Talk show host Marty Corrigan is complaining to his producer Ben Nichols about their next show. Ben points out that their under gone and Marty reluctantly agrees, but insists that he get real silverware. After Ben leaves, Marty’s fiancée and manager Jennifer comes in and gives him a list of ad libs. He flirts with Jennifer but she tells him to focus on the job and leaves.
A black cat, Pendragon, crosses Marty’s makeup table. Witch Sabrina Stillwater comes in and want to appear on his show. Marty tells her that witches are overexposed, and Sabrina says that she’s going to put a hex on him on national TV. He refuses her challenge but then accepts, figuring that it will boost ratings and let him prove she’s a fraud by having the best scientific mind in the country expose her. Sabrina agrees and plucks a hair from Marty’s head for the curse, and then leaves.
At the warehouse, Austin is experimenting with explosives. He sets his new explosive on a concrete block , puts on his protective head gear, and sets the timer for thirty seconds. Mickey comes in and notices the vial, and follows the timer wire to where Austin is behind a shelter. He shuts down the timer just in time and explains what he was doing. Mickey says that she has great news for him and turns on the TV. Marty is interviewing a self-proclaimed UFO abductee, and Mickey explains that Marty wants Austin on the show. She says that Sabrina plans to hex Marty on-air, and Austin says that curses only work because the power of suggestion. Mickey doesn’t believe him and Austin has her rub a flowerpot. Once she does, Austin says that in the next 48 hours, she will break out in hives, bake him a Trout Almondine, and kiss a bald man on his bald spot.
Mickey asks if he’d do it for $10,000 to his favorite charity, and Austin still refuses. She turns up the TV and Marty announces that Austin will be on the show to help him prove Sabrina is a fraud. Austin is less than thrilled, but Mickey says that she’d like to see him on national TV. He gives in onone condition: Mickey is there and participates. When Mickey points out that she’d be a basket case, she starts itching the hives breaking out on her hand.
Jennifer brings Austin, Mickey, and Dr. Roman Drakovich to Marty’s dressing room, and finds him kissing his secretary. He assures his fiancée that the secretary was going over his lines. Once she leaves, Marty greets Austin and Roman while Jennifer takes Mickey to her seat. Waiting on the stage is Angela Little, the former queen of talk shows. Jennifer explains that Marty stole her ratings and her audience. Marty insults Angela, and she says that she came to see Sabrina get the better of Marty.
Everyone takes their seats and Mickey notices a man with a beard sitting nearby. The show begins and Sabrina appears in a puff of smoke and curses the unbeliever. She takes her seat and takes out her witch’s brew, and pours a cup. After she drinks it, she pours Marty a cup from the same pot. Marty jokingly passes it to Austin, who passes it to Roman. Austin and Marty take glasses and Austin drinks first, and dismisses it as weak tea. Marty drinks next , and then asks Austin for his opinion on witchcraft. Austin dismisses it as a rebellion against honest labor, and Sabrina says that she’ll show Marty what her power is. Mickey grabs the mike and points out that men also practice witchcraft, and blames it on men. Sabrina applauds and Marty quickly sits Mickey down.
Marty asks Sabrina when the hex is going to take effect, and she holds up a charm and curses him. The host feigns choking and then clutches at his throat for real and collapses. Austin goes over and confirms that Marty is dead.
Later at the warehouse, Mickey tells Austin that the police had no choice but to let Sabrina go. The amulet had fifteen strands of Marty’s hair. The teapot was loaded with mononucleosis virus, but Austin doesn’t know why Mickey was the only one who got sick. He doesn’t believe that the power of suggestion killed Marty, and points out that Mickey is still scratching her hand. Austin makes a culture of the virus and while they wait, he says they’re going to see Sabrina.
At Sabrina’s house, Sabrina refuses to let Austin and Mickey in. Austin warns that she could be in trouble, and Sabrina finally lets them in. She ushers them into her parlor and says that she threw everything away that she used to make the tea. Sabrina insists that the tea was nothing special, and she’s been feeling fine since she drank the tea. Austin describes the symptoms and Sabrina insists that Marty was only supposed to get a sore throat from the mono. When Austin wonders who spiked the tea with the mono, Sabrina talks about Satan and then orders them out. He gives Sabrina his number and leaves with Mickey.
As Mickey drives to the warehouse, she swerves the car as she itches her hand. She insists that it’s dry skin, not hives, and Austin studies a graphic of the mono culture. The healthy cells absorbed the virus, negating it.
At the studio, Jennifer runs a video of the show and Mickey says that she ‘s seen the bearded man somewhere before. Jennifer vaguely recalls him from a previous show but can’t identify him. They continue watching the tape and Austin has Jennifer freeze it on Angela. Jennifer confirms that Angela would have everything to gain by Marty’s death.
