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Old 09-17-2018, 05:14 AM   #37
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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.
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