Of Ghosts and Angels
Tiffany’s been having a recurring nightmare about a spooky old mansion and a wheelchair bound lady falling to her death from a dark staircase. She wakes up screaming, her hair all in a frizz. The clock reads 2:30 am.
Tiff flies out to visit her old college friend Erica, who lives in an impressive historical castle – and is chilled to find that it is the exact same house as the one in her nightmare. Erica’s elation at seeing Tiff suddenly dims as she tells her she’s terrified to be in the house at nighttime – there’s a certain evil presence. She introduces Tiffany to her husband Cliff, a stern, older man whose demeanor is one of constant disapproval. Cliff takes Tiffany upstairs to her guest bedroom, and on the tour, she stops at a towering grandfather clock – whose hands are stuck at 2:30.
That night, Tiffany definitely starts to feel a certain presence, too. Her bedroom window rattles uncontrollably until the latch inexorably unhinges and the windows burst open. She hears the far-off sound of a party going on downstairs, and upon heading down to investigate, she finds a bizarre masquerade party underway – and none of the guests seem to know Tiffany is even there. (She should be used to that.) Looking upwards, Tiffany spies the lady from her dreams rolling on the landing in her wheelchair again – and just as she screams – reality hits and Tiffany finds herself completely alone downstairs. She’s then spooked to discover the face of a glowering man dressed as the Gorton’s Fisherman perched at the window, and Cliff conveniently appears to handle the situation, treating Tiffany like she’s crazy and explaining that the man at the window is only the gardener.
Next day, Kris and Kelly arrive per Tiffany’s invitation. They immediately think Tiffany and Erica are nuts and attempt to explain away the many curious occurrences. Erica tells the girls that the supernaturally-sensitive Tiffany was once heavily into the occult and ghost hunting in her college days. Tiff is continuing to get strong impressions from the house, but the other Angels just keep up their flirtatious and judgmental attitudes, blatantly humoring Tiffany, treating her like she’s insane, and then making a weak offer to phone Charlie to learn more about the house’s previous owners.
Yet another window blows open; Tiff announces that “some kind of force is building up that’s affecting everyone in this house. It may be using all of us to make some tragic event from the past happen all over again.” Later, when Tiff and Erica are romantically strolling arm in arm on the grounds, a ghost-driven car puts itself into gear and drives at them causing them to bust through a small picket fence – Erica hurts her leg somehow.
That evening during another thunderstorm, the belligerent housekeeper acts sinister while washing celery in the kitchen as Tiffany asks questions of her husband, the groundskeeper, who tells her of Cliff’s previous marriage to a wheelchair-bound woman named Madeline who was killed over 20 years ago. Seemingly a random act of violence, her valuable diamond wedding ring was also stolen that night. But more curiously, the groundskeeper describes precisely the woman from Tiffany’s dreams. The old housekeeper claims to still see the ghost of Madeline and smell her perfume. Until the new Mrs. Burke appeared in the house, the spirit had been peaceful – but now, she warns, something terrible may happen to Erica.
“There was a party that night….just like tonight!” Apparently Erica’s injury from falling onto the front lawn was so extensive that it was necessary that a doctor be called. Tiffany is startled to find Erica happily settled into a wheelchair upstairs – but no matter how much the bruise on her leg hurts, she’s still determined to attend the party.
After having taken the full day to select and slip into their costumes, Kris dresses like a shipwrecked porno pirate, Kelly a Southern belle (surprise!) and Tiffany some sort of minstrel princess. When Tiffany, armed with a flickering candle, pokes around in the girls’ closet and somehow causes the back wall to open up, revealing a dark secret passage, lit only by sparsely strung light bulbs covered in cobwebs. She slips inside – the door closing after her. The others eventually manage to get the door open, whereupon Kelly decides to go party while Kris climbs into the scary hole to find Tiffany.
Tiffany: “Lead the way, Madeline!”
Tiffany is led by Madeline’s spirit through the mazelike corridors as the light bulbs flicker this way and that. The passageway leads into a basement cluttered with junk. Inside a creaky trunk, Tiff discovers a time capsule of information about the dead Madeline – most alarmingly, her wedding ring, sans diamond, which was ” stolen” all those years ago on the night of her death.
Downstairs amidst the mime-like guests and drowsy, cool jazz muzak, a blank faced Kelly blends into the lifeless party, conversing with the now lame Erica dressed as a Victorian invalid, and a scowling Mr. Burke who makes her dance with some guy. Meanwhile Kris has followed Tiffany’s route and finally meets up with her in the basement where they spook each other and come to realize that whatever is going to happen is going to happen tonight, and it’s up them to stop it.
