Little Boy Lost
A photographer (Season Hubley) contemplating marrying her boyfriend or taking a prestigious job meets a young boy (Scott Grimes) who seems familiar.
When a woman (Dee Wallace) rubs a magic lamp, she gets the opportunity to cash in three wishes.
A Vietnam veteran (Scott Paulin) who fears falling asleep confides his nightmares to the folks at a diner.
This episode contains the following tropes:
- Both Sides Have a Point: Carol Shelton and her boyfriend Greg both bring up valid points about Carol's career prospects and having kids. Carol points out if she takes the job and has kids they'll hardly see her and she won't get to see them grow. Greg points out that given his age, if they waited to have kids he'll be too old to do parent/child activities with his child.
- Family Versus Career: The photojournalist Carol Shelton must decide whether to accept her dream assignment abroad or marry her long-time boyfriend Greg and have children. The day after the job offer, she meets a strange boy named Kenny at the zoo and she assumes that he was sent by a modeling agency to work with her. The two of them spend the day together and quickly form a bond. The next day, Carol breaks it to Greg that she has decided to take the assignment. Immediately afterwards, she finds Kenny at her apartment and he pleads with her to remain in the US. Confused, she asks him how he knew about her conversation with Greg and where she lived but Kenny runs away. He mysteriously vanishes before Carol can catch up with him. The following morning, Carol sees Kenny in the park and questions him once again. She discovers that Kenny is the son that she would have had if she had chosen to turn down the assignment and marry Greg. Carol explains that she does want children but there are other things that she wants to do first. Kenny says that she might have a son one day but it won't be him. He then fades away, calling Carol "Mom" just before he disappears forever.
- Pet's Homage Name: The photojournalist Carol Shelton's cat is named Ansel after Ansel Adams.
- Ripple Effect Indicator: A variation. Kenny is the son that Carol Shelton would have had in the potential future where she stayed in the US and married her boyfriend Greg instead of going abroad on a photography assignment. When she decides to take the assignment, Kenny disappears from the photos that Carol took at the zoo.
- Breather Episode: This episode is a light-hearted, comedic one which immediately preceded the violent, horror-themed "Nightcrawlers".
- Fictional Counterpart: The Department of Magical Venues, an infuriating Vast Bureaucracy, is a Parody of the Department of Motor Vehicles.
- Mythology Gag: Mr. Brent's superior at the Department of Magical Venues is Mr. Willoughby. He wants to talk to Brent about the Jameson account.
- Reset Button: After Janice Hamill wishes that she never found the magic lamp, she is transported back to the rummage sale. She has no memory of picking up the lamp or her visit to the Department of Magical Venues.
- Three Wishes: Janice Hamill finds a magic lamp at a rummage sale. When she rubs it, she is transported to the Department of Magical Venues and is told by the broker Mr. Brent that she has three wishes. She wishes for $10,000,000, to look ten years younger and for her ex-husband Craig to suffer from moderate sexual dysfunction for a year and a half. Mr. Brent warns Janice that the first wish will turn out fine but that the second will not turn out as expected and she will almost certainly have to use the third wish to undo the first two. Eventually, Janice is so frustrated at the Department of Magical Venues being a Vast Bureaucracy that she wishes that she never found the lamp in the first place.
- Vast Bureaucracy: Janice Hamill is transported to the Department of Magical Venues after finding a magic lamp. Her broker Mr. Brent hands her a stack of papers and tells her that she needs to bring them to the validation window before her Three Wishes can be granted. He also says that she has to pay tax on the $10,000,000 that she wished for. After queuing at the window for hours, the clerk tells her that she is missing a 604 form and that she needs to get one from her broker. Janice seeks help from Mr. Willoughby, the head of the office, but it is quitting time so he says that she will have to come back tomorrow. She is so frustrated that wishes that she never found the lamp.
- Adaptational Backstory Change: Nothing is revealed of the backstory of the waitress at Big Bob's diner. In the short story by Robert R. McCammon, she is a former hippie named Cheryl Lovesong who lived in San Francisco in The '60s and experimented with drugs while she was there.
- Adapted Out: Price mentions that he has met four other Vietnam vets with the same ability to manifest their thoughts but none of them appear. In the short story by Robert R. McCammon, one of them, calling himself Tompkins and claiming to be from a veterans' association, visits Big Bob at his farm about two months after his diner is destroyed.
- Bottle Episode: This episode takes place entirely in and around Big Bob's diner. (Although there are so many special effects, it probably wasn't exactly cheap to produce.)
- Composite Character: The Big Bob's diner patrons Ray and Lindy have a son named Ricky. In the short story by Robert McCammon, they have two unnamed children, a boy and a girl.
- Recurring Dreams: The Vietnam Vet Price has a recurring nightmare about his unit, the Nightcrawlers, hunting him as he deserted them while they were under attack by the Viet Cong. Only Price survived. As he has the ability to manifest his thoughts, the Nightcrawlers appear in the real word and cause havoc whenever he falls asleep.
- The Vietnam Vet: Price is a traumatized Vietnam veteran who has the ability to manifest any person or object that he can imagine.
- Your Mind Makes It Real: Price is a Vietnam vet who suffers from severe PTSD as a result of deserting his unit, the Nightcrawlers, while they were under attack from the Viet Cong in order to save himself. He has the ability to manifest anything that he can imagine. The first indication of this is when he briefly turns his cup of coffee into a Budweiser. Price later demonstrates his ability to the other people in Big Bob's diner when he makes a T-bone steak appear on the counter. He says that he has met four other vets with the same ability and that one of them speculated that their powers are as a result of being sprayed with a strange Soviet chemical by the Viet Cong. While he is awake, Price's creations last only a few seconds but they last far longer when he is asleep. When he fell asleep at a motel, he had his recurring nightmare about his unit hunting him out of revenge and four people were killed. Trooper Dennis Wells knocks him unconscious with a ketchup bottle after he tries to escape. As a result, the Nightcrawlers unit again manifests from Price's thoughts and attacks the diner, killing Wells and Price in the process. With Price dead, the Nightcrawlers disappear.