We open at the Rossmore Institute where a late night psychic experiment is going on. Present is Claire Rossmore, owner of the Institute, lead researcher Dr. Holden, young psychic Kathy, and famous psychic Peter Russell. The psychics are being observed in two separate rooms on TV monitors. Suddenly Kathy seems possessed by a spirit and starts talking in a man's voice, whom Claire recognizes as her nephew Martin ... who has been dead for five years!
The next day at the office, Claire reveals she is Bosley's bridge partner of three years, and he's convinced she's being swindled. After passing around a 5x7 of her nephew, Claire explains at great length that Martin was killed five years ago on her property in a motorcycle accident, and after his death, she gave all her money and estate to Dr. Holden in an attempt to contact Martin's spirit. Instead of laughing her out of the office or hooking her up with a good therapist, the Angels take the case.
Sabrina goes undercover as a psychic and Kris as her handler/researcher, a graduate student from Olmstead University wearing giant prop glasses. They introduce themselves to Dr. Holden, who's very skeptical at first. After Sabrina senses that someone once died on the premises, and then predicts a phone call from Claire, Dr. Holden seems convinced enough that she's the real deal, and takes the odd couple on a tour of the Institute.
They enter the control room and watch the TV as Eric Knight, another resident psychic, uses his powers to read an old pocket watch held by a female lab assistant in the next room. They're introduced when the experiment is over; he and Kris immediately connect, but Sabrina ruins their moment by mysteriously disappearing. She's soon found back in the control room, over dramatically experiencing "visions" of Martin speaking through Kathy the night before. She and Kris are asked to attend the psychic experiment that night.
Kris: "Some of my best friends are detectives."
Kathy and Peter Russell are present, and once again, both sense another "presence". Suddenly Martin's voice is heard coming from inside Kathy's room, and she weirdly screams and seems to be pulled from her chair. Everyone rushes down the hall, unlocks the door, and finds Kathy dead on the floor.
Sabrina and Kris continue to cheat their way through another experiment using incredibly obvious hand signals, as the oblivious Dr. Holden watches closely and pantomimes writing on his clipboard. Satisfied, he more or less announces that they cheated just right ("better than pure chance, but not high enough to be suspicious!") and Kris cannot stifle a big, obvious wink.
Eric later joins Kris on the Institute grounds for a sexy stroll (her glasses are off and there's saxophone music). After vaguely creepy chitchat about how he feels dead peoples' emotions, he freezes in mid-flirt and experiences a vision of Kris in a cop's uniform! Kris has no chance to explain before he leaves in a huff.
Meanwhile, Kelly visits Kathy's eccentric grandma, Mrs. Brendleberry, at her pawn/antiques/electronics/magic/liquor shop. Her guard dog Sheffield wags his tail cheerfully as Kelly acts afraid of pre-recorded growling sound effects. Once the dog's called off and Kelly is summoned into the back room, she questions the emotionless old bat about Martin, and Kathy's interest in the occult. Sheffield starts acting crazy and all of a sudden the entire shop starts to shake - bottles fall off shelves, the mirror shatters, and the TV blows up! Mrs. Brendleberry seems completely unfazed.
Back at the office, Kelly says that something strange is going on (duh). Kris explains that Eric knows her cover is a fake, and that she really likes him even though he's strange. The Angels deduce that he is suspect #1 since he was the only person not in plain view when Kathy was killed.
Bosley goes off to interview people who knew Martin, including a priest, a former coach, and motorcycle toughs who all paint a picture of Martin as a violent, sociopathic human being. Despite his findings, he can't convince Claire that Martin was a bad guy. She lets Bosley (forces him to) listen to audio tapes Martin used to send her from college. In order to solve the case, he convinces her to demand fake psychic Peter Russell's participation in another séance.
