“In the WENN Small Hours...”

16 August 1997
[Victor and Betty kiss.] Written by Rupert Holmes.

Directed by Howard Meltzer.
MAIN Season Three Episodes: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7
8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17

Another season begins with an excellent opener with changes galore. "The Entertainment Group/Turtleback Productions Presents" has changed to "American Movie Classics and Howard Meltzer Productions, Inc. Presents". Mary (Eugenia) Stout's name has returned to the credits. Perhaps the most significant change, certainly the most pleasing, is the change of Rupert Holmes' credit from "Developed by" to "Created by."

The graphics were sped up and the music may have been a little more uptempo, but basically I think they simply chopped some off of the end (the "bom bom BOM bom" that usually occurred when showing "Sam Dane" is gone) and put in a new transition. This reduced the opening credits (from the first note to the appearance of the episode title) from 47 seconds to 38 seconds.

The aforementioned episode title is "In the WENN Small Hours..." It's a play on "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" and the Frank Sinatra album it appears on, "In the Wee Small Hours." New Musical Express (Magazine: 8/12/2000, p.28) ranked Sinatra's album as #7 on a list of the Top 30 Heartbreak Albums. A Common Reader described it as exploring the theme of unrequited love, tenderness and heartbreak. Like "Magic," it's an episode title that promises much.

In the previous 26 episodes (except for a variation in "Christmas in the Airwaves"), we went from the credits to the radio with a lighted dial and WENN playing. The camera would pan left and up to the "On the Air" sign. For the first time, the radio is turned off and silent. The camera begins panning left, as usual. But this time it reverses and pans right to Betty...things are different.

Betty's asleep on the Green room couch, with a pillow and a blanket. She awakens with a start and calls out Victor's name. But, of course, it must be a dream. Betty thinks she hasn't been getting enough sleep.

However, Victor pops through the door with a pitcher of water and a Dixie Cup.

Betty manages to stay conscious this time but has a problem identifying water. She wets her fingertips in the cup and flicks the water on her face. Apparently, she thinks she's dreaming and that flicking water on her face in a dream will cause her to awaken. She turns to find Victor still haunting her.

"I've already explained it to you." He repeats "You're not dreaming" from the previous episode. "I'm real."

Betty nods her head guiltily. Of course, how could she have forgotten.

Then she tosses the remaining water in the Dixie cup on Victor! LOL!

Victor makes another Oz reference and asks Betty to suspend her disbelief.

Betty points out that Victor was blown up in the in the Blitz.

"Yes, but I'm feeling a lot better now." Victor suggests, "Why don't you try taking some of this water internally?"

Betty, getting a grip on herself, begins using that fabulous mind of hers and conceives a test.

"Victor Comstock and I once took a walk down to where the Monongahela and the Allegheny Rivers meet. It was a clear night. It seemed as if the entire universe was reflected in the water. The Milky Way was a plume of white smoke on a black velvet river filled with shining sapphires. We...Victor and I...looked down into the water and you...he said something to me that I will never forget."

Betty keeps tee-tottering between belief and disbelief while she describes the scene. Finally, more positive, "Can you tell me what you said?"

Any imposter would be sure to believe Victor had said something romantic.

"I think I said something," guiltily, "to the effect that the confluence of the rivers was in fact a misnomer, since in actuality the Monongahela circumvents the Allegheny by some 300 odd feet."

"Victor! It is you!" Betty rushes happily into his arms while he can only feel chastened by the contrast between how romantically Betty had viewed the night ("The Milky Way was a plume of white smoke on a black velvet river with shining sapphires...") and how he had obviously failed to respond to the mood.

Victor, happy for some uninterrupted time with Betty alone, is about to explain what's going on when Eugenia arrives for her Agitato Alert show. It's been about an hour since Betty signed the station off the air (months for us).

Victor explains the importance of keeping his presence a secret. "Betty, I realize the entire world thinks I'm a dead man. But if anyone sees me here...I'm a dead man."

Lester, the usual night engineer, can't make it to Eugenia's show. Instead, C. J., enjoying a Welsh Rarebit at the Buttery, has been called in. C. J. arrives and manages to keep Eugenia occupied in the hallway.

Back in the Green room, Victor continues to explain that he's risking life and limb to tell Betty what's going on. "But if anyone spots me here...I mean anyone...my resurrection will be rescinded. I'll go from being undead to un-undead."

"That's a double negative."

"You're telling me!"

However, entering Studio A, Eugenia overhears Betty and Victor. "Hello? Is somebody here?"

"Where the heck am I going to hide?"

"You're six foot five. That's going to be a tall order."

After Eugenia enters the room, Victor, having hid behind the door, manages to slip out into the hallway. He heads towards the entrance, probably to hide in the dressing room, when Mr. Medwick and Cutter Dunlap arrive.

Cutter Dunlap (played by Malcolm Gets who plays Richard on Caroline in the City) is an adventurer who spent the past 2 years in Tibet. His contract with Pittsburgh Pantry calls for an exclusive radio report upon his return. "I'm disappointing several ladies and a dozen bartenders even as we speak." Since Pittsburgh Pantry has been sponsoring the Agitato Alert since "I Now Pronounce You Man and Wife Again," Mr. Medwick wants to take advantage of having (probably) the only show on the air and scoop the papers before "they can over-exploit your exploits."

Cutter sees the picture of Victor in the hallway and recalls Victor's days back in New York when Victor tried to get Cutter to do a radio travelogue, Sounds Dangerous. "Well then he quit or got fired for having too much talent. What an innovative man." So Cutter had heard that Victor had left New York and perhaps rumors as to the cause.

Soon, a comedy of misunderstandings based on Cutter's complete lack of knowledge of the last two years begins. Mr. Medwick speaks glowingly of Victor in respect of him and in reverence for the dead. Cutter, unaware of the Victor's death, misunderstands. It is the first of many misunderstandings.

Betty and Eugenia emerge from the Green room and Mr. Medwick and Cutter Dunlap. Eugenia thinks it's a nice surprise see Mr. Medwick. "Isn't it, Betty?"

"Ah, I'm trying to quit." Indeed!

Betty leads Medwick and Dunlap to the station manager's office where Medwick knows Scott has some hooch stored. But that is precisely where Victor has hidden, standing on the other side listening. When the door budges back a couple of times, Betty picks up on it.

Betty explains that the police have sealed off the office due to the events of "Magic." Medwick had been at the airport picking up Dunlap and hadn't heard the news. So Betty explains why the police were here. "Because of what we were broadcasting."

"Which was..."

"Um. Code messages to Nazi saboteurs."

"That's pushing the boundaries of entertainment a little bit even for you folks, isn't it?"

"And who did the police arrest?"

"Oh, well, they arrested," a beat of guilt, "the sponsor."

"Why am I not surprised."

Betty manages to steer them to the control room on their way to Agitato Alert. After letting Victor know the coast is clear, he starts to open the door to let her in when Scott's voice is heard from the entranceway.

"Man, oh, man. What a holy rigmarole I just came from with the police." Like the tired Dunlap, the tired Scott seeks the relaxing Bourbon in the office.

Betty tries to steer Scott towards the hottest story in town. "You broke the code! You caught the head saboteur!"

"Hey, you know that's true. I mean, forget about my part in this. This is big, big news isn't it?" His lack of ego in this is admirable. Almost as if he doesn't want his name to make headlines. Although Victor knocking in reply to Scott's knocks as he did when Betty knocks almost gives him away. Betty reinforces the imperative to leave the office alone by using the sealed office story on Scott, also. "It's gotta be the biggest news story that's ever happened right inside this station, huh?"

"Oh, you'd be surprised." Scott sure would be surprised. :)

Once again, Betty convinces Victor to let her in when Mr. Medwick returns to the hallway. Seems Betty succeeded too well: Scott has just leaped on the air with the spy story before Cutter could start his interview. Betty pulls the door shut and makes sure she speaks loudly enough, "I am so glad that you're standing right here next to me, Mr. Medwick", that Victor won't repeat any knocking.

Betty explains that Scott's exciting report will create an even larger audience for Cutter Dunlap. People would call and wake up other people to listen in. After all, "Hardly anyone listens to the radio after midnight on a Sunday." Which is not what someone who's paying good money to sponsor the show would want to hear.

And I assume "after midnight on a Sunday" means that's it's now Monday? If so, where was Maple planning to get "suds" on a Sunday night at the end of the previous episode. And is The Buttery a 7 day/24 hour restaurant?

Betty returns yet again to the station manager's office door and barely manages to convince Victor to open it this time. "Don't tease me, Betty!"

Scott's on the air discussing the war of nerves between Germany and America with Hitler using turncoat Americans like Jonathan Arnold (mentioned in the previous episode) to broadcast propaganda.

Back in the office, we're finally finding out what happened to Victor. "I don't remember the explosion. I came to at the edge of the debris. And there was smoke everywhere and people were screaming. All I knew to do was to get up and keep moving, walking. Apparently, I boarded a double-decker bus on Regent Street and told the conductor I was going to Madison and 52nd. And then I collapsed. They took me to Charing Cross hospital. And...it was the strangest thing, Betty...ten days later when I came to, I was visited more by the military than by medics."

"Why? You were a civilian, a broadcaster."

"The perfect, civilian broadcaster as far as the military was concerned. Presumed dead, no family, no attachments. Well...none to speak of." Victor and Betty exchange looks and smiles.

The previously undeclared feelings are in doubt no more.

"What did they want from you?"

"Oh, they asked me to be the worst American since Benedict Arnold."

Jeff and Hilary are the next to arrive. They've just been released from the police station. Wherever they live (I presume not the fabled Bedside Manor), it's far enough away that there's no "point in going home" since they must be on the air in a few hours. Hilary apparently slowed the process down by signing her statement "Best wishes to one of my greatest fans" and by insisting the mug shot only record her good side. Jeff didn't help by insisting Hilary not be frisked by a male police officer. Hilary didn't mind apparently. Explaining to Scott:

"They wanted to frisk both of us. We had to wait until they could find a policewoman."

"Well, that's understandable."

"It was Jeff who requested it."

Meanwhile, Victor has revealed to Betty what I should have seen coming a mile away. He is Jonathan Arnold. An identity created to protect Victor's name. He's expected to remain in Germany, accessing Nazi documents for the Allies until the end of the war. "If the Allies win, Jonathan Arnold will simply cease to be. If, on the other hand, Hitler wins....I suppose I'll be very nicely positioned to help him rule the world." Which emphasizes just how serious the threat is. Country after country has fallen to the Axis. World domination may have been fodder for the pulps, but now it's become a real possibility.

"The British are bombing Germany. You could be...

"...blown up twice in the same war...in both London and Berlin?" Foreshadowing?

"Victor, you can't go on pretending to be a traitor."

"Oh, but I am a traitor, Betty." A chill runs up my spine. Well, he's back from the dead. All bets are off.

Victor is back in the States for final briefings. "The Nazi's think I'm here to wrap up my personal affairs." Sadly, "Well, maybe I am." By revealing the classified knowledge of who Jonathan Arnold is to an uncleared Betty, he has committed treason...punishable by death. That's how important it was to see her, at least once more.

And that's why being found there would be the very worst thing that could happen.

Cue Cutter opening the door, searching for something a little stronger than Agitato. (How could ANYTHING be stronger than Agitato?) "I sure didn't expect to find you in here."

"Well, I don't think many people would at this point, Cutter."

"I heard I could find some spirits in this room."

Betty quickly explains to Victor, "He means whiskey."

This exchange goes on for a bit with Cutter extolling his steadfast belief that Victor's career wouldn't end after leaving New York. Cutter's every pronouncement is equally valid for someone who had returned to life after being dead and buried.

Victor begins to sense that Cutter is unaware of Victor's "death." "Cutter, you're either a philosopher of truly cosmic dimensions or...have you by any chance been out of touch with the news for the last year?"

Cutter explains his Himalayan adventure and his reaction to one of the few pieces of news he's heard since he arrived in the country yesterday. "They made The Wizard of Oz without Shirley Temple! Big shock there."

"Oh well, there's a lot more on the way." (And perhaps more foreshadowing.)

"Cutter, would you like us to bring you up-to-date on a few other things."

"Yes. Yes! This is fascinating."

Leading, "Betty...?" (Ah, old days. :)

On the air, Hilary's report of Holstom's arrest is following Scott's. It doesn't take long for the events to move more exclusively to herself starting with her birth in Crockett's Corner, Maine, a dubious 29 years ago. Crockett's Corner seems pretty isolated. Perhaps the boredom there is what compelled her to make it somewhere, anywhere else. The glamour of Broadway would be an exciting young contrast for an impressionable, ambitious young girl.

Crockett's Corner in Cumberland County, Maine seems to be just called Crockett Corner nowadays according to Mapquest. [Regular, 40 KB; Zoom, 20 KB]. But you can purchase a map of North Yarmouth from an 1871 survey at Vintage Maine Images which includes Crockett's Corner. In fact, you can zoom in on the web page (look north of Walnut Hill to find CC) and see the name of the local residents. I see no Booths lived in the area in 1871 (although it occurs to me that "Hilary Booth" could have been a stage name).

Victor agrees to meet Cutter for breakfast and Betty escorts him to his interview. But not before setting Cutter up even more. "Did you ever meet someone and know in an instant that this was the one. The one person that you've been waiting for all of your life." Words which seemingly describe the magical rapport established between her and Victor in the pilot.

As Mr. Medwick grabs Cutter to take him into studio A, Cutter gives Betty a wink. Betty returns the wink...fully with her right eye and halfway with her left eye.

In studio A, Scott and Jeff have moved from cards to chess while Hilary has continued. Mr. Medwick removes her so Cutter Dunlap will finally get on the air with Eugenia continuing her hosting duties.

Eugenia ask Cutter about being with people again after such isolation.

Cutter speaks of meeting old friends such as Mr. Medwick and...Victor Comstock. Eugenia is a little disconcerted. "You say you were thinking about him."

"No, no, my eyes are trained for recognition. Although I did doubt it was him for a second when he told me he was wearing nylon stockings. Ha, ha, ha , ha! Men in stockings! The very idea makes me want to drop in on President Pershing and say, 'Look, just because we discovered insect life on the dark side of the Moon doesn't mean we all have to start acting like lunar ticks.' Of course, with the White House being relocated to Kansas for defense purposes I'm not likely to drive out to see the President, or even Vice President Garbo. Even if they make Studebakers that run on tap water now."

Eugenia, with rising trepidation, "C. J., I'm all alone in here with Mr. Dunlap."

"I'm sitting in Tibet alone all those months. I never imagined there'd be so many strange things going on. I mean...Canada joining with Mexico to form the Divided States of North America. The prohibition of jazz, except in Vermont of all places. Edible eating utensils. And then to learn that the Andrews Sisters and the Marx Brothers were the same people. You could have knocked me over with a feather. Except we all walk around with these lead weights in our pockets. I mean things are going crazy."

"And Victor Comstock told you all this in Tibet? Like a little voice inside your head?"

"No, no. He was in the next room just a few minutes ago. And I'm a changed man already. Look! Your Miss Roberts loaned me her stockings. I can't say they feel any warmer, but you know, when in Rome..."

Cutter had thought all the cultural updates Betty and Victor gave him were riotous. Plus, he's been up for hours for the plane flight and is probably a bit hyper. He's still able to speak clearly, but he's had at least one shot of whiskey. All this has made him sound a bit maniacal.

"Why are you looking at me that way?"

Scott and Jeff haul Cutter off to the Green room where he tries to get Betty to corroborate his story. She informs him that Victor is dead. When he insists, she starts to humor him as if he must be delusional, overwrought from his "long ordeal in Tibet." Scott and Jeff pick up on it. Cutter takes comfort in the fact that Betty is suddenly supporting his story. Otherwise, he'd doubt the other things Betty had told him in the hall: "that I'm the one for you and how you want to follow me to the ends of the Earth." This aggravates Scott. Scott and Jeff follow Betty's suggestion to take Cutter back to his hotel to get some much needed rest.

Betty locks Victor and herself into the writer's room for some last minutes together. Victor is concerned about Cutter's reputation. But Betty had cut the relays before Cutter went on air. And she'll concoct a tale of Victor's "crazy cousin Hector who pretends to be" Victor. And offer him a radio series about travel (though I doubt that will be much good to him unless he actually lives in the area).

"That's so good, it's scary...Is this the same impeccably principled, high-minded Betty Roberts from Moosehead?"


"What have I done to you?"

What he had done was take someone who wanted to be a writer and showed her different ways to be inventive and flexible when dealing with crises. Within a few short months, she was able to not just write the shows, but function as the station manager. (Victor was confident she could do it, while she was doubtful. Victor was right.) Scott came along and demonstrated even more solutions to use...some of which she could use and some which she had to convince him not to use (such as airing fabricated news stories). But she's capable enough to show Scott, that if she was so ethically inclined, she could be as "overtly deceptive and deceitful as" Scott: "Well, if you want to jazz things up, you have to leave a little room for improvisation. What's the matter? Did I embroider our story too much?" - "Scott Sherwood of the F. B. I."

Mr. Medwick is furious that no one has called in about the station being off the air since that was the time their exclusive with Cutter aired (although, given Cutter's interview, he should be glad). "Do you realize what that means?"

"Guess it means," Maple volunteers, "nobody's listening."

Convinced the show is now a waste of his money, Mr. Medwick pulls the Agitato show off the air which returns Eugenia back to the day shift.

I don't know how the cast will stay awake after being up all night. Mr. Foley, Mackie and Tom Eldridge arrive but they haven't had any sleep, either. They've been at the police station all night. A cup of Agitato anyone?

Asked how it went, Mr. Foley just shakes his head in disgust.

Tom explains, "He says he doesn't want to talk about it."

Mackie comments, "Now he doesn't want to talk about it. Oh, yeah, sure, now!"

Eugenia worries how her return to the day shift will affect Maple. But Maple explains she's already been doing more acting on air than accompanying them musically. "It's kind of fun to work standing up for a change." Maple did just...strip...didn't she?

It seems, speculating from Hilary's comment and what we saw earlier, that Scott, Jeff and Hilary took Cutter to the hotel. Afterwards Scott left and will arrive shortly. Hilary managed to freshen up and get a change of clothes. And Jeff decided it was more important to watch over the strained Cutter than come in for "Bedside Manor." So Hilary explains to Maple, "...you'll have to be the new maid on Bedside Manor."

"Better than being the old maid."

At the other end of the hallway, Betty sneaks Victor out of the writer's room towards the storage room. "Betty, what I didn't tell you in all the time that we were working together..."

Betty, tearing, "...Could fill volumes."

It seems clear that Victor was about to speak what went spoken only in a glance earlier in the station manager's office. Those three...little words.

But Betty cut him off. It could be that she didn't want to delay him since he had only 8 more minutes until he must meet his contact. But this is shortly disproved when she intentionally delays him from leaving with trivial questions she has already been told the answer to several times ("You can't tell them anything").

