstable to the list of individuals who can see Sam and Al and I enjoyed his childlike upbeat personality and his interactions with Al.

Dean's facial performance was sublime. Al's discomfort with the institution and Tibby's situation was well illustrated.
The ghost of his and Trudy's own abandonment haunted his eyes as Tibby told him that his parents had abandoned him there and it was apparent from the beginning that watching the way that place treated Sam and it turn into the prospect of losing him he felt he was losing Trudy again.
It has me wondering if the timing of Sam's arrival being at the moment of the electroshock treatment as opposed to after was intentional because the leap (Tibby) was supposed to be Al's, the chance he never got to save Trudy.

Last but not least I want to talk about the nurse's decision in the final scene to give Sam that second lethal treatment. Something that on the surface only makes sense as the writer's need to set Sam right.
When Jimmy/Sam plead "Save Sam. Time all gone." I believe her reaction indicates she put that together with his insistence on the same lethal treatment and that he ignored her warning that it could kill him and interpreted him as begging for an end, in black and white, assisted suicide.
Her compliance would've been along the lines of 2nd-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter never mind cost her her job but she was the one person at that facility with a shred of compassion, who saw the patients as people vs as bacteria growing under a microscope. Ergo I can see her putting more value on ending a patient's suffering than her job.

This leaves me with one final question: since Sam remained in the facility's clothes when he leaped out due to the Simo-leap landing him in the imaging chamber, did Beaterman leap back naked or did the clothing duplicate? I rationalize the latter but it's still an interesting conundrum.

Overall 10/5 stars.

chris-oates 09-09-2019 04:14 PM

Well, what can be said about Shock Theater. Without a doubt this is one of the very best episodes of season 3, and definitely makes my overall top 20 episodes list (very close to top 10). Shock Theater is a very heavy, dark episode. On the whole, those kind of episodes are not my favourites, but here I think it's necessary.

I've seen people describe this episode as a clip show kind of thing, where a season finale recaps on previous episodes with flashbacks. In a way it's kind of true, but only to a certain degree. Sure, we're reminded of previous episodes with Sam taking on different identities and switching from one personality to another, but I don't think it's necessary for someone to have seen all the previous episodes before watching this one.

The main pull of this episode to me is the performances put it by Scott and Dean. They both acted their pants off in this episode. Scott should have won his Emmy for this one. Really outstanding stuff. His bit as Jesse was a riot. Only one of two funny moments in the entire episode, but I really do love it. The ending of this episode is also heartbreaking. The moment Sam becomes Jimmy the whole episode becomes a tad hard to watch for me. The last scene is definitely the best one, especially when Sam breaks through for a second and pleads, "Save Sam." Pure goosebumps in that moment.

Dean was also great in this episode. The pain in his eyes throughout is really palpable. Of course, another great moment is the Alphabet Rap. The second genuinely funny moment of this episode. Love it when they all join in. Another quick shout out for the character of Tibby. Really liked him.

The only real downside to this episode (and something that prevents it from reaching the top 10 for me)...is the uncertainty for so many of the characters after Sam departs. In fact, I actually think in many ways Sam did just as much harm as good this time around. For one thing, Nurse Chatam's career would be ruined. Giving such a high voltage shock while the doctor's back was turned. It would be terrible for her. It would look like she and Butch were both trying to kill Sam (the leapee). And speaking of Sam (not our Sam, Sam the leapee), what would happen to him after this leap is over? It's clear that he would be in a much worse position than he was before. Even if he was seemingly back to normal, I don't think he'd be getting out of there anytime soon, not after all that... Even so, despite these couple of drawbacks, I still think this was a remarkable episode.

My rating. Excellent. Another great offering from Deborah Pratt. A magnificent season finale which leads us into the first episode of the fourth season, The Leap Back. Another great episode which I will be reviewing next time.


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