Director: Jerry Cotts
Writer: Jule Selbo
Cast: Ronee Blakley, Justin Deas, Ann Hillary, Bill Fiore, and Paul Sparer
Composer: Steve Gruskin
Air Date: 8/4/1985
Hoping to meet her “Sagittarius,” Cassie Pines (Ronee Blakley) follows the advice of an astrology machine known as Prophet Madame X and takes a bus to Texas. While resting at a quiet café, Cassie finds herself captivated by Horace X—a masculine version of the Madame X model. Upon encountering a “false prophet” named Heat Jones (Justin Deas), Cassie believes she may have found her Sagittarius; however, Horace X claims otherwise.
“The False Prophet” is a dreadful note on which to end Tales from the Darkside’s inaugural season. Despite attempting to blend dark comedy with an important life lesson, this episode fails miserably on both counts.
Though intentionally quirky, Ronee Blakley’s portrayal of Cassie Pines is never humorous enough to make worthwhile her interactions with a malevolent astrology machine. Also problematic, Blakley’s ditsy acting may prevent audiences from sympathizing with Cassie following her much undeserved fate in the final sequence.
On that note, viewers of a sensitive inclination may question why Cassie—a naïve but ultimately harmless woman—endures a punishment that far outweighs her “crime” of relying upon cryptic nonsense while making decisions that will greatly impact her future. By forgoing justice in favor of a mean-spirited conclusion, “The False Prophet” undermines the moral thesis upon which it operates.
“The False Prophet” delivers a message about working to obtain one’s goals instead of merely waiting and wishing for circumstances to change—a theme that, as indicated above, fails to maintain its profound implications due to the cruel ending that follows it.
A ridiculous episode, “The False Prophet” more closely resembles a second-rate drama sketch than a typical Tales from the Darkside offering. For all but the most enthusiastic of Ronee Blakley fans, this one should be avoided at all costs.
Overall Quality: 1/10
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