I don't think she wanted to risk hearing those words and then never seeing Victor again, killed in a far off land. It would be too painful. But it also be painful if they didn't...well...in the words of a #1 song some 35 years later, "Let's just kiss and say goodbye." So, though she cuts off the words, she delays him from leaving until...in a beautifully filmed shot...they exchange a wonderfully romantic kiss.


But not before two important things happen.

First, he gives her the key to the strongbox in the bottom of the station manager's desk. "In it is the code name and the phone number of the one man who knows everything about Jonathan Arnold."

Second, her, by this time inconsequential, questions whether she can tell anyone, turns up information of great consequence. "What about Scott Sherwood? He's taken your death so hard."

"Who...is Scott Sherwood?"

"Scott Sherwood, the man you sent here to replace you."

"I've never heard of Scott Sherwood."

After Victor seemingly pulls the rug out from under everything we thought we knew about Scott Sherwood, Scott comes around the corner (after an incredibly clear five Betties!) and proclaims, "I've got a great new concept that'll completely change the way you look at everything." What a great line to follow the revelation!

Victor has taken the air ducts in the storage room (ah, those TV and film mega-size air ducts, large enough for even Victor) to meet his mystery contact and Betty is left staring at the storage room where she last saw Victor...pondering the second massive revelation in the past 12 hours.

Rupert's taken the characters he's written so well and expanded them while keeping true to them. Victor is just as noble and self-sacrificing in war as he was in broadcasting.

Scott Sherwood arrived as a con artist who passed off ads as news and pulled dangerous stunts such as appearing as if he were going to jump off the building (tying up police and ambulances that might have been needed to save someone's life elsewhere!) He isn't a bad guy as evidenced by his contribution to the unmasking and takedown of the Nazi Holstrom. He certainly seemed sincere when proclaiming that bad guys like him don't win in the end (implying that people like himself would ensure that). Still, Rupert keeps true to the heart of the character as we suspect a good bit of what he's told us is a sham. And anger is all I felt when viewing the second season episode where he seemed to create a Victor memorial scheme out of whole cloth. The truth or falsity of this remains to be seen.

I think Scott never expected to get as close to his fellow WENNers as he has, particularly Betty. Perhaps that, and the war, will lead to his redemption...or perhaps, sadly, drive him the other way.

Remember WENN continues to deepen it's tapestry. After this episode, almost anything could happen. And it's on a bouncy barrel ride towards the second War to End All Wars.

I want 10 more years of Remember WENN!

“Prior to Broadway”

23 August 1997
[Betty reviews Scott's letter of introduction.] Teleplay by Rupert Holmes.

Story by Rupert Holmes and Emily Whitesell.

Directed by Richard Shepard.
MAIN Season Three Episodes: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7
8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17

For those that feared that more drama and a continuing arc would signal the death of light-hearted episodes, this one is offered as exhibit A for the defense.

Many have been concerned about not getting an answer to Victor's question, "Who...is Scott Sherwood?", right away. I think Rupert needed to follow up the season premiere with something lighter to convince a segment of the audience that WENN wasn't turning to doom and gloom (although I thought the premiere was very funny as well as dramatic).

It looks like the speedier opening remains in place. I'm a little disappointed with that. I always liked the bom bom BOM bom just before the end.

However, the same monotonous intro starting on the radio, then watching the young woman sit down (what a loiterer; she's there every week), then moving to the "On the Air" sign, is gone. Frankly, I thought it'd worn out it's welcome quite a while ago.

In "Radio Silence", in her depression over Victor's death, Betty began using her writing to work through her pain. If she couldn't be happy, then by Jove, her characters could be: "It's a miracle!"

Now, in "Prior to Broadway," she's working out her confusion over a revelation over Scott's identity by having characters in her shows have massive revelations about each other's identities. "Sister Mirisa, have you never wondered why I came to visit this Catholic parish even though I am a Protestant minister?" Have we ever wondered why Scott Sherwood agreed to manage WENN even though he's (admittedly) had no radio experience?

"You know our good friend, Brother Paul? He's your brother...Paul."

Just as in "Radio Silence", the other WENN personnel are aghast ("Brother, I've seen cemeteries with more inviting plots than this."), only this time they don't understand the motivation. (And since it's not so nearly an emotional pit as Victor's death, it's not as overwhelming as before.)

Hilary is stunned to find she has to actually do the food preparation on Home Sweet Home she usually pretends to do. (Watch Gertie in the background as Hilary and Betty treat her as a postwoman.) The sponsors, Mr. and Mrs. Sweet, are watching from the control room. Outraged, she complains to Scott, who refers to her as "Hildy", "Hilly" and "Hil".

After all the times Hilary has intentionally and rudely mucked up other people's names, there was some gratuitous pleasure in seeing Scott dish the same thing to her. :)

"I refuse to tolerate these parts any longer," Hilary exclaims as she tosses the script at Scott, who ducks and manages to avoid a series of paper cuts in his face.

"Well, the people from these parts will be sad to see you go. Hah! A little humor, there."

"I'm a Broadway actress, steeped in the classics of the stage! When, oh, when will this station understand how you squander my skills?"


Briefly thinking he said "Someday", "Well, of course they'll...what, what is Sunday?"

After having her new role as a Calico Jones, Cat Detective spelled out for her, Hilary hisses at Scott, "I'll scratch your eyes out!"

Hilary obviously takes exception to making inhuman sounds on the radio, which Scott thinks "works for Sinatra." Sinatra had been doing radio work in New York when Harry James discovered him in 1939. However, James' band had no significant hits during that time and Sinatra remained largely unknown. Sinatra moved over to the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in early 1940. Assuming this episode takes place in Spring, 1940, Frank Sinatra would have just had his first hit vocal on Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra's "Polka Dots and Moonbeams."

Other indications about the time and the WENNiverse follow immediately. Jeff is reading a February issue of Radio and Television Mirror (I was unable to verify that it was Feb, 1940, but the magazine title and design is consistent with 1940). Hilary makes reference to Thornton Wilder's Our Town just receiving the Pulitzer. In our universe, this happened in 1938 (with its first performance on 4 February, 1938). It seems to have happened later in the WENNiverse. Also, Hilary refers to the national home of theater, Broadway, in New York City, being 214 miles away from WENN in Pittsburgh. This is consistent with other indications in the series that Pittsburgh in the WENNiverse is located further east than it is in our universe (where over 300 miles separate the two). In my Walk Through of "On the Air," I stated that "I'm considering Remember WENN as taking place in the WENNiverse, a universe similar to ours, but not the same as ours."

She also quotes Robert Frost's line: "...miles to go before I sleep" from his poem, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," collected in his New Hampshire (1923).

Hilary wants to be on stage where her acting craft can be viewed again. "I have to be seen to be believed."

"No argument there, Hilary." As in "Magic," the barbs are clearly flowing with affection nowadays.

Hilary is given a letter of introduction written by her mentor, Giles Aldwych, introducing her to a new playwright: "The gentlemen bearing this note is a budding playwright whose passion for your work has affected me deeply. I'm sure you'll find him deeply affected as well."

Now, that sounds like a typo, as if Giles meant to write, "I'm sure you'll find he will deeply affect you as well." But no, Giles was very precise. Which takes us to the WENN word-of-the-week. An affectation is an attempt to produce an effect using an artificiality of manner or behavior. For instance, Hilary put on an affectation when she was going to be interviewed about Grace Cavendish. She tried to act as she thought a big, big star should act. "Affected" is the adjective version of "affectation." As the episodes demonstrates, Giles was spot on.

"See him in, Mr. Eldridge."

"He is in, and I am he. How very thrilling for you to have me introduce myself."

Euripedes Moss is a fan of Hilary's. His words even sound like Hilary's. So much so that she later declares, "Now, that's how a real playwright acts."

Euripedes was the name of one of ancient Greece's greatest tragic poets. Of his 90 plays, 18 tragedies survive. Among his themes was dignifying the position of women. He was critical of double standards regarding men and women. Thus, it's not too surprising that he's captivated by Hilary.

"Miss Booth, your slightest twitch interests me."

"This man is a talent to be reckoned with!"

Jeff, with an accent: "I reckon."

"What is your play about."

"About an hour and forty minutes." Laughs at himself, "Professional joke."

Polite laughter.

Jeff: "Professional laugh."

"The Bell of Babylon." Kinda makes me wonder if there's a piece of fiction alluded to in Babylon 5 with the word "Remember". [Several similarities, clearly unintentional, have been noted between the series by the fans, with high quality being at the top of the list. So we're always on the look out for more. Which takes us to...]

Betty is searching for a different letter of introduction: the one by Victor that accompanied Scott Sherwood to WENN. She finds it and starts reading it to herself, hearing mentally the voice of Victor. Although I don't expect to see John Bedford-Lloyd (unless it's the season ender) again this year, it was nice to hear his voice over. Maybe another B5/RW similarity. Several episodes into season two of B5, Michael O'Hare had a small bit, a vid he sent to Garibaldi, that had been recorded earlier to be inserted into the episode. JBL probably taped this voice-over when he did the season opener to be dropped into this episode.

"Scott Sherwood has overseen a score of innovative enterprises in Portugal, Cairo and Dublin." World traveler? Let's not forget Madrid, Spain.

Scott walks in on her and he recognizes the letter. "Victor was unusually complimentary...all about your successes in Portugal and Dublin and," making a change, "...Persia."

"Cairo," Scott volunteers.

Which makes it clear he knew what was in the letter. Not proof of anything, but bad form. But he seems awfully nervous for Betty to be looking at it and asks to have it. Betty promises a Photostat instead.

Continuing to read it, Betty finds one of Scott's pet phrases, "Look at the time," in it. Much more disturbing than Scott's knowledge of "Cairo."

Despite having to fully do Home Sweet Home because of the Sweets, Hilary and Jeff enjoy an evening dinner with the couple. At the end of the evening, back at WENN, Hilary uncovers that Mr. Sweet has had thoughts of backing Broadway plays.

The Sweets could have the money for them, Euripedes has the play for them, they just need to prove the play has wings and the Sweets will become their "Broadway Angels." Hilary decides to use willingness to play Calico Jones as motivation for Scott to let WENN broadcast "The Bell of Babylon," thus testing out the play.

Hilary is in a rapturous mood when she arrives to rehearse. "Oh, Mr. Eldridge, can't you feel it? A kind of tingling all over"

"Yes, but I think a little liniment will help."

Jeff has found a newcomer director who won't bark orders at Hilary: Mr. Foley!

Euripedes' play is very grim, but Jeff thinks, that with the news of the European war seeming more ominous each day, that comedy is more needed. Jeff suggests a mixture of the two to Euripedes.

With skepticism: "You want to mix drama with comedy?"

"Exactly, we could call it a dramedy."

"Or a comma," Hilary alternately suggests.

A skeptical Euripedes questions mixing drama and comedy where Jeff sees no problem with the two co-existing. Perhaps Rupert is alluding to fans (or others) who fear the drama will overwhelm the comedy and is trying to reassure them?

I had higher hopes for the Hilary and Jeff working together on stage, but the rehearsal doesn't go well. Despite seeming interested in Jeff being a part of the play, Hilary quickly returns to self-obsessment and has the first two pages of the play deleted since she isn't in them. She doesn't want Jeff walking in front of her or for her to ever turn away from the audience. While there are actually valid concerns of presentation there, she takes it too far.

Jeff, busy trying to bring a light-heartedness to the play, plays a little loose with the words. While the "your" and "those" distinction doesn't seem important to this play, it may be that the ownership of the geese plays a part later in the script.

The conflict between Jeff, Hilary and Euripedes over the creative decisions is best summed up by Hilary when she tries to coin a word describing both a tragedy and a drama: a trauma!

Just before the broadcast, both Jeff and Hilary speak with the separate Sweets. They each indicate they will back the play if its thrust is to their liking.

"I'm ready to write a check tonight," Mr. Sweet says. He wants comedy. "There's too much tragedy already."

"Well, tragedy is really comedy that isn't amusing."

"Cute, cute. I'll bet you'll have the radio audience rolling in the aisle."

"Aisle...bet I do."

"Aisle...bet?" Riotous laughter.

Hilary goes into a panic about how to make only a play about a woman with only 10 days to live humorous.

Eugenia comes to fetch, Hilary. "Are you ready, Hilary?"

"Jeff was right! I was wrong!"

"I'm sorry ma'am," dead seriously, "I thought you were Hilary Booth."

Hilary tells Eugenia to play funny music for her part instead of the serious music they had planned. "I know 'Barney Google'," she volunteers. (A big hit for Ernest Hare & Billy Jones as well as Georgie Price in 1923.)

Mrs. Sweet wants drama. "Do not ask for whom the bell tolls."

"Oh, no, no, no, no. Of course not. Hmmm. Who are you saying it tolls for?" LOL.

She wants a play "that confronts the tragic Babylon we live in. I'm ready to put every penny of Sweet's Supplies into that play."

Jeff tells Eugenia to switch his music from light to tragic. "I know 'Marche Slav'." (Op. 31 in B Flat Major. A big hit for Piotr Tchaikovsky in 1867.)

So both Jeff and Hilary decide to do the polar opposite of what they had planned. Each probably thinks they'll make the other happy since they are now in agreement. Briefly meeting in the hallway, they agree completely there must be no mix of comedy and drama, but all one style.

In what seems to becoming a 2nd episode of the season tradition, Jeff and Hilary get to play a scene twice in the episode. But the scenes are 180 degrees apart. I love the contrast between the rehearsal and broadcast. Jeff did the tennis bit humorously, but now takes the same lines to bitter despair. Hilary takes her sad lines, then turns them around in broadcast to slapstick.

Mr. Moss, as you would gather, is distressed. On the air he has the cast and crew vote for tragedy or comedy. The listening audience decides to participate. In the first episode, Gertie came up with some mythical phone calls that kept Betty at the station. I wonder how accurate her claims that the numerous phone calls were coming in to kill the show. (We did hear a phone ringing when Gertie came in before the door closed.)

Much like the bit in "Magic," when Jeff and Hilary were describing their act to Betty, we have a very nice moment between the couple again. Perhaps they've realized that starring in a play together would spoil the happiness they've come into.

I'm enjoying it while I can (such a pleasant change from "The Bickersons" of early days), since I'm now convinced that Jeff is "pulling the wool over" Hilary's eyes as foreshadowed in "Magic."

Just as a kiss nearly closed out the previous episode, Jeff and Hilary kiss before we move to the final image, ancient drama masks representing comedy and tragedy.

Next week, Scott's thievery is going to come back to haunt him as we find the word that will strike fear into his heart, "audit." But this doesn't necessarily mean we'll get the final word on "Who Is Scott Sherwood?" (If we don't get a definitive answer, it'll be another B5 parallel. The fourth season's "Whatever Happened to Mr. Garibaldi?" didn't really answer the question. That answer came much later in the season.)

“Who's Scott Sherwood”

30 August 1997
[Scott kisses Betty.] Written by Rupert Holmes.

Directed by Juan Jose Campanella.
MAIN Season Three Episodes: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7
8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17

For this installment, as each scene unfurls, I'll give my blow-by-blow reactions. A description that will make more sense as the post progresses.

I've just got my computer up and running (Wed. 9PM). I've also just found that the phone line WAS activated today. I had my phone set to intercom instead of telephone and that's the reason I never heard the dial tone earlier in the day (&@#*%!).

I've decided to wait until I've made this post before I join the channels or download the news from our Usenet group. I want my reactions to be pure and not moderated too much by other postings. Well. Here we go...

A nice reprise of key scenes from previous episodes featuring Victor's immortal question, "Who...is Scott Sherwood?" Christopher Murney once again does the honors of the narration ("When last we met...").

Another good radio scene paralleling the episode's theme, "He came into our lives with strength and a reassuring smile...I'm making it my mission to find out who he really is." The segues into yet another Sherwood whopper (about football).

Scott and Betty banter. It'd be hard to miss Scott Sherwood's appeal in this scene. Setting up a mini-skit around pretending to confuse "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" with something that would be called "The Halfback of Notre Dame."

And then there's poor Doug. Doomed to be a one-shot character forever known as the one who didn't have a chance with Betty. Hey...wouldn't it be a real kick if the one who finally does marry Betty is Doug? Well, stranger thoughts HAVE happened on this show. :)

Then Scott speculates that maybe she's tied up with Victor's memorial. You can see his annoyance at the thought that Victor, a dead man, still commands her heart. As Betty would say, "Oh, you'd be surprised."

FINALLY, Betty suggests that the stolen money be returned somehow. Each character on the show has their flaws, but I can't say how disappointed I was when Betty appeared to be going along with stealing from the sponsors ("The First Mrs. Bloom"), even after having some time to consider it (actually looking for a site for the memorial in "Like a Brother"). Unfortunately, as in real life, people will often overlook evil deeds if they believe there are "good intentions." At least until Life throws a glass of water in their face. For Betty, the sobering water was Victor's innocent question about Scott. The truth is...whether Victor's alive or dead...whether Scott plans a memorial or a con...the theft is wrong, wrong, wrong.

However, this shows that even Betty can grow as a character. I remember one high school teacher pointing out that in a story, a character should learn something and change, or not learn/change, but the reader is aware of what the character failed to learn.

"...attitude toward me the last couple of days..." Two days since she found Scott's pet phrase in "Victor's" letter?

And hey, isn't that Koko the Clown's hat that Mr. Eldridge is wearing? :)

"The milk of human kindness is curdling in my veins." He's got sour cream in his veins? He's just plain sour? Hmmm.

"Well, it wasn't like I was down to my last red cent." "Naah, it was more like your last plugged nickel." Plugged nickel? Sounds like Mr. Pruitt is aware of Scott's con games.

"Until that exquisite moment, Mr. Sherwood. When, at last, I have him pinned to the mat, like a butterfly thumb-tacked against black velvet." How, umm, vivid.

"...we're starting on the real [financial ledgers]." I wonder if Scott used to keep the real books in the strongbox, but suddenly the books are found sitting outside, the strongbox is locked and the key was not to be found.

"Jeffrey, you'd better do the talking. Mr. Eldridge is beginning to make sense to me." Haha. I immediately thought that they should tackle "Have your cake and eat it, too", but then I remembered they already had.

It was interesting to watch Scott pulling out all stops, in an effort to prevent the discovery of his thievery, only to see each new story or angle shatter to pieces. Sort of like watching Uri Geller or other psychic frauds trying their stunts in front of real illusionists.

"Hey! That's my stuffed bass!" Could Kevin O'Rourke have delivered that line better? No. He nailed that one. His goofy amiability completely consumed by sheer terror.

Later, Mr. Pruitt is speaking with Betty. It's good news that the sponsors are getting their stolen funds back. But that's immediately followed up with one of a number of reasons why Mr. Pruitt must go. Scott asked Betty to get the radio on to WENN while pretending not to know how to operate a radio. I get the feeling Mr. Pruitt may REALLY not know. (I'd like to say that he also does it as a rude way to establish who the boss is as opposed to Scott. However, I also felt Scott did it for that reason. Perhaps I'm a little sensitive. We had a new branch chief do something similar, very similar, his second day in the position. Nothing he does now will ever wipe out that first impression.)

