Post 59 – “Darkness Is My Friend”

Post 59 – “Darkness Is My Friend”

April 14  – EXCELLENT    

“Laura stays the night at Mary’s. Some escaped convicts come. They order Laura to get a Doctor. She gets Pa. Finally, Pa knocks out this one guy and Laura hits this other guy over the head. Mary screams bloody murder. They get a reward and donate it to the blind school.”

From Anne –

I’ve always admired escaped prisoners. So much moxie, creativity and strategy required for a jailbreak. Especially from a train. With one of three wounded and bleeding. And while the convicts don’t have the matinee-star looks of the Jesse James brothers (featured in our last LHOP hostage episode), they’re a fine trigger for Mary’s expert caterwauling.

I’m willing to bet that “Darkness is My Friend” (who came up with these episode titles, anyway?) is the most violent episode in the LHOP canon. With several close-range shooting deaths. Maybe Landon was nostalgic for his Bonanza gunplay days.

The best things about this episode are:

1) The gratuitous use of thunderstorm sound effects (after every line of dialogue), and cartoon-ish lightning flashes out every window. The meteorology is coming on strong here. And only Mr. Oleson seems to have a nice black oilcloth slicker and hat. Everyone else is hosed.

2) Mary’s aforementioned caterwauling. Old Melissa Sue goes from placid-faced and doe-eyed to total demonic possession in three seconds flat, with ease. And she may be blind, but she catches a millisecond whiff of potential rape in the room. With supersonic howling her only defense (til Pa pops up, anyway).

One thing’s for sure: the Blind School is the Amityville Horror of Walnut Grove. A true magnet of hell. With this hostage takeover, an anthrax epidemic, and later, Mary’s crispy baby, the place is probably better off torched. Tracy?

From Tracy –

Dear God, yes. The Blind School needed to be burned down to the ground! STAT. Especially as it is now named “The Harriet Oleson School for the Blind.”

 

I do find it so typical of LHOP that the poor girls can’t even get together for popcorn and gossip without something going horribly wrong. And so after dragging in a shooting victim who proceeds to bleed all over their nice, clean, hand-sewn calico comforter, the convicts go on to scare everyone to bits. I love how young Anne describes their appearance:

“Some escaped convicts come.”

So put on the tea kettle and pop some more popcorn because damn, now its a party!

The girls are remarkably brave in this one. And the scene when the creepiest of the criminals gets all rapey face and Mary lets out one of the most bloodcurdling screams I’ve ever witnessed is reason alone to appreciate this episode.

Also, can I just ask if Pa is Wolverine? How the hell did he escape that shot gun blast? Instead, he acts like he got peppered with quail shot by Dick Chaney and just keeps going.

SPOILER ALERT!

Then at the end, they get the reward for capturing the criminals. $1000! Which would have been the equivalent of about $25,700 today. (1878?/2019). That was a super nice touch and I actually cheered aloud. Pa turns the money over to the blind school but I honestly think they should have taken some of that and sent Doc Baker on a vacation. The poor guy got a rifle butt to the head after all.

Some Trivia:

One of the criminals looked mighty familiar, and that turned out to be a very young, almost Stallone-ish  Jonathan Banks who played Mike in Breaking Bad.

In addition, there were quite a few elements in this show that reminded me of the terrific Audrey Hepburn movie Wait Until Dark. In it she plays a blind woman battling wits with a very creepy convict played by Alan Arkin!

 

 

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