Tripping the Rift: S01E05: The Devil and a Guy Named Webster

The first thing I noticed about this episode was the writer, Mark Amato. I recognized his name immediately, since he’s written for other scifi programs such as Earth: Final Conflict, Mutant X, Men in Black the series and Extreme Ghostbusters. I thought I was in for a good scifi episode.

Well it started off that way at least. The entire crew is enraptured by the last episode of the reality series Joe Bachelor. Even Bob is interested in the gender bending conclusion, and doesn’t notice that the ship is flying right into a black hole. Great the show is returning once again to its scifi roots! But it all goes straight to hell after that, literally.

When Chode realizes that they’re all going to die, he’s says that he’d give anything to get them out of this mess. Cue the Devil, who was waiting for Chode to say something like that. To save the lives of him and his crew, Chode agrees to sell his soul to the Devil. With an 80″ plasma high definition TV as a signing bonus. Which seems strange because the main screen on the bridge is like 4 times larger then that television. Immediately the black hole disappears and the problem is over.

Actually the problem isn’t over for the viewers, it’s just starting. As an American college student I know very well what something looks like when it was done the night before, and when 800 words were added for filler.  What follows in the next 20 minuets is exactly that! And I sincerely hope this episode will remain the worst in the franchise, and that it can’t get much worse.

T’Nuk must know what’s about to happen in the episode too, because she’s sick nad projectile vomitting. Okay, so she’s really possessed. After rescuing the crew, the Devil is a little bored and has decided to toy with the crew a little bit. He has a few hours to kill anyway, before he claims Chode’s soul. Chode didn’t read the fine print on the contract very well, and learns that he only has 6 hours, 6 minutes and 6 seconds of freedom after he signed away his soul.

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First he tries to escape the devil by zig-zagging through the galaxy, but that doesn’t work. So its time for plan B. Chode challenges the Devil to a game of cards to try to win back his soul, using time remaining of freedom, as collateral. Of course he stacks the deck, but the devil expects that and changes the game to high-low, where the low cards win instead.

Chode quickly starts to lose. The Devil tells him that he’s not missing much in heaven, and gives him a vision of god playing Go Fish with three old Hebrew biblical figures. Then he promises Chode lots of hot girl on girl action in hell. The Devil is decent enough to give him a glimpse of that too, unfortunately. The girls, are the fat and ugly chicks of the universe. The Devil promises to have them go easy on Chode for the first hundred years.

Meanwhile the rest of the crew has a better plan. They researched and found out that a dude named Daniel Webster took the Devil to court and won back in 1893. So they’re going to travel back in time to get him. I was hoping that we’d get to see that hot Venetian timeline stewardess again, but instead they have Whip rig the transporters to go back in time.

Whip do something technical? Are they out of their minds! As it turns out, Whip did get the transporters to go back in time. All he had to do was load up a pirated piece of software he got off the internet. Whip beams Six, T’Nuk (whose possession and projectile vomiting has caused her to lose 100 pounds) and Gus back in time. But the slacker accidentally hits the controls and send them to 1983 instead of 1893! D’oh! Which makes me wonder, if the crew can time trivet with the transported, why not travel back in time 5 hours and make sure they don’t fly into the black hole, and have the problem with the Devil, (and this episode as a whole)?

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Upon arrival they seek out the first Webster they find, Emmanuel Lewis aka Webster from TV. They don’t realize its the wrong guy, but they kidnap him and bring him back to the future anyway. only when its time to get him to defend Chode in court they realize they have the wrong Webster. Or do they? Webster is an expert with contracts, and the crew figures he’ll have to do. He agrees to do to defending Chode it by saying:
Sure why not, I didn’t even like this weeks episode anyway.” You and me both!

/rantI didn’t care for Webster too much. It sounded like he was reading his lines off a scrap of loose-leaf paper, and that he didn’t do much in the way of preparation for the part. Plus, the character wasn’t animated very well either. His movements were way too rigid, and when the arms were used too much to show emotion. It looks like overacting and melodrama at its worst.  I’ve noticed the same problem with Six, and other “human” characters. (Anything not human: Chode, Gus, Whip, Bobo, Snozzelians do NOT have this problem) For some reason it just seemed even worse with the Webster animation./end rant

 The trial was vastly uninspired and unoriginal. The jury was made up of the normal evil types, Hitler, Nixon, Khan etc. The Judge was undead and the courtroom was all fire and brimstone like. Hell’s lawyer states his case that Chode just wants to renege on his part of the deal, which is true. It looks bad for the captain, until Webster arrives to save the day. He questions the Devil and tries to get him to admit that the contract is void since it was signed under duress. The Devil argues that it wasn’t duress, and lets it slip that Chode was never in any danger because their was no black hole, he just faked it.

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 With a confession like that, the judge and jury declares the contract void, and Chode is set free. Gus gets all godfreaky on the Devil and starts taunting him. Which results in his ass catching fire. And just to be a little more spiteful, he makes T’Nuk gain back all the weight she lost on her possession diet plan.

So that’s it folks. I’m glad the episode is over. Next weeks promotion looks good. But its written by the same guy, so I’m very worried. Well here’s hoping…

I’d rate this episode a disgraceful 4,203 out of 10. What did you think?

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Tripping the Rift reviews are © 2005 Ryan Bechtel.
Not for reproduction without the authors express permission

Tripping the Rift names, characters and everything else associated with the series are the property of CineGroup.

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