Main cast: Rita Rudner (Rolanda), Richard Lewis (Vern), Blake Clark (Jerry), Ria Coyne (Velma), Michael Gregory (Cop), Roger Kabler (Roger), AL Katz (Iggy), Corin Nemec (Hal), and John Kassir (The Crypt Keeper)
Director: Mick Garris
Yikes, what happened to Tales from the Crypt? Have they run out of ideas? Whirlpool is the third episode of the sixth season, but I’m still waiting for the party that should have started three episodes ago. This is an unimaginative Groundhog Day-like episode that is equivalent to a turd squeezed out without any care.
Rolanda is a comic artist working for a horror comic. Ooh, how meta. Unfortunately, her story is thoroughly rejected by her boss Vern, who then proceeds to fire her. She shoots him dead that night, only to be ambushed and gunned down by what seems like a whole precinct worth of cops. Well, she wakes up and discovers that she is living the same day again. This time, she decides to avoid killing Vern, but things still go wrong. She decides to try again, but nope, still no happy ending. Will poor Rolanda ever get out of this cycle of futility?
The thing is, who cares? This episode is doomed from the start, because of the very nature of the story itself. The twist – the whole thing is actually a story created by Vern, who turns out to be the comic artist, based on his frustrations on Rolanda, who is actually his boss – ends up being a dumb twist for the sake of having one, and only elicits a “So, that’s it? Thanks for wasting my time?” reaction from me. The characters are all loud and annoying, and the cast is wasted on these roles.
On the bright side, the set and the lighting are gorgeous, but come on, these should be secondary to the story.
Whirlpool may be a great story on paper, as it’s meta and can be seen as a riff on William M Gaines’s reign over EC Comics back in those days, before he went on to Mad. But the script and the execution are both the pits. Then again, Mick Garris – case closed. This episode is an absolute waste of time and has no redeeming traits whatsoever. Perhaps the best thing about it is that it is also so nondescript that it can be easily forgotten ten seconds after the credits finish rolling.