harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,

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Kolchak reviewed: Season 1, Episode 4


Kolchak: The Night Stalker
Season 1, Episode 4

"The Vampire"

Written by: David Chase & Bill Stratton
DIR: Don Weis

Blurb: The victim of a vampire in accidentally resurrected outside Las Vegas, and she makes her way to the City of Angels where she becomes part of the world's oldest profession.

Scene 01: We start with Carl on a jet flight. As he's cruising above the world, he's - of course - busy speaking into his tape recorder. He records that a road crew in Las Vegas was digging up for a new highway south of the city. It would be helpful to thousands of people... but for one, it would be A NIGHTMARE!

Scene 02: A car, at night, drives along the road construction site. The car suffers a blowout, as Kolchak tells us about Elena Munoz, alas, missed the detour sign and now gotten stranded on a deserted stretch of the new highway (& being the 70's, there is no handy-dandy cellphone).

Elena starts to assemble her jack to change her spare, but cuts her finger.

She gets back to work... but the smell of the bloody finger awakens something under the ground.

Poor Ms. Munoz sees a person coming up out of the ground, and let's out a mighty scream. She also takes off like The Flash (Hey! Excellent! She didn't just stand there screaming for five minutes while clutching her hair -- which I have to warn you ladies, has never really worked.).

Kolchak says that Elena made it to help, but when deputies returned, they found nothing but excavated soil.

Commentary: Which, actually makes Kolchak's rambling about the Elena's worst night of her life kinda overblown, and exaggerated. She got a scare. She'll have some nightmares. But she's alive and unharmed, Carl. Dial it back a bit.

Insert dull title shot

Scene 03: Still in flashback-land, we join Kolchak at the INS newsroom. He's complaining that Chicago was having a heat-baked, muggy wave. In the office, Kolchak is trying to get the pathetic little fan to turn on so it can pointlessly blow around some of the still-hot-and-muggy air.

It was so close, but no cigar.

Kolchak gives up, and turns to his desk where an old colleague was waiting to remind him that Carl owed a debt and Jim the Swede came by to collect. Carl gives him the money owed (implied to be from a lost bet). Jim shares with Kolchak in small talk about the series of strange killings headed from Las Vegas toward Los Angeles along the desert roads. In small towns along the track, the police are finding bodies drained of blood!

Jim has a job in Cinci as a news anchor, or he'd be out there tracking down this story. Naturally, Carl immediately jumps to when he hears about victims drained of their blood... especially since the starting point could've been Las Vegas.

Carl tries to get more details from James, but he spots Vincenzo coming in from a lunch break, and is apparently on the outs with him. Jim tells Carl to get his hair cut, put on a sharp suit, and move on up to television reporting where the real pay is. He skips down a back entrance to avoid Tony.

Scene 04: We find out why Jim wanted to avoid Tony so badly, when Tony tells Carl that he thought he'd just seen Jim, but Carl blows this off as a secretive informant of his. Tony mentions that James still owes him $500 from a bet in Vegas.

In the meantime, Updyke has pulled something off of the wire. It's a request for Tony to send someone from the Chicago office out to L.A. to cover the marriage of a 15 year old Guru.

Carl's mind in the meantime is completely on the details that Jim just told him about the story brewing in the Southwest. Ron tells Tony that all four INS reporters based in L.A. were in an overturned accident. Ron offers to go.

Tony sees Carl trying to avoid this assignment, and immediately pegs him to go. Carl begs off as being far too busy. Until Ron offers that he's read about Transcendental Meditation. Then Carl changes tactics by pretending to have read extensively on this subject, which is obvs a complete snow job - but he talks like he's read them.

Tony tells Carl to go. Carl argues he's not going. Tony gets his back up and orders him to go and cover this story.

Which is exactly what Carl wanted, of course, so he can pursue the blood-drained victims story.

Ron glares daggers at Carl.

