Welcome back to my “Tales from the Darkside” Marathon! We’re all told at some point in our lives not to sin. For basically everyone, this is unavoidable as sin comes in many forms. But what if you could be free from all your sin in an instant? Today’s tale will reveal how in “It All Comes Out in the Wash.”
Real estate agent Carl Gropper is referred to a laundry service owned by Chow Ting. Carl is there to partake in Chow’s expensive but special service: washing away a person’s sins. By doing so, Carl believes he will be guilt-free and allowed to do whatever he wants. But the more laundry he dirties, the more Chow bumps up the cost of the wash. Eventually, Carl ends up breaking one of Chow’s cardinal rules. Will he still be able to stay guilt-free, or has he gone too far?
This is basically a karmic story with the moral of “try to exhibit good behavior.” It’s an interesting idea, but it felt like it was stretched to maintain the 20-minute length of the episode. Because of that, not a whole lot happens. The beginning exchange between Carl and Chow sets the stage, and the rest of the episode is spent in Carl’s office watching him play around with being guilt-free. This mostly consisted of him immediately divorcing his wife, ordering a man to be killed, and fooling around with his friend/boss’s wife.
If you couldn’t tell, Carl is an reprehensible character. From the moment he stepped into his office, I couldn’t stand him. He even speaks to his 10-year-old son in a way that I’m confident no normal dad would, even during the time of this episode. I think it’s fairly obvious that I didn’t feel the least bit sorry for him. I did like Chow, though he’s only involved in the beginning and ending of the episode. You don’t get to learn much about his character, but he comes off likable enough and, given the type of man Carl is, you can immediately understand why he might have to boost his prices. The supporting characters do their jobs fine, but both Vince Edwards (Carl) and James Hong (Chow) turn in good performances.
The twist in this one is less of a shock and more of a natural way to conclude the story. As the episode goes on, Carl gets more and more suspicious about why Chow keeps increasing his costs. The twist subverts the ideas he brings up nicely, and while the part following it seemed a off at first, I soon realized that it came about due to Carl being basically addicted to the laundry service.
Overall, “It All Comes Out in the Wash” is a decent episode. To me, its biggest issue is that it tries to take an idea that barely fills an episode and forces it into one. All you get out of it is how big of a jerk Carl is, and it personally made me all the more impatient to see him get his comeuppance. Despite that, the episode has a unique concept, some good acting, and an appropriate karmic twist. It’s far from perfect, but you could easily do worse.