The Mortal Coil, Part 2
Whit creates an Imagination Station program that shows the user a glimpse of life after death. The program shows Whit a heaven from which he might not want to come back, while it gives Eugene a taste of hell which terrifies him to no end.
Whit is not oblivious to what's happening. He's aware of the doctors' attempts to save him. But suddenly, he seems to be transported to a quiet and pleasant place, where he is surprised to meet his wife, Jenny. Meanwhile, the doctors stabilize Whit's condition. Whit's two children, Jana Whittaker-Dowd and Jason Whittaker arrive. Everyone prays for the best, but prepares for the worst.
We rejoin Whit in his imagination as he basks in his wife's love and is eventually reunited with his dead son, Jerry.
Meanwhile, Connie tracks down Eugene at his dorm room. He is distraught. Yes, he had tried out the life-after-death program, and experienced what Connie concludes was something like hell. Eugene is horrified. Connie talks to him about Christ, describing how we can escape hell because of His death on the cross. She then asks Eugene if it's something he can believe. Eugene isn't sure, but we know that this experience will stay with him for a long, long time.
As far as Whit is concerned, he is in heaven. But Jenny assures him that he is not. He is, in fact, in a coma, merely playing out what he always imagined heaven to be. Jenny tells Whit that it is time for him to go back to living life. The real heaven will be much better than anything he could ever imagine. Whit finally agrees to return.
In the hospital, Whit's family and friends are overjoyed when Whit wakes up. Whit now knows that toying with a life-after-death program was foolish, and that he needs to be on Earth for the time being.
- This plot section is too short and should be expanded. »
- Why was Whit so adamant about retrying the death program?
- Why was Tom so insistent that Eugene destroy it?
- Why was the program so frightening to Eugene?
- What do you think heaven will be like?
- PARENTAL WARNING: This episode about life after death may prove to be too intense for listeners under the age of 10.
- This episode flashes back to A Member of the Family, Part 1 (FP), which was later released as #17: “A Member of the Family, Part 1”.
- This episode is dedicated to Louise Smith, Hal Smith's wife, who had recently passed away.
- This episode introduces Jason Whittaker, whose offer in this episode to move to Odyssey should his father die is eventually fulfilled when the character indeed moves to Odyssey two years later upon Whit's move to the Middle East — a plot device used to explain the real-life death of Whit's original actor.
- Townsend Coleman refers to this episode in Push the Red Button (Live) saying that "Jason didn't even sound like me". In this episode, Jason is played by a different actor.
QuotesJana Whittaker-Dowd: You know, I always said those inventions would hurt him one day, I just knew it!
Jason Whittaker: Look, don't get yourself all bent out of shape here; let's just find out a few more of the facts before we pass judgment.
Connie Kendall: Spoken like a true Whittaker.
John Whittaker: Jen...is he here? Can I see him?
Jenny Whittaker: Just turn around, John.
John Whittaker: Oh, Jerry!
Jerry Whittaker: Hi, Dad; how ya doin'?
Tom Riley: Only someone as smart as Eugene would do something so stupid!
Eugene Meltsner: I-It was the most horrifying thing I've ever experienced. I—I've never felt such loneliness or isolation. It was as though I were completely separated from—everyone and everything...completely and thoroughly alone. Not like I was off by myself somewhere, but...but as though I were...nonexistent in a dark void of solitude. I was alone, Connie! Utterly alone in a—in a burning blackness and I've had nothing but nightmares since then!
Connie Kendall: For Whit, death will be a place of wonder, miracles...beauty and reunion—heaven, Eugene. But for you, who's never accepted Christ, death is...well, it'll be a place of isolation and separation. If Whit got a tiny taste of heaven, then...maybe you got a tiny taste of hell. Do you understand? Eugene?
Eugene Meltsner: ...Do you really believe that, Connie?
Connie Kendall: With all my heart.
Eugene Meltsner: Then you'd better explain it all to me...in detail.
Jerry Whittaker: That was a very dangerous thing to do, Dad. Trying to capture life after death in a computer program wasn't a very smart idea.
John Whittaker: I guess it wasn't.
John Whittaker: I should'a listened to you Tom.
Tom Riley: Oh?
John Whittaker: I was tampering with things that aren't any of my business, but I learned from it. Getting lost in someone's imagination, memories, even dreams of the future is a...well, it's a limited experience. There are greater adventures to be found in the real world. Which leaves only one question.
Jason Whittaker: And that is?
John Whittaker: When can I get out of this hospital and get on with them?
Connie Kendall: Well, Eugene? What are you gonna do?
Eugene Meltsner: What indeed, Miss Kendall? What indeed?