Welcome back to my “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” marathon! Many people who drink have experienced at least one hangover in their life where they can’t recall what happened the night before. This is usually played for laughs (see: “The Hangover”), but it can also become a serious problem. Today’s episode tackles this issue and just how frightening it can be, especially for a recovering alcoholic. This is “Never Again.”
Despite promising her boyfriend, Jeff, that she would never drink again, Karen Stewart wakes up one more harboring a terrible hangover and hardly no memory of the previous night. She also finds herself in an unfamiliar bed and discovers her hand was somehow injured as well. While Karen recalls going to a party with Jeff, she only remembers feeling uncomfortable there and drinking as a result. What happened to Karen that night, and how will she deal with the aftermath of her drunken stupor?
This story had a poignant moral to it, much like “Bang! You’re Dead.” However, this one hit even closer to home in terms of the message. There will always be alcoholics and it will always be a struggle for those trying to get sober to stay that way. This episode highlights the danger of an alcoholic relapsing, and it’s easily the saddest episode I’ve seen to date.
But because of that, it’s also a good one. Karen and Jeff are well-realized as characters, with Jeff trying to be the supportive boyfriend and Karen, no doubt because of her attempted sobriety, trying to ward off feelings of jealousy and insecurity around him and his peers. Karen in particular is tragic even from the start, as we hear her inner monologue during her hangover recovery. She sadly tries to remember what happened and hopes Jeff won’t be upset with her, and the actress did a great job conveying both those emotions and the actions and attitude of someone trying and failing to stay sober.
The episode was paced out pretty well, with the majority of it taking place in flashbacks of the night before. It does cut back to Karen during the present as she tries remembering more, but the flashbacks are the main focus and follow her fall from grace pretty fluidly. But for me, what nailed the episode was the gut-punching ending. You build up expectations about where she is, and the episode waits until the very end to subvert them. Even her hand being injured plays a part in it. And Karen’s reaction is just heart-breaking as a result.
Overall, as an episode with a strong moral, “Never Again” easily tops “Bang! You’re Dead” for me. It’s not at all scary (unless you’ve been through this situation or are close to someone that has), but it’s tragic throughout and has a poignant ending. Even if it doesn’t have the typical Hitchcock-like scares, I highly recommend checking it out.