Commentary: I really liked the way that this scene was written. It was fun to see Tony throwing his weight around as the boss, while Kolchak manipulated him by "flaunting" that authority over him.

I would like to see a "day in the life" episode, though, where Ron actually has a shining moment of his own, so he's not always the butt-monkey.

Scene 05: Carl's flight to L.A. takes off in the pre-dawn hours for Los Angeles.

He monologues to his tape recorder about Katherine Rawlins strolling down the Sunset Strip. She was stopped by someone she hadn't seen in three years (uh, how exactly he has this type of detail is a question I shall not ask-- but if you want to be rude, well I can't stop you). In those three years a lot had changed... A WHOLE LOT. Like Katherine Rawlins is our vampire.

Scene 06: Katherine's old friend takes her back to his place. Old Friend attacks Katherine in a passionate embrace - which she returns, only with more flailing and tossing around of him. She subdues him easily and bites into his throat.

Meanwhile, his roommate returns home early due to a splitting headache. Katherine has a cure for that.

Commentary: So, our first real attack scene was actually handled relatively well. It seemed like Horny Old Friend was a bit too aggressive to be comfortable and felt like it was just to rush the attack of Katherine on him into place, but that's a minor quibble.

I did like the minor stunt work we had, with the vampire and victim being tossed around the furniture, rather than the "seduction trick", and I liked that when roommate came in, Katherine was outright animalistic in taking the woman down.

I do think this episode was largely to try to get some mojo into the series from the movie, because the opening episodes of this series has been pretty lackluster - and last episode with the invisible aliens was awful, but if it puts a spark into the rest of the series, I'll not complain.

Scene 07: Kolchak arrives into L.A. the following day.

We follow Kolchak into his hotel room, loaded down with his reporter's accoutrements. It's possible he also illegally parked his rental in front of the hotel.

[Yeah. It eats up runtime that could've been used more wisely elsewhere... *sigh*.]

Carl already has dozen of messages waiting for him, and goes to call Tony, but a convenient news report on the radio mentions a mysterious death of someone who seems to have fallen asleep in the desert temperatures in their car. A deputy told reporters that the body had been almost completely dehyrdated of fluids.

Kolchak rushes out to check out this death.

Scene 08: Kolchak rushes to the auto impound yard, where the victim's car is being stored. He schmoozes the local cop on scene, and finds that the time of death was probably dawn - which makes the report that he had succumbed to dehydration due to the desert heat a bit unbelievable, since presumably he'd have fallen asleep in his car at night, going by the police report thus far.

Kolchak asks about puncture marks on the victim's throat, and the police officer clams up fast and issues a not-all-that-subtle threat. Carl takes this as a cue to both leave, and that he was right that the man did not die of exposure.

Another strange detail is that the windows had been painted black from the inside, to block out the sun's rays, which police officer chose not to speculate on, except that the car was stolen and the car thief was the victim, so maybe he'd tried to heavy-tint the windows to avoid being identified driving around: which is also a ridiculous theory to Kolchak.

Scene 09: But, Carl has to get back to the actual reason he's supposed to be in L.A. at all, and rushes to the home of the Guru so he can get some pics and a basic story to file.

Alas, he finds that there is no trace of the Guru when he arrives late for an interview with him.

Kolchak meets with the Guru's assistant, Chandra, who informs Carl that his interview was for noon and now the Guru has gone off to meet his betrothed in Dallas.

Carl introduces himself to the realtor for the Guru, whose home this is, and which is being put on the market. She's Faye and is close to the Guru and his circle. Carl introduces himself as being from INS, which she mistakes and pleads for the government to stop hounding the poor boy and his followers.

Kolchak clarifies and Faye points out she's never heard of the Independent News Service, but she's thrilled anyway that Carl isn't investigating the Guru for taking people's money - which they're freely giving.

Carl tells Faye that he's been sent there to get a story on TM and the guru but he's blown it now by being unavoidably detained. But Faye turns out to know quite a lot about our Guru since she's had many fascinating talks with him. Carl offers if Faye wouldn't like to be a journalist again (as she was in the past before going into properties).

