The Seance


SUMMARY

Mrs. Rodeheaver, a wealthy, vibrant 50-something is being scolded by her maid for showing too much leg in her latest outfit. At her age, any leg is too much leg, but whatever. She then receives a phone call which seems to put her into some sort of trance. Gliding zombie-like to her wall safe, she slowly removes a diamond ring, places it into an envelope and leaves it stuffed in the mouth of a avian lawn statue perched alongside her driveway. Hey, we don’t write this stuff, we simply report the madness.

The Angels arrive an undetermined amount of time later and inspect the crime scene, noting that the safe has not been tampered with. They learn that Mrs. Rodeheaver’s husband - the aptly named Mr. Rodeheaver - passed over three years ago. Now, it seems that she has retained a spiritual adviser, one Madam Dorian, who allegedly helps her stay in contact with her deceased hubby who continues to advise his very much alive wife in financial matters from beyond the grave.

Sabrina decides to move in with Mrs. Rodeheaver as her secretary, while Kelly goes undercover as a rich heiress - Miss Osling of Osling Oil, who has recently been left a bunch of money by her dead daddy and needs to get in contact with him from beyond to advise her on some business affairs, thus luring Madam Dorian into the Angels’ web.

Kelly and Jill then go to meet Madam Dorian’s scheister assistant Terrence who requests a private interview with Miss Osling. Once Jill leaves the room, Terrence immediately begins the not-so-difficult process of hypnotizing Kelly. After merely asking her first name and playing a music box, Terrence seems to have Kelly completely in his thrall. He sets up a séance for that night.

Kelly and Jill then go shopping for outfits to wear to the evening’s séance and discuss Kelly’s performance in the upcoming sting. While all of this is going on, the story almost grinds to a halt as we follow Sabrina’s adventures in playing cards with Mrs. Rodeheaver and her circuit of elderly friends.

Later that night, Madam Dorian finally makes her debut and conducts a typically cheesy séance. Though Jill is amused by the bunko routine, a melodramatic Kelly seems to take the proceedings ultra seriously. Courtesy of a control panel operated by Terrence, tambourines levitate, trumpets float and the Madam’s pre-recorded voice (plus echo effect) fill the room. Upon hearing the music box, Kelly’s trance is activated and she begins speaking in a quiet little girl voice, muttering pleas to someone – or something – named ‘Beamish’.

Afterwards, chauffer Bosley and passenger Bri pick up the girls and during the ride home, a bemused Jill prods Kelly to “do the little girl voice”, which really upsets Kelly, who seems to have no idea what Jill is talking about. Concerned, the girls humor her.

Late that night, Kelly has nightmares about Beamish – evidently an abusive matron from Kelly’s actual childhood orphanage - who locks the terrified little Kelly in a dark closet after angrily confiscating her only friend, a rag doll named Lilibet. Kelly wakes from her nightmare to a phone call from Terrence and his magic music box, which hypnotically beckons her to his office.

A worried Sabrina attempts to phone Kelly but finds that the Angel’s phone is off the hook. Meanwhile, Kelly has somehow made her way to Terrance’s office and has disclosed all of her true personal and financial details to the murderous mind manipulator. In the process, Kelly unknowingly blows her own cover, as well as Jill’s. Upon discovering that he’s been set-up, Terrence uses Kelly’s paralyzing fear of Beamish, along with his magic music box chords to brainwash her into attempting to Kill Jill by making her think Jill is actually Beamish in disguise.

After finding Kelly’s house empty, Sabrina and Jill rush to Madam Dorian’s place where precisely at that moment, Terrence is telling Madam Dorian that the cops are after him due to his shady doin’s, of which she’s just now learning. A shocked Madam Dorian calls the police in full view of Terrence.

When the girls arrive at the dark house, they discover a very dead Madam Dorian, blood trickling down her forehead, and no sign of Kelly or Terrence, yet Kelly’s Mustang is still parked out front.

