Episode ABC.2.2: "Deities"

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Max Headroom: Episode ABC.2.2
Title "Deities"
Production No. 2.2
UK Air Date NA?
US Air Date 25 Sep 1987
Length 48 minutes
Creative Written by Michael Cassutt

Directed by Tom Wright

Edited by Andrew L. Cohen

Watch for: The pronunciation of "Xmas."

Bryce blowing himself up (a little)

Crew Series Crew, Season 2
Actor Role
Main Cast
Matt Frewer Edison Carter

Max Headroom

Amanda Pays Theora Jones
George Coe Ben Cheviot
Chris Young Bryce Lynch
William Morgan Sheppard Blank Reg
Jeffrey Tambor Murray
Guest Starring
Dayle Hadden Dr. Vanna Smith
Hank Garrett Gene Ashwell
Lee Wilkof Edwards
Sharon Barr Lauren
Gregory Itzin Gregory (Vu-Age Rep)
Rosalind Chao Angela Barry
Michael Margotta Network 23 Researcher
Peg Stewart  ?
Co-Starring
Brenda Hayes Shannon*
Gary Ballard  ?
Featuring
Clarence Brown  ?
Dale Raoul Jennifer Marks
Ron Ray  ?
Larry Spinak  ?
Unknown Cast
 ? Humphrey Marks (Avatar)
* Tentative role match, pending confirmation.

Unknown roles represent credited cast members with no certain matching role.

Unknown cast represent roles with unknown, possibly uncredited actors.

The seventh episode of the ABC series and the first of the second season.

Synopsis

It's time for the weekly broadcast of the Vu-Age Church's program "Save Yourself" on Network 23, and church leader Vanna White is making a hard pitch for five million credits in donations to keep their research into resurrection technology going. It's working: first we see a woman visiting her "stored" husband making a donation, then none other than Network 23 board member Gene Ashwell.

Murray, on the other hand, smells a scam - or at least a story. Vu-Age has gotten too big, too fast, and on promises that have to be bogus. Theora fervently agrees, but Carter is curiously reticent - he doesn't want to waste his time on such a canned story. Murray twists his arm, and he reluctantly agrees.

Carter's odd reaction gets Murray curious, and he quizzes Theora and then Max about Carter's religious beliefs. According to Max, Carter doesn't have any strong feelings on the subject, making his reaction even more inexplicable.

Carter enters the Vu-Age Church and begins interviewing a woman who is talking to a video simulacrum of her deceased husband... and only she seems to find it convincing, as it repeats the same phrase over and over. Carter is accosted by a Vu-Age rep who escorts him to an office and answers some questions, then lets himself be arm-twisted into calling Vanna Smith.

Smith appears from a side door and greets Carter... with a slashing right hook. It turns out that Carter's problem is that he and Vanna had a three-year-long affair some time back, one which was characterized by fighting and ended on a fight. Smith is quickly apologetic for her punch, and soon Carter is grilling her about how the girl he knew turned into such a con artist.

But Vanna sticks to her guns and defends her position, claiming that both she and Carter ended up in the same place - the "reassurance racket."

Carter talks with Bryce about the process as Bryce's current experiment is literally backfiring. Bryce assures him that "being cortically scanned and stored" requires a computer the size of Network 23's, and that the Vu-Age Church could be storing only the most rudimentary form of a client's personality.

Notes & Commentary

Although the script for this episode tries to deal equitably with religion, it becomes one of the hardest-hitting shows, taking on the flim-flam nature of most television evangelists. (This was on the heels of the Jim Bakker/PTL scandal, so the audience was perhaps ripe for such a take.)

It seems evident that Vanna Smith is named after "Wheel of Fortune" gameshow hostess Vanna White, who began her long tenure as letter-turner in 1982.

Why is it that Vanna Smith is one of the "chosen few" to Max? Has Carter not had very many lovers in his life? Or is it that she was somehow special otherwise?

In Bryce's lab, Carter is playing with a small stuffed fish, which Bryce snatches away. Is this a riff on the Christian fish symbol?

Opening Credits

This episode uses [...]

Subliminal Credits

This episode has the [...] subliminal credits in the Zik-Zak montage.

Quotes & Caps

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