Recap / The Wild Wild West S 3 E 12 "The Night of the Legion of Death"

West saves Gordon, disguised as Aaron Addison, from being hanged - by apparently killing him. The two are pursued by members of the Black Legion, a militia working for the tyrannical Governor Winston E. Brubaker (Kent Smith), but manage to escape. They return secretly and find an ally in Catherine Kittridge (Karen Jensen), the only person willing to offer open resistance to Brubaker. Together they do their best to expose the governor and break his iron grip on the territory; however, they soon find there's more to the situation than meets the eye.

Tropes present in this episode:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: A non-lethal variation. Catherine is about to shoot Governor Brubaker, but witnesses his Villainous Breakdown after Montgomery's "The Reason You Suck" Speech. This leaves her so overwhelmed with pity that she can't bring herself to go through with the assassination.
  • The American Civil War: Alluded to when Jim says that President Grant would rather have Brubaker arrested than send in troops and risk a second civil war.
  • Antagonistic Governor: An ambitious and dictatorial territorial governor has created a secret army in a plot to become President of the U.S.—or so it seems.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap:
    • How Deke Montgomery punishes his guards for letting West sneak into the governor's mansion.
    • Also how Catherine punishes Captain Dansby for making a pass at her.
  • Conspicuously Public Assassination: Jim fakes one on Artie to save him from the gallows.
  • Everybody Lives: Ironically despite the title, no one gets killed in this episode.
  • Faking the Dead: Jim shoots Artie with a sedative that simulates death, then rescues him from the morgue, although he takes a while to recover from the sedative's effects.
  • A Fool for a Client: Inverted Trope. Jim's lawyer doesn't even pretend to help him, leaving Jim to conduct his own defense until Artie (disguised as Addison) shows up.
  • His Name Is...: "Addison" uses this exact phrase when he's about to reveal his boss's name just before Jim "kills" him.
  • Kangaroo Court: West is tried for Addison's murder by one. Judge, jury, opposing counsel, defendant and spectators alike are in no doubt as to the trial's outcome - until the supposed victim shows up. This basically forces the jury to acquit, after which the furious prosecutor tries to get the judge to toss out the verdict.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Deke Montgomery (Anthony Zerbe), Brubaker's secretary. Brubaker is little more than a pretty face which Montgomery was forced to assume due to his own scarred features.
  • May–December Romance: Brubaker is having an affair with florist Henriette Fauer (Toian Matchinga), a woman young enough to be his daughter.note  They're keeping their relationship secret, at least until they can have a wedding in the White House.
  • Mook Lieutenant: Captain Dansby (Donnelly Rhodes), commander of the Black Legion.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Governor Brubaker's administration, complete with paramilitary police force.
  • Puppet King: Governor Brubaker. He has absolutely no actual power. Or backbone. He's simply a front for his secretary, Deke Montgomery.
  • Putting on the Reich: The Black Legion has kind of an "Aussie brownshirt" aesthetic going on.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Montgomery gives Brubaker a vicious one, reminding him who The Man Behind the Man is. Unfortunately it works too well (see Villainous Breakdown below).
  • Red Right Hand: Deke Montgomery's facial scars.
  • Secret Underground Passage: There's one between the Governor's mansion and Henriette's flower shop, which she uses to come and go secretly. Early in the story, she tells Jim about it so he can escape from the Black Legion. (She doesn't know that Jim is trying to arrest her boyfriend yet.) Later, she lures both Jim and Artie into the passage, which has been rigged with explosives, but they figure it out just in time.
  • State Sec: The Black Legion, an elite force answerable only to the governor.
  • Super Window Jump: How Jim escapes from Montgomery and his guards.
  • Surprise Witness: When Jim is put on trial for murdering one of Artie's alter egos, Artie pops up to testify on his behalf.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Both Governor Brubaker and Deke Montgomery have these. Brubaker's comes when he realizes that he's only a Puppet King, Montgomery's when his worst fears about his inability to lead men in person are confirmed.
  • You Killed My Father: A variation; Catherine Kittredge wants to stop Brubaker because he imprisoned her father Daniel, a political opponent who tried to warn people about Brubaker's fascistic tendencies. At the end, thanks to Jim's suggestion, President Grant names Daniel as Brubaker's replacement, with Catherine as his secretary.