Scene 10: In the car a bit later, Carl schmoozes Faye into writing up the article on TM and the young boy with the movement. And then he'll edit her, put his byline on it and send it off to Chicago.

Then, when his boss sees how good it's written, he'll introduce Faye and use his significant pull to get her a syndicated column with INS.

In other words, he's going to steal her work and then abandon her. [But his villainy is funny. I'm sure.]

On the radio, the news is reporting more bodies located. And that the police are going to be updating the media at the scene of the murders. Carl leaves Faye to do her "reporting" at his room, while he rushes off to catch the impromptu news conference.

Commentary: And, yeah, all of this is coming across as rushed and ill-presented. The Faye subplot, I fear, is going to be pointless - unless somehow she intersects with the A-plot at some point as possible victim.

My mind has started to wander a bit while watching, which is unfortunate. I'm starting to get an inkling on why Kolchak didn't last longer as a series. Darren is doing his usual fine schtick as Kolchak, but the scripts just feel unfocused and dull. And it's not helped by shoving Tony and the semi-regular INS staff so far onto the back burner for one shot guest stars.

Scene 11: Carl comes into the update late, and immediately causes disruption by pointing out some of the fallacies of Lt. Mateo's presentation. It seems that the victims were suffering blood loss, and the police have arrested a pair of Satanists, who they surmise withdrew the blood of the victims with a suction device.

Kolchak points out how long it would take such a hand pump to extract the amount of blood lost by the recent victims.

[It's not made clear, but I have to think they're talking about Old Friend, and Roommate's recent demise. The scene is shot close, so I can only think that this is the victims' apartment, and the police choosing here to update the media is so ridiculous, I can't even. This feels a lot like a budget decision or possibly trying to shake up the "police updating reporters at a news conference" scenes that are always stuck in a featureless office. Either way, the whole scene feels per forma at this point, with an extra slice of improbability. I'm not liking it.]

Carl's question starts other reporters in asking logical questions, but these are waved aside as the murderous pair being deranged. Carl whispers in a local reporters ear, and has him ask the Lt. if he thinks this pair of murders are related to similar in Erie and Barstow.

We find out the male victim was a former stunt person, which makes Carl question how strong the Satanists must've been, but one of the suspects arrested is 6' 2" and plenty strong. Another reporter mentions how little signs of a struggle there is that she can see, but this is ignored while the Lt. continues to brief the press on the Satanists who are to be pinned for the killings.

Carl asks after rumors of marks on the throat like a vampire, which causes an uproar. The Lt. asks which paper Kolchak is representing and he lies before quickly rushing out.

Commentary: Which isn't making much sense in this context, since presumably the suction device the police are pedaling as the murder weapon would've left marks, and there is no reason not to confirm that it was used to tap the jugular in order to extract the fatal amount of blood quickly.

I did like how the police detective in this case actually did have decent answers for anything that Kolchak tried to introduce as unusual, but the scene also felt like it was trying too hard to make Carl's questions seem outlandish, when they actually were based on what the police had already released in relation to the killings.

Scene 12: Carl returns to the hotel, where Faye is busy typing away.

Carl places a call to Las Vegas, while Faye is going on happily working on her big return to the news business. His call is to Frank, a contact, where he asks for the number of people killed just lately in the Las Vegas area. This turns out to be a whopping 87. Carl has him send him a fax, collect, to the hotel so he can go through them to find what he's looking for. [And I wonder why they didn't callback to Bernie, his FBI friend who is still in Vegas, as far as we know.]

Kolchak only just hangs up, when his phone starts ringing. He asks Faye if it's been doing that a lot, and she wryly answers, "Uh-huh". It is Tony on the phone, trying to get an update on his interview with the Guru and getting back to Chicago. But Carl is playing the 'bad connection' game by holding a towel over the receiver, and running his electric razor near it.

