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My, what a difference a week can make! I watched this episode with my wife over a week ago, and was pretty disinterested in the story; it had a clever idea, as most of these do so far, but it wasn't particularly funny or engaging. Then, one thing lead to another in real life, and I never had time to write this review, setting me up for a re-watch that I was absolutely not looking forward to. While the bad news is that it's still not one of my favorite episodes, the good news is that it was more enjoyable than I remember it being just seven short days ago.

More weirdness abounds in Eerie, Indiana when Edgar Teller's briefcase suddenly vanishes into thin air...almost quite literally. Now if this were just an ordinary briefcase, that would be bad enough. But this briefcase has a petroleum-based banana flavoring that Edgar will be pitching to higher-ups at Things, Inc.; if they like what he's done, then it could be their next big project and lead Edgar to fame! If it's lost, on the other hand, then he will most certainly lose his job. Compounding the problem is the briefcase's history: it was an anniversary gift from Marilyn, so she feels like him losing it is a personal jab at her. Uh oh! Can Marshall and Simon get to the bottom of the mystery before the Teller family loses everything?

Well, of course they do! Marshall and Simon concoct a plan to lose something on purpose, just to see where it winds up. In this case, it's a large piece of luggage...that Marshall hides himself inside! Sure enough, he is whisked right off the street by Al, an older gentleman played by Dick Miller (one of those guys that you will look at and go, “Oh, I've seen him in something before!”), and then dropped into a hidden tube in a back alley moments before Simon can find him.

After a scary drop through a series of tubes with Argento-esque lighting, Teller ends up in a strange place run by a strange old man known as Mr. Lodgepoole. The large warehouse-style room is completely packed with random items; this is, as we learn, because Marshall has ended up in the “Bureau of Lost” the place where things go when you lose track of them. Well, to be fair, the reason people lose track of them here is because Al steals stuff right out from under people's noses.

Marshall wants to track down his father's briefcase to save his family, but Mr. Lodgepoole informs him that this is not a lost and found...in fact, he even has some troubles getting out the “f” word! It is instead a ploy to stimulate the economy. After all, as Mr. Lodgepoole testifies, if no one lost anything, then why would they have a reason to buy these things again? And if nobody's buying anything, then that sets us up for an economic crash of epic proportions (“You mean like the one when that actor guy was president?” Teller humorously asks).

Unlike most of the other episodes I've seen, this one has a nice little positive message thrown in there. After all the effort Marshall put into getting the briefcase back, it turns out that everything worked itself out: the banana goo that Edgar lost in his briefcase turns out to be part of a failed experiment, so there's no need for it (“It turns out people couldn't get the taste of diesel out of their mouths.”), while Marilyn forgives Edgar by buying him a brand new briefcase! There is no love lost and the episode ends on a happy note, with the family returning back to normal. Things don't go quite back to normal for Mr. Lodgepoole though...

The general pointlessness of this episode is its most endearing quality, but also its biggest flaw: It feels too pointless, especially for general audiences accustomed to the typical Saturday morning cartoons. The fact these items are just being taken (well, Lodgepoole takes offense at that term, deeming them “lost”) for no reason makes for some humorous moments, but it doesn't really lead to any kind of resolve, besides Lodgepoole's fate, and the simple message that love can fix anything, which could have been done in a much more straightforward manner (though, granted, it wouldn't have been an episode of “Eerie, Indiana”).

After the surprise strength of “ATM With a Heart of Gold”, this episode once again sets the series back a bit, though not nearly as far back as Dante did with his own “The Retainer”. Once again, it feels like a case of the show being weird for weirdness sake, rather than centering its weirdness around a common theme or clever idea.

EPISODE RATING: 5.5/10

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Eerie Indiana

July 2017

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