Upon returning to Kelly’s house, they find the moody Miss Garrett safe at home and oblivious to all the night’s drama. The instant Sabrina leaves, Kelly hallucinates Jill morphing into Beamish, and phones Terrence for instructions on how to destroy Beamish. She tells Jill they must go out for breakfast and the two girls speed away in the Mustang with an out-of-it Kelly at the wheel.

Sabrina witnesses Mrs. Rodeheaver become remotely hypnotized after receiving telephoned instructions from Terrence and realizes how their client is being ripped off – he's getting her to remove her own valuables from her own safe and deposit them where he can swipe them.

Kelly: "I must destroy you, Beamish."

Turns out Kelly isn’t treating Jill to breakfast – she’s actually hurtling them both towards a ravine in an attempt to dispose of Beamish. Driving at high speed along a harrowing mountain road, an enraged and entranced Kelly reveals her true intention and just as the Angels are about to plummet to their deaths, Jill manages to snap Kelly out of the trance and onto the brake pedal.

Back at the Rodeheaver estate, Terrance picks up Mrs. Rodeheaver's stash of jewels - they've been replaced with rocks, courtesy of Sabrina, and he knows the jig is up.  The girls return to confront him and, after a brief fight with Jill, he's subdued by an armed and rogue Kelly - now only feigning hypnosis. Back at the office, Kelly reveals that the secret to not being hypnotized is knowing what’s real and what’s not, which doesn’t seem to inspire confidence in Sabrina or Jill that Kelly will not become a victim again in the future.

BACKGROUND CHECK

The Seance Episode #11 Season 1, Episode 11 Airdate: Dec 15, 1976 Writer: Robert C. Dennis Director: George W. Brooks

FILMING LOCATIONS

The Townsend Agency Office

WHAT'D YOU THINK?

Rate this episode:

CURIOSITIES

• Why is Bosley so upset about the price of Kelly's dress? Wouldn't that just be included as an expense in the client's fee? Actually, why was Bosley even in that scene?

• If Bosley waited for Kelly and Jill during the séance as he was told, how is Sabrina sitting in the car when they come out?

• The magazine Jill's reading in Terrance's waiting room is the February 1976 issue of National Geographic.

• Is bitchiness a typical symptom of hypnosis? Even before she receives any harmful orders from Terrence, Kelly starts snapping at Sabrina and Jill to the point of having Bri tell her to calm down and the others talk behind her back passive aggressively in the limo after they drop her off.

• Weird that Bosley is open to the idea that Madam Dorian really did communicate with spirits, considering how he's so judgemental about this whole topic in Haunted Angels.

• Why does Terrance summon Kelly by saying that Beamish wants her? And why does it work? You'd think that would have the opposite effect.

• Kelly leaves her purse behind at Terrance's and, unable to get into her car, ostensibly walks home. How'd she get back into her house without keys? Is she not to be in the habit of locking her door?

• Why is Sabrina so certain that Kelly can't be made to do anything bad, as long as she understands that it's bad? Isn't that kinda the point of the hypnosis? Her theory was disproved quick enough.

• Listen to the inconsistent tone in Jill's dubbed lines in the car as Kelly tries to drive off the cliff. “Kelly PLEASE” she says rather dramatically then back to a more perplexed “Kelly?” making it sound as if she was getting less and less scared.

• Kelly sure seems to drive way more than 1,500 feet past the "BRIDGE OUT 1500 FEET" sign. And the Mustang sure has excellent brakes, stopping from 50 MPH in about 20 feet.

• "35, I'll never go faster than 35 as long as I live," vows Jill, 11 episodes before leaving to become a race car driver.

• At the end, Sabrina has no way of knowing that Kelly is only pretending to be hypnotized. So why does she try to appease hypno-Kelly by getting Terrance to confess? Even if she really thought he was Beamish, why would hearing Beamish confess to petty jewel thefts convince her to put the gun down? Then at the end of Kelly's routine, Sabrina acts all smug like she knew all along.

