Tales from the Darkside Episode 71: Mary, Mary

General Information

Director: Katarina Wittich

Writer: Jule Selbo

Cast: Margaret Whitton, A.C. Weary, Fred Burstein, and Paul Sparer

Composer: Pat Irwin

Air Date: 10/4/1987

 

Overview

Living in a small apartment, shy photographer Mary Jones (Margaret Whitton) creates a fantasy world of dolls and mannequins. Despite her initial complacency, MaryTales from the Darkside Mary Mary develops a new set of fears when approached by a handsome neighbor.

Operating on a poignant script by Jule Selbo, “Mary, Mary” examines the dark side (no pun intended) of escapism and self-imposed isolation. Except for a bizarre ending, however, this episode fails to provide a horror, sci-fi, or fantasy-themed twist on its otherwise intriguing subject matter.

 

Pros

Tales from the Darkside Mary MaryBy having elaborate conversations with herself, projecting human characteristics onto inanimate objects, and preparing detailed speeches for a friendly social gathering, the eponymous character—endowed with a sad and realistic manner by actress Margaret Whitton—will tug the heartstrings of those with introverted, self-critical, and socially awkward tendencies.

 

Cons

Taking place in a single, uneventful room from beginning to end, “Mary, Mary” is marred by an ultra-low budget, a directionless plot, and a languid narrative pace—allTales from the Darkside Mary Mary of which serve to undermine the touching and thoughtful concept for this episode.

(Spoilers beyond this point)

This offering may also invite criticism for its lack of tension, suspense, and creepy atmosphere, which, if executed in a competent fashion, would enhance the dreadful nature of Mary’s fate in the final scene.

 

Analysis

Tales from the Darkside Mary MaryThough somewhat tedious after a while, the antics of Mary reveal the devastating impact of self-doubt, social disconnectedness, and chronic loneliness on the human condition.

 

Concluding Comments

“Mary, Mary” is a well-acted but deeply flawed installment of Tales from the Darkside. Especially problematic is the absence of horror and science fiction material in this episode—potentially an engaging, worthwhile psychological thriller.

 

Overall Quality: 3/10

 

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