Later still, Mr. Pruitt is speaking again with Scott (who presumably has gathered his items from the sidewalk). As Pruitt turns to Scott and speaks of devaluing coinage, we see that he has redecorated a little...is that a drawing of Scrooge on the wall?

"Yeah. They are my friends. How 'bout that?" I got the feeling that he's never stayed any place long enough to establish lasting relationships. And he's sure tried hard to not to encourage it too much here (I'm thinking of the scene in "Radio Silence" when he scuttles the bridge he had inadvertently built with Mackie: "I wonder if it's true.")

Next, we see him spinning another "con": his NBC contract. But this time it's more like the white lie you tell someone in the hospital ("You're looking great.") If he told them the truth, that they were putting themselves in line for breach of contract lawsuits, they'd go right on. This time, his con lines come out a little nervy. After realizing that these people are actually friends, he seems to feel a little pain and guilt while lying. After all, they're not nameless marks, they're Jeff, Hilary and Maple.

As Jeff, Hilary and Maple consider how to repair the damage, Jeff suggests that all the "endings" were dreams while "dream music" on the soundtrack builds. You know, in "Magic", there were constant references to dreams. Up until a week before the season opener, I leaned towards the Victor bit actually being a dream. But then, it didn't turn out this way. And yet...and yet during this scene, I halfway expected to see the screen start going wavy in time to the music and fade to Betty waking up to find everything since just before the light went on in the office in "Magic" to have been a dream. Of course, this scene was probably just an allusion to the entire season of "Dallas" that turned out to be a dream. Hmmmm, entire season, eh?

Now we go to Betty and Scott in the writer's office. Betty has nailed it. The letter WAS forged. It WAS some kind of a con. While I felt bad for some on the newsgroup who had managed to completely overlook his misdeeds, it was the answer that fit what we knew of his personality and actions.

"That's what you get for trying to warm an old man's heart." What?! He's going to try to bamboozle his way through this? At this point I wanted to slug him. What he doesn't know is what Betty and we know from Victor. He's just digging himself in deeper.

"I was there when Victor pulled it out of his Smith-Corona typewriter and signed it." This reminds me of the other garbage he's tried to pass off as evidence of his and Victor's buddy-buddiness. Like talking about how Victor was like a fish out of water in London. Excuse me. Victor's a big city boy...New York, remember? There's no language barrier. I can hardly accept the image of Victor Comstock as a Yankee bumpkin. Sure, he'd learn about the area from people who knew it, but Scott laid it on much too thick...building himself up at Victor's expense. But back to this episode.

Betty: "I guess somebody made a mistake." Scott: "Yeah, I guess SOMEbody did." While Scott gets a few points for not trying to take down Betty with him (she knew of the embezzling and didn't report it, making her somewhat of an accessory), I can't believe he's being so heartless and cruel, trying to make her feel bad for telling the truth. And he does it so slick, she's even having enough doubt to apologize to him!

"I guess I'll always be sad that I was wrong about...that I was wrong about me." At this point, I wanted to give Scott a good gut punch like he gave the creditor.

"Goodbye, Betty." And he walks out. There's not much time left in the show. Are we actually going to get a parallel to "Whatever Happened to Mr. Garibaldi?" after all and we won't get an answer to "Who's Scott Sherwood?"

Wait, the door opens up and in he walks. "Betty...I forged Victor's signature on that letter. It all happened just like you figured." FINALLY! We're going to get down to business! After all our wild speculation, we're going to see if any of our theories come close to Rupert's master scheme. (Rodney calls up the bookie and places a last minute bet on the long shot space alien theory.)

"Victor kept talking about this girl back home. Sweet. Real sweet. But smart, too. And I kept thinking...what would it be like to be coming home to a girl named Betty Roberts?" So was that part of his plan? While this Comstock fellow's stuck in London, go to Pittsburgh and see if he can make time with the gal this Comstock's stuck on? Now that is cold. (Kinda of reminds me of that controversial film that's out now where these guys try to get this girl to fall in love just so they can break her heart.)

Imagine, if he had been more on the up-and-up when he showed up. He could've have shared what Victor had said with her. Being that Victor was too scared in light of the uncertain future (or shyness or whatever his reason) to come out and say what he felt to Betty before he left, knowing more clearly what his feelings were would've been of some comfort to Betty once it was believed he was dead. (Any "things you'd love to hear" that Scott did share with Betty were done off-screen and I suspect not done at all.)

Certainly knowing that Scott had withheld his knowledge of Victor's feelings from her and instead used that knowledge to manipulate Betty must have enraged Betty. Hence, the slap.

"I never meant to stay as long as I did. Then Victor died." Well that's pretty much the final nail in the coffin.

"You know I didn't have to confess any of this to you, Betty." I've met so many people like that. They do something which they know will hurt someone, but they do it anyway knowing that afterwards they'll apologize and gee...doesn't that make it all right? Much like a religious person who feels any sin they do is okay, because they will be forgiven. If you care, you don't do whatever this bad act is in the first place!

Now, that said, this may be the first time in a long time that Scott Sherwood has come clean with one of his victims. It speaks strongly of his will to change and very strongly on the effect that Betty has had on him.

"Oh, what the hell?" Now at this point, I must admit that I wanted to knee him in...um...his chin.

The final scene. Now, really. Did you all believe that the Victor vs. Scott for Betty debate was REALLY over? Remember, as are the other characters, Betty is flawed. Victor's overseas, out of sight, out of mind. Scott's there, trying to patch things up with the "puppy dog" eyes that seem to sear rational evaluation from the minds of many a female here.

Here's the current situation. There's been embezzlement at the station. Word of this getting out to sponsors other than ones being repaid could seriously jeopardize support for the station. Therefore, no prosecution, no publicity.

Pruitt hates hanging around a radio station in Pittsburgh. His presence there is counter-productive due to his personality (see this episode and "Christmas in the Airwaves"). The sponsors and other people may not warm up to him either.

Scott is due back tomorrow at 12 noon (High Noon?) for final word on what legal proceedings will be taken. Solution: offer him the job under the supervision of Rollie's assistant.

For Scott, this is a chance to turn things around. He's getting a little old for these con games. He's found to his surprise, he has friends who are willing to sacrifice for him. He's found he's in love with Betty Roberts. This could be a chance to stay instead of running, to make up for misdeeds, to redeem himself...particularly in Betty's eyes.

For Kevin O'Rourke, this episode was probably his best acting challenge.

For Scott Sherwood, his life is just beginning!

NOTE: The slugging, punching and kneeing were used purely for humorous purposes. I would only use violence in self-defense or in the defense of another. No bytes were harmed in the production of this posting.

“The New Actor”

6 September 1997
[Jeff and Hilary are bound in matrimony.] Written by Rupert Holmes.

Directed by Joanna Kerns.
MAIN Season Three Episodes: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7
8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17

The lights go up on the AMC diamond marquee proudly announcing that playing next is "Remember WENN XXX". With some eagerness, I await the show.

As Marie posted, the "When last we met..." segment was quite well done. Concise, yet covering a lot of ground. Plus, excellent intercutting displaying the wonderful structure of the episode. I suspect this was not done by the persons who do the promos (who gave us a generic one for next week).

The "Sam Dane, Private Eye" show seems to be pretty popular. Of course, it has all the rock'em sock'em energy Mr. Acton (one of the sponsors who inadvertently helped to create the character) wanted: Sam's already put 5 thugs in the morgue that night and when 4 more goons show up, he tells the first one that he'll get out of this jam over the thug's dead body.

"The only thing worse than a cheap crook is a cheap crook who sells out his country." Interesting. Postshadowing? Well, Scott could have been considered a cheap crook (red cent-less/embezzler). But that'd be more of a broke crook and he did the opposite of selling out his country. The infamous Mr. Holstrum of "Magic" fame did "sell out his country". But he wasn't a crook (except by virtue of selling the country out) and he didn't seem particularyly cheap. So we haven't seen anyone that really fits the bill properly.

Foreshadowing? I wonder if we can look around the station and find anyone who we would say is cheap? (Rodney tries to look down the station hallway, but his view is blocked by an obstacle. Suddenly, the stench of curdling milk drives him away.)

Probably it's just a heads-up for the viewers of Jeff's concern for the war effort.

Once we hear Hilary introduce the musical question of "What do you mean, 'What do I mean?' ", we have the radio retuned to a station on the shortwave that seems to be putting out a lot of wattage. It obviously wants to be heard. I didn't make out "This is Jonathan Arnold" (sounds more like "This is Chinaman Orville") at first, but it soon became apparent who it was. The transistion interestingly mirrors the one in "In the WENN Small Hours..." where Eugenia comments on Jonathan "Benedict" Arnold and we cut to Victor speaking. Here, Jeff comments on Victor Comstock and next we hear "Arnold" speaking.

I guess I was expecting something more quieter, sedate and undermining like the lady they would hear in "M*A*S*H". Instead, it sounds like they're giving electric shocks to a cowboy. However, books and articles I've read over the years have said that, as late as the sixties, the image Europeans had of us was the old West. If someone wanted to do an "Amercian" accent, they'd do a cowboy accent. Remember, there wasn't a world wide TV broadcast until 1967 or so (this was the broadcast that included Beatles premiering "All You Need Is Love"). So their images came largely from films...and we cranked out the westerns.

Still you can see the effectiveness of it in the way that a heckler can get under your skin. Interestingly, it sounds like it's also effective in a way the Nazi's didn't plan, but Victor did. While it's probably demoralizing to the Brits because they can't help but agree that the U.S. isn't going to enter the war, the taunted Americans are accused of just "sitting this one out". And that's likely to get a few Amercians more willing to go to war so the US image isn't one of lazy bums.

Jeff's reaction initially caused me to consider this as a scene that, along with the nightmares, lends evidence against Jeff being the one who "knows all about" Jonathan Arnold. However, the bombing did occur and Jeff would've have thought Victor dead. Regardless of what he learned later, it would still have a traumatic effect on him. Hence, there's no need for him to "not" to have nightmares just because he knows Victor's alive (don't trip over the double negative). Nor does he need to be "acting" his nightmares.

So what about him mentioning that Victor Comstock gave his life? And questioning whether Arnold's even an American? Second question first: if we go on the supposition that Jeff does know, we shouldn't forget that he takes his acting VERY seriously ("Valentino Speaks!"). And he has one of the highest motivations to "stick to the script" that an actor could have--Victor's life. Asking whether they think he's an American is a way of polling Victor's effectiveness. Now the first question: the statement that "Victor Comstock gave his life" is true! He's giving his life everyday on a thread that might snap at any moment. In fact, the irony of the statement seems to push me even more in that direction.

[I probably should have handled the Jeff clues in a separate post, but I want my main posts to be chock full of crunchy surprises. It occurs to me however, that the nature of honest writing would tend to have this "contact" be someone already introduced on the show. I think there are scores of scenarios where other members of the WENN crew could be the contact. And further, I think (remembering a certain "seasonal" post) that...MIKE!...would be a good one to make a post about this. (Rodney hands off to Mike.)]

And how 'bout that Mr. Pruitt? "The artistic fulfillment that you seek in your profession here will serve as your Christmas bonus come winter." What!? No lump of coal to go with it?? Man, that's cheap.

Mr. Pruitt is NOT a people person.

Back in the green room, "Arnold" continues pointing out America's lack of entering the war. Again, Jeff's reaction could indicate either way. Arnold's getting under his skin AND being right about America's isolationism...OR...listening to Victor having to spout out this stuff ("If Victor's doing so much, I should be contributing, too"). I wish we knew whether this "contact" knows that Betty knows. I suspect the contact doesn't. But if we knew either way, it might give the identity of the contact away.

If we knew whether the contact knew, we would evaluate differently Jeff's lack of amazement at Betty's statement ("Maybe he has some good, personal reason for being like that") and then instantly distracting the others from it (a quick 3-word reply to Betty's astonishing speculation immediately followed by getting Gertrude out of the room before she has time to wonder about Betty's statement.) Could this indicate that Jeff is the contact and knows that Betty knows about Victor. Or is annoyance keeping him focused on doing some work for the Beeb (BBC).

Notice that we DID NOT get facial reaction shots after Betty's initial "No". There was a pause before she went on that is typically where reaction shots are inserted. But we weren't allowed to see the immediate reactions. Interesting...

Which takes us to Maple. Look at our belated reaction shot of Maple's face as Gertie walks in front of her on the way to the switchboard. She's not going, "Whatara? Nuts?" Instead, she's intently curious. If we knew the contact didn't know, wouldn't it more strongly hint that Maple is the contact and is realizing that Betty might know? After all, "didn't that Cutter guy claim to have seen Victor a couple of weeks ago when Victor was in the country?" And at first glance, Maple would seem to be a dark horse since she didn't even arrive at the station until after Victor died. It seems like it would make her a less likely candidate before you realize that the "contact" was probably chosen by the Government and not Victor. Gertie did say she'd make a good Mata Hari.

There's such a myriad of maddening series of possibilities that Rupert has presented in his plots. Either that or I'm flunking one of the biggest Rorshach blot tests of all time! :)

Next there are two great scenes centered around Hilary and Mackie. The people at #WENN already know what effect Hilary had on my spaghetti dinner.

This is followed by the shirt folding caper. Jeff does a horrible job folding the last shirt. A shame considering what a great job he did the first four times he folded it.

Maybe because I've seen the gag a few times over the years, maybe because of a certain scene in "Magic", but when Hilary requested Jeff to close his eyes I knew what was coming next: HANDCUFFS! Just when I was being impressed by Hilary's last minute support of Jeff. "Too bad. Don't care."

As Betty rushs into the studio to tell the others of the predicament Hilary has created, the door swings back and you can visualize someone off camera grabbing the door to keep it from closing again. Considering the speed at which they film these, it's surprising there aren't more gaffes like these.

A nice pan of one half of the set as Jeff makes his escape. And, of course, the instant classic: "Pum-kin-inn-inn-inn!" (followed by "Oh look, the pumpkin vendor selling his wares!")

And in the aftermath, Elizabeth (Hilary) screams for all to hear, "My secret is something that no one else must ever hear!"

Mackie loses track of his accents next. I particularly like the Parisian accent.

I kind of liked the mime in the tryouts. But you have to consider the others and his miming would have driven the staff mad.

I definitely liked Mr. Eldridge giving the mug (or is it the thug?) a "one-way knuckle sandwich on his dental plate" and the "Eyeshadow him night and day, they told me."

In light of what occurs next, it's interesting that Mackie chose just that time to need a breather (and to emphasize the desparation of their plight by having Mr. Eldridge read). Now, all those with good freeze-framers, go to the scene where Betty cuts off the radio and announces that they must take "the next, halfway-decent actor they find". As she walks away from the radio, look at Mackie's face, his eyes, his grin. Does that look like someone collapsing with relief that because relief is near? Or does that look more like someone who likes to see a good plan come together? (Also look at Hilary's nervous looking back-and-forth, Eugenia's and Gertie's joy, Maple's surprised look and contrast that with Mackie's NEUTRAL face when Scott walks in.)

Next, right on schedule, reenter Mr. Scott Sherwood! Betty's face looks troubled. She'd hoped that troubled part of her life was gone. Yet here he is and he's obviously the best one to try-out yet.

She has to wonder about his motivations. Another get-rich scheme? She points out the big salary dive. He doesn't seem bothered by it in the least. I mean he really, really doesn't. Well, getting rich at WENN doesn't make sense anyway. At this point, Betty's intelligence and moral compass points out to her that she'd second guess the fairness of any decision she makes...so she puts it in the lap of the others.

Eugenia, Maple and Gertie go for it, but Hilary has to consider. In her own way, she's very kind when she says, "Well, we need an actor badly. I'm sure Scotty can act as badly as anyone we've seen today." But Scott immediately goes on to remind her of how he used to lord it over her and she had to take it (by calling her by a name she can't stand). To have that from him now would be unbearable and she makes him aware that his status on the pecking order would be much lower. "It would have to be Hilary." Scott, without rancor, accepts that.

The man is practically glowing. It's possible it would have been nicer for him to come clean with the others, but that might be like starting life in a new house by pouring mud in the entranceway. Although I think Hilary might know better. Perhaps his simple "I'm looking for work. Got any?" made the situation clear to her and earned him some sympathy. (I'll let Linda handle a particular aspect of his answer to the "NBC" job question.)

This way, his path for a new start has been cleared. I tell ya, the joy of unburdening his soul to Betty and trying to take life on honestly insteading of looking for the next "opportunity" seems to have done him a world of good. He'll take what they'll pay and have respect for his co-workers (Hilary). He positively seemed to be floating!

No doubt, Betty can sense the change in him. She knew he'd hit rock bottom and it took a lot of courage to enter that room. His sincerity seems, well, sincere. None of my alarms went off. (And a googooplex of attaboys to Kevin O'Rourke for being able to set them off before and not set them off now! Luckily, attaboys are massless or they'd take up too much bandwidth to send.)

And now Betty even owes him...for giving her an opportunity to safely stick it to Mr. Pruitt.

"The forecast is stormy, with periods of sunlight." ROTFL. I didn't catch this first time around.

Yes it is stormy. Betty's glad that Scott is picking himself up by his bootstraps. But she's also aware everyone can have relapses. And she's sharply aware of his feelings for her. Hardest of all to deal with are the feelings that had been building up inside her for Scott. She spontaneously kissed Scott in "Close Quarters" (two episodes before she uncovered his embezzling in the yet-to-be-reaired "The First Mrs. Bloom"). I can't speak for anyone else, but every woman I've ever fallen in love with, I still have some feelings for.

In closing, I'd like to apologize if there are any gaping goofs in this post. For these weekly big posts, I usually do a thorough proof-reading. Also apologize if I tread ground already taken by someone else since Sunday morning, the last time I downloaded posts from the newsgroup. But, as I look at the time, it's past midnight and my leave has ended, so I'm out of time to review this post and recent newsgroup posts.

BUT, before I go...

I thought it was a stunt voice I was hearing, but I waitied for the credits...sure enough, there was the name: John Bedford Lloyd (John Bedford-Lloyd in the mid-eighties, wonder what the change was about?).

I'd expected, after the 2nd show, for us to hear occasional voice work by JBL. But here in the 4th episode, only 2 episodes later, his voice is already showing up! It made me wonder if we're not going to have more JBL than I expected.

Also, something very, very intriguing. I don't know why I didn't think of it once Josh made his successful post predicting Scott's return would be via the "New Actor" with logical reasons that stuck (Go, Josh, Go!). I guess my mind was set on Scott somehow re-occupying the station manager seat once Pruitt is bounced.