Everyone settles into the Institute for the night as the obligatory spooky thunderstorm brews. Why everyone including Kelly and Bosley had to sleep at the Institute is not made clear. Eric visits Kris' room and tells her that Martin is no ghost, Sabrina is no psychic, and that they are all in danger.
Meanwhile, Kelly once again is the only Angel plagued by paranormal phenomena as a tray of drinking glasses in her room shake, rousing her from carefully posed slumber. She gets Kris and together they go looking for Sabrina, and notice someone ("or someTHING") outside riding around on a Harley. The spooky organ music starts to really get out of hand as Sabrina does some snooping of her own, follows some suspicious looking wires, and discovers that Martin's “voice” is really coming from a hidden tape recorder in the basement!
As Kelly, Kris and Bosley search the control room, Bri appears on screen from one of the testing rooms saying that she knows how Kathy was murdered; at that moment, the real Sabrina wisely jumps out and scares her armed teammates from behind. A good way to get shot, but also proof that the whole Martin ghost killer thing is a big ole' fraud - what everyone was watching on the screen had actually been a video tape of Peter Russell.
As the séance gets underway, Peter reveals himself as the bad guy by snatching a hidden electronic key and grabbing Sabrina while appearing on the monitor via video tape! He tries to take Bri as a hostage, but she kicks his butt - he flees and is almost run down and scared to death by Bosley on the Harley.
In the end back at the office it is explained that Peter Russell performed all the paranormal tricks with sound waves (?) and Martin's ghost voice was edited together from his tapes. Bosley continues to insist that this psychic stuff is a bunch of baloney. Eric (who is also at the office for some reason) warns that he should keep an open mind, or else he will tell the Angels about the time Bosley went skinny dipping as a teenager (What threat is there left? He already kinda told them). "Oh, Bosley!"
• This is one time Kris should have borrowed Bosley's, or even Kelly's car - she looked a bit unprofessional rolling up to the Institute in her racing-striped Cobra.
• When Kathy leapt out of the camera frame to get murdered, did she intentionally scream and act like a ghost was pulling her, not yet aware Peter was about to kill her, or was this just horrible acting and she leapt out of the frame toward the guy about to bludgeon her so we (the viewers) would not know who the villain was for 20 more minutes? Results are hazy.
• Couldn't they have gotten an angrier-looking dog to growl at Kelly?
• The glimpse of Mrs. Brendleberry's TV shows a stock clip of police cars used in The Rookies! The clip can be seen in the first season episode "A Very Special Piece of Ground" among others.
• When Mrs. Brendleberry's room starts shaking, watch the mirror before it cracks - the chandelier, which was shaking violently in the previous shot, is dead still.
• Everyone always wears the same clothes at the Institute, even though the scenes are supposed to be different days. It's hard to tell where one ends and the next begins.
• What's with the weird research girl peeking out of her room in the middle of the night to glare at Kris in the hallway? Was she just standing at her door all night waiting to pounce?
• Freaked out by ghost activity, Kelly knocks on Kris's door in the middle of the night and offers the explanation: "I just had a visitor. It made my glasses do a dance!" and amazingly, Kris does not ask for clarification the way any real human would when faced with this statement. "Wait, what? Glasses? You don't wear... oh, you mean drinking glasses? Why do you have more than one glass? Define 'dance'? Is it still happening? Out of my way, I want to see." Instead she just sort of goes "Wow!"
• Kelly and Kris claim they can't find Sabrina anywhere! even though they really only looked in one room. And then the next shot is of Sabrina snooping around on the staircase which is literally five feet away from where they're all standing. It would take real effort NOT to find her.
• Why the big fuss made over the special electronic keys (played by slide projector clickers)? Why did Peter hide his Martin tapes from Dr. Holden IN Dr. Holden's own institute, in a place to which only Dr. Holden had the special electronic key?
• Why does Peter Russell threateningly point his gun at the camera instead of at the squirming Sabrina?
