Director: John Lewis
Writer: Peter O’Keefe
Cast: David Groh, Jane Summerhays, Earl Hindman, Willie Reale, and Paul Sparer
Composer: Tom Pile
Air Date: 5/10/1987
After a night of heavy drinking, Harry Carson (Earl Hindman) suffers a heart attack and dies in his hotel room. Fighting for possession of Harry’s soul, an angel and a demon—wearing the faces of Harry’s friend Aldo (David Groh) and sister-in-law Doris (Jane Summerhays)—challenge the protagonist to a final test of endurance.
“Let the Games Begin” benefits from the acting/chemistry of David Groh, Jane Summerhays, and Earl Hindman. Nevertheless, this episode is marred by a heavy use of quirky, juvenile humor.
Establishing a moral dilemma that the main character must overcome, “Let the Games Begin” deserves praise for its narrative premise. Specifically, Harry is forced to choose between giving into temptation and helping a “friend” in need—a concept that, though played for comedic effect, generates enough conflict to sustain a twenty-minute episode.
By resorting to angel wings and devil horns when depicting Aldo and Doris in their true forms, “Let the Games Begin” fails to offer an original, serious interpretation of two representatives from the spiritual realm.
(Spoilers beyond this point)
This episode may also evoke criticism for its clichéd twist in the finale, wherein the angel and demon characters—now enjoying the carnal aspect of their new bodies—form a passionate romance with each other.
A cute but underwhelming episode, “Let the Games Begin” should be avoided by Tales from the Darkside fans with a low tolerance for camp. In addition to its cheesy plot twists and melodramatic humor, this offering suffers from an utter absence of horror-themed material.
Overall Quality: 2/10
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