Holy anna, our son loved this episode. Our schedule got a little bent out of shape today, as it will again tomorrow, so he and I watched it earlier in the evening. He was still yammering about details hours later. It stars B-movie legend William Smith as a kingpin called the Traybor on a distant planet. And yeah, I mean legend. With 269 credits at IMDB, you’ve seen him in something. Smith is stuck under a silly toupee, but he looks like he could rip a phone book in half in 1980, and he probably still could, so you didn’t hear that crack about his rug from me, okay?
Anyway, I didn’t care for this one, again, and thought it was weighed down by two really appalling actresses, but our son loved all the fights. Talking and smooching was kept to a minimum, this one’s nothing but running down corridors and shooting bad guys. The Traybor has circuitry implanted under his skin, so he gets to fire surges of electricity at our hero and have a nicely satisfying brawl with him in the end. It’s an hour made to thrill younger viewers and clicked all of our younger viewer’s buttons.
This is a pretty good episode. It was written by Shimon Wincelberg, toward the end of his very long writing career – he’s probably best known today for his scripts for Star Trek and Have Gun, Will Travel – and guest-starred Kim Cattrall, toward the beginning of her very long acting career. It’s clumsy and simplistic, and the idea of a machine that splits people into “good” and “evil” versions while simultaneously copying their clothes is pretty darn silly, but it was entertaining enough. I really enjoyed the goofy disco lava light special effects generated by the machine, and the crazy kaleidoscope of Heather Menzies’ face, which looked like a bad acid trip, man.
As nice as it always is to look at Kim Cattrall, the really interesting guest star is William Smith, who was between recurring parts on several episodes each of Rich Man, Poor Man and Hawaii Five-O at the time this was made. Smith gets to play the leader of the ostensibly “good” community and the leader of the outcast “evil” community, but of course it’s the good guy who’s the villain and the cast-out who’s trying to do the right thing. It’s a great pair of performances, and, sensibly, the script may be about a silly machine, but Wincelberg was an intelligent enough writer to not hammer that point home.
We joked about the likelihood of splitting our son into two people. In a weird little coincidence, we watched this the same day that he saw an episode of the Teen Titans Go! cartoon in which Cyborg and Beast Boy start making magic duplicates of themselves so they could be lazy. We concluded that just one version of our son will do.