• What was the point of the motorcycle? We're supposed to think it was Dr. Holden's, right? Was this to freak everyone out like Martin's ghost is outside riding a motorcycle? "Martin" already killed that girl, the motorcycle isn't going to make him much scarier at this point. And if it was Dr. Holden's, why was he so terrified by it at the end?
• Why was Eric at the office at the end? It seemed odd, even if he and Kris were going on a date right after. He was only there because the closing jokes required dialogue with him, but wouldn't this scene have made more sense happening at the Institute?
BAD GUYS BEAT DOWN
SHOTS FIRED AT ANGELS
SHOTS FIRED BY ANGELS
DAYS TO SOLVE CASE
Kris was supposed to be some kind of paranormal researcher so of course she wore these huge wide frame glasses and her hair in a bun. We kept expecting her to spin into Wonder Woman at any moment.
Sabrina (of course) managed to incorporate a turtleneck into her all-black burglar mime number. Later in the episode (at night) when Bri is sneaking around the Rossmore Institute (when wearing all black would actually have come in handy) she added this gaudy reflective purple-ish vest with curtain ropes hanging off it. During the wrap-up, Bri's slipped into an all-white version of this wardrobe staple, creating a daytime Yang to her traditional nighttime Yin.
Wardrobe Repeats Did you miss the burglar suit? Aunt Claire's ugly mauve shroud thing is also worn by the jewelry store lady in Counterfeit Angels, by the way.
DISINGENUOUS ANGEL ALERT
Kelly once again says it but doesn't mean it - when presented with a studio portrait of the homely-looking, pudgy and bespectacled Martin, she purrs “he looks very nice.” Oh Kelly, he looks no such thing!
While we're on the topic, could Martin's cheerful headshot (complete with 3rd grade school portrait backdrop) match his description any less? It's strange to hear about all the rage and rebellion and demon-motorcycle-riding, after knowing this guy looks like he's going to corner you at the library and talk your ear off about astrophysics.
STOP THE MEDDLING
The ghostly voice of Martin belongs to Rick Casorla, who you'll probably remember best as the creepy son from Pom Pom Angels. Casorla played a total of 5 roles on Charlie's Angels and was kind enough to talk to us about all of them - check it out!
EERIE SOUND EFFECTS
The whoooeeeooo creepy music wore thin the first five times they played it. Its effectiveness is really ruined when they play it constantly, especially when Sabrina is being dragged down the hall at gunpoint. That's no longer an eerie situation - the standard disco action music would actually be way more appropriate.
SCREEN TIME ANALYSIS
Say what you will about its quality, but this has a pretty good level of Angel content.
- HOW MUCH OF THE EPISODE HAS AT LEAST ONE ANGEL/BOSLEY IN IT 89%
Sabrina stops using her fake psychic powers and starts using her brawn as she kicks the crap out of Peter Russell for twisting her arm (“ouch” indeed), felling him with a patented Angel Elbow, a kick to the face (Tiffany would be proud), and then, not content with his injuries, hurls herself at him for a tumble down a flight of cement steps. Kelly and Kris look on instead of helping their teammate proving either they have an amazing amount of confidence in Sabrina's martial arts ability or proving they are apathetic to her plight.
LAME PARANORMAL ALERT
When Kelly and her silk vest go to visit Mrs. Brendleberry, the chandelier starts shaking, the TV blows up and the place goes crazy! Later in a throwaway line Charlie tells them Peter Russell did it all with sound waves? Um, ok…… what a cop-out. We want to see a science fair project demonstrating this stuff.
Add to this Russell's fantastic editing skills - he simply took Martin's tapes sent from college, which were just nice calm verbal letters home, and managed to edit together ghostly threats like "STOP THE MEDDLING!" and "LET ME REST, I'M WARNING YOU!" That's impressive, especially with 1978 technology.
Furthermore, Dr. Holden is supposed to be this world-renowned paranormal researcher, but he comes off as more of an um... idiot. The techniques Kris and Bri use to bluff their way into the Institute, not to mention Peter Russell's videotape scam, makes you wonder how he ever became renowned at anything.
