Recap: The Wild Wild West S 2 E 12 The Night Of The Man Eating House
While West and Gordon are escorting Liston Lawrence Day, a convicted traitor, back to the prison he escaped from, Gordon has a very realistic and unsettling dream. In it the group stumbles upon an old, deserted house where they decide to spend the night. They soon realize that they're trapped, the house has a will of its own which seems to be on Day's side - murderously so - and that Day's health and sanity are fading fast.
Tropes present in this episode:
- Clear Their Name: Caroline guides Jim and Artie to where she hid her diary in the hopes that they will use it to establish Liston's innocence.
- Cobweb Jungle: Cobwebs blanket the inside of the Day manor, especially upstairs. And they grow back overnight.
- Eldritch Location: The Day mansion is haunted, yes, but it also heals itself, and within its walls time passes strangely for unwelcome visitors (and their belongings) - years upon years seem to go by within the space of hours.
- Fake Nationality: Liston Day prefers to be referred to as "Diaz," since his grandfather - who came from Mexico - wanted to belong among Americans but his son/Liston's dad saw himself as Spanish, and so does Liston.
- Fountain of Youth: Caroline's ghost has the ability to make her son young again while he's inside their old house.
- Haunted House: Caroline Day has become part of the house. When the agents damage it, she's hurt as well.
- Minimalist Cast: The show's smallest ever cast - the only performers in the episode are Robert Conrad, Ross Martin, Hurd Hatfield (Liston Day), William Talman (the sheriff) and the uncredited actress who supplies the sounds Caroline's ghost makes.
- Old Dark House: The Day mansion, deserted, crumbling, full of cobwebs and darkness and sad memories.
- Or Was It a Dream?: The body of the episode takes place inside Artie's head while he's asleep. At the end he wakes up, they continue on their way... and come across the Day mansion, whose door opens for them of its own accord...
- Paranormal Episode: Jim and Artie must deal with a haunted house. The end makes it possible that it was All Just a Dream... or was it?
- Rapid Aging: Liston Day is kept young by his mother's spirit inside the house, but rapidly reverts to his real age outside of it.
- Taking the Heat: Caroline's diary reveals that Liston is innocent of the crime for which he spent 30 years in jail. The culprit was actually Caroline's husband, Charles; Liston confessed to save his father from prison.