Our cold open this week is a man racing through traffic, desperate to get to an ear, nose, and throat specialist while his head throbs in a way very reminiscent of any number of “head about to explode” scenes from horror films. When he gets to the doctor, he pulls out his hearing aid, resembling a long, worm-like device, before expiring.

At the shop, Micki and Jack are preparing to attend an estate sale auction, hoping to recover several items that had been purchased by an investment banker, leaving Johnny to mind the shop and fill his time writing horror stories based on tabloid articles, as he has apparently been expressly forbidden to write anything based on items in the Vault. One of the stories, curiously, is about a banker whose head exploded in a doctor’s office. Meanwhile, at a dive bar, Adam (played by Wayne Best who appeared previously) and his partner Phil are doing a pretty typical mind-reader act, which is starting to fall apart as Adam is very clearly losing his hearing and thus missing he cues. Phil threatens to fire Adam unless he gets a hearing aid, and so he goes to the very same doctor from our opening, where he feels strangely drawn to a particular device when instructed to pick one out, probably because it’s literally throbbing. He pockets it and puts it in before the next show, at which a talent scout, Randi, for a major late-night talk show is scheduled to attend. The routine bombs, though, when Adam realizes that he can hear the thoughts of everyone in the audience, which is fairly distracting when you’re trying to listen to a coded hint. When he picks out a murderer in the audience, though, the talent scout decides she’s very interested in him and his “rugged” looks.

Unfortunately for Adam, this is one of those “tit for tat” cursed objects, and he immediately starts to feel a crushing pain in his head, so he stumbles out of the bar and into the street. He makes his way back to the doctor’s office, just as Johnny makes the connection between the tabloid story he read and the one item that was missing from the estate sale Micki and Jack went to. Adam projects the overload of thoughts into the doctor, killing him, while Jack hears the struggle between the two over the phone. The gang rushes over to find the doctor’s body, and Adam heads over to Randi’s apartment to put the moves on her. The gang starts tracking down the doctor’s patients, and the next morning Jack visits Phil, who has just received a phone call from Adam quitting, since, well, he’s now booked on the talk show as a solo thanks to last night’s tête-à-tête. Phil, rapidly disheveling attends the show, as do Micki and Johnny, who naturally “overhears” their interest in his hearing aid. Micki decides to use that to her advantage, and use herself as bait to catch Adam so they can get the hearing aid back. This goes about as well as the heroes plans ever do, and Micki barely escapes, so Adam is forced to release the thoughts into Phil, and is caught in the act by Randi, who agrees to keep quiet about it to save her career.

At the studio the next day, Adam meets a network executive and learns that they’re interested in having him be a variety show host, in case you were still under the impression that this show was meant to take place in America. The gang, meanwhile, are trying to discover some weakness of Adam’s that can be exploited, before the power of the hearing aid leads him to aspire to more than just local television stardom, but all they find is Phil’s body. They head to the studio to try and stop Adam, and get locked into a green room by Randi for their efforts. Randi intends to let Adam use them to dump the voices in his head, but the power will only work if he does it to one person (apparently) so he kills her instead. Jack jimmy opens the door and confronts Adam on the stage, challenging him to “prove” he’s really psychic by removing the hearing aid, since it could be used to have an assistant feed him answers from off-stage. This convinces the entire audience that Adam is a fake, and that many thoughts hitting him at once overwhelms him and, well, makes his head explode. Giving our heroes a chance to grab the hearing aid and skedaddle.

Despite the groan-inducing title, this is a pretty good episode. The choice of antique is a bit strange, but at this point we can probably cut the writer’s some slack, having already gone through a pretty good list of things you would already expect to find in an antique store. It’s a pretty standard, by the show’s terms, curse as well; it’s a thematically appropriate power and you have to kill to maintain it or it turns back on you. Clearly this was cursed during one of those periods when Lewis Vendredei was feeling a bit lazy. The guest cast does a good job, and the balance between them and the regulars is good, with the regulars given more to do than just stand around and watch things happening.

A Very Robey 80s

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