Okay, the "I want to contact my dead psychotic nephew" stuff was a little out there - still, the Angels (particularly Kris) could have demonstrated an ounce of professionalism and refrained from shooting each other not-so-subtle "Cuckoo!" glances in between every sentence Claire Rossmore spoke. Yet, later on, of course Kris is wide-eyed and totally buying into the whole ghost thing. This theme continues (in much, much worse fashion) in Of Ghosts and Angels. Why do they always write Kris as the most skeptical, AND then the most gullible whenever paranormal themes arise?
Joseph Hacker: Kris's psychic romance, played ex-con Carl Nichols in Antique Angels, and would later play Randy in Angels at the Altar.
Lee Sheldon also wrote Magic Fire, The Jade Trap, Rosemary, for Remembrance, Angel Hunt, and Three for the Money.
Martin's voice was supplied by Angels frequenter Rick Casorla, who played Marshall in Antique Angels, Timothy in Pom Pom Angels, and later henchmen Burke (Angels Child) and Hank (Angel on a Roll).
Ronald Austin also directed The Sammy Davis Jr. Kidnap Caper, Diamond in the Rough, and Rosemary For Remembrance; he also wrote Mother Goose is Running for His Life, The Sandcastle Murders, Diamond in the Rough, and Unidentified Flying Angels.
Joann's Rating: I love haunted anything. Give me a haunted house, haunted amusement parks, heck even haunted Twinkies. If it’s got ghosts, I’m going to like it. So I appreciate the effort the writers made (even with the PG fright level) whenever they went to the tried and true ghost story scenario. Has there ever been a show broadcast that hasn’t had one?
The Rossmore Institute is being haunted by Martin, the nephew of Bosley’s bridge partner, Claire (I would have liked her as a love interest); a good hearted, wealthy woman who donated her estate hoping Martin can be contacted. Bosley thinks it’s a bunch of bunk and wants to Angels to investigate on her behalf. Kris poses as a researcher and Sabrina is her subject (bwahahaha). Um, were the writers having a laugh or just inhaling helium? I liked that Eric, psychic wunderkind Kris meets, is young and attractive (applying 70's standards), and he psychically figures out she’s a cop, and normally figures out he likes her. Kris likes him, too. But she’s not psychic.
While trying to contact Martin, a psychic trainee is killed, maybe by the ghost. I love how they try to sell the Angels being perplexed, creeped out, and thinking the unthinkable about these paranormal occurrences. All this is discussed back at the office, and the best bits are Bosley’s droll one-liners. The show really does excel in moments where staff just hangs exchanging clever dialogue. It’s apparent that they genuinely like each other (the characters), which still makes me wonder at the actual cast often not. Sample fun:
Sabrina: Why don’t you check out Martin’s past? Bosley: Before he died or after he died? Kris: What if the killer is a ghost? Bosley: Then he will get life like anybody else.
I could have done without visiting grandma, who doesn’t seem nearly as upset as she should that her granddaughter just died. But what does that matter when there’s fashion drama! There certainly had to have been a low wardrobe budget this week. At the Institute, Sabrina wears black pants and turtleneck, while Kris goes for a skirt/vest theme. Later, at the office, they have different clothes on. I assume it's a different day. Then back at the Institute (yet another day), they’re wearing the same clothes as before. Saving the fashion day is Kelly, donning reeeally snazzy white leather plants. Not everyone can pull off leather pants, let alone white. Guess she went with the ghost motif. This lets me forgive her wearing pajamas to work at the end of the show.
