Recap / The Wild Wild West S 4 E 11 "The Night of the Avaricious Actuary"

Rich financier John Taney's (Harold Gould) home is destroyed in an earthquake caused by a giant tuning fork, the latest in a series of attacks on millionaires' mansions. West and Gordon suspect that the newly-formed Cyclops Insurance Company is involved; West investigates the company while Gordon tries and fails to convince the other men who have received offers of "insurance" from the firm not to pay up. Based on what West manages to recover from the company offices, the agents determine that the mastermind behind the operation is Dr. Tebor Kovacs, a tuning fork expert who was once jailed for selling classified information. They set about tracking down Kovacs and breaking up his extortion racket.

Tropes present in this episode:

  • Blank Book: Mr. Singleton's phony office at Cyclops has an empty ledger.
  • Blind Mistake: When Kovacs and his Mooks are preparing to kill Jim, Artie infiltrates their hideout by disguising himself as an elderly, nearsighted gas inspector. He creates a distraction for Jim to escape by grabbing a shotgun and firing it wildly.
  • Death Trap: Kovacs uses Jim as a living target in a shooting gallery machine for his men to shoot at. Thanks to Artie's intervention and his own cleverness, Jim escapes.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: In a variation, "Taney" destroys his own mansion with his giant tuning fork.
  • Fair Cop: Arden Masterson (Emily Banks), the female agent who assists Jim and Artie.
  • Fancy Dinner: Artie poses as a snooty waiter at an extravagant gourmet dinner given by the Epicurean Society.
  • Fat Bastard: Subverted by Dr. Kovacs. He's greedy, nasty and obsessed with food, and the only description the agents have of him is that he's very fat... but it turns out he lost a lot of weight in prison, partially because he ate as little as the terrible food there as possible.
  • Fortune Teller: Jim interacts with a mechanical one at Taney's warehouse/hideout.
  • French Cuisine Is Haughty: The Epicurean Society serves its members nothing but French cuisine. As for the "haughty" part, the club is so exclusive that you can't join voluntarily; the members choose new people via secret ballots.
  • Hard-Work Montage: It shows Jim searching the city looking for the particular weight machine that Kovacs uses.
  • Invented Individual: It turns out that "John Taney" is a false identity that Kovacs created for himself after his release from prison. Kovacs is also "Mr. Singleton", the head of Cyclops Insurance.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Kovacs has constructed a gigantic tuning fork that can demolish entire mansions. And he has an even bigger and more destructive model that he's planning to sell to an unnamed enemy nation.
  • Shock and Awe: Kovacs captures Jim by using one of his amusement park machines to shock the agent unconscious.
  • Snobs Vs Slobs: Durkin (Steve Gravers), the henchman who Kovacs sends to substitute for him at the Epicurean Society, acts like a vulgar, boorish Jerkass during his meal. Kovacs, who still misses the club's culinary delights, upbraids him for being a "swinish lout" who doesn't appreciate the privilege of having access to such excellent food.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: When Kovacs temporarily gets the drop on both Jim and Artie at the climax, he's learned from his death trap debacle. He proclaims that he's going to shoot them both, although he wishes he had the time to give them the prolonged, agonizing deaths they deserve. This brief speech still gives our heroes enough time to defeat him, though.