Tales From the Darkside 112 : In the Cards

The episode opens with a saucy woman tempting fate - how, you ask? She's flirting with, and dismissing, a man on the phone, while placing an ad for her new fortune-telling business. Which she clearly doesn't believe in! Man, is uppance coming fast.

In the form of an old lady, it would seem!

The psychic gives her a generic feelgood reading, then, when the psychic's back is turned, the old lady switches out her tarot deck with another, identical model!

Lucky for the old lady that this psychic used the exact same make of deck as her (presumably cursed) one, huh? In her next reading the psychic is troubled by what she sees - she's used to only ever giving generically good news, but now things are turning out very badly for her customer. The woman wants to know what's going to happen between her and her boyfriend - the cards say he's going to die!

Which he immediately does, struck by a car out in the street! Now that's some responsive service!

The next day an old man shows up for his regular reading, and when the psychic deals the cards, once again they show doom and disaster - she tries to delay the reading by hiding some cards, but fate has something else in mind... The old man is sanguine about his reading, however - he believes so profoundly in the Tarot that even his imminent death doesn't frighten him.

Disturbed by the power of her cards (although it's not like more than one person has died yet...), the psychic tries to throw the cards away, but she's interrupted by the woman whose boyfriend died. She's desperate to have the reading finished, and since the cards have reappeared on the table in front of them, it seems fate wants the reading finished as well. Whatever she sees is mighty disturbing, and the siren that sounds in the background of the next scene would tend to suggest that her trend of dying customers has continued uninterrupted.

The psychic tries to burn the cards to no avail, and calls a friend, looking for help. The friend arrives, bringing a snack and news of the old man's death. The friend is a psychic as well, and claims to be jealous of the psychic's ability - after all, who wouldn't want to always be right about your fortunes? The answer, of course, is everyone, as long as those fortunes were all terrible.

The psychic tries to prove that the cards have an evil power, and demands that her friend stays over after locking the cards away in a case. They won't stay locked away, however:

Under her friend's questioning the psychic remembers that the bad readings started after the arrival of the old lady. The friend thinks that the old lady sounds like a third psychic, one who's jealous of all the the psychic's success. She rushes over to the old lady's shop to confront her, and demands to know about the origin of her deck. The old lady spins some nonsense about the origin of the cards' power, then claims that the psychic is being punished for misrepresenting their power. How does she know this? Because she'd been cursed by the cards herself, and got rid of them only by passing the curse on to someone equally as deserving!

So now the psychic is faced with a dilemma - accept the horrible curse as her rightful punishment, or ruin someone else's life as hers had been destroyed? It's a thorny moral- no, I'm kidding. She immediately heads over to McNeill, yet another psychic. That makes, what, four this episode alone? Proving herself to be of especially low character, the psychic doesn't even track down another philistine debasing the noble tradition of fortune-tellers. She literally just heads over to the first tarot-reader she can find.

The psychic heads in, switches the cards and gets a reading from McNeill. Did you happen to see her mistake there? That's right, the psychic seems to have forgotten that every single reading causes the person on the receiving end to die - but she let herself get a reading using the cursed cards, not the neutral ones. So you can probably imagine how that goes.

Well, if she'd been bright, she wouldn't have been tempting fate in the first place, would she?

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