Faye is discussing his proofreading her article, but he's been listening to a police scanner radio, and has to dash off to his real story. He gives Faye a few pointers, tells her to go ahead and proofread her own story (and the number of errors I find later on my own posts proves this to be a bad idea), and send it along the wire to INS.

Commentary: So, at first I was annoyed we were going to have this B-plot, but I have to admit that I did like Kathleen Nolan in this scene. It still seems really slight, and taking time away from our vampire, but she did raise the scene.

I also, of course, enjoy the sparring between blustery Tony and deceptive Carl.

But thus far for the series, it is feeling to me like Kolchak worked a lot better as tv movies, than as a series. The scripts really need punching up.

Scene 13: Carl drives through Hollywood, musing on how backward the police are acting: Having already arrested two suspects, and then being at the scene of the crime to investigate. That is what the police dispatch was about, uniforms reporting they were leaving the supposedly inactive crime scene for a break.

Which leaves the not-so-inactive scene open for Carl to nose around in.

Scene 14: Carl gains entry by the unlocked door. And though stealthy-ish, there doesn't seem to be much to actually see. Oh, and the not-so-active crime scene is actually an active crime scene since Lt. Jack Matteo is still there poking around himself: OOoops.

Jack escorts Carl out, after getting his real name and employment with INS in Chicago, but not nearly as aggressively or forcefully as you'd expect. Carl takes this, along with Jack's still going over a crime scene that has already been over with a fine tooth comb as Matteo not believing his two warlock suspects are actually responsible. Matteo seems reasonable, so Carl - as his is wont in life - blabs out that his suspects aren't responsible, and that the two victims were killed - not for ritual - but for food. Kolchak dumps the real vampire hypothesis on him.

Jack tells Carl he's an idiot, but Carl tells him about the sheriff in Barstow who denied that his victim had puncture wounds in the neck, but the truth of it was written all over the man's face.

Carl reveals to Jack that his two victims had puncture wounds in their throats, too. Jack denies, Carl gives "bullshit" face at him. Then he tells him about the car in Barstow having had black paper taped up from inside the car, to keep the sunlight out.

Jack Matteo has had enough and tells Carl to get out of town on the next flight. He warns him that if he spreads his crap on the wires, he'll have him escorted forcefully out. But Carl, seemingly still haunted by the last vampire he faced, tells Jack to forget about stories on the wire. He tells him that he has to find this vampire and kill it. He rambles excitedly about how to find it, hold it at bay, and kill it.

Jack's glare tells Carl he's done what he can and he rushes out before he finds himself arrested for disturbing a crime scene, breaking and entering, and anything else that the police can come up with.

Scene 15: In the hallway, Carl comes across the building manager doing some painting of the walls.

He pulls out his INS credentials, which Manager doesn't give scrutiny to. Like with Faye at the start, Manager assumes that INS is some sort of government agency, and so where he didn't speak to reporters, he's free to answer his questions.

Carl had noticed the number of female garments missing from the apartment, and wonders if Manager knows who took them. He doesn't. But Carl gets some background on the female victim. It turns out that she was the sister of one Katherine Rawlins... who had gone missing after moving to Vegas.

Further conversation is cut off by Carl having to rush away, as Jack finally leaves his less than fruitful Sherlock scan of the crime scene. Jack confronts Manager on what he told Kolchak, and Manager plays dumb.

Scene 16: Meanwhile, in a cozy bar, Katherine Rawlins is chatting up some gentleman. This gentleman is pushed out of the way by Ichabod Grace, rich-sleeze, who offers Katherine a job which she apparently cannot refuse and she leaves with him. Carl tells us that Ichabod had an entire stable of women, known as a fox, and that he was interested in recruiting Katherine. But she was less a fox, and more related to the bat... (oh, my god -- please, Carl, if these are your VO just stop - his monologue mixes metaphors between filly, fox and bat all in one go).

