Friday, October 7, 2016
Every Haunting Hour Ever #46: Spaceman
Original Airdate: November 10, 2012
Director: Neill Fearnley
Writer(s): John Esposito
In a couple of my past episode reviews of this show, I've mentioned this particular episode, most notably in my Bad Feng Shui review from season two and most recently in my review of Intruders from season three and in both reviews, I've talked about one of the endings to this particular episode and briefly touched upon why I didn't like that ending. Well, now's my chance to finally go into full detail as to why I don't like that ending!
Aaron (Will Shadley) is a lonely boy who is given a toy space helmet by a neighborhood woman named Mrs. Hollinger (Karin Konoval). The helmet begins receiving calls (despite not having batteries in it) and Aaron thinks it's an alien trying to make contact with him. When Aaron ends up in the attic, Aaron finds out that the voice on the other side is the ghost of the woman's dead son who loves space and space travel and had died of an illness at a young age as Aaron finds the skeleton of Mrs. Hollinger's son.
Much like the episode Scarecrow from season two, this is one of those episodes that has two different endings. But before I talk about them, I'd like to look at the rest of the episode first.
One of the things I liked about the episode was how certain moments were executed. Throughout the episode, there is a creepy vibe that slowly gains strength as the episode gets closer to the end. However, there are a couple parts that I found to be genuinely disturbing. For example, around the first act, Aaron goes for a walk around the neighborhood and comes across a woman (Mrs. Hollinger) who talks to him and finds out that he likes space travel thus gives him a space helmet for free. While the woman is talking to Aaron, she seems like she's afraid of him and/or trying to hold back tears. Her behavior gives off this vibe where you feel that something isn't quite right with her and you fear that she might break down in front of Aaron or even trying to hold back the urge to hurt him. I may be reading too much into this scene but if you know something about stranger danger, then you might get a sense of where I'm coming from.
Another example is when Aaron's new space helmet receives a mysterious communication from someone who vaguely sounds like Omochao from Sonic Adventure 2, only to discover that the helmet didn't have any batteries. This scene is disturbing because it makes the audience question whether or not Aaron's sanity is shoddy. Not only that, but the part where Aaron finds the person who was talking to him through the helmet and discovers that it was a skeleton was the most disturbing part of the whole episode not only because of its realistic appearance but also because of who the skeleton exactly is. As far as Haunting Hour episode go, it's also kind of an unexpected twist.
Another thing I liked about the episode was Aaron himself. To me, he seems to be a likable protagonist as he's more of a humble loner type of character. He kind of reminds me of Seth from the Night of The Mummy episode, though I'd say Aaron is a bit more introverted. I think the writers and the actor himself do a great job portraying someone with an uncommon interest in a somewhat realistic manner. They may be introverted but they aren't over the top weirdos like the media sometimes portrays them as.
Ladies and gentlemen! This is the part you've all been waiting for! It's now time to discuss the endings. Now I'm going to go ahead and start with the original ending first, as that's the one I've talked about in previous reviews.
Okay, I'm going to be really honest with you guys. The original ending is a big 'ol pile of shit! No really! I mean it. Alright, let me just slow down and take this one step at a time. For those of you who haven't seen this ending yet, allow me to explain. In this ending, when Mrs. Hollinger tells Aaron to leave, Aaron decides to stay and play spaceman with Mrs. Hollinger's son every day. In other words, we have a happy ending but that's not what I take issue with as this show has pulled off some good happy endings in episodes like Bad Feng Shui and Intruders. My issue with this particular ending is that it's too sweet, like diabetes level of sweet. In fact, as I was watching this, I could actually feel the diabetes coursing through my veins. Like I said, this show has pulled off some happy endings that are good and I feel are balanced, so what the hell is this ending's excuse? Oh but that's not the worst part about this! What brings my piss to a boil is how it effectively ruins that awesome creepy vibe they worked so hard to build, especially with the skeleton part! To me, I feel like this was tacked on at the last minute because somebody whined about not wanting to scare the children all that much during the writing process. I mean really?! Okay, I might seem like I'm going overboard here but I'm sorry! This ending is not only a slap in the face but it's also insulting to my intelligence and maybe the intelligence of kids who actually like to be scared. You know what, I'd go as far as to say this is one of the worst endings in the history of the show!
Well, now that I'm done ranting about that shitty ending, let's move onto the director's cut version. In this ending, Aaron is forced to play with Mrs. Hollinger's dead son after his ghost urges his mom to let him stay in the attic and play spaceman with him forever. While this ending isn't perfect either (Aaron does kind of give a half baked delivery of the word "No!"), it's a vast improvement over the original ending! It's not only consistent with the episode's creepy vibe, but it actually strengthens it even more, making this one if the most disturbing episodes of season three so far.
Overall, Spaceman is one of those episodes that I like and dislike at the same time, mostly due to the endings. As far as the majority of the episode goes, it's quite enjoyable, especially when watching it in a dimmed room with some popcorn.
Overall Grade with the Original Ending: D-
Overall Grade with the Director's Cut Ending: B+