But the NUMBER ONE reason why we couldn't have JBL and O'Rourke on the show at the same time was that both characters fulfilled the same main function: the role of the station manager.

Now, I never watched the show myself, but I remember when the two guys on "The Dukes of Hazzard" held out for more pay or something and refused to show up. The studio simply hired two more guys to play the characters' cousins (or some such). The press pointed out that things would probably be worked out by the next year and the two regulars would return. Wouldn't it be rude to dump the two new guys then; after all, they honestly accepted the roles and were doing their best. The studio reassured the press of their fairness, "Well, we'll just have two Hazzard boys in the front seats and in the back." Needless to say, after that season, the "cousins" weren't heard from again.

At approximately 9:30 PM on Saturday, as I saw JBL's name in the credits, just after Scott Sherwood's role became that of an on-air actor, IT HIT ME!

Scott doesn't HAVE to take back the station manager role. Victor can return and resume the job. Scott can remain an on-air actor. Viola! The story hurdle to JBL's return vanishes and in fact, the romantic triangle becomes far more active with all three present.

For studio-side stuff, well, again, AMC/WENN has been wildly flexible as opposed to other shows constrictions. Perhaps I haven't realized how flexible.

Anyway, it's almost 1 AM! What do you all think?

“Two for the Price of One”

13 September 1997
[Miss Cosgrave uses the chalkboard.] Written by Rupert Holmes.

Directed by Juan Jose Campanella.
MAIN Season Three Episodes: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7
8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17

We've wrapped up a four episode arc that made some changes to WENN. The main change throughout the four episodes was the movement of the Scott Sherwood character from station manager to performer duties. Now that this arc is completed, we have our first episode without the "When last we met..." introduction.

Speaking of introductions, it's interesting in light of the episode, that Bob Dorian speaks of "Miss Cosgrove."

Well, we've been treated to a four-letter word or two from Mr. Sherwood in the last few weeks. Due to his complete apathy when he shows up 20 minutes late, we must question his grasp of another four-letter word: "work".

Scott is familiar with "Bedside Manor" and its airtime and that it's Hilary and Jeff's show. When told his role in this morning's episode, he decides the episode is about his character, the gardener. I think I see a "Battle of the Prima Donnas" brewing.

After we hear the proper reading of the script by Mr. Eldridge (a shame one of his best readings wasn't broadcast, but he gets lots of airtime later), Scott goes in and completely ignores clues from the script and reads the gardener like a D. H. Lawrence character (credit to Linda for this!). It should be pointed out, however, that the major clues that he was reading it wrong came in the later lines. His first line had him describing Hilary as ravishing and this line is probably what he based his voice on.

As a result of Scott's surprising take, Hilary is stunned into actually sticking to Betty's script to defend herself (although she did put a spin on "mind your fingers"). Hilary watches aghast as Scott continues down his own path. The station is probably going to get another call from the listener who called in to complain about Betty's first script ("On the Air"). Mr. Foley is probably pondering how long it's going to take the church league to burn down the station as he "pours the coffee".

Adding to Hilary's aghastness (okay, it's probably not a word), is the realization of Scott's effectiveness. Eugenia finds she has a sudden burst of perspiration in response to Scott's reading. In the end, Hilary finds she can't "defend herself" and flees! Next time, I don't think she'll be caught so off-guard and there may be a Battle Royale.

Nice insert of Jeff at the Ministry of War (much as we saw Victor calling from there or a similar location in "World of Tomorrow").

We knew that Maple and Scott knew each other before WENN. We get a little more hint of this background this week. Maple: "Hey, Scotty. Our first time acting together...at least over the airwaves, huh?" I see two likely interpretations of this. One, they used to do some stage work together (maybe vaudeville) or they used to run scams together. Not really clear at this point.

The next scene brought some disappointment in Scott when I first saw it last night. But on rewatching it, I felt better about it. Scott and Maple seem to have a "good friends" relationship. She may well be his best friend at WENN; she's certainly is the oldest friend. We've also heard her speak up in his defense.

As a friend, getting physically close so they would be less likely to be overheard, she asks him to level with her. (And the Earth wasn't level before 1492, it was only considered to be level.) Instead, he brushes her off.

On the re-watching, it looks to me that he may have considered telling her the truth. In fact, it could be he had decided to do so and the last part of Maple's question ("trying to figure a way back into...Betty's good graces?") turned the tide. Before adding the Betty part he had a face like "Golly, ya caught me Maple, so...", but after adding Betty into the equation his smile disappears and he's thinking of a different reply.

A lot of people aren't comfortable discussing these emotions and it only gets harder as life goes on. Regardless of his friendship with Maple, his relationship with Betty is something he wants to keep close to the vest.

But the best part is: while he doesn't choose to tell the truth, he doesn't choose to lie, either! And he probably knows that she's bright enough to reach the correct conclusion from his reply.

And as to putting two and two together...I speculated last week that Hilary might have guessed what the score was. But I can't tell if she really bought Scott's claim that the sponsor called up to ask for MORE of the gardener. If she did, I must scale her gullibility rating up. (Didn't they take that word out of the dictionary?)

Next we have the scene more fully introducing the new schoolmarm, Miss Cosgrave. She created flashbacks to my second grade teacher, Mrs. Hatchett, a name well and truly earned. Perhaps knowing this episode would first run in September, Rupert used this scene to say "Hi-Hi" to all WENN's young fans, welcoming them back to school.

The rest of the episode is peppered with bits of programming gone insane such a Gertie mounting a defense of the potato.

Among the other insane programming is Mr. Eldridge reporting of the Bismarck sinking the Hood (I believe this has allowed James Young to date the episode) and claiming the Hood was named after Robin Hood (Mallory, there's you another Sherwood reference).

Well, all the male characters continue to express their good taste as Mr. Eldridge believes briefly (earlier in the episode) that Betty "needs him" and as C.J. expresses delight at the idea of patting Betty's head and rubbing her tummy simultaneously.

However, it looks like one character has had his eyes moved from Betty. Out in the hallway, Gertie's desk appears to have been replaced by a piano and Maple serenades Mr. Foley. He brings over a rose from across the room and significant glances are exchanged as Maple sings, "...strong and silent makes my day."

We then have a little surreal bit as we watch C.J.'s mind slowly disintegrating. (Wonder if Linda's "Wave at C.J." comments on her web page had anything to do with his increased role?)

As they discuss the scene and contrive a solution (you know, I like what Scott wore last week...made him seem like a regular Joe), we know more twisted, insane programming is on the way.

Many good lines. Here's one: "I, your Fuhrer, shall rule the world! And that will happen..." "...on the 39th of June in the world of make-believe."

Well, Miss Cosgrave now owes one to Scott and the rest of the cast for bailing her out. How do you defeat the enemy? Divide and conquer! (heh heh heh)

After two weeks on, one week off, one week on, I was listening for the tones of John Bedford Lloyd's voice. It didn't show up, making it 3 of 5 episodes so far. With the result of the opening 4-episode arc and JBL's many appearances I wouldn't be surprised to see Victor back shortly after the halfway point in the season. I said as much in the WENNsday chat. But I also don't want to get my hopes up too much.

Next week, it looks like Betty will be offered a job that would actually pay her what she was worth. For Betty, I wish her the best. She deserves to be able to take the job. However, I'd be too sad to see her go. So the sadist in me cries out for a scheme to keep her there. (And I don't think I'll be disappointed.)


BEGIN PART TWO (originally separated by "spoiler" space)

I wrote above about John Bedford Lloyd pretty much as I had planned during the week. However, last night, before the show aired, AMC ran a 10-second spot congratulating "Remember WENN on its Emmy nomination for Best Costume Design".

Several short cuts from the series flashed by, including one with Victor clearly interacting with others in the cast. Now, it could have been from season one. It flashed by pretty quick (if only because it surprised me. Kinda knocked me off center like Scott did to Hilary this episode.)

However, others in the chat confirmed that they had seen it and Bizarra managed to catch it on tape. Looked like a new scene to her.

I'm not as good at recognizing scenes as others. There was one thing I wanted to see for confirmation...is Victor in the scene with characters he's never been in a scene with?

They repeated the Emmy spot before the early morning showing and I caught it on tape as I slept.

Looking at the scene from left to right: There's two people up front I can't identify although the far left one looks Mackie-ish. Then we have Victor followed by a be-boppin' Mr. Foley. Betty finishes the characters, at least up front.

In the back of the shot from right to left is apparently the real Mackie. The next person I can't identify. The last person is: clearly Scott Sherwood!

Both Scott and Victor in the same scene! Obviously a new scene from an upcoming episode. Another scene shows another unidentified man, Mr. Eldridge and Victor.

It should be noted that in each of the two scenes, several characters are in various sorts of desert garb (fedoras, turbans). It was suggested that an episode coming up is to be a "Casablanca" homage ("Casablanca" was released in 1942) and that maybe it was a dream sequence. Well, a dream sequence would be an accepted way to have a character guest for one episode, but I think too many signs are pointing to a full Victor return...far sooner than I had dared hope.

“The Importance of Being Betty”

20 September 1997
[The gang listens to Betty's phone conversation.] Written by Rupert Holmes and Leon Seidman.

Directed by Michael Tuchner.
MAIN Season Three Episodes: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7
8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17

At first, I thought the title was just a clever play on the title of Oscar Wilde's play, "The Importance of Being Earnest." But as I read a synopsis of the play, I was struck by some stylistic similarities to WENN. The play is a farce known for its sharp, witty dialog. It's plot revolves around two characters who pretend to be what they're not. (Hmmm, Victor as traitorous broadcaster; Scott as man sent by Victor to manage station.) The denouement finds surprising revelations about their relation: it's familial (are you listening, Linda?) like Betty's scripts "In the WENN Small Hours..." They're brothers (shades of Victor's "crazy cousin Hector"). Further, the one who invented the fictional "Ernest" actually turns out (to his surprise) to be named Ernest. (Scott seemed to pick up the skills of being a station manager.) I wouldn't read too much into this; it's probably just Rupert repeating themes. But gosh, isn't it interesting!

"I don't feel like I'm losing a granddaughter; I feel like I'm losing a grand!" LOL. Unless one has money to burn, I've never understood some of the outrageous sums spent on weddings. I'd hate to imagine what $1000 in 1941 money would be worth today.

I watched the scenes that followed trying to find something to comment on, but I keep getting swept up in the sharp, witty dialog. :) Mackie knowing that just when he needs it, Betty will deliver the pages (okay, that's not dialog); Scott spreading the malarkey others would buy as genuine but Betty sees through it right away, "You have just divided me in two!"; Scott's not being slowed down one second and pressing on to his goals (Betty and a new car); "There's a recess in your brain." "There's a recess in your genes."; and the need for Hilary to have a heart and Maple to have a mind echoing "The Wizard of Oz".

One of the biggest draws of "Remember WENN" to me is watching Victor make his dreams come true: to push the boundaries of radio, to use sound in a new creative way making a "Theater of the Mind". Equally attractive is Betty's urge to write, to create characters and stories to entertain and yet to be something more, perhaps even "Art". Any of us who have those yearnings, in whatever field, recognize our own "New Yorker" dream. We know the reality is that we might make it, but after a long time of hard work. (If memory serves me, Larry Niven wrote daily and collected over a hundred rejection slips before his first sale after two years.)

The...well...crucible of writing that Betty's been subjected to at WENN for the last two years, doing what simply cannot be done, churning out reams and reams of scripts, has advanced her skills better than she knew. She gets more than a story acceptance, she gets an offer to join the staff. As viewers, we're in the same predicament as the WENN cast: we want the best for Betty, but we don't want to lose her.

Next follows an interesting scene between Betty and Mr. Pruitt. We get a glimpse of complexity within Pruitt's character. (I think most of the watchers have been too quick to accept Pruitt as a cardboard villain as if we were watching the "Batman" live action series from the sixties.)

Pruitt spouts out his normal gibberish until Betty realizes his ignorance is so far over the top that it can't possibly be true. Only then does he treat her as anything like an equal. Pruitt's well aware of the image he consciously projects and uses it as evidence for his recommendation: "New York City is a cold-hearted town. The people are hard and mean-spirited without a shred of humor or a drop of kindness. I know, I lived in New York for several years and I felt very comfortable there."

That strategy doesn't work so he starts in on the reverse psychology: "...you can start packing whenever you like...Now, now, don't worry about us...No, no, when you gotta go, you gotta go..."

Gertie's, "Why is everyone looking at me?" in her funny voice immediately tips the others off. On the floor, laughing! Then the gang decide that they must also convince Betty that the station won't collapse without her. Only they're not using reverse psychology, they simply want to enable Betty to make a honest decision: "If she leaves, she was never WENN's; if she stays, she's WENN's forever." Or something like that.

The scene with the group listening in on Betty's phone call allows us to follow up two ongoing threads. Mr. Foley is selected as the one to fill Maple in on "Plan A." However, he's admonished "to keep it short." Perhaps Mr. Foley has been spending a great deal of time chatting up Maple.

Also, the Jeff/Hilary situation is touched on as they continue not to connect. Additionally, after a few episodes where it seemed time had slowed to a crawl, this scene reveals it's been weeks since Jeff left for London. More than the 3 weeks Jeff spoke of before he left?

Another scene with Pruitt really laying it on. With nearly each sentence, he continues to try to set Betty's internal alarms off. "Is cataclysm spelled with an 'I' or a 'Y'?"

At the end of the previous Pruitt/Betty scene, she spoke of unfinished business with Pruitt physically blocking the way into the station manager's office. At the end of this scene she responds to his question of why she was still there with, "I am not sure I know why, Mr. Pruitt." All the while her eyes are darting to and from Mr. Pruitt and the station manager's desk, where Victor's strongbox is. Not only does she want to be at the station when Victor returns, but if she goes she'll want to retrieve the information Victor left or the strongbox itself. Mr. Pruitt seems like a person who would have restricted the key to the office to himself and Miss Cosgrave. He probably even had the lock changed. So she's in a position where she only has 24 to 48 hours to retrieve what she needs and he probably never leaves the station manager's office unsecured.

Hilary handling the sponsors shows that although she's very bright with math and science (last week's algebra solution; knowledge of genes), she doesn't dwell in an Aristotelian universe (the Sun revolves around the Earth) or a Copernican universe (the Earth revolves around the Sun), but in a Boothian universe (everything revolves around Hilary). I wonder how she plans to cash her payment of vinegar?

Mackie's and Eugenia's scenes are "Very satisfying." "...the books...are such fun."

Scott's "New York. Ah, great. Now what the heck am I going to do in New York?" ties in with some thoughts I've been having on the whole Victor/Betty/Scott triangle for the last few weeks. I'm continuing to ruminate.

But it's hard to ruminate when mass destruction rains down as it does on the sweet little town of Bonneville Mills (that seems to be based on Betty's home town of Elkhart). I don't think I want to know what Mackie was mouthing! And did Scott speak a sentence with a triple negative?

And we end up with Betty more committed than ever to stay at the station, pleasing Gloria, Mr. Pruitt, the sponsors, the WENN members, the radio audience and, of course, the television audience.

Well, the count is 3 and 3 for Victor. His appearances have dwindled to 50% for the season. And it looks like Jeff is set to deliver a bombshell to Hilary next week (yes, pun intended).

“Mr. and Mrs. Singer”

27 September 1997
[Hilary reads Jeff's (?) letter while Pavla looks on.] Written by Rupert Holmes.

Directed by Richard Shepard.
MAIN Season Three Episodes: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7
8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17

It's apparent that while Scott was acting manager, he did listen to the station broadcasts occasionally and picked up tips on acting from them. Unfortunately, all the pointers he gleamed from the broadcasts must have been from Hilary. Particularly the feeling that the script is merely a recommendation. Not since Hilary's refusal to allow Elizabeth to expire in "The Diva That Wouldn't Die" has a WENN actor so flaunted the script: "I'm fine, really. Totally fine. And I think I'd like to get involved in politics." in place of the cliffhanger ending. Both events happening on "The Hands of Time," home of the oft-amnesiacs.

But as we see, Hilary's panic in "Two for the Price of One" is not repeated. She has a measure of the man and refuses to flee again. She stands her ground and amazes Scott with her pronunciation: "Listen. I demand that henceforth you stick to the script. Stick! Stick! Stick! Ya stuck-up, stuffed shirt Sherwood, spoiler of scripts. You stick to it or I'll stick it to you in so many places you'll feel like a damned pincushion at a darning convention!" All that in 10.2 seconds.

In response, Scott begins troweling in some compliments. We've seen Hilary react so automatically to any compliment, real or false, with glowing appreciation that I half expected Scott's trick to briefly work. It's to Melinda Mullins' credit that the beginning of Hilary's "I recognize your blarney" smile fooled me into thinking Hilary might fall into the old compliment-and-response pattern. But I suppose any real chance of that happening was harpooned by Scott's raised right eyebrow as he said the word "seasoned" in "remind me of how much I can learn from a seasoned pro like yourself."

But it's not long before Hilary herself opens the door for Scott to "improvise" with the script as she dashes to the phone to speak with Jeff.

It's also interesting to note that while much of the audience of "Remember WENN" is very concerned with Scott's romantic life, Scott doesn't have much appreciation for "this romance gunk."

Meanwhile, Jeff has very important news to tell Hilary. However, another German bombing raid over London soon knocks out the telephone connection. Hilary exclaims, "Oh, I'll be impossible to deal with until I find out." As will we all in light of the following scenes. A woman who had been expecting Jeff to contact Hilary claims to be the new Mrs. Singer. Pavla Nemcova (best guess at last name mentioned once and not in credits), a Czechoslovakian refugee, carries with her a Certificate of Marriage and a letter of introduction from Jeff.

In light of how well Jeff and Hilary had been getting along before his departure this all seems a bit hard to take. A couple of explanations alternative to "learning who I really am" immediately pops up. Perhaps an excessive attempt to aid a war refugee. Considering our speculations regarding Jeff's possible connection to Victor's mission, maybe some sort of agent for either the Allies or the Axis.

But the two introductory scenes between the two Mrs. Singers were riveting (broken in two by the laugh riot in the hallway). Even watching it again, it's hard to hit the Stop button in the middle of either scene. We're all listening to Pavla's words with disbelief along with Hilary. Since Jeff's letter doesn't appear to have contained any of the Jeff/Hilary code, was Jeff going to use the code over the phone to convey something to Hilary other than what we heard from Pavla?

Poor Scott. He tells Betty he'll be good the rest of the morning, but then Hilary darted out to get the phone call from Jeff. Then he tells Hilary he'll stick to the script only to have Hilary (post-Pavla-intro) incoherently respond to her cues. By now, he's said the heck with it. I'll show them. He and Mackie stick to the script, anyway!

The next morning's scene of Hilary performing at the start and end of the morning contains some interesting camera work ending with our first view of the WENN door as seen from the hallway. There was an interesting camera shot earlier when Maple first showed up. I think AMC really needs a good half-hour "Making of 'Remember WENN' " special.

