Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Episode 28: The Prophet - 11/14/67

Brother Avery addresses a small congregation of people, telling of the coming host of angels, as a group of young women in white robes gaze up at him on stage. 

David Vincent is in the crowd and makes his way to the back entrance, where he gains access by passing a few bucks to the guy blocking the entrance. He observes the action on stage from the wings, noting a woman bowed in prayer. Brother Avery says that he is the chosen prophet and brings proof, as he moves to the front of the stage and begins to glow red. 

At the backstage entrance, two men in white robes enter and escort the glowing prophet from the stage and into the back of a large van. David Vincent follows, but is redirected behind a gate by security officers. He observes a high voltage power source on top of the van. 

Starring Roy Thinnes as Architect David Vincent

Guest Stars:
Pat Hingle as Brother Avery

Zina Bethune as Sister Claire

Roger Perry as Bill Shay

Teleplay by: 

Story by: 

Directed by:

Act I

David Vincent has seen "The Prophet," a saintly figure who announces the coming of a heavenly host, whose skin begins to glow at the climax of each service. Evidence that Brother Avery is an alien Invader, and reason for Vincent to contact columnist Bill Shay of NOW magazine.
Bill Shay of NOW magazine is on the phone when David Vincent arrives at his motel room. He motions for him to enter as he finishes his phone conversation about the glowing prophet, and Vincent introduces himself, reminding him that he sent him a letter a while back. Shay seems to remember that he calls them aliens and asks what they look like. Vincent says they can look like anybody, that some have a mutated fourth finger, and that they don't bleed when they are cut. He adds that they glow with an incandescent light when they die, asking if it rings a bell. Shay says this man doesn't die, and Vincent informs him of their regenerating tubes help them recover. He asks what the aliens are doing with the prophet, and he says he heard the man say they should prepare for the coming of a million saints, and Shay asks if he's suggesting a mass invasion. Shay says it's a great story, even if it's not truthful, and asks what he can give him to hang it on. Vincent offers to get pictures of the regenerating tubes inside the van and Shay says if he can get pictures, they have a deal. 

Shay calls Brother John and says David Vincent has a fairly comprehensive idea. 

Sister Claire talks to a group of young women, saying they need to get more young people involved, suggesting they impress that on their friends. David Vincent arrives and introduces himself as Dennis Victor, as Brother John spies on them from behind a curtain on stage. He says that he saw the revelation last night and had a spiritual awakening, prompting him to want to join them as a member of their organization. 

Brother John approaches them and she introduces Vincent as Dennis Victor, saying he's had a spiritual call. He tells him he feels as though Brother Avery gave him part of his own vision. She says they were talking about Victor joining as an apprentice. Brother Avery says they should give thanks he's been led to their embrace, and removes a medallion from his neck and places it on him while offering greetings to Brother Dennis. 

Brother Avery is driven up in a car where a group of people are waiting for him at the back stage door. He addresses the group as Brother John approaches DV and asks if he's as troubled as he is. He offers to show him what he's seen. 

He drives Vincent to a remote location, saying he wasn't sure what he'd seen, but then he followed his van every night. Vincent asks if he's sure that's where he saw the spacecraft, and Brother John says it is, and that saints don't come in spacecraft. They walk to the edge of a cliff and Vincent is aware as Brother John pulls a gun. They struggle and Vincent gets the gun from him. Brother John runs to the car and attempts to run him down, but Vincent shoots him through the back window, causing him to glow red and disintegrate.

This week, the Invaders are capitalizing on faith to indoctrinate believers into accepting them as angels when they arrive to take over Earth, and they've got just the cheesy, hairsprayed alien to accurately play the part of false prophet. David Vincent is surprisingly unaware that his NOW magazine contact is either an Invader or human collaborator, promising to get him photographic proof, something he's attempted on very few occasions, and which will clearly go nowhere, though perhaps we'll get a surprise this time around.

Act II

Vincent, aka Brother Dennis, gets a lift back to the Prophet's place of worship. He is led to Brother Avery's room where Sister Claire is massaging the Prophet's temples. He asks Vincent if Brother John instructed him in their discipline, to which he replies that he did partly, as they were to continue when he returned. Avery learns that he's not yet returned and asks if Brother John gave him an assignment. Vincent tells him he said Sister Claire would see to it and Avery welcomes him. 

Brother Avery is in his room alone, preparing for his upcoming service by chasing a pill with a red liquid poured from a flat bottom flask. A man in a suit backstage consults an alien device and checks his watch, telling a nearby guard there's five minutes.

Vincent watches from the wings as Brother Avery delivers his sermon as the women in white robes kneel before him. David sneaks out the door, which Sister Claire observes, and then follows him out. She watches him enter the van. He enters Avery's room and picks the lock to an adjoining room, where he investigates Avery's alien device with a penlight. 

Sister Claire begins to open the door and he ducks behind it to knock out whoever is entering, but stops when he sees it's her, saying he can explain. She runs out and trips over a table, allowing him to catch up to her. He notices she's bleeding and tells her he's an investigator.  He tells her Avery is an agent for a foreign power, but she doesn't believe him. He asks if her faith is strong enough to prove it one way or another.