Mr. Grace is strolling around like King Shit of the Heap. He doesn't know Katherine behind him, is glaring very hungrily as she follows.

Scene 17: Carl returns to the hotel room, with the list of missing persons from Vegas waiting at the desk. He finds Katherine Rawlins listed as no.56.

With a little digging, he finds that Katherine had been picked up a few times for prostitution.

His musing is interrupted by the hotel phone ringing, again. He expects with trepidation that it's Tony. He's right. He tries the bad line gag again with his razor and tie. But Tony tells Carl that when he brushed his teeth that morning, Carl was still alive, and when he started his electric shaver, Carl's world ended... The Jig Is Up.

Carl tries the "I can't hear you" bit, but Tony tells Carl to turn the shaver off. Tony demands to know why Kolchak has been playing games, what he's been up to, and why he's avoiding taking Vincenzo's calls before. He tries to play off that the Matamura interview had led to interesting TM side paths, that are so interesting, that Carl is working on more articles.

Vincenzo wants to ask Carl about that interview specifically. He wants to know if the young Guru's home really had all copper pipes, and a detached cabana! As Carl is looking over Faye's submitted article for the first time, it's obvious that her article was written entirely from the perspective of a real estate agent!

Needless to say, Tony is displeased with the state of the article. And Carl's job is on the line - again.

Carl sets Faye to "polishing" her submitted article, despite the fact that Tony was clear that the entire thing needed to be re-written. He returns to the subject of his vampire murders, focusing on the catering service that female victim, sister of 'missing' Katherine worked for.

Scene 18: "Grace's Catering Service" is run out of the cozy bar, and is clearly not a food service.

Ichabod also doesn't have a receptionist to answer the phone. Carl asks for Katherine, and finds out that she's not there, but she does work there and Ichabod can have her return his call.

Carl arranges for Katherine to come to his hotel room that evening, while also trying not to hint Faye into thinking he's hiring a prostitute.

Faye tries to turn attention to the article re-write/polish, but Carl rushes her out. He asks for her lipstick, making her think that he's got something to talk about. He tells her that he'll tell her everything the next day, and they'll go through the re-write and it'll all be terrific, thanks-bye.

Scene 19: As soon as she's out of the door, Carl uses the borrowed lipstick to scrawl a cross on the entrance door - to trap Katherine from leaving when he sets to destroying her, presumably.

From his gym bag, he pulls out a mallet and stake that he'd brought with him from Chicago.

Scene 20: That evening, Katherine shows up at Carl's door. He has Katherine come in, but when he turns on the lights in the darkened room and confronts her with a cross, it turns out that Katherine isn't actually.

Mr. Grace sent Katherine out on another gig in Kolchak's appointment, so sent a ringer instead.

From faux-Katherine, Carl learns little but where to find Ichabod Grace to ask him more questions.

Scene 21: These are questions that Mr. Grace is not interested in answering when Carl confronts him at Grace's Catering. Carl explains that Katherine killed his other working girl, who was Katherine's sister.

Mr. Grace calls him crazy (and somehow, Kolchak doesn't start rambling about vampires - so good show on the self-restraint). Carl asks him what Katherine has been wearing lately, and offers that he can bet that they'll turn out to be the missing clothes of Roommate.

Carl threatens Ichabod with the law getting involved for his withholding evidence in a murder investigation. This is enough for Grace to share where Katherine's other appointment was... which he'd been hesitant about sharing, because it's an L.A. Ram star.

Scene 22: At Football Star's pad, he's (tragically and not at all hotly) uh... kissing(?) Katherine.

(I'm not sure, I think this might be described as pecking in the worst sense.)

Anyway. Katherine gets extra frisky in that blood sucking way, so that when Stacker's teammates sneak in to give him a surprise, they are instead surprised themselves. She fang-hisses at the shocked, burly men.

As Kolchak is rushing into Football Star's house, Katherine is busy throwing around the other football players, like they're toddlers.

