Main cast: M Emmet Walsh (Jonas), Audra Lindley (Anita), Martin Garner (Roy), and John Kassir (The Crypt Keeper)
Director: Mary Lambert
What happens when two long married people have to actually spend more time together, and discover that they actually cannot stand one another? That’s what Jonas slowly learns when he “retires” and realizes that, while he is at work, his wife Anita has been taking stray animals and caring for them. To the neighbors such as their friend Roy, the perpetually cheerful and optimistic Anita is one of the sweetest, most caring people in town. Well, Jonas can’t stand those pets, he resents that she seems to dote more on them than him, and he also starts to find everything about his wife to be grating on his nerves.
Given that Jonas is not the nicest person around, he decides that he will also take up his wife’s interest in animals… only, he is going to kill and then stuff her pets and then laugh at her reaction.
And since this is a Tales from the Crypt episode, you know things won’t end well for him…
Collection Completed is a very uncomfortable episode to watch, despite its comedic overtones, because in some ways I can see why Jonas is mad. Not that his behavior is in any way justified – it’s just that I can get his anger. He is asked to retire after 47 years of working his rear end off to become the top salesman of the region for who knows how many years, but his wife is too much of a Pollyanna to be a good confidante. She keeps telling how how wonderful things are going to be when all he wants is to vent, and his malcontent only deepens when he starts tripping over her many, many pets. Since he is a violent, ill-tempered asshole, things become explosive fast in the household.
And it’s quite hilarious in a painful “Okay, I can also see why she’s like that, so I’m torn between laughing and cringing!” way to see her face fall when she realizes that her husband’s presence will only disrupt her comfortable routine, one established over the years, and worse, he wants her to get rid of her pets because, in his opinion, she doesn’t need him anymore now that he is in the house. He doesn’t understand why she is feeding her pets with steak and other good food, ranting that she’s just wasting his money and more. He refuses to even use the bathroom when she’s in there, and the house suddenly feels too small for the both of them and her beloved animal friends.
Therefore, even as this episode reaches a rather predictable climax, I like it. There is a rather realistic undertone to the exaggerated manner in which love quickly becomes hate, a violent sort of hate to boot, when we have two people who are married but realize just how much they actually loathe the other person now that they really know that person. All in all, this is a nice closing episode to the first season of the series. If they keep up the momentum, things will look up for the next season.