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Recap / The Wild Wild West S 3 E 21 "The Night of the Undead"

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West and Gordon are in New Orleans to locate Dr. Armbruster, a missing scientist. An encounter with practitioners of some form of voodoo leaves them with one lead in the form of a strange medallion; Gordon tracks it down while West talks to Dr. Paul Eddington (John Zaremba), former associate of Armbruster's. Their paths converge at the home of Dr. Articulus (Hurd Hatfield), who, with Armbruster and Eddington, had been conducting experiments which turned out to be deadly for the test subjects. Articulus was presumed dead after a laboratory accident, but he survived and is planning revenge against his erstwhile colleagues.

Disguises used by Artie: Beldon Scoville Jr, Accountant(16:55); Major Samuel P Brainard , Member of the Army Corps of Engineers(28:00)


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Tropes present in this episode:

  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Dr. Articulus, embittered that his former fiancee married Dr. Eddington, schemes to force their grown daughter Mariah (Joan Delaney) to marry him.
  • Best Served Cold: Articulus has waited 18 years for his revenge, to the point that the room where he planned to have his wedding banquet has gone untouched all that time and is covered with cobwebs.
  • Bioluminescence Is Cool: After he finally dies, Tiny John's hands glow in the dark, a byproduct of his exposure to the serum.
  • Faking the Dead: When Articulus learned that Eddington and Armbruster were going to turn him in for his unethical experiments, he faked his death in a laboratory explosion and went into hiding, causing his finacee to marry Eddington instead.
    • Dramatic Irony: At the climax, another of Articulus' laboratories explodes, although he's already dead (for real) by then.
  • Feel No Pain: Articulus' potion gives his victims a resistance to pain. Under its influence, Mariah walks barefoot over hot coals, while Tiny John isn't even fazed when Jim shoots him in the chest.
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  • Hollywood Acid: A component of Articulus' mind control serum. Two "zombies" fall into it during the episode—and so does Articulus himself after Phalah shoots him.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Invoked by Articulus as cover for his experiments. In the end it's revealed that no actual magic was involved, just science.
  • Hypnotize the Princess: Articulus uses a sci-fi variant of this trope to bend Mariah to his will.
  • Kidnapped Scientist: Armbruster turns out to be one of these, as he's working as one of Articulus' "zombies".
  • No Ontological Inertia: Articulus' serum wears off after a while, allowing his victims to go back to normal unless they receive another dose.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Articulus' victims are called "robots" or "fake humans", never "zombies".
  • Only One Name: We never learn Articulus' first name.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: They're not actually undead, just living people under the effects of Mind Control serum.
  • Patricide: During the "voodoo" ceremony in the Cold Open, a mind-controlled Mariah almost plunges a machete into a wax figure of her father before Jim (who thinks the figure is a real person) intervenes. Presumably, Articulus plans to make her do this for real after their marriage.
  • Scary Black Man: Roosevelt Grier of the LA Rams as Tiny John, a "zombie" who gives Jim quite a bit of trouble.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: As noted, all the "voodoo" stuff was Articulus' way of scaring people off.
  • Single Tear: Mariah, though under the influence of Articulus' serum, still manages to shed one when she learns of his plans for her. (It's just out of frame in the lower right hand corner of the page image.) Disturbingly, this implies that Articulus' victims may be aware but helpless.
  • Spanner in the Works: Artie almost gets away with his Major Brainard disguise until Phalah (who had previously met him as "Scoville") arrives on the scene and recognizes him.
  • Technically Living Zombie: What Articulus' potion turns his victims into.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Dr. Articulus starts ranting and raving when he finds out that Jim and Artie have broken his zombie-making machine.
  • Woman Scorned: Dr. Articulus is killed by his female assistant Phalah (Patricia Morrill), who secretly loved him and was very bitter about his plan to marry Mariah.

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