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*This is a full episode review. Spoiler warning is now in effect.*
Hello, Boils and Ghouls. This Crypt Keeper dead time story is my favorite one out of this whole first season, with episode 4 coming in a close second, but that's a story for another time.
This story follows a down-on-his-luck man named Ulric, played by Joe Pantoliano (Michael Gorski in Sense8 and Teddy in Memento) who soon joins a carnival as Ulric the Undying. The episode opens with the carnival barker, played by Robert Wuhl, who is hyping up the grand act of Ulric being buried alive for a full 12 hours. He will die, but become resurrected. All real, no tricks or anything. As Ulric is alone in his dark, enclosed space, he begins to tell the tale of how he came to be in the situation he is in.
Ulric was found in an alleyway by a doctor, played by Gustav Vintas (Gustaf in Lethal Weapon) who pays Ulric to be part of an experiment. The doctor tells him that he will take a special gland from the brain of a cat, giving Ulric the ability to die nine times. The surgery goes off without a hitch, while leaving the donor cat dead. The doctor then puts it to the ultimate test... by shooting Ulric point blank in the head. Ulric wakes up with a scream, finding out the hard way that the procedure had worked, leaving him with eight lives left.
Ulric sees a great opportunity with this new ability and teams up with the doctor to get hired at the carnival as a sideshow act. The Barker gives him a test run and puts Ulric in a giant water tank, and leave him underwater for a full hour. Sure enough, he drowns after a few minutes and it is pretty unnerving to see him just float lifelessly in the tank. He doesn't come back to life right away, but when he does he is a big hit in the show, and even getting a showgirl girlfriend as a bonus.
The next show, Ulric gets hung by a hangman's noose, leaving him with a pretty sore throat afterward. Honestly, I think I'd feel the same way if I survived a hanging. Ulric then starts to get greedy and decides to cut the good Doctor out of the deal and keep all the money to himself, Ulric kills the Doctor in a car crash, wasting another life in the process.
The scene shows Ulric being electrocuted at the hands of a little old lady from the audience, but noticed that it took a bit longer to resurrect than it did the other times. It took so long that they thought he was dead for good and his girlfriend had to rescue him from getting embalmed in the local morgue. He soon goes back to work, this time having audience members get a chance to shoot at Ulric with an arrow, with one accidentally going down to his family jewels; while the next one hits him square in the heart.
Another life of Ulric's is again wasted as his girlfriend double-crossed him by literally stabbing him in the back and ran off with all the money he made. He makes arrangements to get 100 percent of the profits made from the next act of Ulric's: being buried alive. Which now brings us back full circle to the beginning of the episode. While Ulric is reflecting on the past few days of his lives, he thanks all of this to the kitty that "donated" part of its brain. Then, Ulric makes a grave realization.
Drum roll for one of the best twists of this series.
The cat that died on the operating table had used one of the lives. Leaving Ulric with eight instead of nine. Ulric is on his last life. This part, in all honesty, gave me the willies when I first watched this episode with my dad when I was younger. Just imagine the feeling of being trapped in a sealed coffin, frantically banging on the lid begging to be let out, but have no one help get you above the earth. Ulric's muffled screams being ignored and the last sound he lets out is a goosebumps-inducing wheeze as his last breath is let out of his lungs. The episode ends with a lone black cat sitting on Ulric's grave.
Ya see, it's characters like this who never think things through in the end. If Ulric kept his Doc alive, he could keep living and dying until he couldn't live anymore. Of course, animal rights activists would hate him for all of the cat murder.
And despite the kitty mutilation, this is a pretty good episode with a decent twist that was thought out and written very well. Like I said, it's my favorite of this season, but about top 5 when I account for all of the episodes in this sinister series. Pleasant screams, dear readers.