A security guard enters and asks her what's going on. She asks if Brother John has returned and the security guard says he hasn't and they're out searching for him. Vincent tells her it's all the more reason they should discuss the matter further until they make up their minds. He says he has a lot to tell her, but she walks out. 

Brother Avery is telling the small congregation that he's seen the multitude with his own eyes and that they've spoken to him. He says he's chosen and then his head and hands glow red before his whole body turns into one big red glow. 

Bill Shay of NOW magazine is approaching Avery's place of worship when a fellow journalist drives up in a car, calling to him, saying he got a call from his paper about the missing Brother John, saying the police found his car and there's something funny about it. He invites him to come with and they drive off.

Vincent catches up to Sister Claire and asks if she's seen inside the recovery van, questioning her as to why she thinks it's locked and why there's a special high voltage power line attached. He then enlightens her to the cause of Avery's special glow as a characteristic of aliens before they die or revert, unless they're immediately placed in a regenerating tube, as they're surely doing for Avery while they speak. He says he wants to see the tubes and show them to her to prove it. She says he's mad and says he's like all the rest and can't have any of the divine without explaining it away as alien. He asks her to help him prove it by helping him get inside the van. 

Meanwhile, Brother Avery is regenerating in a tube inside the van.

It appears as though Brother John and Bill Shay (of NOW magazine) may have been the only ones to know of David Vincent's true identity, which seems rather odd. The fact that Sister Claire has not given him up yet, may prove that those big blue eyes of his have helped put a crack in her faith. Brother Avery's regeneration is a bit different than it was for aliens in Episode 6, whose humanoid skeletons were quite visible during the regeneration process. I'm not sure what that squiggly thing on the Prophet's chest is supposed to be. Perhaps it is the true alien form inside the human shell. 


Vincent meets up with Sister Claire, as workers are packing up the outfit, and she says she can't let him stay with them but hasn't decided yet whether or not she'll tell Brother Avery about him. He asks how long she's been with him and she says not long. He notes that she's been given a lot of responsibility. She says she had good training on her father's political campaigns. He asks who her father is, but she says it doesn't matter since they take new identities there. She tells him that she loved her father but then discovered he was nothing at all like the image she had of him. She then met another man she loved and who also disappointed her, which led to her experimenting with LSD, pot, and "something stronger." She suddenly goes ballistic and screams at the workers outside, asking if they need to shout. 

Vincent offers to get her coffee but thankfully she declines. She goes on to tell him how one night they thought it would be fun to see the Prophet. She says she was at the point where she was climbing walls and she couldn't take the revelation of seeing Brother Avery, and that he was there when she came out of it in the hospital room. She says he's given her beauty and faith and a reason for living, and it couldn't all be a hoax. He asks what if he is really putting her on and if she's afraid that he'll send her back emptier than she was before. He says that she hasn't kicked any habit and that she's using the whole thing as another trip. She smacks him hard in the face and then begins sobbing uncontrollably. He tells her to keep on crying, saying "there's a lot of dirt in this world, baby, and either you dig down and find enough character to face it or you cop out." She cries harder.

Shay and his reporter friend are at the impound lot looking at Brother John's car. His buddy asks why just the driver's seat is scorched and nowhere else. Shay suggests they get back.

Sister Claire is stroking a cloth over Brother Avery's eyes, asking him about when he joined the ministry in Norfolk, and then says she had the impression that he once said it was Newport. He removes the cloth and asks why all the questions. She says every detail in his life has meaning for her and covers his eyes with the cloth. The phone rings as she goes to the other room to put his robe on a hanger. She looks into the drawer where the alien device is kept, as well as keys to the van. She takes them and tosses them to David Vincent outside. 

Vincent unscrews a light bulb where a security guard is stationed nearby and tosses it away from him, causing the guard to leave his guard post to the door of the van. Vincent sees that he is out of sight and uses the key to unlock the back door. Sister Claire appears, and he hands the keys back to her while he goes inside to take photos. 

Sister Claire is sneaking the keys back into the drawer and is caught by Brother Avery. He asks her if she didn't think he was blessed with spiritual insight and leads her into the room where Shay is waiting with security guards. Avery dismisses the guards and tells Shay they'll have to postpone the interview. Shay leaves and Avery asks her if she would harm them, conniving with the enemies of their faith. 

Vincent is trying to evade multiple security guards who are searching for him outside. He hops over a wall.

Sister Claire is looking at flyer with a photo of an alien regeneration tube that is labeled "Electro Therapy for Cardiac Patients." He says they've tried to keep his heart issues from the press. 

A guard and another man enter the room and Avery asks her to bring Mr. Victor to him so he can reassure him about the mysterious tubes. He confirms that they have a rendezvous and she says she's supposed to meet him in his room at the Grenada hotel. Avery tells the men to bring him there. He says to use Shay. They ask about Sister Claire and Avery asks if the tubes are powered, saying that Sister Claire is going to have a heart attack. She starts screaming, "NO!" and the guard grabs her by the throat and drags her off. 