Kolchak tries to get out of the way, but stumbles. Katherine rushes around the firepit/place to get at Carl, but he wards her off with fire place tools held crossed over each other.

This is how the police, who are rushing in due to the disturbance of broken windows at a star's place, find him. But of Katherine? In two blinks of an eye, she's gone.

Commentary: We've been light on vampire action, so first I'm just happy we're getting close enough to our killing beast, to have Kolchak threatened at 38 minutes in. But also, I'm happy to report that there was some decent stunts in here to make up for the wait. We've got a guy rolling through a fire, and two men thrown through plate glass. Very welcomed. Very nicely done.

Scene 23: Later, detectives have been called in, with at least two of our football players dead (including our star player, which you'd think would have summoned a hoard of reporters, but no).

Carl is left to argue with Lt. Matteo about whether a woman could have actually done what Kolchak is stating. He tells Carl that his men, who chased after and lost their suspect, could only describe someone with long hair. He says it could've been a man with long hair, which all of the satanic cult members have. Carl describes his suspect as being built like Veronica Lake.

Matteo suggests kung-fu for the seemingly easy way that the suspect, whoever it was, took apart the gang of footballers. Carl shouts that it was a female vampire, and Jack shouts back that he doesn't want to hear the 'V' word again.

During their argument, Carl describes what he has found out about Katherine's recent history. Jack remains skeptical of Kolchak's "facts", of course.

Scene 24: In the meantime, an officer calls over to the Lou to take the phone call to Chicago. Jack has arranged to call Tony Vincenzo, and Tony immediately guesses that Carl has become a thorn in the side of the local police.

Jack informs Tony that his reporter has been found at the scene of a multiple homicide. He threatens that right now Carl is a material witness, but he could just as easily become a prime suspect, and the flack is going to be coming right back to Chicago if the reporter doesn't stop getting in their way. Tony asks to speak directly to Carl.

Tony reads Kolchak the riot act for always getting the paper in trouble with law enforcement. Carl tries to explain, but he can't use the 'V' word. Tony tells him that he doesn't care what Carl is into, he's to focus on the story of the Guru or he'll be on the unemployment line when he gets back!

When he hangs up, Jack orders Kolchak on a 6am flight out of L.A. and uses a police officer to force the issue (quite illegally).

Commentary: This is the de riguer scene of Kolchak causing Tony to rage and expand his ulcer and for that it was nice enough. BUT - C'MON! Carl said he was right there when several people were killed!

I don't think Tony would be stuck on his rinky-dink guru story, still, and I don't believe that he'd order Kolchak to ignore a story about multiple murders that he eyewitnessed himself - even if he doesn't know the supernatural particulars.

I also don't believe for one second that Jack Matteo would order Carl out of the city, rather than ordering him to confine himself to his hotel room until they can get a full statement, as well as blustering that said statement had better not include any ridiculous suggestions that a superhumaned-strengthed woman was the culprit.

It would be illegal for Matteo to try to force Kolchak onto a flight, and right now the Mayor of Los Angeles isn't involved who MAY have that sort of clout. But it's just not credible that an eyewitness would be pressured to disappear before they actually have the killer, no matter how ridiculous and frustrating Jack is finding Carl right now.

I understand the reason behind the scene. But it's badly set up and handled, here, because they made Carl too involved first hand.

Scene 25: In the early California morning, Carl is packing up when Faye stops by to continue her quest to tighten up her article for INS. Carl explains the ultimatum he's gotten.

Faye offers that she should get back to real estate, anyway. But her mention of her current job makes Carl think about Janos' renting of a house and how he was found. He pushes Faye out the door to get to her office, and look into any house rentals in the past week or two, to her bewilderment.

He snatches up his camera, recorder and vampire hunting bag.

Scene 26: That night, presumably after avoiding the police search for him by Jack Matteo, Carl is directed to a likely home for investigation. He VO for us that it took 10 hours before they found a listing rented by Katherine Rawlins. Which took him into night. He admits this wasn't ideal, but feared that if he waited for daybreak, the police would have already forced him on a flight back east, leaving the vampire to continue her predations.

