Main cast: Robert Lindsay (Glynn Fennell), Gretchen Palmer (Kate Lawson), Richard Johnson (Malcolm Lawson), Phil Davis (Henry), David Gant (Doc), and John Kassir (The Crypt Keeper)
Director: Christopher Hart
Ear Today… Gone Tomorrow isn’t just a pun, it’s also a major spoiler. Then again, that spoiler can be seen coming from a hundred miles away, as this episode telegraphs it early and very obviously a few times throughout it. It is probably most memorable for Gretchen Palmer going full-out nude in this episode.
She and the late Richard Johnson play Kate and Malcolm Lawson respectively. Malcolm is a genteel, well-spoken crime boss, while she is his expensive toy (he pays for a lot of her, uh, beauty augmentation). In between them is Glynn Fennell, an ex-con who used to be a very good safe cracker until he sustained a blow in the ears while he was in prison. This is a problem because he has amassed a huge gambling debt with Malcolm’s bookies, and that man is expecting Glynn to pay him back by putting his skills to good use. Kate dissuades Malcolm from having Glynn killed by wagering that she can get that ex-con up to snuff during the next ten days.
Kate intends to win by having Glynn installed with owl’s eardrums. That will help him hear things like he used to, and he’d be able to crack open safes again. You see, the Lawsons together with the surgeon Doc are implanting their minions with useful body parts harnessed from animals to improve their job – cat’s eyes for sharper eyesight, for example, and of course, owl’s eardrums for better hearing. But once Glynn is back to feeling like his old self, he begins to think about double-crossing his benefactor…
Glynn is quite the pathetic kind of loser – he’s nowhere as smart as he thinks he is, and he is greedier than he is careful. But what really steals the show here is Kate, whose glee while pulling all of our idiot protagonist’s strings can be infectious. Malcolm is quite a dapper character too – he is aghast at how “Neanderthal” Glynn can be while he is at the same time arranging for people to be skewered up the rear end and such. And the cartoon-y special effects actually fit the context of this silly episode well.
It’s interesting how Kate may also be making the same mistake as the protagonist of Dig That Cat… He’s Real Gone – she assumes that she has eight lives left after Glynn killed her. Assuming that the cat that gave her the nine lives died at Doc’s operating table, she actually has seven lives left, not nine. Let’s just hope she is nowhere as reckless as Ulric with her remaining lives, although given how she threw away one life just to win a bet, I have my doubts!
This is not a great episode, but at least it makes me laugh. Ear Today… Gone Tomorrow is like an adult version of a Scooby-Doo episode, only with amoral protagonists and female nudity, and with this season the way it is, I’m really taking anything I can get.