Recap / The Wild Wild West S 3 E 23 "The Night of the Simian Terror"

West and Gordon are in Kansas to tell Senator Seth Buckley (Dabbs Greer) that President Grant is concerned over not hearing from him and to convince the senator to return to Washington, D.C.. They find that Buckley, his family and his staff are highly armed and very nervous about something, but can't get anyone to explain why or what. Buckley's foreman Fletcher is then attacked by what he describes as "a strange, enormous beast" just before dying. A meeting occurs afterward between Buckley, his sons, and their neighbor, Dr. Sigmund Von Liebig (John Abbott), behind closed doors; Gordon's eavesdropping attempt earns him a whack on the head from the Senator, though the agents do find out that one of Buckley's sons is off to destroy some records at the local church. The son quickly ends up dead, killed, apparently, by a giant ape. The Buckley family remains united in silence, so West and Gordon launch a full-scale investigation in their own inimitable style, hoping to find out what's going on before the Buckley family becomes extinct.

Tropes present in this episode:

  • Aerith and Bob: Aaron, Benjamin, Caleb, and...Dimas?
  • Ambition Is Evil: One of the reasons Senator Buckley kept Dimas a secret was to protect his own political career.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The rich, eminently respectable Buckleys. Between the father going out of his mind with guilt, the three sons desperately trying to push a rather large skeleton back inside its closet, the adopted daughter determined to help keep a secret she's not even in on, and the embittered, disowned fourth son trying to kill his way into his inheritance, it's not a happy family.
  • Dark and Stormy Night: The setting of the first half of the episode.
  • Dark Secret: Shortly after Dimas was born, his parents realized he was "different" and turned him over to Dr. von Liebig, who was experimenting with giving apes human intelligence. Since Dimas had the opposite problem (an intelligent mind in an oversized, somewhat apelike body), Senator Buckley hoped that von Liebig would be able to help him. Now Dimas has returned to get revenge and claim his birthright, while the Buckleys try to keep it all a secret.
  • Death Faked for You: Years ago, the Buckley family told the world that Dimas was dead and gave him a fake grave. One of the Buckley brothers tries to destroy the church records showing his survival, only for Dimas to kill him first. Later, Artie finds the last records confirming Dimas' existence in the Buckley family Bible.
  • Downer Ending: The series' only real example. Senator Buckley finally acknowledges Dimas and regrets what he did - but by this time two of his un-disowned sons, Fletcher, Dimas' pet killer ape Johann, and Dimas himself are all deceased.
  • Genius Bruiser: Dimas Buckley (Richard Kiel). He appears at first to be a dumb brute, but, as it turns out, he's extremely intelligent. In fact, he's the one orchestrating everything.
  • Herr Doktor: Dr. Sigmund von Liebeg, the thickly-accented Mad Scientist who's neighbor to the Buckleys—and Dimas' foster father, more or less.
  • His Name Is...: A variation. When West asks Fletcher who attacked him, Fletcher only manages to stammer out "It.. it... it was—" before being brought inside. He hangs on just long enough to briefly describe his killer to Artie before expiring.
  • Meaningful Name: Why is Dimas' pet ape named Johann? It probably has to do with a Teddy Bear that plays Johannes Brahms' lullaby, a family keepsake that Dimas is seen listening to after he breaks into the Buckleys' mansion.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After decades of keeping Dimas' existence a secret, Senator Buckley finally feels guilty about it while cradling Dimas' corpse. The episode's last lines:
    Senator Buckley: Dimas, my son. What have I done to him? What have I done?
  • Old, Dark House: The Buckleys live in one. Old, check; foreboding, check; full of secrets and people marked for death, check.
  • Sadist: Dimas thoroughly enjoys watching Johann attack West; check out his Slasher Smile at the upper right of the page image.
  • Theme Naming: Aaron, Benjamin, Caleb, and Dimas follow a consistent alphabetical pattern; along with Naomi, they are also all biblical names.