At Angela’s production company, a party is in full swing. Austin and Mickey arrive and Angela greets them. She denies trying to kill Marty except in her dreams Ben is there and says that they didn’t air the show because they thought it was inappropriate. He says that he was the lowest-paid producer in the business and Angela bought him away. Once he leaves, Austin points out that Mickey has hives. She jerks awayand knocks over a bald waiter, He complains about his head and Mickey kisses it, and then glares at Austin. As they leave, Austin assures her that it was an unconscious reaction and there’s one more to go. Sabrina calls Austin and says that the evil is trying to get into her house and she can’t protect herself. She refuses to call the police, insisting that they can’t help her.
Austin and Mickey go to Sabrina’s house and break in. Pendragon runs upstairs and Austin and Mickey follow it. They find Sabrina dead in the middle of a pentagram. There are no marks on the body, but Sabrina was running a fever and painted her face with ink. Austin tells Mickey to call the police and then Roman, and takes a sample of the ink on her face.
In Roman’s lab, Austin confirms that the ink was filled with Yellow Fever virus. The disease is highly contagious but had no effect on Austin. They compare it to Marty’s virus, and discover that there is a genetic splice. Roman figures that he’s a suspect because he’s a chemist and was at the taping. Austin points out that Roman has no motive and never touched tea. He then takes Mickey with him and goes to the morgue. They put on lab coats as disguises and Austin goes in to take a skin sample from Marty’s corpse. The assistant coroner comes in and recognizes Austin, an old friend. Austin slips the scalpel to Mickey and leads the coroner out while she takes the skin sample.
Later at the warehouse, Mickey complains that the temperature is up. She runs background checks and confirms that Ben and Jennifer were in Munich for two weeks at a bioengineering lab researching a show. Angela’s brother-in-law works for a gene clearing house in Massachusetts. Austin analyzes Marty’s DNA and points out that a little bit of it was attached to the mono germ. It was altered to only recognize Marty’s DNA. The killer genetic engineer used the hair that Sabrina took from Marty to design the virus. Mickey notices a flashing light on a panel, and he realizes that someone has tampered with the air conditioning system. There’s a liquid on the floor, and Austin says that they have to get out. He realizes that he’s infected by something with his DNA on it.
Austin takes antibiotics and figures that the bearded man knows who the killer is. Mickey tries to picture the man and talks her through recalling her memories of the man. She remembers that the man is Kevin Drake, who was working on a virus to attack cancer cells. Marty exposed him as a fraud on the show. The world directory shows one Kevin Drake, geneticist, with a local address.
Austin and Mickey drive there and call the police. Lt. Bulwer has the house surrounded and Drake comes out. He starts throwing vials of what he claims is anthrax, but Austin walks over and confirms that it’s molasses. As they drive off, Mickey tells Austin to fight the virus and even promises to cook him Trout Almondine. Drake is in the back seat, and claims that he didn’t rig the air conditioner. He knows who did, but refuses to identify the killer. Drake wants Austin to build a virus for him because he’s not good enough. He has a vial with the killer’s DNA.
At the warehouse, Drake ties Mickey up and explains that the killer rushed the splicing with Austin’s germ. He didn’t invent the designer virus, so all he could do was lie about it. Austin realizes that someone else with a grudge against Marty designed the virus, and tells Kevin that he knows who it is. Meanwhile, Mickey knocks a bookcase over on Drake. He says that for his last act on earth, he’s going to have a tea party.
Ben is called to the studio for an emergency. Roman, Jennifer, andAngela are there, and Mickey and Austin come in. He asks them to all drink to his health and serves tea. Once they do, Austin says that one of them murdered Marty. The killer will confess because there is syphilitis in the tea. Austin tells them that the killer will cough and then die. When Roman objects, Austin says that the two of them had the means but not the motives, while Angela, Ben, and Jennifer knew people and had motive. He describes how the cough is building up in the killer’s chest... and Roman coughs. Austin realizes that Roman got his skin sample from the coffee cup in Roman’s lab, and Roman explains that Drake is his son. He didn’t intend to kill Marty, just humiliate him. However, he intentionally killed Sabrina to hide his secret, and then Austin.
Roman staggers off so he can die alone. However, Austin admits that he botched the virus creation in his lab. Everything he did was power of suggestion. Roman admits that he used Legionnaire’s Disease on Austin... but picked up the wrong culture. There was nothing but harmless bacteria in the warehouse. Mickey realizes that Austin imagined the whole thing.
Later at the warehouse, Mickey makes Trout Almondine and serves it to Austin. He eats it and says that it’s the best that he’s had. Austin then explains that Drake couldn’t escape his father’s shadow even after Americanizing his name. Mickey says that she believes Austin is right about the power of suggestion. He claims that he was never sick and faked the whole thing to get Roman to confess. Austin insists that the power of suggestion has no effect on him, and Mickey tells him to rub the flowerpot. Once he does, Mickey says that in the next 48 hours he’ll dance with a near-sighted gorilla in gold lame swimming trunks, go skinny-dipping in a vat of axel grease in front of the Taj Mahal... and eat mackerel and swear it’s the best Trout Almondine he’s ever had.
Written by Gadfly on Oct 31, 2015