Recap / The Wild Wild West S 2 E 15 "The Night of the Lord of Limbo"

West and Gordon are invited to a magic show, in the midst of which the magician, his lovely assistant and Gordon disappear from the stage, leaving only a saber behind. West traces the saber back to its owner - Noel Bartley Vautrain (Ricardo Montalban), a former Confederate colonel crippled during the Battle of Vicksburg. Vautrain has developed some rather remarkable powers and, after a few demonstrations on the agents, reveals that he intends to travel back in time and attempt to regain the use of his legs. That isn't quite all he has in mind, though...

Tropes present in this episode:

  • Another Dimension: According to Vautrain, this is where he sends Jim and Artie for their duel.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: How Vautrain punishes his niece Amanda for almost revealing his plan to Jim.
  • Best Served Cold:
    Vautrain (to West): For seven long years, I have wallowed in my hate for you.
  • Bookcase Passage: Vautrain hides an ammo dump behind his bookcase in the past.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Vautrain takes this trope Up to Eleven. He'd be dead if Jim hadn't saved him, but his inability to accept the loss of his legs has driven him mad.
  • Create Your Own Villain: West discovers that Vautrain, whose life he saved at the Battle of Vicksburg (albeit at the cost of his legs), has gained Time Travel powers and is plotting to go back in time and change the battle's outcome.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Bandits interrupt the duel between Jim and Artie. Before they can quite finish the bandits off, one fatally shoots Artie, who bleeds out in Jim's arms. Fortunately, it's all an Alternate Reality... or an illusion... or... well, whatever it is, once they return to Vautrain's mansion Artie is alive and well and has regained his memory.
  • Duel to the Death: Jim is forced into one of these with a brainwashed Artie; the latter thinks he is Jack Maitland, a Southern Gentleman whose honor Jim has unforgivably insulted.
  • Evil Cripple: Vautrain lost both his legs in battle and uses a wheelchair. He's unhappy about it. Murderously so.
  • Faking Amnesia: Rather than try to explain what actually happened to their apparently rather unimaginative superior, Artie (at Jim's suggestion) pretends that he simply had an accident which caused temporary amnesia. He tries to tell the truth, but gives up once he realizes how implausible it all sounds.
  • Graceful Loser: Soon after Vautrain takes Jim and Artie into the past, a Union artillery shell hits the mansion, setting it on fire and causing the wall to collapse on his legs, crushing them (again!). Admitting defeat, he sends Jim and Artie back to the present just before the fire reaches the ammo dump, destroying the mansion.
  • Make Wrong What Once Went Right: Vautrain plans to travel back in time and assassinate General Ulysses S. Grant at the Battle of Vicksburg. He says that Grant is the North's one "authentic military genius" and their cause will collapse without him.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: Given the character's roots, it's not surprising that Jim does this. It is a bit unusual that here, the line is Played for Drama rather than comedy when delivered to an amnesiac and apparently dying Artie.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Vautrain is played by Ricardo Montalban, after all.
  • Psychic Powers: Col. Vautrain has the ability to transport objects and people through space and time using only his mind. He has a few other mental powers as well, but they're not very well defined.
  • Retroactive Precognition: Vautrain intends to go back in time and use his knowledge of the Battle of Vicksburg to his advantage.
  • Say My Name: The Cold Open ends with Jim and the vanished Artie calling each others' names.
  • Stage Magician: Vautrain's alter ego of Abu the Magnificent.
  • Sword Fight: Jim vs. Artie, then both of the agents against a group of bandits.
  • Teleportation: One of Vautrain's mental powers. It has something to do with harnessing "all the pent-up power of the universe" to create "a warp of the fabric of space".
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Jim winds up the sword fight by pitching his sword at the leader of the bandits. It neatly impales the guy.
  • White Void Room: A variation. Vautrain sends himself, Jim and Artie through a black void room filled with smoke as a transition between the real world and the alternate realities he creates.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Once they arrive in the past, Vautrain tells Jim and Artie that he doesn't need them anymore and they'll be executed.