Season 1 Episode 7

Mansion of the Beast

Aired Saturday 10:00 PM Mar 09, 1985 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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out of 10
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  • Take "Beauty and the Beast" and mix liberally with "Alice in Wonderland." Pour contents into "Otherworld." Results should be beautiful and strange, even heartwarming.

    This episode stands out as an oddity among the rest. For example, most of the action takes place in "the dead woods" -- an actual, outside location, rather than a set somewhere. You can't beat natural sunlight filtering through the trees, and you can't really duplicate it on a backlot. In addition, the plot is basically a retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" -- complete with a "Wonderland" palace (not as over-the-top as the Disney movie, but enough to get the idea). Here's the set up: Virago was a great man whose experiments with extradimensional travel "changed" him into a creature of great powers and little humanity. For many years he has ruled the dead forest of Animula. Virago kidnaps June Sterling (the beauty) because she showed kindness to one of his animals (she healed an owl with a hurt wing)... and because he fears that, without human companionship, he will lose what little humanity is left to him. Of course June wants to visit her family one last time, and of course Virago allows her to, and of course she has an accident which prevents her timely return.

    While this has been going on, Hal and family have met up with Akin, Virago's brother (who conveniently fills in most of the backstory). Akin is going to kill Virago by capturing cold starfire, and shaping it into an arrowhead. The special effects here were hit and miss -- cold starfire was a glowing ball that dropped into a mountain pool (nicely done), and the forging process looked cool, but in the end, the arrowhead was blue plastic with glitter embedded in it (even I couldn't pretend otherwise). Still, this episode is a well-written, unique entry in the "Otherworld" canon. For those who never saw the episode, Virago is slain by the cold starfire... until June's tears revive him and he awakes, human again.

    I suppose this episode stands out for me because it was so different in style and mood from the rest of the series. There were no Zone Troopers, no social messages -- it was just good, old-fashioned story-telling.