The rest of the episode does seem to fall in line with Pavla merely using Jeff as a vehicle to Hollywood. Would an operative risk going along with the "producer" if the intention was to stay there. Or perhaps she saw through the primitive bald cap as most of us did. (Kudos to the WENN crew for not having perfect makeup done by people who wouldn't have the skill or expertise; a reality check most other TV shows wouldn't give a thought about). Or then again, maybe an intentional decision to make herself seem more authentic. Much like Scott and Betty brushing off Pavla's first offer.

Well, another John Bedford Lloyd-less episode and it appears Jeff's return has been postponed (according to Pavla) for another couple weeks, at least. As has "Remember WENN".

I continue to find the similarities and differences between Hilary and Scott fascinating. So different, yet so much alike. Hilary with her seriousness and Scott with his devil-may-care. Yet both take delight in playing with people's names. Before tonight, I might've have thought Scott was just making fun of Hilary by mimicking her name play. But, quite independently, he gave his own spin on Pavla: Pablo.

“Nothing Up My Sleeve”

11 October 1997
[The Astonishing Ballinger] Written by Rupert Holmes.

Directed by Jason Alexander.
MAIN Season Three Episodes: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7
8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17

We've had episodes where events were mentioned that could be dated, but I think this may be the first time an episode has been nailed down by the statement of the date: 27 July, 1941. Last year's "Christmas in the Airwaves" episode occurs around 25 December, 1940. There were 7 episodes that followed during season 2. The season ender and several of the early episodes seemed to take place within days of each other. The fifth episode seems to take place around late May. So I would guess we could put the season opener sometime within April, say. Since we're arriving at the half-way mark of the season, we can put a rate of about 3.5 months of WENN time for 2 months of airing time (17 weeks is almost exactly 4 months). This rate seems to be dead on for an early December ending, WENN time. I do these calculations because I had been thinking that Rupert might try to get two seasons in before 7 Dec 41 since things will change so radically then. The time before that date has been described by Rupert as a "cosy time" and starting the series in 1939, past the worst part of the Depression and before our entry in WWII, was purposely chosen by him for the pre-war qualities. However, he at least got 17 episodes to play with instead of the 13 each for the first two seasons.

Rupert-pal Jason Alexander gives the show some publicity (there was at least a brief bit on CNN's Showbiz Today) as he is featured in and directs the episode. It's not long before we have an overhead shot with the camera slowly drifting down in front of the microphone until the "Astonishing" Ballinger's eyes are replaced by the mike's W-E-N-N and his lips are centered in the screen as Ballinger speaks trance-inducingly to set a mystical mood, his eyebrows barely reaching the top of the mike. Less than ten seconds later, we've cut back to Ballinger, still in front of the mike, head and shoulders above the microphone's top. Now, we can speculate that Ballinger noiselessly lowered the mike while the camera was on Hilary, Mackie and C.J., but it's very distracting and seems more like directorial experimentation.

This is followed by Ballinger dramatically shouting, "NOW! Stop! Look upon that face. That is the face you've selected." As he does so, he whirls and stares directly into the camera. He obviously wants to involve the television audience in the "card trick." But in doing so, the fourth wall is broken, something that doesn't seem appropriate to "WENN". I don't know if this was in Rupert's script or Jason's choice, but within the first five minutes I feel like I've been pummeled by camera experimentation.

After the card trick, we return to more normal camera shots. Then, as Eugenia speaks to Ballinger in the hallway, the WENN word-of-the-week is introduced. Ballinger describes his card trick as "a mere bagatelle." A bagatelle is something of little value...a trifle. Bagatelle is also a game played with nine balls on a board having at one end nine holes spaced in a diamond shape into which the balls are to be struck with a cue. Bagatelle can also be used to refer to pinball and can be a short, light piece of music, usually written for a piano.

And then..The Main Event! Not since the original Avengers squared off against the new Avengers in the classic The Mighty Avengers Annual #2 has there been such an awe-inspiring clash of titans: The Astounding Ballinger versus The Bewildering Mr. Eldridge. Ballinger gets in an early stroke as Eldridge completely misses the coin-from-the-ear trick but then proceeds into an unforced error by not recognizing the presence of the coffee. He recovers by drawing on the energies of his mystical spoon. However, Mr. Eldridge does not give into the mind-clouding and gains points for recognizing that it was at Ballinger's behest that he fished the quarter out of the cup. Mr. Eldridge flows from strength to strength and continues to dominate the match by responding to one of Ballinger's queries with a puzzler of his own: "How do I know who you are? Answer me that!" Ballinger staggers and reels, but presses on by unveiling the notice in the paper. It's uncertain whether Eldridge fails to recognize the sensational prophecy or whether his response is a clever diversionary tactic. At any rate, it looks like he practically has the duel sewn up. But at the last moment, Ballinger bewilders the Bewilderer with a mere two syllables, "Because...?" The votes are tallied...It's a tie!

Once "Alan" has whisked "Hilary" off to dinner, we're introduced to a parallel dimension Mackie Bloom. Mackie Bloom, who revealed his superstitious nature to Maple in "Magic" in response to Hilary's prediction, now proclaims "It's all fake!...this magic stuff is all done with mirrors and wires, trap doors and false bottoms." One would think there was some event in the last few months that might have changed his mind, but he quotes the source for his insight as tours he spent with mummers and minstrels, obviously some time ago. As confusing as this is, imagine how Maple feels when Mackie tells her she "does magic" with her "false bottoms".

After this exchange, we find out that Maple used to do magic with ostrich-feathered fans when she toured with the Velvet Vanities. Slowly, but surely, the back stories of the characters are being filled in.

Ballinger reveals the secret of the card trick. A recognition of the properties of using 9 as one of the multipliers. I remember when I was first learning the multiplication table how easy 9 was. All I had to do was add one to the tens column and subtract one from the ones column. I don't know if I ever realized the properties of adding the digits in the product together, though.

One of the things I like about "Remember WENN" is it's ability to subtly educate. I particularly like this episode and "Magic" for it's splash of cold water in the face of the gullibles (even though "Magic" does have Hilary feeling that someone will pass through the door of life and death.) Ninth-grade English was where we covered the writing of a term paper. Few things have been more educational or formative in my life. In early 1974, I had read of Stanford Research Institute's (SRI) breakthrough verification of Uri Geller's psychic abilities. I chose this as my topic. I was very lucky that a paperback had just come out about Geller by James "The Amazing" Randi. I purchased it and after reading, I went to my teacher and asked if I could change the slant of my paper. The point my paper was going to convey made a one-eighty from pro-Geller to pro-reality. When I delivered my paper to the class, I read minds, bent spoons with the power of my mind, saw things that were secluded from me...it was all elementary magician tricks (or more accurately, illusionist tricks.) Randi broke the cardinal rule also by revealing one or two simple tricks and was castigated for it. It seems that despite the ruin of Professors Targ and Puthoff's reputations (the SRI researchers), the hoodwinking of millions, the powers that be in the illusionist career field felt that Geller was good for business. In it's way, WENN puts questions about such beliefs into the minds of its viewers. While WENN operates in it's own little never-never land, it's grounding seems much more realistic than most of the low-brow programming filling the air and cablewaves. That's one of the many things that keeps drawing me back each Saturday.

The next day, as more and more of the cast find out about Ballinger's probable plans for Hilary, they gather around the water cooler to discuss their options. For some reason Mackie seem to be famished. His water guzzling and the odd way he says, "Ya gotta admit, he's got a good point" leads me to think that maybe he imbibed too much the night before. Scott's detailed description of the preparation of Peking Duck could mean he was out drinking with Mackie and is suffering also, or maybe that he recognizes Mackie's condition and is good-humoredly torturing him. This is another thing I like about WENN...all these little things to catch. (Of course, this could have been more a reflection of me - hic! -than what was really meant to be implied.)

Next we pan down from the Pulova clock (or was that Pavlava clock?) to see that the walls in Studio B seem to be painted pale blue. We glimpse this from outside the studio. Maybe someday, we'll actually go inside.

Once again, Betty is the recipient of a WENN secret: Jeff and Hilary's almost immediate divorce after their first marriage. I keep expecting to see a dancing midget claiming that Betty is "filled with see-crets."

Hilary's anger soon wreaks devastation upon Ballinger as he blindly follows her lead into a hole, nay, a pit he steam shovels for himself. "Lady Chatterly's Lover", indeed. Where has that name come up before? :) To everyone's surprise (especially since we knew what he had typed), Ballinger had a last minute change of heart.

Afterwards, he's not angry or bitter. He realizes they must know what he had typed before and have probably found out about his earlier "revelations." He knows he deserved what he got. Perhaps he will even drop that bit since he seems nice enough to humor Mackie at the end. (Alternatively, he may think Mackie's come up with something that he can use. I'm not persuaded either way.)

I found this episode charming. The courtship between two intelligent, eloquent people was a beauty to behold (as opposed to a typical network show where, if the characters seemed to possess a vocabulary above 7th-grade level, they would be portrayed as stereotypical dweebs. Hmm, maybe I should subtitle this post as the 'Rodney Rails Against TV Network Dumb-downing'.)

Almost makes me want to consider the idea of Jeff not returning. But Jason has wilder cons to pull as George on "Seinfeld" and I don't know if I could take much more of the camera shots used in the opening scenes. :) But Jeff had better return before Hilary starts getting too accustomed to the idea of them divorced for a second time.

NOTE: And in an effort to bring WENN back from it's alternate timeline, I speculate that no one's changed the daily calendar on the wall for about a year. July 27 fell on a Saturday the previous year, 1940.

“A Star in Stripes Forever”

18 October 1997
["Mackie Bloom, listen to your life!"] Written by Rupert Holmes.

Directed by Jill Mitwell.
MAIN Season Three Episodes: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7
8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17

We open with WENN's version of "This Is Your Life,": "Listen to Your Life." As we found out in "There But for the Grace", Hilary has had little appreciation for the people in her life. Eugenia, the pianist/organist, is particularly annoyed that Hilary doesn't recall the woman gave Hilary piano lessons for 13 years...for free!

Before long Mackie begins his first day as acting station manager and we open with a view of the main WENN hallway floor. I had never noticed the nice marble (marble-like?) tiles before. (Went and looked at an older episode. Looks like it's always been there but it took this close-up to bring it to my attention.)

In no time at all, the station manger position has gone to his head. Luckily this doesn't last long. I've gotten a little tired of Mackie looking like his services were contracted from Dial-a-Dope. It's starting to seem like he's used whenever we need goofy comic relief. One episode he's paranoid with superstitious fear and in another episode he pooh-poohs it while coming up with his own mentalist trick.

I suppose his behavior could be considered a development of what we saw of him in "Close Quarters", but he was addressing issues that needed to be addressed (sleeping arrangements, washroom arrangements). This time he merely seemed like a jerk. I suppose first impressions really last and my impression of Mackie was formed in the first few episodes of "Remember WENN." I sized him up as one of the most stable of the cast, so I cringe when he's given scenes like this.

Next up is Eldridge vs. Palermo. "I wish to discontinue this phase of the conversation and segue to my reason for being here." ROTFL. So beautifully put so that even Mr. Eldridge can understand it.

We've seen WENN's "This is Your Life," now it's time for WENN's "To Tell the Truth": Will the real Mackie Bloom please stand up? Suddenly, Mackie has become the "Voice of a Thousand Men." A male imposter equal to Edward G. Robinson (wonder if Cutter would fall for that?)

Maple is the next to fall into Mackie's web of deception. Between last week's mention of feather fans and her "distraction," there's little left to the imagination regarding her previous vocational skills.

Next up to bat is Eldrige and Mackie. Mackie spells out the situation to Mr. Eldridge with a description worthy of naming the baseball team in the classic "Who's on First?" routine. And much like Lou Costello identifying the players without any comprehension of what he was saying, Mr. Eldridge manages two hits and one out.

Scott stumbles into the situation and sizes things up. Of course, Palermo is hardly being subtle. However, he must cut things short because he's "overdue on the airwaves". His concern for this and showing up to work 15 minutes early means he really is telling the truth when he said, "I'm workin' on it, Betty, I'm workin' on it." (I wonder if he was coming from golfing or planning to hit the course afterwards. For someone at the lowest rate of pay, he seems to be doing alright. Maybe the special "sponsors" he has.)

Mackie's finally caught by Palermo who threatens to blackmail him. It speaks volumes of Mackie's trust of his friends that he doesn't hesitate at all, but gathers everyone up and fills them in on his "criminal" past. We find out how the time he spent with the mummers and minstrels that he spoke of last week ended.

That brings us to the WENN word-of-the-week: mummer. A mummer is a merrymaker wearing a mask or fantastic disguise, particularly at Christmas, New Year's and other festival times. It can also refer to an actor, especially a pantomimist.

Since radio (and later, television) stations east of the Mississippi are assigned call letters starting with W and west of the Mississippi K is used, Mackie speculates that perhaps he could hide from Palermo at a West Coast counterpart to WENN: K-E-N-N. I can't help but wonder if those letters seem more natural to the west coast viewers.

Eugenia pays particular attention as Mackie details his past. With Hilary's "Listen to Your Life" fresh in her mind, she comes up with a scheme to diffuse the situation. Luckily, Mackie's under a mental gloom that distracts him from putting the pieces together (although he could probably could have pulled off a realistic surprised reaction.) Once Palermo is dealt with and Mackie is let in on the ploy used, the Mackie I like to see gives a well-articulated oration about his feelings for his friends.

Off they go for some brewskis, leaving Hilary to her oration of how she remembers her life, from the INSIDE of studio B. The pale-blue walls of last week have been draped over with dark blue fabric. She's having such a good time, I doubt she'll notice they've been gone. ;-)

NOTE: Disappointed that Microsoft Works' dictionary and a paperback Merriam-Webster dictionary (over 57,000 words) didn't have segue. Luckily I've gotten one of my unabridgeds unpacked. Particulary lucky since I thought it was spelled segueway.

“A Girl Like Maple”

25 October 1997
[Congressman Faraday thanks you for your support.] Written by Rupert Holmes.

Directed by Richard Shepherd.
MAIN Season Three Episodes: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7
8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17

The show opens up with another side-splitting joke from Mr. Foley. One we, of course, aren't privy to since it completed mere seconds before we joined the show.

The jokes appear to be off-color, unless the color would be blue, because Mackie stops his as soon as Betty enters the hallway. The three, Mr. Foley, Mackie and Scott act strange until Betty has left and then immediately return to their huddle to continue.

This time they're interrupted by Eugenia. HDTV still seems a few years away from regular transmission and we're left with the 340 actual lines of transmission of NTSC (the other 185 lines are used for non-visual information). As a result, I didn't realize Eugenia was wearing a hat and I thought Halloween had came early. Her hair seemed to be sticking up on end. I kept wondering when one of the guys were going to say something. Then, as she walked past them, I realized it was a hat. Once those incredible sound-proof doors to Studio A closed, they were back to sharing the joke.

Now it's Maple's turn to turn the corner and enter the scene. The guys freeze up as normal, but then invite her to listen to the joke. However, Betty rejoins them and Maple invites her to listen to the joke. Of course Mackie hems and haws and stumbles his way around a substitute joke...well, not really a joke so much as a string of words placed together as sentences. Once Betty's gone, Maple wants to know the reason for the guys' strange behavior. It boils down to Maple being "a girl like you."

The perplexed Maple searches out Betty in hopes that she can explain her to her. Betty does her best to politely explain the bleedingly obvious to her. After years of deciding certain behaviors and topics of conversations were acceptable to her (that she was aware of not being acceptable to others), she suddenly seems surprised by it all.

Then she walks into the studio and Mackie lights the fuse to Maple's explosion. She delivers a rant stating she isn't "a girl like me" and within seconds as she addresses Mackie, completely contradicts herself by pointing out the importance of "a girl like me". Such tortured lack of logic and the way her vocabulary has been played up as lacking for the last 4 or 5 episodes causes me to withdraw the candidacy for government special agent status I suggested after "The New Actor."

Speaking of candidates, I always wondered what happened to Barbara's ("One Day at a Time") husband. Ok, I never really wondered that. But Boyd Gaines is back on TV as a Congressman running for re-election. (Apparently a Representative since Maple mentioned a period of 2 years and Farraday mentioned "district".)

Maple's still ranting, even while chewing on her gum. Betty, meanwhile, does realize that when you rely on public response (listeners continuing to listen and hearing the ads), the image you project IS important. Maple conjures up a "cultured" accent and offers her gum to Betty. Then, as she interviews Farraday, she attempts "cultured" dialogue which leads Maple to exceed her vocabulary several times:

"Very well, but I must be careful not to let friendship comprise [compromise] my work. I do try my very best at all times to remain neuter [neutral]." However, if you dig far enough into an unabridged you can find neuter meaning neutral (although I don't know what a 1940 unabridged would say). And again, she's quick to contradict herself. Mere sentences after aiming for the lofty goal of neutrality, she states, "I'll stand by you, Bob, as I'm sure all of us will."

"I think in the case of Congressman Bob Farraday, the answer to both questions is a rebounding [resounding], 'Yes!'...twice." Hmmm, answering both questions twice gives us 4 yeses. Seems to be the math motif again.

After Farraday compliments her on "being both professional and charming," she responds, "Well, that's very languid of you...Bob." I'm at a loss to realize what word Maple was shooting for here, so this brings us to...

The WENN word-of-the-week: languid, which means, "drooping from weakness or fatigue; lacking in vigor; lacking in interest." Oddly (purposefully?), the slow and easy way Maple was speaking could be described as speaking in a languid manner.

Then the interview is over and, as they begin the beguines in Studio B (sorry, couldn't resist), Farraday hears Maple's "real" voice for the first time and immediately makes the gum connection. Maple freezes as she becomes terribly conflicted on how to react to Farraday's assumption that she was adopting an accent to represent the constituents he had just described. After fuming about assumptions people make, does she correct the Congressman and risk nipping the potential for a relationship in the bud...or allow his misperception of her speaking voice continue and play to it. As he compliments her eyes and makes his attraction to her clear she is swayed to continue the charade.

I wonder what happened to what seemed to be a budding romance between Mr. Foley and Maple?

Maple details her dinner date with the Congressman the next day to Eugenia, continuing a series of vocabulary goofs: sodium [podium], bias [dais], Benedictine [bened...wait, that was correct]. Then comes the question of what's wrong with Maple's voice. "You tell me. All my life when I speak, men hear me and think I'm 'that kind of girl.' " At this point I'm lost. Maybe I'm not worldly enough, but I've never associated Maple's manner of speaking with "that kind of girl." Or rather, since I generally don't make those kind of associations, I should say that I've never been aware of that being part of the stereotype.

Being that 99% of the show takes place on the same set, it's important to maintain a visual freshness and we've seen an expansion of camera techniques this season, some successful, some less so. As Maple and Eugenia speak, the camera's view rotates around them. It's interesting to see Carolee ("Maple") Carmello walk around in high heels (?) trying to avoid the dolly tracks placed around the table. She grabs each of the empty chairs and Eugenia's shoulder to steady herself as she navigates.