Cliff wheels Erica to the top of the stairs, then steps out of view; Tiff rides a dumbwaiter up to the kitchen and is supernaturally drawn to the stairs just as a man in a skeleton costume is rolling Erica towards the edge. She pulls a wheelie on the chair, forcing the skeleton to tumble down the stairs and die. When Kris pulls his mask off, it’s (not very) shockingly revealed to be Cliff, red paint trickling out his mouth. At that moment, the old grandfather clock starts ticking again.
Back at the office, Charlie explains to everyone that devious Cliff’s only way to pay debts was to marry wealthy women and make sure they died young. Despite going through this supernatural experience, Kris and Kelly poo poo Tiffany again, and she is also ridiculed by Bosley – who is given quite a start when his desk rattles and papers fly about the room. Thanks, Madeline!
Tiffany’s in a number of elaborate nightgowns, and then the costume party is just an excuse to dust off some gems laying around the wardrobe department, things people would never dress as.
How did Erica get Kris’s sweater from ?
Everyone is unacceptably rude to Tiffany in this episode. In the office, she mentions that she’s being plagued by recurring nightmares; Kris and Kelly stare silently, then Bosley takes pity and suggests that she’s just excited about seeing an old friend (what?).
It gets even worse at the mansion, where Kris and Kelly can barely stop making smug “she’s-crazy” faces at each other long enough to discredit every comment Tiffany makes. They clearly are afraid of the ghost when things get weird, yet resume haughtily judging Tiff back at the office. Hopefully Madeline followed Kris home and Poltergeisted the beach house for all eternity.
MEDIUM AT LARGE
So as far as we’re led to believe in this episode, Tiffany really is a “sensitive” or whatever, and really can communicate with this dead lady … yet everyone sort of laughs it off. Isn’t that kind of a big deal? Tiffany’s new ghost friend has followed her to work and is doing her bidding by performing ghost pranks on Bosley, and they’re just going “Oh, Madeline.” Um, no one is concerned that Tiffany can sic a GHOST on them? She’s not eager to go call Hans Kempler or anything?
Here’s another episode where somebody remembered the stock recordings and was inspired to use them all. Multiple stock gasps can be heard throughout , but best of all, Tiffany and Erica each get to scream the famous canned scream within a 20 minute span.
A more rare (and always uncalled for) canned sound effect is the one of shattering glass when some bottles fall one foot off the shaking chest in the basement.
• Does Tiffany always go to bed wearing full makeup, necklaces and rings?
• If this mansion is far enough away that the Angels have to fly there, why didn’t they bother saying where it’s supposed to be?
• How is there eternally a thunderstorm going on outside this mansion?
• Why are Kelly and Kris all moaning and out of breath after closing that window?
• Tiffany is only about 5 feet down that passageway when Kris starts hollering her name, why doesn’t she just answer?
• Why does Erica wait at the top of the stairs in a wheelchair while Cliff fixes her room or whatever? She could simply wheel herself down the hall.
• How did the grandfather clock manage to chime at 2:29?
• Good thing Bosley glued all important items to his desk before the ghost started shaking it. And since when do they have an inbox tray?
The only recycled actor in this episode is the uncredited Cis Rundle, Cheryl Ladd’s friend who appeared many times on the show as Charlie’s babe in , tai chi chick in , waitress in , random crowd extra in , camera chick in , football chick in , random casino extra in , waitress in , cheerleader in , random dock extra in , and the librarian in . This time she played the pirate girl who Kelly mistook for Kris.
Cliff Bole also directed , , , , , and .
Kathryn Michaelian Powers also wrote and .
|Shots fired by Angels:||0|
|Shots fired at Angels:||0|
|Windows Blown Open:||6+|
|Criminal Charges:||Arguable charge of manslaughter for semi-accidentally causing Cliff to fall down the stairs and die (Tiffany)|
TOWNSEND AGENCY COMMENTARY
I have to make a similar comment as with many Season 4 adventures: great episode, but the constant Tiffany disrespect really subtracts from the experience. Tiff emerged as the bravest, smartest, nicest and most resourceful Angel, while the other two spent the hour acting rude, cliquish and a little bit gay. I was expecting some scam explanation for the spookiness like in . I felt like that episode was a cop-out for explaining away the ghost, but this one being a real ghost also felt like a cop-out. I don’t know what I want.
What a fun Tiffany outing! I loved getting to know Tiff a little better here, plus you can’t go wrong with the spooky ghost theme – and this time it turned out to be legit. Kelly and Kris are disappointing again in their treatment of the new Angel.