Welcome back to my “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” marathon! While I wait very impatiently for my copy of Smash Bros. to arrive after this weekend (lousy online shipping), let’s take a look at today’s episode: “Poison.”
In Malaya, Timber Woods goes to visit an alcoholic named Harry Pope. When he arrives, Harry tells him he woke up that morning to find a poisonous snake sleeping on his stomach. The only problem is that Harry appears to be the only one who can see it as it’s apparently under the covers. Is there really a snake, or is Harry’s mind playing tricks on him?
This episode had two powerful minds behind it. Hitchcock directed the episode, and the story is based off a short story written by Roald Dahl. In the right spots, it feels tense, but I have to say that I was a little disappointed with this one and I can fully pinpoint why. I guess I expected it to be a lot more tense than it felt. Despite that, it was at the very least okay.
Harry was well-played, coming off clearly nervous and panic-stricken, yet we learn enough about him that we could easily pass off his paranoia due to being hungover. Timber comes off as concerned at first, but he easily shows how much of a dick he is toward Harry despite claiming to be his “friend.” I was relieved to see him get a bit of comeuppance in the end, though I won’t dare say how. There’s also a doctor who works with the two men to give Harry a serum and try to chloroform the supposed snake. I liked him well enough as he brought a bit of gravitas to the role.
The episode is mostly contained to Harry’s bedroom, so it allows the tension to come from the situation and how the characters react to it. While I kinda enjoyed Timber soaking in Harry’s nervousness and casually making douchey remarks, the scenes I liked best were when the doctor gets involved. His seriousness in the role added to the tension and made me constantly rethink whether the snake was there.
Overall, “Poison” was an interesting idea that fell just a little short to me. However, it definitely had a few good moments to make a decent episode. I know that Dahl contributed to other episodes, so I’m interested in checking another one out at some point.