Carl grabs up his equipment, and heads for the dark house on the isolated hillside.

The home caught his eye due to its location, and the fact that it had been abandoned for some time and not in good repair. Not the sort of home that would be normally rented by someone, who wasn't interested in earthly comforts.

Carl chooses to wear that same ol' baby blue suit and white shoes that practically glows in the dark from any tangential light source, making him easy to spot.

Scene 27: Carl leaves behind a canister of gasoline for some reason, and then heads into the isolated suspected home of Katherine Rawlins.

As he allegedly sneaks around, he manages to knock over multiple plant holders. But I'm sure that a preternatural huntress didn't hear that... Oh, Carl - really. And he gets a cat scare. And he keeps beaming a flashlight through windows into the dark interior of the mansion.

[Jeezus. It's almost like he learned not one thing from hunting Janos.]

Scene 28: Carl finds all of the windows blocked by ornate ironwork over them, and takes to climbing up the side, looking for a way in. Out in the dark, he hears a hiss which may have been the disturbed cat, or may have been a vampire woman. Either way, its disturbed and looking to hurt him.

Kolchak shines his flashlight through a random second story window, then climbs back down to ground level to continue his search around the grounds.

As he starts fiddling with a door [it's unclear, maybe he'd gotten a spare key somehow - or maybe he's just checking to see if it's unlocked], he again hears a hissing from nearby.

When he turns his flashlight out, he finds Katherine far, far, too close!

Kolchak goes to run away, a bit too late, but trips [Finally! I see a man trip over his own feet!]. Katherine is on him before he can get up! She leans in for a bite, but Carl is able to pull a large cross from the bag he'd been carrying around, forcing her into a retreat.

Carl goes into another run, with Katherine right on his heels!

He continues to be in danger due to his clutziness [I'm starting to think he's wearing heels.], with Katherine extra motivated now to chow down on him.

Scene 29: Carl trips one too many times, and Katherine tackles him, pinning him to the ground and stretching for his throat! It's just luck that in Kolchak's flailing with her, he rests the cross against Katherine's back, and despite her clothing, the cross' mystical powers work and starts burning her.

He's able to flip her off of him, where she falls onto the cross - pinning it under her body, and allowing it to continue to burn her as she struggles between flailing herself, and trying to find the strength to get off of it.

While Katherine is getting back to her feet, and wrestling with her burning jacket, Kolchak lights two torches wet with gasoline. He runs again, with Katherine chasing on his heels, now really pissed in addition to wanting a meal.

Scene 30: Alas, Katherine is a really stupid vampire. She managed to rent the dilapidated mansion that is just downhill of the large cross on a hill that we were shown during the travelogue around L.A.

Kolchak obviously carried the can of gasoline up here to soak this hilltop cross, and he now uses the torches to light it ablaze, causing a bright, firey cross for Katherine.

In addition, Carl soaked the ground in a circle around the cross to trap the vampire next to the burning cross!

Poor Katherine finds herself unable to escape.

The combo of the heat, and the alight cross is enough to put Katherine down on the ground, hissing and writhing in suffering. Katherine falls into a stupor - whether dead or not is unclear, but Kolchak has his mallet and stake ready.

Scene 31: In the meantime, we hear sirens as cop cars pull up. Kolchak VO that Matteo had a plain clothes tailing him since he'd left the hotel and not gone to the airport, but the guy had lost him on his way up to Katherine's digs. Obvs, it was easy to pick up his trail again when the hillside went up in flames.

The come over the hill, just in time to see Carl hammering in the deadly stake to Katherine's chest.

As Carl VO more about having to pay for the landmark cross, but not minding, Lt. Matteo stares at Carl in horror over Katherine's staked body. He only laments that he couldn't think of a way to expense the cost of replacing it.

