Recap and React: The Dick Van Dyke Show, Season 5, Episodes 27 – 32

With this post, we reach the end of the Recap and React series for The Dick Van Dyke Show! Because I love this show so much, I’m considering on making a few more posts about it — ranking each season’s episodes, making a list of my favorites, or ranking the seasons. Let me know if you’d be interested in reading this! Until then, let’s take a look at the final six episodes of this wonderful classic television series.

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Rob checks out the investigator's spy gear. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Rob checks out the investigator’s spy gear. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Season 5, Episode 27: “The Man from My Uncle”
Directed by Jerry Paris
Written by Garry Marshall and Jerry Belson
Originally aired April 20, 1966
Recap: Investigative intrigue makes its way into the Petrie household when an FBI agent decides to use Rob and Laura’s house as a stakeout point, while Rob is on a three-day weekend from work. The FBI believes a neighbor across the street, Mr. Gerard, is harboring his recently-deported criminal nephew.
Reaction: A very fun episode! I love the scene of Rob and Laura speculating why the FBI man is at their house. (Have they paid their parking tickets? Did they remember to send in their tax forms?) That happens very early on in the episode, and lots of little laughs follow. Rob’s enthusiasm over being involved in the investigation is great to watch.
Favorite quote/moment: Rob’s “Polish Air Force Equilibrium Test” (and how quick he is to give it up when the FBI shows up!) + “Oh, goody goody goody, cops and robbers!”

Rob meets Les and an actress for lunch to discuss the film. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Rob meets Les and an actress for lunch to discuss the film. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Season 5, Episode 28: “You Ought to Be in Pictures”
Directed by Jerry Paris
Written by Jack Winter
Originally aired April 27, 1966
Recap: Rob’s old army pal Leslie makes his living in the movies — experimental movies, that is. Rob, being a comedy writer, is worried that Leslie will ask him to write a script. Instead, he gets a surprise: Les wants him to take on a starring role in one of the films.
Reaction: A mildly-paced episode, but a decent watch nonetheless. The conflict of Rob having to work with a beautiful woman and Laura becoming jealous is a little typical and dull, but there are brighter spots to the episode.
Favorite quote/moment: Rob’s description of Les’ last film, The Sewer + Laura asking “Which part of you?” when Rob says Les wants him in a movie

"Old friends are the best friends." (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

“Old friends are the best friends.” (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Season 5, Episode 29: “Love Thy Other Neighbor”
Directed by Jerry Paris
Written by Dale McRaven and Carl Kleinschmitt
Originally aired May 4, 1966
Recap: Mary Jane Stagg, an old classmate of Laura’s from grammar school, happens to move into the Petries’ neighborhood. As Laura and Mary Jane reconnect, catching up after years apart, Millie becomes jealous of their friendship.
Reaction: This episode is interesting because so much focus is put on Millie. Usually she and Jerry are side characters who we only see through the lens of their interactions with the Petries. Here, we get to see a great deal more of Millie’s perspective. And, boy, is she upset! This reminds me a little bit of the “Jealous Laura” episodes, though it’s friendship-based jealousy rather than insecure-wife jealousy — kind of ridiculous, but understandable. An exaggerated version of the ups-and-downs of a social life. Suzanne Taylor and Joby Baker are fun-to-watch guest stars as Mr. and Mrs. Stagg.
Favorite quote/moment: “Millie, you’re not only childish — you’re a peeping Tom.”

Laura is afraid to even answer the door, being home alone in the scary town of New Rochelle. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Laura is afraid to even answer the door, being home alone in the scary town of New Rochelle. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Season 5, Episode 30: “Long Night’s Journey into Day”
Directed by Jerry Paris
Written by Jerry Belson and Garry Marshall
Originally aired May 11, 1966
Recap: The Petries and Helpers have been planning a fishing trip for their families to take together, but Laura is left to sit at home after she catches a cold. All alone in the house, she becomes nervous and must find ways to keep herself occupied, to avoid getting too jittery.
Reaction: A lot of cool stuff was done with this final set of episodes, which I’m just now realizing by watching them in sequence. Millie got the spotlight in 5×29, and in 5×30 we get an episode almost completely dedicated to Laura. Mary Tyler Moore gets the chance to show off her comedic talents once more, in an episode that’s a little bit mysterious and a whole lot of fun! Lots of great Laura/Millie friendship moments, in addition to MTM being great. Her fears are unfounded but I could totally relate to this episode — it’s easy to get paranoid when you’re home alone!
Favorite quote/moment: Alfred Hitchcock and Barbara Stanwyck references! + Millie’s bird repeating “Don’t be nervous! Don’t be nervous!” + “I worry about you, all alone up there with that hat.”

Rob goes from head writer to small-town sheriff. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Rob goes from head writer to small-town sheriff. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Season 5, Episode 31: “The Gunslinger”
Directed by Jerry Paris
Written by Bill Persky and Sam Denoff
Originally aired May 25, 1966
Recap: Rob has an impacted wisdom tooth and has to be put under so his dentist friend Jerry can extract it. While under the influence of the anesthetic, he has a dream where everyone he knows is transported to the old West.
Reaction: I’m glad for the opportunity to re-watch this episode after completing my “Lindsey Tries to Appreciate Westerns” movie project, because I love it so much more now! I’ve always found the episode funny — this show has some of the best dream sequences. (Remember the lettuce-hair incident?) But to understand more fully how perfectly it parodies some of the trademarks of the genre, and to be able to point to specific films that certain scenes remind me of, makes it so much more enjoyable. One of the best in the series!
Favorite quote/moment: “A slinger-singer turned rancher-dancer…” + MTM’s half-attempt at a Southern accent + MTM’s rendition of “I Don’t Care”

The whole cast gathers at the Petrie house for the big finale. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

The central cast gathers at the Petrie house for the big finale. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Season 5, Episode 32: “The Last Chapter”
Directed by Jerry Paris and John Rich
Written by Carl Reiner, Bill Persky and Sam Denoff
Originally aired June 1, 1966
Recap: Rob has finally finished the manuscript for his book. As Laura reads it for the first time, Rob watches her and waits for her reaction. They reflect on all of the wonderful memories they’ve had with their family and friends over the years.
Reaction: Whaaaa! (Insert Lucille Ball-esque crying face here.) I’m so sad for it to be over! But what a sweet finale episode. Cute, funny, charming… all of the best elements of the show brought into one final 25 minute show. This episode is full of nostalgia and brings all of the series’ beloved characters together one last time, with plenty of flashbacks to some of the best moments from the previous episodes. This means if you’ve seen every episode, you’ll have seen most of the footage before (though the accompanying narration from Rob’s book is new). It wraps up the series nicely, putting those moments in chronological order to tell a concise version of Rob and Laura’s story. The “television series” bit at the end is cute, too.
Favorite quote/moment: The re-telling of the proposal + the final scene

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