The "Hands of Time" is hilarious as Scott continues (despite his denials) to try and get Hilary's goat and only offhandedly mentions the show stars Hilary. Then he decides not to wait for Mr. Foley's sound effect (?) and creates the kiss sound by planting one on Hilary's left cheek. Of course, this is 1940, and you don't just plant one on a woman willy nilly (particularly not Hilary!) and she rightfully pops him one. I wonder if it was just to annoy Hilary or if he's becoming more comfortable around her?

Of course, the far more interesting subtext here is the parallel between "The Hands of Time" and Jeff and Hilary's situation. Back in WENN's first season, "Brent" suffered a war injury causing amnesia, leading him to marry a woman who looked exactly like his wife. Jeff suffered war injuries during a bombing of London, leading him to marry a woman who looked exactly like the woman people thought was his wife...Hilary!

Now, a woman, Pavla, has show up at WENN claiming to be Jeff's legal wife. And in today's "The Hands of Time", a woman, Selma, has shown up at the cabana Brent and Elizabeth are staying claiming to be Brent's legal wife. So, of course, we must look for clues in the radio show as to what's really going on with Jeff, Hilary and Pavla.

Selma claims that Brent's unsettled mind was what got them "into this mess." The only thing I noticed about Jeff's mind that seemed unsettled was his concern about not doing enough about the war effort. This would play into some of the ideas speculated in the newsgroup for the Pavla events.

Unfortunately, the Congressman's arrival forces Maple to assume a Boothish pose, with Scott voting for Maple's Booth (if only because he realized something funny was going on). And in the resolution to the crisis in "The Hands of Time", it seems that Selma was an imposter; Brent never married her. This seems to be the most likely resolution to the Jeff-Hilary-Pavla triangle, but that remains to be seen.

[Walk Through Interruptus: Playing on the TV while I was writing this segment was one of the C|Net shows. The had a member of the Bay Area Skeptics (the president?) and the host was asking a range of stupid questions regarding the influence of accepting psychic quackery as real. She challenged him to a "show me". He hesitated, because he knew how worthless it might be. If someone is in a state of mind of wanting to believe, they'll overlook what actually happens and see what they want to see. The hostess was in the opposite state of mind, eager to have any illusion he tried fail. After the initial hesitation he asked her if she had a pack of cards (she was the one wanting him to produce a phony psychic feat on the spot, unprepared). She didn't, so he produced an "invisible deck". He had her select a "card" and place it into the deck upside down while all the other cards were facing up. Then he asked her to place the cards back into the box and return them. She really started to get into it and "dropped" the invisible box. He placed the invisible box of cards back into his pocket and then, from the same pocket, pulled out a real box. He pulled the cards out and began spreading them for the camera showing how all the cards were face up except for one. He then asked her what her "card" had been and she said the Queen of Hearts! He turned the one face down card over and, sure enough, the Queen of Hearts. Thinking about how this related to "Nothing Up My Sleeve", I decided to pass on the successful invisible cards/Queen of Hearts demonstration. And now, back to our regular post.]

During Maple's explanation to Hilary, we hear something I'm not sure if we've heard before: that Hilary had "suffered humiliation and rejection at the hands of...your producers on Broadway." I wonder if this just refers to Hilary not winning roles she wanted or if there was some big event that caused her to leave Broadway.

Only desperate begging from Maple gets Hilary to agree to playing Maple's Brooklynese as her own accent setting up my favorite scene in the episode. I love the new Shakespeare. Hilary's eyes nearly bug out when she's "complimented" as being "almost as well spoken as Maple." And she even plays with words like Maple: denunciation [enunciation]. And much to her surprise, she's told that meeting her has been "Fun? Fun! I don't think that anyone ever said meeting me was fun." She seems a little dismayed at the revelation.

Next to try Maple's accent, in an effort to help her, is Eugenia. Of course Eugenia is the pianist not an actor, so her efforts aren't quite as successful as Hilary's. But Farraday hasn't finished being assaulted yet. For reasons unknown, Scott launches into a weird, high-pitched, somewhat effeminate Brooklynese accent. Perhaps for that reason, Representative Farraday asks him NOT to support him. Scott's odd characterization also makes an impression on Betty. "I'm going to try very hard never to forget how you just sounded."

Maple finally decides to come clean with Farraday. Considering his aspirations, it's no surprise her earlier moral choices rule out any public romance. However, her code rules out being his mistress. Stalemate. End of game. However, Eugenia manages to put a positive spin on the events that helps Maple realize that it isn't such a bad thing being "a girl like Maple."

The preview is very enticing: appearances by "Victor" and "Pumpkin" as well as another rendition of "Remember When." This will be a tough week to wait through.

“From the Pen of Gertrude Reece”

1 November 1997
[And in this corner...] Written by Rupert Holmes.

Directed by Howard Meltzer.
MAIN Season Three Episodes: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7
8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17

What a wonderful, wonderful episode. With all the allusions to previous episodes, it was obviously crafted with the WENN lover in mind.

I'll go ahead and get one thing out of the way now--Yet ANOTHER B5/WENN similarity!

Babylon 5 - Sheridan and Delenn have their first kiss before they have their first kiss. Explanation: "War Without End". Sheridan's consciousness is thrown twenty years into the future into his body of that time. While there, he meets the 20-years-hence Delenn. Upon meeting her, she rushes into his arms and kisses him. Within the chronology of the series, though, Sheridan and Delenn have yet to have their first kiss.

Remember WENN - Victor and Scott have their first on-screen meeting before they have their first on-screen meeting. Explanation: "From the Pen of Gertrude Reece". Gertie writes a radio play based on people she's known at WENN. Within the play, Victor Comstock is found to be alive and for the first time, interacts with Scot (Scott) on-screen. However, it's a play and we've yet to see Victor and Scott together in the WENN universe.

The question comes to mind "How long has Rupert been planning this Casablanca homage?" Season one had a thread of a budding Victor/Betty romance. Season two started developing a Scott/Betty romance. But no triangle existed until "Magic", the wonderful season two closer. I've been digging a little bit into the encyclopedia for some background today.

In the early 1930s, Spain was torn by internal conflicts. In November, 1933, rightist and center-right parties won a majority. In October, 1934, a Socialist-led insurrection lasted 2 weeks before being crushed, precipitating a further shift to the right. A new leftist coalition, the Popular Front, scored a narrow victory in the elections of February, 1936. The Socialists in this coalition became more radical and Communists were also included in the Popular Front. Under General Emilio Mola, a conspiracy to overthrow the government gained support with thousands of military officers. On 18 July, 1936, a military revolt began and a long civil war followed. The Popular Front, also known as the Loyalists or the Republicans, received help from the USSR. They were also aided by the International Brigades, idealistic European and American volunteers. The rebels, known as the Nationalists, received help from Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Guernica, for instance, was a Loyalist stronghold that the Germans devastated by air bombardment in 1937. The Nationalists found a strong leader in General Francisco Franco. Madrid fell on 28 March, 1939, and the civil war ended on 1 April. Franco became Spain's dictator.

With this in mind, let me quote from "Casablanca." Early in the film, Captain Renault tells Rick that he's familiar with his record. He reminds him that "in 1936, you fought in Spain on the Loyalist's side." Victor Laszlo has also heard of Rick Blaine and tells Rick he knows Rick: "...fought against the Fascists in Spain."

Now, quoting Scott Sherwood himself in "Magic": "I did a little cryptography for the Popular Front during the Spanish Civil War...I ran into a little trouble when I was promoting the 'World League of Bullfighting' out of Madrid. They claimed that the final match between the Holy Toledos and the Barbarians of Seville was fixed. So the choice was three months in the hoosegow or six months fighting Franco...[I] broke [codes], or tried to. I was getting pretty good at it, but then the Germans teamed up with Franco and everything we learned went out the window. Two more days and we would have known about Guernica before the Germans leveled it."

So by the end of "Magic", a romantic triangle has been created. Victor could be seen as the man who "opened up for [Betty/Ilsa] a whole beautiful world full of knowledge and thoughts and ideas." Thinking Victor has been killed while working for the Allied cause, Betty/Ilsa allows herself to have feelings for Scott/Rick, who worked for the Loyalists in Spain against Franco.

Along with Betty, we were surprised at this revelation about Scott's past ("Where did you get a phrase like 'geometric cipher'?"). We knew he had been a world traveler and that although he knew little about the radio business, he did seem somewhat familiar with the principles of radio ("frequency modulation"). (Obviously, he picked up a little trying to intercept transmissions.) I think it's safe to guess that Scott's background on the Popular Front was a move to align him with the Rick Blaine character. Therefore I think Rupert has been planning this since he wrote "Magic". How soon before then, only he can say.

All this and NOW I'm ready to start on this episode.

Gertie drops her script almost literally into Betty's lap: "Rendezvous in Rabat", a play for radio from the pen of Gertrude Reece. Gertie explains how she cleverly changes Scott's name to Scot. With an allusion to Scott's code-breaking in "Magic," Betty doubtfully replies, "I'm sure no one will break that code."

Gertie's story is one that "if we don't tell it now, someone else will!" With that brief acknowledgment of "Everyone Comes to Rick's"/"Casablanca" out of the way, we're soon winging our way to French North Africa. The map seems to be a current one (1990s) since there's no reference on the map to Spanish Morocco. However, sure enough, Rabat is on the map in "Casablanca."

We enter the cafe and we're bathed in color and sound of another place, another time. We meet WENN's version of the Deutschbank representative whose money was no good at Rick's, here played by Julian Holloway, the same actor who was Mr. Winthrop in two episodes of the first season. He interacts with Eldridge's Franz character (taking Carl the waiter's position) before we move on to Jeff and Hilary's characters (Jeff and Martine Hilaire), showing that although Gertie has been working on the script for 7 months, she's kept it up to date. Then Mackie's Captain Renault (Major Peugeot!) is introduced talking to Lillie, one of the numerous persons (Maple in this case) trying to get out of Rabat. This episode had me cracking up constantly such as when Lillie describes her route to freedom: Lisbon, Montreal, the Caribbean, and then New York! This time, it isn't Signor Ferrari who has handling charges, it's Peugeot (Renault), although that is an apt description for some of Renault's fees in "Casablanca."

Now it's time for Scot's big entrance in his white jacket. We meet the bartender (C. J.) and the man who runs the roulette table (Jeff). It's back to Sam (Samantha, who we saw energetically playing "Polly Wolly Doodle" ("Fare Thee Well"?) earlier much like Sam played "Knock on Wood" in "Casablanca") at the piano where we see Maple's character is annexing another "Casablanca" character: the club's singer. They're there at the best restaurant/broadcasting station east of New York ready to play any requests...except..THAT song! "We don't do...THAT song." Another hilarious moment since possibly the most famous quote from "Casablanca" deals with playing that song. (Of course, the quote, "Play it again, Sam", is wrong. Much like "Beam me up, Scotty" was never uttered by Captain Kirk in the original "Star Trek", "Play it again, Sam" was never said in "Casablanca." The real quote is "Play it, Sam.")

We finally find where the gambling Jeff talked about earlier is: it exists in the broadcasting studio when they're playing records! Now we find that Lillie's first character was specifically that of Annina's, the young Bulgarian refugee. However, the playing of Maple's character as not being all that bright (except when noticing that Betty seemed strangely defensive of Jonathan Arnold) continues, and she misses her chance to escape Rabat by gambling away the money Scot obviously arranged for her to win.

When we finally meet Rick in "Casablanca", after all the build-up, he's playing chess with himself. Scot's a little simpler, he prefers checkers. Ricotti takes the Ugarte role of providing the all-important letters of transmit/transit to Scot/Rick. Finally, Roberta and Victor arrive. Victor requests a booth. Jeff, sadly, admits he doesn't have a Booth...anymore. When asked for his name, he says "Victor...Victor Comstock."

This jolts us back to WENN where Betty presses for an explanation. "Well, wouldn't it be wonderful if Victor had somehow survived that terrible explosion and if he were still alive somewhere overseas fighting for democracy." Gertie's honest "Beg Pardon?" to Betty's "How could you know?" rules out, in my mind, Gertie's knowledge of Victor's survival. (Although it could be argued that the chances of her inadvertently coming up with this plotline are a bit on the unlikely side.)

One person on the chat last night mentioned that it would have been nice to see Victor crack a smile. I pointed out that he was playing the Victor Laszlo character, leader of a movement to save thousands of lives and on the run for his and his wife's lives. However, John Bedford Lloyd was still able to get some comedy in through physicality. Watch the next scene where Samantha recognizes him. His body movement when Sam turns him around, "Oh my gosh, Victor" and the his facial tic when they go in for the close-up. The guy is comical, even under these circumstances. And I can't help but feel that a little bit of the way this scene was played had in mind the people that assemble the previews. I was also reminded that Eugenia was the first person Victor had to hide from the night of "In the WENN Small Hours..." Here, Victor shields his face but is unsuccessful in hiding from Sam.

Sam disabuses the notion of an identical relative but accepts the idea of an identical friend. And then the piano just comes rolling over. And I'm rolling, on the floor laughing. More references "In the WENN Small Hours..." follows: "A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then. The Allegheny. The Monongahela." And then, the light ball drops out of the ceiling! I might as well stay on the floor.

Scot rushes out to put an end to "Remember When" and finds Roberta. "I'm sure you'd like to meet the man you told us you knew so well." Scot looks around for Victor, who's sitting right in front of him. "Victor. Victor," he calls.

"I'm Victor Comstock. Who's this?" "Scot Sherwood." "Who's Scot Sherwood?" Oww! I gotta watch out for sharp objects in my carpet. I go back back to rolling and laughing some more.

Mr. Foley appears as Commandant rrrRauss and, after an interlude of physical comedy, starts speaking! At first, I thought they were letting Foley speak, but in a funny voice. Somewhat like they've let him hum and make other sounds. But it turns out to be Gertie speaking in a funny voice through her character. I'm starting to create patterns in the carpet where I'm wearing it down.

Martine Hilaire is a reflection of the Yvonne character from "Casablanca", who in a fit over Rick's rejection, begins warming up to the Germans. However, by the end of the "Wacht am Rheine"/"La Marseillaise" sing-off, she has clearly had her French patriotism stirred. Of course, this is "Remember WENN" and the battle is raged between "London Bridge" and "Frere Jacques".

Rick came to Casablanca for its waters. Scot came to Rabat for its frozen waters, therefore he has a sno-cone each morning at 10AM. The hallway, er, marketplace scene does a good job of comparing the overzealous marketplace salesmen to their modern-day American counterparts: "And if you order right now, we'll throw in a bamboo frisbee for free! Operators are standing by."

Roberta tries to get the letters of transmit from Scot who tells her one of them is for himself. Her love for Victor pushes her to request just one...for Victor. Of course Scot just wants to take off with Roberta by his side. Her concern for Scot leaves her not wanting him to be stuck in Rabat, either. She's so confused, she leaves the decision up to Scot.

Independently, Victor approaches Scot. Much as Victor Laszlo quickly sized up the situation between Rick and Ilsa, he's realized there's something between Scot and Roberta. His love for Roberta pushes him to request just one letter...for Roberta so she can accompany Scot to safety. The conflict between the two is nicely symbolized by each of them trying to depart the area in the same way (as each of them want Betty) and continually bumping into each other.

Now we get down to the fateful final scene. In "Casablanca", Rick realizes he's been turning his back on the Nazi menace for too long. The first order of business is ensuring Victor Laszlo's safety. But it would be useless unless Ilsa accompanies Laszlo. He knows if Ilsa stays with him, Laszlo will crumple just as he did when Ilsa didn't show up at the train station.

In "Rendezvous at Rabat," we're talking about Scot. Scot Sherwood. So of course he ties up Victor and Lillie in a mail sack and puts them on the plane so he can have Roberta all to himself. I had only just managed to drag myself back into the chair when this socks me back out of the chair. It's so...Scott.

After Scot and rrrRauss exchange gunfire, each falls dead to the ground. As the camera watches rrrRauss fall, "London Bridge (Is Falling Down)" plays. As Peugeot cheerfully offers to help Roberta (no doubt with handling charges), they walk off into the night, "You know, I think this tragedy could be the beginning of a beautiful, beautiful friendship."

"No! No, Gertie. That can't be the right ending." Betty's been emotionally pulled into the story, showing that maybe Gertrude has a future in writing.

Rick sending Victor and Ilsa off to Lisbon was never in doubt as the film was made. What kept changing was how it happened. (I once read or saw something on the editing of the final scene with Rick, Renault and the French police. It's amazing how it was almost edited differently in a way I don't think would have worked. The brief moment of indecision by Renault over what to do and Rick's worried look while he waited was the result of the re-edit. I think before it was instantaneous with no look at Rick at the time.)

In recognition of that, we are treated to multiple endings to "Rendezvous at Rabat." In Hilary's ending Jeff repents and wreaks vengeance for her on the Czechoslovakian hussy by sending her to a menial job in Japan. Then she rewards him by ditching him and using the remaining letter.

Gertie then volunteers her alternate ending. Scot and Victor send Roberta off alone, keeping each from having an unfair advantage over the other and allowing her time to make her decision. Scot gives the second visa to Franz Eldridge, who unfortunately sells his to Major ("Handling Charge") Peugeot! Scot exclaims that they must make a u-turn on the road to Morocco and suddenly images of Scot and Victor having hilarious adventures around the world with Roberta as their sarong girl enter my mind.

They walk off into the fog-enshrouded night ruminating over the feared question, "But what if neither one of us gets her?"

We return to WENN where Betty claims that Roberta would never just ditch both of them. Gertie then asks Betty how she would end it. "I think that if Roberta could fly off into the horizon with either gentlemen, her name would be.... Mrs....Roberta....um, yep...." By this time, she's typing the name on a sheet of paper in the typewriter and instead of voicing the last name, she simply types it. But then, before she gives the paper to Gertie, she's says Gertie should come up with her own ending and leaves Gertie and Hilary hanging.

Hilary points out that she counted 8 letters being typed for the last name. "Comstock" is what comes to Hilary's mind. Meanwhile, we can see Gertie counting with her fingers and she points out that "Sherwood" is composed of 8 characters. The women exchange frustrated looks; they'd like to know what Betty's choice would be.

On the chat channel it was pointed out that Eldridge's name has 8 letters. While not necessarily mathematically impossible, I feel comfortable in ruling out Franz and Tom Eldridge. Of course Bloom has 5 letters and Singer has 6 letters. But several of us realized the other name that's been batted around the newsgroup (and championed by James Young for some time now), Doug Thompson, DOES fit.

As we often see on WENN, the camera moves away just before we get clues. But let's take a look at that footage again. It looks like, in the brief moment we see before the camera moves away, her left hand hits the shift key (since the first letter of a name is capitalized and we see the typewriter shift in response to being hit by the shift key) and her right hand hits the letter. However, C, S, T and even E are all left hand keys.

