Most damaging, there aren't any interesting goals for them to invest in during the episode. They're constantly checking the timer, to see how much longer they have to endure this world before moving on to the next episode, no doubt hoping it's a better one. Yes, it's the old "Marco Polo" mistake all over again.
There is an attempt to be a bit more noble in the final five minutes, in getting one of the local's discs into the obelisk at the end. Yes, Quinn promised, and he wants to keep his word. But why did he bother promising? Does the audience really care if this particular blonde beachbabe wins the idiot game and makes her family rich, or if one of her competitors wins instead? If you want to give Quinn a noble mission on this world, how about having him destroy the game altogether, expose its Wizard of Oz instigator(s), and teach the people how to entertain themselves with chess or soccer or the Mindgame sport from the episode "Eggheads" (story no. 6)? That I could get behind. That would give our characters something more than just one mindless action sequence after another to occupy themselves with. Sorry, not in the cards today. This story could have learned a thing or two from the film "The Running Man" with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Richard Dawson. The final fix of this story may belong to Quinn, but it's too poorly motivated and pointless for us to care.
And with all the emphasis on action, you have to wonder why all of these challenges are so ludicrous. Rotating cannons come up out of the lawn.... so how do Quinn and the Professor not get hit by them as they crawl up to them with pens? Why does shooting them from afar not work better? Why is the Professor conveniently blinded just until the next slide, instead of killed by the laser bolt? Why does the wooden door lock so well to separate them, and remain immune to their weapons? What's with the magnetic spider-web that only sucks in Rembrandt, conveniently giving blind Arturo some target practice to make himself feel useful again? Good thing the dogs are actually androids, or I'd be going on about the city-boy treatment of motivating animals solely to mindlessly generate fear in humans, instead of making them true to reality, which has much more rich variety to it. Biggest question of all, why do the regulars even bother following the other players after getting out of the overheating hangar/house, if their goal is to wait out this game instead of trying to win it? You could drive an aircraft carrier through the holes in this plot, until there's nothing left to hold it together.
Most curious of all, the episode's own dialogue seems to spend considerable time criticizing itself, with comments like "How can people be entertained by watching other people suffer?" Well, exactly, so why did you make this episode? In short, this one is all about preaching 1980's style anti-violence sentiments, while trying to use violence as its main dramatic draw. As usual, it's pretty empty.
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