In a cemetery, reporter Tom Hewitt is watching some graver-robbers, under the direction of Satanically berobed Sylavan, dig up a corpse. When the local caretaker interrupts them, Sylavan flips a coin with a goat’s head design on it at him, killing the man with a brand to the forehead. Later, at the secret Satanic cult headquarters straight out of central casting, Tom witnesses Syl use the coin to bring the dead body back to life, announcing his plans to resurrect two more great sorcerers in a bid to bring Satan physically to Earth. Meanwhile at the shop, Ryan is sculpting Micki’s bust out of clay while the gang chats about how much they’re looking forward to the day they don’t have to chase after cursed antiques anymore, when the phone rings. It’s Tom, urgently needing to speak with Jack, who is apparently now the local paper’s go to expert on the occult, which means that someone has been paying attention to how much weird shit these three get involved in. Tom asks to meet Jack, and tells him he’s hidden evidence in the train station lockers in case anything happens to him. Which, naturally, immediately does.

At the Satanic lair, we learn that these are not just central casting Satanists, but full on 80s Satanic Panic brand Satanists, as Sylvan explicitly lays out his plot and the sorcerous powers of the dead he plans to resurrect before killing Tom with the coin, as all that exposition was for the audience. Jack and Ryan retrieve the evidence, and after learning about Tom’s death the next day, investigate the taxidermy shop which featured prominently in the materials Tom gathered. Posing as antique dealers they interview the proprietor, Sylvan, noting with interest the complete lack of a large crate that was delivered right before they walked in. In the torch-lit caverns beneath his shop, Sylvan reveals to the already resurrected dead sorcerer that he knows exactly who Jack and Ryan were, and back at the shop Micki’s investigation at the coroner gives Jack the clue he needed to identify the cursed object as the Coin of Ziocles, created by an alchemist who used it to determine whether his enemies lived or died, before Lewis powered it up. Micki and Jack head back to the taxidermy shop and witness the sorcerer Tyriol being resurrected, and as they try to make their escape following their inevitable discovery, Sylvan uses the coin to kill Micki.

As Jack and Ryan deal with the police over Micki’s body, the coven moves ahead with their plans to resurrect Hyberia, Satan’s mistress, who died during the Salem Witch Trials. Ryan and Jack spend some time angsting over Micki before steeling themselves to stop the cult, after some more research into Hyberia, including some not at all pointed observations about the remarkable preservative effects of the clay bog the bodies of Salem witches were tossed into. And are promptly attacked by cultists before leaving the shop. At the coven, Sylvan is surprised by Jack and Ryan, posing as the cultists they defeated during the commercial break, but is able to thwart their plans to retrieve the coin and dispose of Hyberia by the timely arrival of zombie Satanists. The ceremony continues, and when Sylvan places the coin on Hyberia, it’s Micki who sits up, substituted for the other corpse…somehow. This understandably pisses off Satan, who destroys the coven with an earthquake, killing everyone except for our heroes, who lose the coin in the confusion.

Not one of the stronger episodes, to be honest. The coin has a neat visual design, but the “live/die” thing is a bit on the nose, and the tit-for-tat mechanic is pretty standard fare for the show. The Satanic cult is rendered far too cartoonishly to take seriously as an opponent, and the melodrama over the fakeout death of Micki doesn’t help change that overall impression. Even the fact that the heroes lose at the end, with the coin remaining out there, comes off more as a tease for a future sequel (which we get, but thankfully without the cod Satanists) than as a real setback.

A Very Robey 80s



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