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Recap / The Twilight Zone 1985 S 1 E 9 Dead Womans Shoes Wongs Lost And Found Emporium

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Dead Woman's Shoes

A woman (Helen Mirren) puts on a pair of shoes and gets possessed by their original owner.

Wong's Lost and Found Emporium

Two people search for a mysterious shop that holds the secret to regaining their lost emotions.

This episode contains the following tropes:

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     Dead Woman's Shoes 
  • Adaptation Deviation: This episode is only loosely adapted from the original episode "Dead Man's Shoes". In the original, the spirit of the murdered gangster Dane takes over the body of the homeless man Nate Bledsoe when he puts on his shoes in order to exact revenge on his treacherous partner Bernie Dagget. Here, the spirit of the murdered socialite Susan Montgomery takes over the body of the shy, withdrawn woman Maddie Duncan when she puts on her shoes in order to exact revenge on her husband Kyle.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Before she leaves, Inez (who learned of Kyle's abusive nature and Susan's possession of Maddie) coldly asks Kyle a question he never answered:
    Inez: Do you believe in ghosts, Mr. Kyle?
  • Clothes Make the Maniac: A shy woman named Maddie Duncan tries on a pair of haunted high heels at a thrift store that make her assertive, self-confident—and send her on a murderous mission to kill Kyle Montgomery.
  • Determinator: Susan Montgomery is determined to seek revenge on her husband Kyle for murdering her. Her spirit survives in her shoes, which allows her to take over the body of whoever puts them on. Although Susan fails to kill Kyle while in control of Maddie Duncan, she later succeeds in doing so after a maid finds them in the trash and puts them on.
  • Domestic Abuse: Kyle Montgomery physically abused his wife Susan on a regular basis and eventually pushed her off the balcony to her death. He later claimed that it was an accident. When Susan's spirit takes over Maddie Duncan's body and returns to confront Kyle, he hits her once again.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Maddie Duncan's first scene involves her walking down the street and immediately stepping out of the way of everyone in her path without saying a word, indicating that she is very shy, mousy and withdrawn.
  • Feet-First Introduction: The first that the audience sees of Maddie Duncan is her feet as she walks to the thrift store where she works. She continually steps out of people's way as she does so. The camera pans to reveal her face when she arrives in the store.
  • Gender Flip: Maddie Duncan is possessed by the spirit of a murdered woman named Susan Montgomery when she puts on her expensive high heels. In the original episode "Dead Man's Shoes", the murdered gangster Dane's personality takes control of a homeless man named Nate Bledsoe when he puts on his two-tone black and white shoes.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Kyle Montgomery murdered his wife Susan by pushing her off a balcony. He later told the police that it was an accident and she fell to her death because she was drunk.
  • Nice Shoes: Susan Montgomery wore an expensive pair of black high heels before she was murdered by her husband Kyle. When Maddie Duncan puts them on, Susan's personality takes control of her body. At the end, the same thing happens to a maid who finds the discarded shoes in the trash. Picking up the gun that Maddie had also discarded, Susan (in the maid's body) enters the Montgomery house and shoots Kyle.
  • Shrinking Violet: Maddie Duncan. Without a doubt.
  • Something Only They Would Say: How Susan convinces everyone that it is indeed her, despite that she's in Maddie's body.
  • Wham Line:
    Susan: Tell me something Kyle: How can you make threats to someone you've already killed?