• The identity of the actress who plays Beamish is one of the series' enduring mysteries. Incidentally we once spotted her as an extra in the background of an episode of Kate Jackson's previous series The Rookies, but she again was uncredited.

FIGHT (DRAW)

BIMBOS

SHOTS FIRED AT ANGELS

SHOTS FIRED BY ANGELS

DAYS TO SOLVE CASE

ANGELS MORPHED INTO EVIL HISPANIC MATRONS

TURTLENECKS

CHARACTER DEATHS

ACTION

the-seance-jill-farrahFor the first 45 minutes, the most action you get is Mrs. Rodeheaver’s bridge game, but they make up for it by showing Kelly try to drive Jill and herself off a cliff and Jill doing a few karate combinations on Terrence before Kelly shoots a few rounds at him. The fight is ultimately a draw but we love that Angel Pseudo Kung Fu.

FASHION

Sabrina’s Sesame Street horizontal striped turtleneck plus vertical striped blue-indigo-violet section of the color spectrum bathrobe smock she wears in the opening scenes will test the color and contrast settings on your television. Viewed in HD, this may cause your subliminal programming to activate and you may try to assassinate a government official. You have been warned. Things don’t seem to improve for Bri as she changes into a Native American themed taupe poncho thing strapped on over a cream turtlenecked pantsuit. She later appears in a startlingly out-of-character elaborate pink peignoir set, worn with - just to remind us who's boss - her trusty wristwatch. So Sabrina. The others keep it casual in jeans and cute sweaters with the exception of Kelly’s sickly lavender séance shroud.

Wardrobe Repeats Sabrina can't bear to part with her poncho from Bullseye, and Jill wears the same top to the séance as she did to Sabrina's funeral in Target:Angels. Though we aren't here to swap pictures of Mrs. Rodeheaver, she actually steals this section with two repeats - her bike-ridin' suit is repeated by Too-Tall Paula in Angel Flight, and her psychedelic zebra dress was first seen in the Pilot episode.

Kate Jackson

Seance

Kate Jackson

Bullseye

Kate Jackson

Seance

Kate Jackson

Target

WILLPOWER, I NAME THEE NOT KELLY

Has there ever been a more susceptible victim for hypnosis than Kelly in this episode? The moment Jill leaves her alone with Terrence, literally all he has to do is ask her to relax and her first name and it seems as if Kelly is already under his control - and this is before he starts playing those same 8 bars of music box melody. We're not sure if Kelly wanted to be hypnotized or simply forgot that she was undercover as a potential victim, not actually a potential victim.

SCREEN TIME ANALYSIS

No surprise that Kelly's orphan antics earn her the largest share of screen time here. Jill follows close behind, leaving Sabrina in the dust with about 10 minutes less.

  • KELLY
  • JILL
  • SABRINA
  • BOSLEY
  • HOW MUCH OF THE EPISODE HAS AT LEAST ONE ANGEL/BOSLEY IN IT 83%

KELLY'S CHILDHOOD

Kelly basically goes to pieces at any mention of her childhood here, yet she visited her actual orphanage 6 episodes ago in Target: Angels and was totally unaffected (and will get into the topic again in One Love... Two Angels). Judging from her behavior here, shouldn't she have been scared of running into her childhood bogeywoman at the orphanage? Maybe Kelly knows Beamish since transferred to a different orphanage where child-terrorizing skills were more in demand. (She must be alive though, or else Kelly probably wouldn't be afraid of her. You know she must keep an eye on the obituaries.)

SPECIALIZED ANGEL SKILLS

Watch Jill open a desk drawer with her foot, unseen in a room full of people, and peep at Mrs. Rodeheaver’s appointment book thus employing some of the same silent stealth file-reading skills seen in Angels In Chains. Jill's early-season-1 airhead tendencies are wearing off, and her more collected demeanor here is a welcome departure. This is probably the #1 episode of the series for Kelly selling her "Sensitive Orphan" bit (although considering she nearly gets everybody killed, that can't fairly be called a skill here), and Sabrina continues her reign as "Smart One" by figuring out the case and explaining it to both the client and the other Angels.