So, I'll assume she hit the shift key and the first letter with her left hand in one smooth move and then she was putting her right hand up to type the SECOND letter. Well, now we're getting somewhere. Let's see...C...o...a right-hand key. Comstock! But we must check out the others. S...h...@#%$. "H" is also a right-hand key. And "h" is also the second letter in Thompson. What the heck...E...l...even l is a right-hand shift. Every single one of these names begins with a left-hand key followed by a right-hand key!!

Is this Rupert Holmes a devil or what!? Just how carefully is he putting this together. Even jms couldn't get the footage of Delenn's hand on Sinclair's shoulder successfully re-filmed in "War Without End." Something I thought would've been easily done. But this...this...this planning of letters in names to match up with how typing is done. It's insidious. It's inhuman. It's...it's...it's a miracle!

“Eugenia Bremer, Master Spy”

8 November 1997
[Eugenia.  Hitler.  Is there a connection?] Written by Rupert Holmes.

Directed by Julian Petrillo.
MAIN Season Three Episodes: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7
8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17

One almost thinks Rupert watched our reaction to the first episodes and concocted this episode to gently spoof our rush to find spies lurking incognito among the cast. However, Kevin O'Rourke's posting to the newsgroup dated 1 July mentioned that 7 episodes were "in the can." Assuming one episode per week, the 13th episode would have wrapped by the 12th of August, 4 days before the season premiere. This is only the 12th episode. Taking into account that the script must be ready for prop selection, the director to review, etc. some time before filming, it's obvious that if a gentle spoof was intended, it was based on a reaction he expected, not that he had seen. (Although some speculation regarding Victor working undercover for the government had been put forth to explain his mysterious reappearance at the end of "Magic", it was his mention of a "contact" "In the WENN Small Hours..." that sent us scurrying to examine each member for tell-tale signs of an operative.)

Mr. Eldridge's comment that "a lot of our programs sound like they're out of order" brings to mind the many times the WENN mike has been deserted by one of the thespians leaving the others to vamp and how mad it must have sounded to the radio audience ("Oh look, the pumpkin vendor selling his wares!").

Again, it almost looks as if Rupert's playing with our reactions. Last week, as Gertie is explaining the genesis of her play* she describes her romantic conception of Scott as "a soldier of fortune...an adventurer. I mean, Cairo, Peking, Madrid, Rabat." This week, as Eugenia is passing a box of scripts to Scott, he says, "I got it, Eugenia". Eyes bright with adoration, she replies, "You sure do!", and she's not talking about the box. This is followed immediately by Scott asking Maple to join the box-passing line, "Hop on the chain gang, Mapes?" "The chain gang? Sure I'll wear leg irons if it means shackling up with you." It almost seems as if some of the swooning reactions to Scott on the newsgroup have been transferred to the screen. We thought the range of romantic possibilities for Betty was large; Scott's is growing in leaps and bounds. "Remember WENN" now tenders a treasure of tempting trysts to try telling.

And poor Mr. Foley. Any hopes he had must be completely dashed by now. First the Congressman and now he walks into the hall to hear Mapes offer of...well, offer of however he interpreted. "...wear leg irons if it means shackling up with you." But that doesn't keep him from trying to help Maple with her pronunciation later in the studio (notice he's indicating the second pronunciation while Mackie mischievously points her to the wrong pronunciation.)

And that brings up to the WENN-word-of-the-week: cognoscenti, oddly broken up this way: co gno scen ti. (Is it okay to have two colons in a sentence like that? Bah, I'll be like Eugenia with her sliced bananas on cinnamon toast, an "impetuous fool.") Cognoscenti are those who have or are held to have superior knowledge and understanding of a particular field, especially in the fine arts, literature and world of fashion. Singularly, it's cognoscente.

*(When/WENN. Hmmm, Gertie did seem to be explaining the genesis of her play as speculating where Scott would have gone had he not returned to WENN as he did in episode 4 of this season. She also placed the beginning of her writing efforts as 7months ago. So "From the Pen of Gertrude Reece" takes place 7 months after "The New Actor"?)

In an effort to prevent other coded messages from being broadcast ("Magic"), the cast is now asked to paraphrase Betty's scripts. As Mackie would say: That's like saying, "Those of us 'round here parts wanta get together, appoint some coppers, stop in-fighting, create a militia , just sorta try to make everybody happy and do what we wanna do, so we're gonna try this Contitution-thingie."

Eugenia continues to act suspiciously and Desmond finally confronts her just as she finishes a organ lesson (no wonder she identified so much with Hilary's piano teacher.) Somehow, she manages to explain away everything. I can't help feeling her answers were too pat and I'm going to keep an eye on "Eugy."

The episode hints at a first strike at the McCarthyism of the fifties. Interestingly, if WENN continues into the fifties, this could be more directly approached. Since Communists were part of the Popular Front Scott fought with in Madrid, Scott might be targeted as allying with Communists. Of course, for the moment, Communist Russia will be our allies in WWII.

“Courting Disaster”

15 November 1997
["Gentlemen, start your engines."] Written by Rupert Holmes.

Directed by Richard Shepard.
MAIN Season Three Episodes: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7
8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17

If we didn't know Mr. Eldridge's full name before, we now know it as Thomas Quincy Eldridge. But I never expected to hear it as he's being introduced as a judge. I suspect that others beside the defendant will feel they've been persecuted! At least he asks them to come to the bar (maybe O'Malley's).

But soon we're getting to our interest: Where's Jeff?

Apparently, although the details are "murky", Jeff's retained a lawyer to sue for damages to his career (although Hilary had been expecting simple unentangling of common property). It's fun watching both Drake Stanley and Hilary try to disarm each other in preparation for the deposition. Mr. Stanley comparing Grace Cavendish unfavorably against Hilary. Hilary requesting he call her just "Hilary" (perish forbid!).

But soon, Hilary is caught unawares by the Triple Negative Bandit: "Miss Booth, is it not true that you in no way told your husband you wouldn't mind him performing without you?" He even slips in a negative in a contraction as if trying to fly below radar. (After much face-making, I roughly translated this to something like: "Is it false that you didn't tell your husband you weren't against him performing without you?" Then further refined it to: "Is it true you told your husband you weren't against him performing without you?")

He rephrases the question as: "You didn't convey to my client that his dramatic career was not something you didn't want him to pursue?" (Which I parsed as: "You told my client that his dramatic career was something you didn't want him to pursue?" A "no" to this would be like a "yes" to the previous question.)

Third and final try. "You were planning to not allow your husband the chance to perform on his own. Is that not true?" (Running it through the Amazon Andy Decoder Ring produces: "Is it true that you were planning to allow your husband the chance to perform on his own? Which is closer to the first try.)

With this much coding going on, we need Scott to crypto-analyze the questions! Speaking of questions, where's Jeff?

Shortly we have a scene with Betty and Mr. Stanley. Not putting the previous scenes together, it's difficult to guess what's next, is it not? Or rather, putting the previous scenes together, it's not too difficult to guess what's next. Between Victor and Scott's tutelage, Betty's become quite the conspirator.

As Betty promised Mr. Stanley, there's no conflict of interest with Jeff's lawsuit. Instead, he's now defending Jeff in different suit brought against Jeff by Hilary. Well, saying "there's no conflict of interest" may have been pushing it. :)

However, Hilary is the one who realizes they need to go beyond Doug Thompson's professional competence and get someone willing to wallow in the mud with "ambulance chaser" Stanley. She wants the devil himself, Scott Sherwood. Scott Sherwood, whom she describes as believing Hilary's "happy ending justifies any means." (Hmmm, now THAT'S interesting.)

Before long, Scott and Hilary are making the opening statement. As always they're battling it out for top dog position. Hilary finally defers to Scott as her legal representative. Since he can finally speak unimpeded, he takes the opportunity for another shameless plug-for-lunch.

Scott puts Hilary on the stand and tries to ascertain her age. "I refuse to answer on the grounds that I might tend to incinerate you." "I withdraw the question." You know, these two have what you call chemistry.

Soon Mr. Stanley is trotting out his double negatives: "Miss Booth, your husband didn't not marry you when he promised you he would, did he not?" (1st pass through the spectrum analyzer: "Did he not not marry you when he promised you he would?" 2nd pass: "Did he marry you when he promised he would?")

As the saying goes: "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." Mr. Stanley tipped off Hilary to that strategy earlier, so she's prepared this time: "If you're asking 'Didn't he not marry me when he said he would?', even though ultimately he didn't, then my answer could not be anything but 'Yes'." So here, she's saying that Jeff did marry her as promised, but ultimately didn't since the legality of the marriage was called into question and (supposedly) ignored by Jeff when he (allegedly) married Pavla. Tricky.

"You mean that to be a 'No', do you not." (By answering "Yes", she pretty much conceded the case so he's double-checking.)

"Yes." (Meaning she had meant to say "No." Though, of course, her answer was both a "No" and a "Yes.")

"Yes, you do not?" (survey says, "You do not mean to have answered 'Yes'?")

"No." (No, she does not mean to have answered "Yes.")

This drives him to call on a witness from a previous trial, Iojeck. Whoops, sorry. He was objecting. (hee, hee)

Ok, skip a new WENN word this week and take this grammar message to heart: Double negatives are evil, Evil, EVIL!

Shortly, Maple is called to the stand as a character witness. Notice C. J.'s still working on his lunch.

Mackie is left to remind people that Jeff isn't a villain in a moving speech.

Finally! We get to Jeff...who is still in London. We've finally gotten an answer to why we haven't heard any more from Jeff: the phone connection problems to England have gone from severe to dire. He's completely unaware of the lawsuit Drake claims to be pressing on Jeff's behalf and this certainly supports the idea that the whole Pavla deal may be a big scam. Jeff states that Hilary has been nothing but good for his career and then proceeds to display her effect on him as he mimics Hilary's own self-obsession with his performing credits.

In a charming tag, it appears as if Scott's efforts at self-rehabilitation are finally having some of its desired effects as Scott and Betty banter friendlier than we've seen them in a long while.

“And How!”

22 November 1997
[Foley's enjoyment of the pizza pie speaks for itself.] Written by Rupert Holmes.

Directed by Julian Petrillo.

Special Thanks to Laura Hayden.
MAIN Season Three Episodes: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7
8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17

"Drums Along the Monongahela." This show will ensure I never forget that name, though I don't know if I'll ever learn to spell it without looking it up!

Eugenia's adventurous exploration inspired me to do a little searching around the web for pizza history. About every page I found had a different story, but there was some agreement. It appears that the first pizza shop in America didn't open until the turn of the century. There was very little spread of pizza pies until the 1930's but it was still primarily on the East Coast. After WWII, when servicemen returned with their experiences with European food, pizza began it's phenomenal growth. Interestingly, pizzeria is an American word according to my unabridged dictionary (with an Italianized version being pizzery). And that's the WENN word of the week!

Betty needs Scott to pick up the "Strange Loner" so she nabs him as he and Mackie are walking down the hall. Scott to Mackie with confidence: "You'd better go to lunch without me; I may be awhile." Mackie in mock support, thumb raised: "Gotcha." Then a jeering "Oh, Please! Get real." type of exhalation, "pfhewwt."

The next scene shows Betty asserting herself ("Go, Betty!"). Betty's shown a lot of growth from the small town, mid-western wallflower to an assertive, responsible adult. She's learned that different people need to be motivated in different ways. As she pointed out earlier in the episode, Scott's still very boy-like and often needs a more directive style of leadership to get his attention.

And among her arsenals to get attention are her many secrets. Since Gertie got it wrong about Scott not having met Victor in her play (since he had met Victor briefly in a pub), we suspected that maybe she didn't know everything about Scott's sordid entry into WENN-life and was probably on a fishing expedition. Now we find out that Gertie doesn't know (for sure) about the falsified letter. Gertie was just making a speculation based on the conversation between Betty, Tom and herself in "Who's Scott Sherwood?" (for the full version, see http://www.rememberwenn.org/wennlost.htm#whoscott). I think the fact that Scott was deluding sponsors about the fake marriages to abscond with the funds is also not common knowledge. Secrets, secrets, secrets.

The drunken fool of a "star" then ferments into the station followed shortly by Joseph "Rondo" Greyhawk, the Shawnee who plays the Strange Loner's sidekick. The situation with Greyhawk brings to mind George Smith, the black actor from "The Emperor Smith." However, there is a marked difference between the two minorities. Blacks make up a much larger part of the population and our WENN members have had far more chance to interact with black people, even if it was only as waiters at The Buttery. It's quite possible that no one at WENN had ever met an American Indian before.

With no experience and little knowledge to guide them, other than that gleamed from the massively popular "Westerns", our cast members do not come out as shining as they did in "The Emperor Smith." As bad as Gertie behaves, Hilary acts as if she could have been writing the stereotypical scripts for the "Strange Loner." And this after the development throughout the season of Hilary as a very bright person (constant displays of math and science.) How could a person so educated behave so ignorantly?

An embarrassing moment in my past springs to mind. My hometown's schools were integrated in 1969 as I entered the 4th grade so I was accustomed to being around black people. And I was already despising racism before that (the color of someone's skin is about the most useless information I can have about someone). However, at basic training many years later, there were two guys in our "sister flight" who were Asian Americans. Once, during a break, I was talking with one of them out on the drill pad when I found myself starting to stare at his epicanthic fold (the skin fold in the inner corner of the eye that gives oriental eyes a characteristic almond shape). Except for pictures, I had never seen a person of Eastern descent up close; this was my first time to view this characteristic difference (Eskimoes also have an epicanthic fold). This was something new and unfamiliar that stirred my human curiosity but I immediately became conscious of what I was starting to do and was most annoyed at myself. Me, wanting to stare at someone's different racial appearance! An important lesson in how we may surprise ourselves when we deal with new situations we've only mentally walked through.

Greyhawk explains the origin of the "Indian" appellation was an English mistranslation of two Spanish words. Betty replies that she "thought it was all Christopher Columbus' fault." Funny, so did I.

It's been awhile since I've seen anyone squirm as much as Greyhawk did when Betty left him alone with Hilary!

The kid who won the prize of watching the Strange Loner unmask is introduced to Scott who gives the kid the old fake handshake tease. A look of disgust crosses the kid's face as he wipes his hand off on his vest as if he had touched something repulsive. I can almost hear the kid think, "Adults! Sheesh! They're more juvenile than me and I'm a kid!" Then Scott flashes a raised eyebrow (almost looking a little like Clark Gable) as he notices the boy wiping his hand. The scene had a nice old-time film touch, I thought.

Hilary, among the reporters, overhears the real purpose of the meeting promised to Greyhawk to discuss changes in his character. Thanks to a surprising lack of attendance by network executives, Betty and Joseph Greyhawk revise the script of the Strange Loner's unmasking and broadcast to a startled audience that he was a Native American all along!

In the episode's tag, we're treated to more clever word play as Scott requests Betty not to "play Iroquois [coy]" with him. When he asks to bury the hatchet she begins suggesting body locations for the burial. However, as in last week's tag, there's playfulness in their banter.

And a nice tag to the end credits is the "special thanks to Laura Hayden".

NOTE:A big thumbs up (all support, no mock) towards Laura

“The Ghost of WENN”

6 December 1997
[Cranberry Juice] Written by Rupert Holmes.

Directed by Jill Mitwell.
MAIN Season Three Episodes: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7
8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17

Once again, we're given a day and date that's a mismatch. In this case, we have two. We're told that 13 August, 1931 was a Friday as well as 13 August, 1941. They were a Thursday and a Wednesday, respectively. I'm starting to wonder if WENN's Pearl Harbor is going to take place on Friday, 7 December, 1941 or maybe Sunday, 8 December, 1941.

That's not the only thing odd about the date. From "Rodney Walks Through 'Nothing Up My Sleeve' ": "We've had episodes where events were mentioned that could be dated, but I think this may be the first time an episode has been nailed down by the statement of the date: 27 July, 1941. Last year's 'Christmas in the Airwaves' episode occurs around 25 December, 1940. There were 7 episodes that followed during season 2. The season ender and several of the early episodes seemed to take place within days of each other. The fifth episode seems to take place around late May. So I would guess we could put the season opener sometime within April, say. Since we're arriving at the half-way mark of the season, we can put a rate of about 3.5 months of WENN time for 2 months of airing time (17 weeks is almost exactly 4 months). This rate seems to be dead on for an early December ending, WENN time. I do these calculations because I HAD BEEN THINKING THAT RUPERT MIGHT TRY TO GET TWO SEASONS IN BEFORE 7 DEC 41 [emphasis new] since things will change so radically then. The time before that date has been described by Rupert as a "cosy time" and starting the series in 1939, past the worst part of the Depression and before our entry in WWII, was purposely chosen by him for the pre-war qualities. However, he at least got 17 episodes to play with instead of the 13 each for the first two seasons."

Since then, we've had Gertie state that the genesis of her play, "Rendezvous in Rabat" was wondering where Scott might have ended up had he not returned to WENN (sometime in March? April?). Then she went on to state that she had been working on the play for seven months, placing "From the Pen of Gertrude Reece" around November, perhaps.

Suddenly we're yanked back to August! I'm not sure what to make of it. I believe the episodes may have been filmed out of order. I tend to think that "In the WENN Small Hours..." and "From the Pen of Gertrude Reece" may have been filmed back-to-back (to meet the schedules of Hugh O'Gorman and John Bedford Lloyd) with "Pen" to be aired, perhaps, as the next-to-last episode. "The Ghost of WENN" certainly seems like it was planned to air in the last 7 days of October. Since I'm speculating wildly, perhaps "Ghost" and others got held up in post-production, necessitating the placement of the already completed "Pen" earlier in the schedule. Whatever, this kind of "keeping us guessing" isn't very satisfying.

The show opens with Hilary getting an award and regaling the audience for quite some time with her acceptance. It's as if she's stunned that they really like her. I wonder how many others were nominated for the quite small, I expect, category of "Best Leading Lady on a Daily [radio] Drama Originating in Pittsburgh."

Knowing the ending, I would've thought Eugenia and Maple (who can barely keep a straight face) help lead Betty to her decision to redo the play. They certainly know where her ideals are: "That's just how Victor Comstock used to do things."

As the radio begins, the game is afoot. Hilary's hearing phantom voices and Mackie is back to the cravenly coward (at least regarding the supernatural) we know and love.

The power and phone problems remind us of a day when such things were not as reliable as they are today. Even in the sixties, you could expect power outages more frequently in connection with thunderstorms than we generally experience today.

Betty and Hilary (the only one at the station with one "L") try to fathom the riddle of the hung dead albatross/cranberry jelly. An excellent example of finding meaning where we can. But then finding meaning where none was meant is perhaps the definition of "art". However, art is not found, only a meaningless symbolic metaphor.