Sister Claire is in for a really bad trip. Who ever knew David Vincent was so hip to the 60s scene with his square outfits? There seems to be some message here about disillusioned youth who may have gone to San Francisco with flowers in their hair a few months prior. I'm guessing David Vincent will be handing over his photo evidence to Shay. While I expect him to make an escape, it remains to be seen if he'll be able to save Sister Claire from cardiac arrest. 

Act IV

Vincent is checking his gun in his hotel room when there's a knock at his door. He allows Shay to enter and asks how he knew where to find him. He says Sister Claire called and said she couldn't make it. He says she sounded used up and asks what he's been doing to their little saint. He asks if Vincent got the film and he says he did, but that it's not there, that he stashed it somewhere. Shay says to get it, and Vincent pulls out his gun and holds it to the back of Shay's head. He asks how she knew Shay and he says he doesn't know. Vincent says he's going to have to be sure and tries to feel for a pulse in his wrist, realizing there is none, and then scratches the back of his neck to confirm he doesn't bleed. He asks where Claire is, and Shay tells him she's in the regenerating van and they're waiting for a call from him to see if he's got the film. He asks how he knows she's not dead and Shay says it's easy to prove. Vincent says if he proves it, he'll make a deal. Shay says, "Splendid." 

They go to leave the room where two men are stationed on either side of the door, who grab Vincent as they exit.

They arrive at the alien house of worship and Shay asks why he would hide the film in the auditorium and Vincent says he went out that way and didn't want to carry it. A man says they're short on time as they're moving out and Vincent says he wants to see her. The man takes him into the van where Claire is being held by a security guard next to the regeneration tubes. She tells Vincent she's sorry and he says it's alright since he's got the film and is making a deal. The man says he's giving Vincent three minutes to get it.

Vincent is accompanied by Shay and a security guard. Shay stops him and says he's stalling and needs to tell him where it is. Vincent reaches into his shirt and takes out the film canister. Shay compliments him on his cleverness and Vincent throws the film canister, causing the men to look away, allowing him to run away from them. Shay falls down the stairs as he tries to pursue him and sends the guard after him. Vincent ducks down and attacks the guard as he passes by, grabbing his gun and shooting him, causing him to glow and fall. Vincent ducks back behind a wall and Shay catches up, unable to see him.

The man waiting with Claire checks his watch and nods at the guard who pushes Claire into a tube. 

Vincent inadvertently makes a noise, drawing Shay's attention. They fire at the same time, and Shay goes down in a fiery blaze, while Vincent remains unharmed. He runs off to save Claire. 

Claire waits in a tube and the timekeeper tells the guard to proceed, who goes to turn on the tube. Vincent arrives at the van and shoots out the high voltage power source, causing a spark at the controls in the tube room, which electrifies the guard and makes him glow red. 

Avery hears the commotion and gets up. 

Vincent enters the van where Claire is in the tube and shoots the alien, who falls out the door and down the steps. 

Avery tells a guard to move it out of there as quick as he can. The guard gets in the cab of the van and it begins moving while Vincent pries open the tube to get Claire out. 

Avery pops a pill and Vincent and Claire arrive just in time to see him glow and fall to the ground. 

Perhaps I should be tracking the number of alien suicides in this show. I hope David Vincent went back to the auditorium and picked up his film canister. 


Claire arrives at Vincent's room. He says he thought she was to stay in bed, but she says there's nothing wrong with her that a good paddling wouldn't cure, though he doesn't appear to take the hint. She asks if he's had any luck and he says he's had none. She questions if they think it was the result of "acid stomach" and he says he thinks they prefer that. She says she's sorry and he says the consensus is that he was a humbug magician whose electronic bag of tricks burned him up, and that they'll know more about it when they find Shay. She asks why he didn't tell them about Shay and he says that kind of statement would get him locked up permanently. She says she'll help him. She says she was once told that people had to face things or cop out and he says, "Bless you, Sister Claire."

A man and a woman, two alone in the world to resist a multitude, a mighty host, two who will move on their separate ways, watching, waiting, fighting the Invaders from the sky. 

Richard O'Brien...Brother John
Byron Keith...Brother James
Dan Frazer...Reporter
Ray Kellogg...Guard

Director of Photography:
 Andrew J. McIntyre

Music by:

The inefficiency of these Invader plots never ceases to amaze me. While this was a unique take, it was a rather lackluster episode on the whole with a lazy explanation for why David Vincent wasn't believed at the end. Brother Avery did not exude the kind of charisma or charm that would have me believe that anyone who was not on drugs would be inspired to follow him. It might have been interesting to see his flock of followers rise up and defend him against the likes of David Vincent, but they all seemed to be pretty apathetic. Maybe they were also on "something stronger" than LSD. While this is an episode with a less than satisfactory rating, I did enjoy seeing the regeneration tubes brought back with their dual purpose of regenerating aliens and causing cardiac arrest for humans, harkening back to David's best buddy's death in the pilot episode. 

Tune in next week as Sally Kellerman, Ed Begley, James Callahan and John Zaremba appear in "Labyrinth."

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