Commentary: Oh, thank you! I really liked the way this ended. It felt like the ending was going to be too pat, and I didn't like that Carl just so happened to bring a canister of gasoline with him, but the plan to deal with Katherine explained that just fine.

I liked how Carl came so, so close to being killed but then saved by happenstance without cheating.

And I liked that he didn't just rely on Katherine's being still, surrounded by the fire, to conclude she was really dead (Unlike in BTVS, Kolchak's vampires never conveniently dust away).

I liked the whole confrontation, in fact, though Carl being unusually extra, extra clumsy was a bit much to add to the excitement.

Scene 32: Back aboard a flight to Chicago, Carl is listening to his playback from his recorder. Through this, we find out that Carl was booked for murder, but after 12 hours, he was let go without any reason for the leniency given. But while he was in Matteo's office, he did happen to see a copy of the Coroner's report on Katherine's remains.

Kolchak hits the record on his tape recorder and tells it that the report had a quote from the coroner, "tissue sample was of a human female, who had been dead at least three years...".

The Coroner could not come up with an explanation for this medical conundrum.

Carl is left in his airline seat, pondering if there could be more Katherines out there.

The Good: I continue to like Darren and the way I mostly stay on Carl's side, even though I do agree that sometimes Tony is fully justified in wanting to brain him (but not in this episode).

I also liked the work of Jan Murray as Ichabod, Kathleen Nolan as Faye, and Jack Grinnage as Ron Updyke.

I did love that Ms. Munoz didn't act stereotypical, and she was allowed to survive her encounter with the vampire because of it.

Loved, again, the work of Darren bouncing off of Simon as Carl and beleagured boss Tony. This is mostly true of the start of the episode where Kolchak manipulates Tony into sending him to California under false pretenses.

There were two major attack scenes, both with multiple victims, and both had some nice stunt work (especially the second).

The stalking Katherine's home felt a bit drawn out, but I liked where it led so much, I'm forgiving it. The fight between Carl and Katherine, and his coming out on top was pretty great, actually.

The Bad: Well, the B-plot felt really underwhelming and irrelevant, just to give the realtor a reason to hang out long enough to give Carl his break. And, it really hurt Carl Kolchak's sympathy as the unbelieved, reluctant hero because of how Carl is using her and getting her hopes up for a job as a reporter, when he has no intention of taking that seriously. I didn't like it.

The police choosing the victims' apartment to update the news media is so utterly implausible that it yanked me right out of the episode with how prepostorous it was scripted.

I uh - I don't know what that kinda-like-kissing thing was that football victim and Katherine were doing on his floor. It was, uh, awkward and somehow bizarrely chaste.

Other Thoughts: Uh, some of Carl's VO were just too florid to be tolerable. They really need to not be quite so OTT with it.

I found the pacing on this to be somewhat problematic because of the large amount of time that the vampire spent in the far background of the episode. But things picked up very well once the attack on the football players occurred.

I did find it surprising that Ichabod Grace didn't end up a Katherine-snack. And I did like the scene of Carl pressuring the man into giving up Katherine's location.

Tony's reaction in the de riguer yelling at Kolchak scene felt really forced and fake. I feel like it shouldn't have been included, or should've had Tony follow up with a call to Carl at his room telling him to forget what he said when he knew the police were probably listening, and to follow his gut.

As mentioned, it was so nice to see a man actually stumble and fall a lot during a fleeing scene, instead of some clumsy woman who gets killed because she doesn't know how to run.

I was also happy mostly, with how Carl avoided the murder charge for Katherine, but as the episode closed out, I did find it both odd and a bit disappointing in how much of a non-entity our vampire actually turned out to be. There just wasn't any personality to our villain, except for a few hissing scenes.

The Score: The beginning of this episode felt too slow, and the B-Plot took up too much time but I did like the back half of the episode quite a bit. The demise of Katherine also helped to elevate the episode's score, so it ends up receiving:

3.50 stars out of 5


Tags: kolchak: the reviews

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