Bigalow's Last Smoke
|"Bigalow's Last Smoke"|
|Tales from the Darkside episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Timna Ranon|
|Written by||Michael McDowell (teleplay)
Kenneth Wayne Hanis
Craig Mitchell (short story)
|Original air date||June 9, 1985|
"Bigalow's Last Smoke" is an episode of the American Television anthology series Tales from the Darkside. It first aired on June 9, 1985. The episode can be found online and on the Syfy Channel and is 21 minutes long.
Frank Bigalow is a man who wakes up one morning to find his television will not turn off of static. He casually ignores this and goes to get some coffee. Bigalow gets the coffee and opens the blinds to his windows. He finds bars on every single one. Bigalow looks out the windows and discovers that stage lights have been propped onto the glass, making artificial daylight. The television comes on and a man appears on the screen. The man tells him that he was drugged and has been placed in an exact replica of his apartment.
Bigalow tries the door, but finds it locked from the outside and covered in bars. Bigalow asks the man what he wants and the man calmly tells him that he will not be able to leave until he quits smoking. Bigalow laughs this off and mockingly lights up a cigarette. Suddenly, a huge smoke detector begins beeping, an ear-piercing noise rips through the air and all sorts of weird light patterns are projected onto the wall. Bigalow is unable to bear the noise for much longer and he frantically puts out the cigarette, stopping the noise and lights. Bigalow goes a whole day without smoking.
However, the nicotine finally makes him desperate enough to risk the psychologically intense alarm and he lights up a cigarette. However, this time he has a plan. Bigalow uses an empty water cooler bottle to trap the smoke in, and the alarm stops after only a few seconds. Bigalow is pleased that he has thwarted the system, only to discover that everything has disappeared from his apartment, save for his word processor, a coffee pot, stove, sink, water cooler, counters, cabinets, and the rest of his furniture. And, of course, temptation, the cigarettes and matches.
With nothing to use to pass the time, Bigalow discovers that there are cameras planted around the apartment. The next day, Bigalow discovers that the man has actually patented his procedure, and that it works 100% of the time. Bigalow then receives several packs of cigarettes and is delighted. However, he discovers that he cannot possibly smoke them without the alarm going off.
Later on, he hears a radio persona, Matthews, who is in an adjoining apartment. He reveals that he is also a prisoner, and that he is forced to be a radio personality in exchange for cigarettes. He asks Bigalow for a cigarette in exchange for a match. As he is out of matches, he considers it, but it is his last cigarette. Bigalow initially is hesitant, but proceeds when a pack of cigarettes appears in his now nearly empty apartment. Matthews tells him to give him all but one in the pack.
Bigalow hides the cigarette and goes through with the trade. However, Matthews does not tell him how to evade being caught. Bigalow is furious and begins screaming for Matthews to give them back. There is no response. Bigalow takes the last cigarette, and begins to suck on it in a desperate attempt to temporarily satisfy his addiction. However, the cameras capture this, and the alarm begins to go off. Bigalow becomes insane with rage, knowing that he will be driven mad if the torments continue, and he rips the huge smoke detector off the ceiling. However, the torments continue, and Bigalow gives up and begins to scream in terror.
Bigalow wakes up and assumes that the events were just a dream, and proceeds to get his daily dose of coffee. While he wakes up, he discovers that he no longer has the need for his usual morning smoke. Bigalow discovers that he is still in the replica apartment and was drugged again. The television man tells him that he has conquered his cigarette addiction, but now must face his caffeine addiction. The alarms go off again and Bigalow looks around in hopelessness.