GERIATIC KICK

"Probably one of us should stay in the house,” Sabrina advises Charlie in her initial report. Upon hanging up the phone however Bri rather deceptively tells Jill, Kelly, and Mrs. Rodeheaver that “Charlie thinks it would be a good idea if I move in here for a few days.” Sabrina, now you know good and well Charlie suggested no such thing. Mrs. Rodeheaver seems rather cool to the idea as well, exclaiming “Into my house? Whatever for?” and thus begins the trend of Sabrina being pawned off with the elder guest star of the week (see I Will Be Remembered, Consenting Adults, Angels On A String, Lady Killer).

REPEAT OFFENDERS

Carole Cook (Madame Dorian) later played Hildy Slater in Angel in Love.

Cliff Medaugh ("Elderly Gentleman" who is appalled at Sabrina's bridge game) also appeared in Pretty Angels All in a Row and Angels on Vacation.

Rene Auberjonois (Terrance) later played Freddie Fortune in Angels on Skates.

George W. Brooks also directed Angels on Horseback and Angels on the Air.

Robert C. Dennis also wrote The Sandcastle Murders.

* IMDb lists Nancy Cameron as appearing here as "Miss Ohio" even though this is in reference to Pretty Angels All in a Row.

OUR TAKE

Greg's Rating: 5 stars  A classic. Kelly is the first but not last to be hypnotized by a bad guy and turned against her fellow Angels. A bad guy would try to hypnotize Kelly herself again in Season 3’s Angels in Springtime and Julie in Seasons 5 Attack Angels. Sabrina gets to bond with an elderly female guest star and Jill gets to do some Pseudo Kung Fu moves. But best of all, this episode introduces Beamish to the Angelverse and for that alone it gets 2 stars.

Brolly's Rating : 5 stars One of the Season One classics. Well written. Camp as ever. Entertaining. Oh, and Jill gets the ca-ca scared out of her while cruising around with Kelly. Some future race-car driver! But I'm digressing. Back to the episode in hand… This ep clearly belongs to Kelly. We get Angel-background to sink our teeth in. Not too deep, mind you, but it IS a glimpse of childhood trauma nonetheless. Poor Kelly! Having been stuffed in the closet by evil Beamish! It only could have been worse, if Beamish would have decided to join her in there.

Kenny's Rating: 5 stars  This is a fan favorite for many including Jaclyn Smith herself. Someone is supposedly stealing from a wealthy widow and the Angels are called in to investigate. One of the widow's acquaintances is Madame Dorian and her creepy assistant Terrance. Kelly is hypnotized and uncovers her childhood fear of "Beamish" and being locked in the closet without her beloved "Lilibet". I never understood why Kelly is so pissed off after she's been hypnotized, if she didn't remember anything, why is she so defensive. I guess maybe because Jill is such an obvious non believer and keeps pushing her to do "the little girl voice". Sabrina moves in with the widow and it's fun to watch her trying to keep up with the very active widow. It's soon discovered that Kelly is a private investigator and Terrence cracks, he then murders Madam Dorian, and cues Kelly to kill Beamish who she believes is Jill. Terrance makes one last attempt to rob the widow before he makes his big escape all the while Kelly is driving her and Jill, whom she thinks is Beamish, to their deaths until Jill talks her out of it by reminding her about Lilibet. The car comes to a screeching halt just in the nick of time. Kelly realizes what she has almost done and you see how much Jill and Kelly really love each other. I love the Angel chop Jill gives Terrance and the way Kelly fakes being hypnotized and scares the Beamish out of the cowardly Terrance. I enjoyed this episode even though I, like Jill am a non believer. A season one classic!