Thursday, January 14, 2021

Revisiting the Wild Wild West: The Night of the Infernal Machine

"The Night of the Infernal Machine" 
Written by Shimon Wincelberg
Directed by Sherman Marks
Synopsis: West and Gordon protect a federal judge whose life may be threatened by an bomb-making anarchist.

Jim: This episode, felt like it was missing some of the hallmarks we've come to expect from the series.

Trey: Agreed. This episode lacks the peculiar magic of WWW. It's a negative example of what we were talking about last week. It's competent in all respects with a good cast, good action, a bit of humor, and stuff for both West and Gordon to do, but it feels flat because of its lack of anything weird.

It would be tempting to blame this on Lansbury and/or the suits at CBS, but this was actually a Garrison produced episode. It was filmed early in the season, but scheduled to air later. Clearly, even the execs found it lackluster, too.

Jim: That sounds right to me. Notice how we don't get a lot of colorful visuals (outside of Vashti's costume), either. 

Trey: Yes, it seems like its more pedestrian all the way around. But, let's not be completely negative. There was some good stuff here.

Jim: It features a nice dance routine, an element we had occasionally in Season One, but not this season. It's a welcomed addition.

Trey: Indeed. What else have you got?

Jim: The humorous enmity between Artie and the Chef was good.

Trey: One of the highlights of the episode. Go on!

Jim: The episode sets things up efficiently with the introduction of the Judge's gathering and the explanation for West's involvement.

Trey: Yes. You know, it almost felt like a pilot (or second pilot) in some ways. West and his expertise is introduced here, as is Gordon's.

Jim: Is this the first we've heard that Artie invented the explosive billiard ball in the train?

Trey: I think it is! Also, West and Gordon know each other, but they don't really display the buddy camaraderie we've seen in other episodes. 

Jim: All an all, a disappointing waste of a title that might have suggested something more Steampunk.

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