In Studio A, we're finally reaching the dread page thirteen. Maple has no qualms urging Mackie to continue on to page 13. But once, the power goes, Mr. Foley slips out. When Eugenia notices, she asks voice quivering in terror, "Hey...gang...? Has anyone noticed that Mr. Foley...hasn't said a word?"

Stranded in the hallway as Betty searches for batteries, it's Hilary's turn to utter the phrase, "Betty, Betty, Betty...Betty."

Somehow, Hilary, who has displayed a good grasp of science and mathematics through the season, conceives the idea of a seance to investigate the haunting with. This sequence manages to refer to Victor's secret visit to WENN twice, including Betty almost blurting out that Victor's alive! One would have thought that she's been on her guard after her first slip while listening to "Jonathan Arnold."

Hilary's made some progress since Grace Cavendish's visit showed her how utterly oblivious she's been to her co-workers (she even remembered the full name "Tom Eldridge"). But she hasn't included C. J. in her mind as one of the regulars. C. J. decides to confront Hilary straight on about it. Well...not quite straight on. In fact, kind of roundabout. But at least he addressed it instead of just complaining when Hilary wasn't around. With his increasing visibility on the show I wonder whether he'll be in the opening credits next season.

“Caller I. D.”

13 December 1997
[Gertie is prepared for emergencies.] Written by Rupert Holmes.

Directed by Richard Shepard.
MAIN Season Three Episodes: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7
8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17

I remember when my concept of a radio station was formed by the "Little Rascals" short featuring the gang trying to win a talent contest. I thought the performers were actually at the radio station performing. An illusion Mackie tries to create with his 1000 voices during "Dreamland Dance Floor."

Eugenia asks C. J. if a phone call can be hooked into the studio and it turns out it's just a quick plug at the switchboard. Looks like C. J. has been doing some work with the wiring since "Klondike 9366." At that time, interfacing the telephone with the radio broadcast was pushing the edge. Now, thanks to C. J., it's just routine.

More of the odd Scott/Hilary friendship of which "I've given you the last two months to change" is just the beginning of the banter.

Maple's phone number seems to have been unchanged for a few years. I guess that means that Pittsburgh has been home to Scott before.

Alice Playten provides the voice for "Jane Smith." I remember her from appearances on National Lampoon albums, particularly "National Lampoon's Lemmings" where she played Goldie Oldie. (Now that's an album I'd like to see on compact disc.)

Interesting that the next-to-last episode brings up the point of using cliffhangers to maintain interest!

Merging all the stories together reminded me of great crossover epics such as DC Comics' "Crisis on Infinite Earths" or Robert Heinlein tying all his series together in his last few novels. Since this is set in the forties, perhaps a more apt comparison would be something like the Abbot & Costello film that tied in with the Dracula, Frankenstein and Wolfman series.

In the last few moments of Jane Smith's crisis, Rupert actually made it seem as if the WENN cast were listening to a radio. Normally, since this is a TV show, we see the actors as they do the scripts. Since Jane-on-the-ledge was outside of the studio, descriptive vocalizations and sound effects were used so we could visualize Sergeant O'Shea bringing Jane in from the ledge. And the cast themselves realized we were watching them listen to radio as Hilary pointed out that this time they were the "passionate listeners...glued to the radio."

Jane realizes that "it was as much me as it was you" creating the internal image she had of the worlds explored by the various shows. We could have told her that. We've created a mythology of multiple-universe WENNs, including Mike's where everyone at WENN is a covert agent!

I noticed that the voice of "Tim", O'Shea's partner, and perhaps another policeman, both heard as they were bringing Jane in from the ledge, had no listing(s) in the credits. Perhaps some behind the scenes "Remember WENN" personnel?

And now we wait for the season finale...

“Happy Homecomings”

27 December 1997
[Doesn't the green room look small?] Written by Rupert Holmes.

Directed by Juan Jose Campanella.
MAIN Season Three Episodes: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7
8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17
[Rollie Pruitt][Betty Roberts][Scott Sherwood][Victor Comstock]

The WENN word of the week isn't in the script; it's cleverly hidden in the episode's title. "The use of words to express the opposite of what one really means." The word is "irony". These were about the most unhappy homecomings I've ever seen.

Ain't that Rupert a stinker. :)

We've been wondering what Doug Thompson's role in the season finale would be. Perhaps Victor would return and rather than be torn between Victor and Scott, Betty would walk out of the station at the end of the episode, arm-in-arm with Doug. Or perhaps Doug would turn out to be Victor's contact. Neither of these happened in this episode. It almost seems as if he was in the script just to throw us off the scent. Or...perhaps his presence is a set-up for next season's premiere?

For comic relief, perhaps, a lot of the cast is listening to Jonathan "Benedict" Arnold in the green room. Scott picks up on the change of voice. Betty enters the room as mutual agreement is reached that the previous voice is now the ex-Mr. Arnold. Betty, listening briefly, also agrees. As the cast begin discussing his fate, Scott opines that he ended up in front of an Axis or Allied firing squad. Betty, annoyed because of her concern about Victor, says, "You don't know the first thing about these things, Scott."

Scott scrunches his eyebrows, probably thinking something like, "I was in the middle of the Spanish Civil War while you were in grade school in the sticks! Well...whatever." Apparently they've become used to Betty's incredible charity regarding Jonathan Arnold.

Doug Thompson does seem to provide some function next, giving Betty the go-ahead to open the strongbox. I can't decide if Betty was just be overly concerned with propriety or being far-sighted in regards to legal repercussions.

In the station manager's office, it seems as if Miss Cosgrave does still have a job.

I'm not sure what Scott was up to with Pruitt here. Maybe some sort of set-up? Since Scott just seems to be annoying him, Rollie decides to string Scott along to annoy him in return. As the scene progresses, we're introduced to the names of Seldon Sentry and Sentry Savings. (Perhaps we're also set up for big winnings for Tom Eldridge next season?)

During "Hobo Bo", we get to hear Mr. Sentry's own voice, pre-recorded (and strangely uncredited), as he advertises his financial institution and demonstrates it's incredible accuracy with numbers (or his inability to round off.) He reports the amount of holdings: $35,627,402.05. However, he doesn't say "and five cents", he says "and zero five cents," reporting the place holding zero. While not wrong, it seems odd. Additionally, Seldon also reports the number of depositors, 923,431*, which would tell anyone listening to the ads regularly that he's losing accounts at an alarming rate. A distinctly uncommercial aspect to an advertisement. Scott's suspicions are aroused. After all, the government did suspect that coded messages were still being sent out through WENN. Maybe...just maybe...

(* giving an average holding for each depositor of thirty-eight dollars and five eight point one five five two nine eight zero one four cents--mathematically accurate Rodney.)

Back in the station manager's office, the picture on the wall next to the doorway is now crooked where it was straight two scenes previous. A continuity glitch? Or some clever subtext?

We finally get to see that the bottom drawer on the right side of the desk has a false bottom where the strongbox has been hid. But we're still some ways from reading the note because we've got our first homecoming; JEFF!

As I said in a posting before I went home for Christmas, I haven't known what to make of the Jeff-Pavla situation. I thought it likely that Jeff didn't even know about Pavla, but I didn't feel strongly about it. In this scene, we get about the only answer to any of our questions that shows up in this episode. When Betty asks, "How could you have abandoned her and married another woman?" he replies, "My explanation holds water." With that response it's obvious Jeff is well aware of the marriage to Pavla. Enjoy that nugget folks, because from here on we switch to generating questions, not answers.

Hilary is outraged that Jeff has returned to WENN. She says she thought everyone understood that Jeff and her could not both work at WENN. Considering how often Jeff's return to his characters once he came back has been mentioned, I must deduct some points from Hilary's estimated IQ which had been increasing steadily through most of the season. However, on her behalf, I must say she is in quite an emotional tumult.

Perhaps most surprising is her admission, "I love being here." Not "like," "love." A giant step from the time when Grace Cavendish's visit to the station revealed just how little regard Hilary had for her peers. Sadly, Hilary seems to be doing her best to leave the station. WENN has no cause to fire Jeff. The most they could do is ask him to quit.

Melinda Mullin's performance is gripping and riveting. 'Nuff said.

Good ole Tom Eldridge: "Jeff! Where the hell have you been?"

Meanwhile...Scott has broken Seldon's code. Scott proclaims that it's good news for him. What has Scott been most desirous of lately? Ok, second most desirous. Right! To get something on Pruitt. Now he's obviously found that Seldon Sentry is sending coded messages, most likely to Nazi agents. And Seldon Sentry is a good buddy of Rollie Pruitt.

During "In the WENN Small Hours..." Betty was constantly interrupted in her attempt to enter the station manager's office to speak to Victor. In a parallel, this episode she is constantly interrupted in her attempt to read the name of Victor's contact. In the former, she's interrupted 3 times: 1. Guests Mr. Medwick and Cutter Dunlap; 2. Scott; 3. Guest Mr. Medwick. This time she's interrupted five times: 1. Scott; 2. Guest Rollie Pruitt; 3. Jeff; 4. Hilary; 5. Scott. So this happens in the season opener and closer. The first list opens and closes with Mr. Medwick; the second list opens and closes with Scott (who was center in the first list AND surrounded on both sides by Mr. Medwick!) Also, Cutter had just returned from some time spent overseas and so had Jeff. The lists are composed of Scott and guest stars, EXCEPT for the second list where the extra characters are Jeff and Hilary, a sometimes married couple.

All this could mean nothing. (Rodney looks left and then right, then leans forward and whispers...) or it could mean everything!

FINALLY...Betty gets to read the note she found in the strongbox. She quietly exclaims, "No! No, it's impossible." Of all our suspects, I could only think of one where "impossible" would be a somewhat accurate description: Maple. She was the only one who we were to believe had never met Victor. However, the camera angle finally shifted and we saw revealed...Mr. Rollie Pruitt!

Mr. Holmes is an honest writer. It doesn't look like he'd be the one to have the hero, unarmed, surrounded by a thousand horribly weaponed alien monsters and then have the hero whip out a device we had never seen in the narrative and proceed to dispatch the bad guys. And so the important information that Scott had found something on Pruitt had already been delivered to us. And so, despite the fact that having Rollie turn out to be a good guy putting on a bad front would be an interesting turn, I rushed over to #wenn and typed: "I get the feeling Mr. Pruitt put his name in the box!"

In no time at all Betty's received a phone call that prompts her to clear the station out with a claim that the police have ordered it. She interrupts the on-air broadcast of what seems to be "The Glint Grab Bag", one of Victor's favorite creations. Rollie referred to someone coming who could answer Betty's questions better. This would obviously be Victor. So the need to clear the station seemed to be tied into Victor returning. But why? Victor could meet Betty somewhere else (within the framework of the fiction, of course. Within the framework of producing the show it would mean building another set, so we can't really expect to see Victor and Betty meeting down at the drugstore.)

Entering from the back room as he did before is Victor, disguised as a policeman. But he seems uncharacteristically inarticulate and foggy headed, "Well, I left Germany"...confused pause..."um"...searching..."last"...really confused pause..."I don't know"...completely befuddled..."week"...an almost childlike pleasure in finding a time frame..."sometime." At this point I'm contemplating that maybe the Nazi's have located an evil double somewhere.

Somewhere in the haze, Victor seems to realize he's not thinking clearly, "It's funny. I know that I know, it's just...", fading off again.

Inadvertently, as Betty names the contact only as "the Satanic Santa" (a meaningless phrase to Victor), she says the trigger phrase, "Buy barley futures." Victor pulls out his revolver and any doubts I had are erased. There is no crazy cousin Hector. There was only my next entry on #wenn, "They've brainwashed him!"

It was heartwrenching to watch the agony on Victor's face as he pointed the gun at Betty. How strong was the conditioning? Did his love for Betty overcome the imperative to shoot or was it the realization that he had to be in the green room?

We move to the green room where Rollie Pruitt is waiting, having been told to expect Victor. When Betty states that Rollie is Victor's contact, he corrects her, "This man isn't my contact, Betty." Since Hitler's people have managed to condition Victor, it seems a cinch that they could've tortured the name of his contact out of him. Even if they didn't, the next scene reveals that the name of the contact would have been passed on by Pruitt. So we're ending the season with the Nazis knowing his contact and we still don't! That hardly seems fair.

Interestingly, as Rollie tells how he "substituted his name for the one that was there" there's a picture on the wall (on the camera's right) that looks like Jeff's.

Mr. Pruitt hadn't been able to watch Victor as long as we have. Would he have noticed the strange behavior and put it together? He's pretty bright. He may even have questioned the so-called "password."

At any rate, it looks like Pruitt was led to believe that Victor would shoot Betty (and then, presumably, he or Victor himself would shoot Victor). Instead, Victor, his voice strained and his hand shaking, explains he was told that upon reaching the green room, he was "to shoot whomever says the password." Rollie: "But I was told to give you the password." Do'h!

That Rollie was still alive two seconds after saying the phrase indicates that Victor's doing a good job of fighting the conditioning. Pruitt tries to reason with Victor pointing out that such a killing is against Victor's moral center. Victor swallows and the shaking becomes more pronounced. In an effort to give Victor more reason not to pull the trigger Rollie whips out his handgun and threatens Betty. I don't know that it really helped his cause.

Meanwhile, Scott has been decoding the secret messages, even to figuring out what he believes is the Nazi gang's secret greeting. Sending Mackie (who has returned to the station with Scott to brave the odorless gas) to the writer's room, he enters the green room saying the "greeting" in a gee-it's-so-dumb-sheesh manner, "Buy barley futures."

Unfortunately, this earns Scott a handgun in the face from the man he believed to have perished in a London bombing. "Victor Comstock...you're alive!" he says, astounded. It's their first on-air meeting (they met off air briefly in a pub and "Rendezvous in Rabat" was just a play about a fictional Victor and Scot by Gertie). Scott sees the face that's haunted him as he passed by Victor's picture on the wall dozens of times daily. The face that's acted as an insurmountable barrier between him and Betty. But mostly, he sees the steel barrel of a gun pointing right between his eyes.

We're treated to an overhead shot, establishing where each character is positioned...and amazing me-I thought the green room was much larger.

How much Scott took in we don't know. Rollie seems to be in plain sight to his left, but the gun pretty much blurs the edges. Is he thinking that Victor is really, really ticked about Scott misrepresenting himself as his friend, defrauding the sponsors and chasing after Betty? Or does he put together Pruitt's presence and the code he just busted. If so, does he leap to the conclusion that Victor's been brainwashed? Or does he stupidly believe as Scot did in "Rendezvous in Rabat" (when Victor wanted only one ticket to safely get Roberta out of Rabat) that Victor's only in anything for himself. Any thoughts towards piecing together the puzzle fade as the realization that he's finally in a jam that he won't get out of comes over him. In what he believes are his last moments, only one thought remains urgent. The thought that brought him back from depths of despair as his embezzling and the Comstock letter fraud were both uncovered in a matter of hours. The thought that has sustained him as he's rebuilt himself and continued in his pursuit of Betty's affection.

The thought--"Hey, Betty. I love you."

Betty stands transfixed, trying to reason a solution. She's not interested in seeing any of her friends killed in front of her eyes. While Scott may have crossed some lines in the past, he's proven himself a friend to her and all of WENN (even Hildy) since his downfall (even if she's had to keep him, and Doug Thompson, at bay). And to see Scott, who loves her and whom she's had feelings for, killed by the man she loves and who loves her, as a result of Nazi conditioning, may just be too much to take. We don't know what went through her head.

As she said the trigger phrase was she saying that she'd rather die than witness the described nightmare.

Or was she thinking Scott and her could keeping saying the phrase (Scott would be able to pick up on it pretty quick) and bouncing Victor between them, buying them some time.

Or maybe, knowing that even though Pruitt was just someone Victor just knew as his boss when he was at WENN, Victor was still able to fight the conditioning. Victor doesn't know who Scott Sherwood is and might not be able to fight the conditioning for the sake of a stranger. However, Victor's familiarity and love of Betty is a different matter and maybe Victor would be unable to fire at her.

Or, that if Victor did turn to face her, Scott could then jump Victor and wrestle the gun away from him.

At any rate, we next cut to the WENN hallway where the sound of a shot is heard.

Fade to black.

Okay, I've got more. I'd like to know who substituted for John Bedford Lloyd in the shots of the gun in Scott's face. In these shots, some short person is holding the gun which is pointing up at Scott. In the shot holding on JBL and the overhead shot, Victor is holding his arm and gun straight ahead at Scott.

Now, to the final seconds. It looks like one of the cliffhanger endings in old-time serials. Some serials cheated and changed shots (the endless cavern the heroine was going to fall into becomes a safe, peaceful lake in the next episode.) But some used the exact same shots to solve the cliffhanger...plus new shots showing what happened between the other shots. Example. We see the good guy in the radio-controlled-car heading for the brick wall; next shot the car smashes into the wall and blows up. Next episode a new shot appears in between the other two showing the hero leaping from the car.

Look at the overhead shot. Scott's opened the door and was stopped cold by the gun in Victor's hand. Stopped so cold he's still got the door held open in his right hand. He continues to hold the door in the following shots. When we cut to the hallway shot, the door has obviously been released by Scott SOME SECONDS AGO since it's swing has already reduced substantially. In fact, the door is seen swinging for a few fractions of a second before the shot is heard.

Hence, we've got space to insert new shots like in the old cliffhanger resolutions. This would certainly fit in with Victor turning towards Betty, Scott releasing the door and jumping Victor and then, several seconds later as the door has almost stopped swinging, the gun going off in the struggle.

But there's a wealth of possibilities here. Victor, torn between his programming and his love for Betty may have turned the gun on himself. Rollie, now that Victor wasn't holding the gun on him, decided to take out his assassin. Also, Mackie may be involved. He could have heard Scott exclaim, "Victor Comstock...you're alive!", and turned around and came back down the hallway. Since the shot in the hallway is several seconds after the preceding shot it would have been plenty of time for Mackie to have entered the room in an attempt to be a hero. Mackie could be the one shot.

I've no doubt we'll be able to figure out all the possibilities. The mystery will be which of the possibilities will it be.

As it is, "Remember WENN" could enter it's fourth season without Victor, Betty, Scott, Mackie, Jeff or Hilary. It's spookily too similar to the cliffhanging end of the first season of "Babylon 5". In that episode, nearly every major character was in a situation where they could easily be written out, except for the station commander, Sinclair. In the second season, all the endangered characters returned as regulars. But the "safe" Sinclair was only given about 40 seconds screen time about halfway through the season. So now I'm starting to worry for Foley, Gertie, Eugenia, Maple and Tom Eldridge!

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17

[ Top ] [ Walk Throughs Main Page ] [ Cafe ]   Valid CSS! Valid XHTML 1.0!

"Remember WENN," the Remember WENN logo, all publicity and images from the series are ©American Movie Classics. All rights reserved. This is a fan page. No copyright infringment is intended. Any opinions stated are my own and do not reflect the thoughts of the creators or producers.