As any ghost story worth its salt goes, everyone retires to their bedrooms until midnight or until scary sounds are heard. At some point, Sabrina, wearing a frightful (because it’s a ghost story), fully accessorized with matching curtain ties, master bedroom curtain print vest over her all black, finds a wire to some tape equipment in the basement. We’ll skip discussing why she didn’t look earlier. Not done yet, Sabrina takes down the bad guy (Peter, the celebrity psychic I have not mentioned because even as the killer, he’s boring), as Kris and Kelly watch frozen. Maybe they saw a ghost? Seriously, why don’t they help her? Kris and Kelly stand in the doorway, as if saying, "You feel like it?" "Eh, she seems to have it under control.” "Yeah, she’s pissed about that vest too, so why interrupt her? I agree about the vest, but get the feeling Sabrina was letting off some steam about being a…err…“subject.”
Cute psychic Eric proves Bosley’s skepticism wrong, and has a date with Kris. That I could have predicted! Minus a bunch of continuity, explainable, and believability moments and the crazy scary music in the background going wacky out of control crazy nonstop loud, I really enjoy this episode. Hey, it’s no Halloween (both coincidentally coming out in 1978), but it’ll do.
Greg's Rating: Despite the lame explanation of the paranormal events, despite Sabrina and Kris's silly way of passing Bri off as a psychic and despite the whole Martin subplot (what exactly was Martin again?) was my favorite of the spooky themed episodes. It was nice to see Kris and Bri work well together and anytime an Angel gets to kick the crap out of a Days Of Our Lives cast member is alright with me.
Holly's Rating: May I ask a few questions as my eyesight clears from the constant star filtering? Why the Satanic statuary on the lawn? Why is Kelly sleeping in her clothes? Does she do ANYTHING in this 'adventure'? I mean, aside from that one scene with the old lady, Kelly is pretty much mute and unremarkable save for her dancing glasses moment. Despite my confusion and vision problems, I like this one. Ghost stuff is cool. Angel ghost stuff is better. I always enjoy how the girls traditionally pass around a snapshot of their client/suspect and one of them will coo and decide to grab him for herself. Didn't happen this time, Martin, did it? Also, I'm so proud of Bri for uncovering the prototype of the now-overused video trick that took Dennis Hopper 2 hours to figure out in Speed.
Joshua's Rating: With the intent of contacting a beloved nephew who was killed four years earlier in a motorcycle accident, the Angels are hired by his aunt Claire to pose as psychics in order to uncover a possible fraud" at least that is what the synopsis on the back of the Season 3 DVD says. Honestly, I never remember the details of this episode. Since it debuted in October it can be inferred that it's supposed to coincide with Halloween. My suggestion if you want to watch a Halloween-themed episode put in Season 4's Of Ghost of Angels. (There are no fraudulent psychics in 'Ghosts'; Tiffany Welles is 100% legitimate).
'Haunted' Highlights: We do get a glimpse into Townsend employee John Bosley's personal life so that gives this episode some of its merit. Now is it me, or does Aunt Claire look like a circa 1978 June Cleaver? (Still with the same up hairdo and when she mentions playing bridge I just think total June). This episode receives additional merit because the writers actually let Bri out from behind the bar and out of the Pinto. In fact she and Kris work together for an entire case even share some witty banter:
Munroe: Listen, don't get [the cards] all right, they'll kick us out. Duncan: Don't give me all the right clues.
Lastly this is supposed to be a spooky episode special effects and all. The effects of 'Haunted' are minor: televisons fizzling, bottles breaking, and frames falling from walls, so certainly no wires or goofs should be blatantly visible. Doing a quick run through of the episode I didn't find any mishaps so kudos to CA who hid its tricks of the trade effectively compared to that of other 70's series. Overall I give this episode 3.5 stars I was not totally bewitched but when viewed it's rather enjoyable.
Brolly's Rating: Entertaining episode with a wacky paranormal touch. It has some nice Bri-Kris interaction. Kris "subtle" wave-hint to Bri during the test cracks me up. Honorable mention goes to Bri's vest - dig the tassels! Ah, 70's fashion! In the tag scene, a youthful sin of Bosley gets revealed - oh, BEHAVE!
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