"The Night of the Underground Terror"
Written by Max Hodge
Directed by James B. Clark
Directed by James B. Clark
Synopsis: On the trail of Colonel Mosely, a Confederate war criminal, West encounters Major Hazard, the leader of a gang of crippled veterans who are seeking revenge on Mosely for the tortured he inflicted on them while they were detained in a prisoner of war camp.
Jim: This was by far, my favorite episode of the season so yet.
Trey: Yeah, It's one of the most memorable episodes to me, even though it doesn't have the "weirdness" I often like to see in WWW.
Jim: The masquerade ball makes for a great opening setting. Seeing West in a domino mask makes me wish the show had worked in a crossover with Zorro at one point. Maybe an older, retired Zorro would be fit in the WWW continuity.
Trey: It would have to a really old Zorro, but the crossover has appeal.
Jim: The flaming skull that turns into a gas bomb is a great gimmick. It makes a perfect prop for Artie's Hamlet costume, too.
Trey: There are a lot of details here that are so well done. And then we've got Nehemiah Pershoff.
Jim: He gets his third appearance on the show, this time as Major Hazard. Pershoff is another one of those exceptional actors who uses vocal dynamics and facial expressions to convey a wide range of emotions.
Trey: He makes a good, laconic villain. One of a couple of villains in this story.
Jim: You gotta mention the Wagner story. Having watched this episode, the inspiration seems obvious. In addition to the cadre of maimed veterans, there is also a similarity between Mosley and Masale. Combine that with the quest for hidden treasure, and I think it's an open and shut case.
Trey: I thought so too! It's a Sword & Sorcery short-story by Karl Edward Wagner called "Lynortis Reprise." It's definitely worth checking out, as is all of Wagner's stuff.
Jim: Anyway, West's piercing of Hazard's ruse is handled well. This is a rare glimpse of a smarter agent West than what we normally see in the show.
Trey: Despite his shrewd skills of observation, he's in dire straits until Gordon shows up.
Jim: Yeah, his diviner is a humorous addition to this episode. That the gold was actually hidden in a water container is a nice bit of symmetry! And then we learn that West actually fights better when he's shirtless. Damn, he makes quick work of Hazard's gang.
Trey: Given how tight his clothes are, I feel like that's actually plausible! So, there's only one thing that bothers me about this episode. The daughter is apparently unaware of the true plan (and identities) of Hazard and his cronies. Was she too young during the war to know her dad was on the Confederate and not the Union side? Does her father and the gang stay in character constantly around her, including wearing the uncomfortable stuff to make them appear disabled? That's dedication to a bit!
Jim: That's some Jared Leto level of commitment to a role!