     Wong's Lost and Found Emporium 
  • Adaptational Backstory Change: David Wong decides to assume management of the Lost and Found Emporium after he finds his compassion. In the short story by William F. Wu, he had already been running the emporium for several months before he regained his compassion.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Melinda calls David Wong "Brown Eyes" after she regains her sense of humor. He never actually tells her his name on screen.
  • All There in the Script: The name of the woman who becomes David's assistant at the Lost and Found Emporium is named Melinda.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Melinda's backstory. She recently got out of one such horrible marriage, but found that the damage had already been done: she had lost her sense of humor and had forgotten how to laugh at herself.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Realistically enough, David didn't lose his compassion over night, but rather, it was a gradual process of one catalyst after another. From the time he was a young college student, David was faced with racism and prejudice, and it began to destroy his compassion and view on the world. But what set him off was the murder of Vincent Chin. Even though the case eventually received some shred of justice, the damage had already been done and David lost his compassion towards others.
  • Establishing Character Moment: David's first five minutes alone consist of him being rude, insensitive and uncaring towards everyone he meets.
  • Freudian Excuse: Throughout his adult life, David Wong was no stranger to racism and prejudice for being Asian, and it's the reason he's so cold and unsympathetic towards other people.
  • Irony: David sarcastically asks Melinda (who just successfully bargained he help her find what she's missing) how long she's had her "assertiveness problem". To which a serious and literal-minded Melinda asks "What?"
    David: You wouldn't know irony if it came up and bit you.
  • Jerk-to-Nice-Guy Plot: The title character David Wong is rude, obnoxious, self-centered and condescending. He is completely disinterested when Mrs. Whitford tells that she is in search of lost time. When the mice that she believes represent this lost time scatter, she breaks down in tears on the floor. David is entirely unsympathetic and makes no effort to help her. He similarly mistreats an elderly man who wants to regain his children's respect. When Melinda confronts him about his callous behavior, he admits that he is looking for his compassion, which he gradually lost because of the racism that he and other Asian-Americans have to suffer on a daily basis. After David helps her to find her sense of humor, Melinda is able to locate his compassion as well as his integrity and the details of his happiest childhood memory, a family picnic. David realizes all of the mistakes that he has made and decides to take over the management of the Lost and Found Emporium with Melinda's help. The two of them then help Mrs. Whitford and the elderly man find what they are looking over.
  • Lack of Empathy: David apparently has this. When the first two customers fail at regaining what they lost, David just shrugs it off that it's not his business.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: The titular shop is magical and the entrance changes location. Some people stumble on it while others have to commit years of diligent effort to track it down. David Wong finds it in the backroom of a porn shop in San Francisco after three years of searching, Mrs. Whitford finds it in Fort Lauderdale and an elderly man simply found himself there after a doctor's appointment. The emporium contains lost hopes, dreams, chances and attributes that people seek to regain. David Wong is searching for his compassion, Melinda for her sense of humor, Mrs. Whitford for lost time and the elderly man for the respect of his children. Each lost attribute appears in a glowing ball, which everyone except the intended recipient can see, and takes the form of a physical object or animal. The recipients must follow the instructions on the label to benefit from it.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: The case of Vincent Chin.
  • Named by the Adaptation: The young woman whom David Wong meets in the emporium is named Melinda, at least in the script. In the short story by William F. Wu, she is not named.
  • Napoleon Delusion: David Wong tells Mrs. Whitford that he met twelve people who claimed to be the Second Coming of Jesus and one who claimed to the reincarnation of the High Priest of Lemuria during his three year search for the Lost and Found Emporium.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: David later reveals to Melinda that he doesn't remotely like what he's become and wasn't always like this.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: After he finds his compassion, David is a much kinder person than he was, and even decides to take it upon himself to help customers in the Lost and Found Emporium.
  • Race Lift: The elderly man who lost the respect of his children in white. In the short story by William F. Wu, he is Chinese.
  • Restored My Faith in Humanity: The three bottles do this for David by not only giving him integrity, but by restoring memories of his childhood and reminding him of a kinder time.
  • Secret Shop: Wong's Lost and Found Emporium is a combination of this and The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday.
    You won't find it in the Yellow Pages or advertised in the local papers. Its reputation is spread purely by word-of-mouth, from one satisfied customer to another. But if, like most of us, you've lost something in your time, look for this door. And if you don't find it at first, don't lose hope, because even that can be found again...in the Twilight Zone.
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