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Headscratchers / The Wild Wild West

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  • "The Night of the Lord of Limbo":
    • The final act makes absolutely no sense at all. Colonel Vautrain's plot to assassinate General Grant at Vicksburg is foiled when a cannon shell smashes into his mansion (where he was laying a trap for Grant), crushing his legs and detonating his cache of explosives prematurely. That cannon shot didn't happen in the original Battle of Vicksburg (since Grant used his house as a base and it's still standing in the present), and nothing he, West, or Gordon did caused it, so apparently history just spontaneously altered itself specifically to screw with this one guy. Then, when West and Gordon escape back into the present, they return to find Vautrain's mansion on fire. Why? If it was destroyed by an explosion in 1863, shouldn't they return to find a bombed out ruin? Has it been burning for the better part of a decade? Did Vautrain's daughter set it for some reason? It's like the writers just decided that adding Time Travel to the plot gave them a license to toss out all semblance of logic or cause and effect in writing the ending.
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    • The earlier time travel bit makes no sense either. How does time travel account for Gordon apparently becoming someone named Jack Maitland, losing all memory of his true identity? How does returning to the present bring him back to life? Was it all some kind of illusion on Vautrain's part? Just how many incredible mental powers does this guy have??
      • I think the first time was a parallel/alternate universe rather than time travel.
  • What's going on in the poker game at the end of "The Night of the Running Death"? First off, the fact that Artie is losing so badly seems out of character for him, but are we actually supposed to assume that Jim is cheating somehow (which is hinted at, but seems equally out of character)? Secondly, is Artie's flipping of the table supposed to be some kind of attempt at cheating on his part, as Jim's reaction seems to indicate? That makes no sense - the table is specially rigged to keep everything on its surface(s) in place even when turned upside-down, as Artie well knows. Are we supposed to assume he just forgot? Thirdly, why does Artie get such a big grin on his face when he looks at his new hand, and why does Jim then start looking between Artie and his own cards in apparent dismay? Did Artie pick up an unbeatable hand and decide not to even bother bluffing anymore? How did Jim know it wasn't a bluff? All very odd.
    • It seems to have been written with filling up time before the last freeze-frame as more of a concern than story sense, as the episode was running short (the scene where Artie tries cherries jubilee with molasses and loves it has "tag" written all over it).
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  • How does their telegraph receive messages in a moving train?
  • In "The Night Of The Tottering Tontine," there's no real reason (besides... you know) for Artie to be there disguised as Scotsman "Angus MacGordon," since the entire group is fully aware of the presence of the Secret Service.
    • The point is that the group are only aware of Jim's presence as part of the Secret Service. Since there's a murderer on the loose, Artie might be able to learn something about their identity that Jim simply wouldn't since whoever the murderer is would know to keep their guard up around Jim whereas Artie can present himself as being relatively harmless. It's a trick they use throughout the series - Jim essentially acts as the public Secret Service agent and works on the case using the authority that gives him while Artie comes up with an alias and sets to work making friends in the community and/or being inconspicuous enough for people to be careless around him.
  • "The Night Of The Watery Death": Why does Dominique remain on a boat which she knows is going to be hit with a torpedo, the homing device for which she has on her person? Why doesn't she just hide it on the boat and make a discreet escape? It's a small compact, and no one would be expecting that kind of attack. And why risk going down with the ship? Granted no one gets killed in the first sinking, but there's no guarantee her luck would have held out on future missions.
    • The most likely explanation is that it was to ensure that the compact remained on the ship. Too many variables instantly get introduced were she to just hide it and run - someone might find it and take it with them if/when the ship evacuated; someone might see it and get curious and discover the homing device; it might get broken or accidently lost overboard. Plus they'd have to go through the trouble of making a new one since were it to be abandoned on the ship, it would no doubt be destroyed or otherwise lost. In the end, it was far easier for the bad guys to have her keep it on her and let her stay on the boat until there's no doubt it will be hit.
  • "The Night Of The Puppeteer": All right, who exactly is providing the voices of the puppets? And why does one of them call Jim out by name in the teaser?
    • For the first question...I think we're meant to assume that it's either the puppet-Skull we see for the majority of the episode, or the real Skull with his appearance disguised. For the second question, it's a fairly common intimidation tactic, basically letting someone know you know who they are when they don't know a single thing about you. The level of Jim's reputation (especially within the criminal world) varied hugely during the series - sometimes people recognised who he was instantly, other times they'd only know his name, other times they'd apparently been completely unaware of his existence until the point he ruins their plans - so it's not altogether unreasonable to assume that Skull (or whoever the puppeteer was) was someone who knew who Jim was, noticed him watching the puppet show and decided to try their hand at freaking him out.
  • "The Night Of The Tycoons": Why does Amelia Bronston have a lifesize replica of the boardroom table, the gun on it, and mannequins representing the board members all set up? With live guards hidden among them?


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