Main cast: George Newbern (Walter), Vincent Schiavelli (Dr Kurt Rotwang), Dr Joyce Brothers (Therapist Bethany Wolf), Elizabeth Berkley (Ruth), and Maureen Teefy (Chrome)
Director: Russell Mulcahy
Oh look, it’s Charlie from Scandal! It’s almost creepy how the younger George Newbern looks quite similar to the present day version, only with the usual variation in hair color that comes as a result of aging. He plays Walter, a widower who still can’t stop grieving over his wife Ruth, who was murdered by a hooded intruder that broke into their house a while back. His therapist Bethany Wolf asks him to try to move on and get back into reality, but George also meets an eccentric ex-NASA scientist Dr Kurt Rotwang by chance one evening at a bar. I know, that name!
Dr Rotwang postulates that there are an infinite number of realities that exist, and therefore, it is Planely Possible that somewhere among all the alternate realities, Ruth is still alive. He built something called a “possibility engine” that caused NASA to sack him, and when Charlie is offered a chance to test it and become an observer of other realities with Ruth, he leaps at the opportunity. Unfortunately, things don’t work as he hopes.
In the first reality he wakes up to, he sees himself as an abusive asshole who treats Ruth badly. I’m not sure why they have an incinerator in the basement, but he soon breaks the “no participating in the alternate realities” rule to kill the asshole version of himself and take over “his” place instead. Ruth begs to differ – she has other plans in mind for this Walter… It’s all downhill from there as our poor guy hops from one reality to another, and none of them is even a little close to the perfect happy ending he envisions.
Planely Possible is another “dream within a dream within a dream” episode, but unlike some episodes of this sort, it is a well-structured half an hour or so. Okay, so it turns out in the end that the episode doesn’t really have anything to say or even a direction to head towards, but I have to say, I’ve had fun watching this one. Mr Newbern is pretty much doing a one-man show here, as usual scene-stealer Vincent Schiavelli has very little screentime and Elizabeth Berkley’s role is too limited for her to do much with it, and he valiantly drags the whole thing to the finish line with a flourish. His comedic timing is solid, and he also manages to emote convincingly too! The remaining cast is also solid, all things considered.
Hence, this is a well-acted and entertaining episode all about nothing much.