Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Alethea"

This episode is frequently cited as noteworthy because it starred a young Jodie Foster but I wasn't terribly thrilled by it. Caine comes into another town, where he befriends a young girl, Foster in the title role. Trouble occurs when a robbery and murder breaks out. Alethea, observing from behind some cover, wrongly identifies Caine as one of the killers. Caine is locked up and sentenced to hanging, his conviction hinging on Alethea's testimony.

Caine does not condemn his friend Alethea with words. Instead, he lets himself be imprisoned and even lead to the gallows so that Alethea can discover the truth for herself. Here's where the episode loses me and maybe I'm just being dense - in the eleventh hour, she changes her testimony and saves Caine. Is it because she remembers the truth? Admits she didn't see clearly? This is never confirmed. The point is that Caine puts himself in the noose so that Alethea can state what is and isn't.

I wasn't crazy about it, and if you have another perspective on this episode, I'd be glad to hear it! Maybe our good friend Bobba has a perspective. One out of four yin-yangs. IMDB is here.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Charlie Kondek said...

Whoa! The entire episode can be seen here:

http://video.aol.com/video/alethea/1456469

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the same reaction that you had, at first Charlie. I could not understand why Alethea was testifying against Caine when it was so clear to us that he did not shoot the guy. But when I watched it again I realized that from where she witnessed the shooting, peering from behind the well, she saw Caine pointing a gun at the stage coach driver, ... See Moreheard the shot, and saw the man fall. Apparently, no one bothered to examine the angle of the trajectory, nor did they test Caine's hands for gunpowder residue. They were prepared to hang Caine solely on Alethea's testimony.

Alethea knew what she saw, and told the truth about it, thus condemning Caine. But she knew in her heart that he could not have done what her senses told her he had done. Therefore, the only way she could save him from the noose was to lie about what she had seen.

I really like this episode, and think that it is one of the best. I favor the first season anyway because in it Caine was just a regular guy that had acquired some extraordinary abilities and values. But by the second and third seasons came around, things started to get a little too mystical for me. Episodes like "The Brujo" and "Blood of the Dragon" and that other one with Sondra Locke are way too supernatural for me. Anything that makes Caine more than human seems silly to me. Of course, by the time he found himself in TLC, Caine was dodging bullet, not spears, and levitating when he meditated, so that is completely off my watch list. -Dot

1:29 PM  
Blogger Charlie Kondek said...

Good comments, Dot. I may have to give this one a re-watch. The show was very subtle at times, didn't spell things out for the viewers, made them think.

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As young Caine - he had a choice - to lie and let a thief live, or to tell the truth and condemn the thief to death.

Young Caine chose to lie, and was criticised afterwards by Master Po for losing his innocence.

So is telling the truth more important than saving a life? I thought they taught that all life is sacred.

6:43 PM  

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