West and Gordon arrive in Willow Springs to find everyone frozen in place and all the money gone. President Grant orders them to investigate, but Governor Marcus Hawthorne shows little interest in helping out. West goes to investigate a request for help from the nearby town of Sand Hill and ends up trailing the gang responsible to their hideout, where he gets into various kinds of hot water, while Gordon, working on analyzing the cause of the paralysis, finds some trouble of his own.
Tropes present in this episode:
- Even Evil Has Standards: Coley is a thief and murderer, but he is honestly disturbed when he discovers Dr. Kirby plans to murder thousands of people with his bacteria.
- Eviler Than Thou: Played with, the episode contrasts the smaller scale mass robberies of greedy outlaw and thug Coley and his gang, with the large scale plans of mass murder, by the sympathetic and clearly mentally unwell Dr. Kirby. Both parties believe they are using the other. Despite Coley being the more traditionally evil member, it is he who turns on the Doctor out of sheer horror at the scale of murder he is willing to cause.
- Fake Nationality: The apparently occidental Dr. Kirby is Chinese.
- Fed to the Beast: A small-scale version. The gang leader threatens to cover a tied-down Artie in bacon grease and then let a bunch of hungry lab animals loose on him.
- Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: The man responsible for inventing the paralysis drug has a young, lovely daughter who loves her father but isn't willing to help him kill people.
- The Mentally Disturbed: While dangerously insane Dr Kirby is presented as a tragic victim who's been driven past the brink by his experiences, his insanity is presented as clearly causing him problems, and Jim even offers to take him to the best doctors in the country to help him.
- Sleazy Politician: Governor Hawthorne is absolutely unconcerned with anything other than his own personal comforts and his future political career.
- Strapped to an Operating Table: Artie ends up confined this way when he's captured and threatened with torture by the gang.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Kirby was once a missionary who helped save hundreds of lives in China. However, when the ruler's wife died during a plague despite Kirby's best attempts to save her, the ruler had Kirby's wife killed in retribution, causing Kirby to become embittered toward humanity.