'Mental': David Carradine gets a grim send-off


Obviously the producers of the new Fox show Mental had no idea that this week’s guest star, David Carradine, would die before the broadcast of the episode called “Book of Judges.” And so there was a lot of unintentional eerieness in seeing Carradine playing an author who’d been struck by lightning and was immobile, in a catatonic state. For most of the hour, Carradine’s limp body lay on a bed or was propped up in a wheelchair.

Some dialogue description of Carradine’s character, Gideon Graham — “He’s an icon, a national treasure” — sounded to me like last-minute dubbing, especially given the fact that the rest of the hour established Graham as a rather arrogant adulterer. Adding to the awkwardness was Mental‘s difficult-to-buy plot: Carradine’s Graham was being subjected to electrical-stimulation sessions to his skull, but the show’s hero, perpetually smirky Dr. Gallagher (Chris Vance), suspected that Graham was actually conscious — that he was faking his coma.

And, oh yes: Gideon Graham also had a “super-model” daughter whom our Dr. Gallagher romanced. Add typical Mental lines like, “Dr. Gallagher is… dynamic,” and — well, while this series could, in general, use a booster-shot of quality, it’s just plain bad luck that one of Carradine’s last performances couldn’t have offered a better showcase for his talent.

Comments (10 total) Add your comment
  • Jonah

    It seemed odd, and additionally sad, that Carradine’s character die not have a single line in the entire episode.

  • mage?!

    I saw the teaser for the episode earlier in the week, too bad it was just another bad TV appearance. I noticed that the network tried to just play it off as one more Tuesday. May David find the peace that he was seeking.

  • Adam

    I watched the first 10 minutes, and changed channel. It was too unsettling for me. Too tough.
    R.i.P David.

  • EmberJ

    Were we watching the same show? Screw the show itself, just watch David in action, and imagine communicating without saying a word. Thought it was another phenomenal performance by a very talented man who will be missed.

  • AngieLam

    First, he was faking catatonia not a coma, so let’s at least het our facts straight, shall we? I agree that the timing was unfortunate; however, since the promos from last week showed Carradine, no one should have been shocked by his presence. What were they supposed to do, not air the episode? That wouldn’t have been a proper solution. And since when do actors need lines to be memorable? I can name many characters who have left an impression with uttering a single word: Rinko Kikuchi as Chieko Wataya in Babel springs to mind… I for one, am a fan of the show, and while I admit it has yet to hit it’s stride, I think the show has legs.

  • DB

    From what I understand this was not at all his last performance. I understand that he had about 9 things in the can. One thing that I want very much to see is a recent movie he made with Rip Torn, Bruce Durn and Meriel Hemmingway, in which he plays a lead role, called “The Golden Boys”, AKA “Chatham”. It had just been released in April and apparently went straight to DVD. The DVD will be out in August. I am looking forward to it. It looks just like something I would enjoy as I am more of a “Kung Fu” fan than a “Kill Bill” fan. The timing of his death is ironic for me as I had recently set about watching all the original “Kung Fu” episodes (in order-not that that matters. I had been doing a lot of reading about his life and career, as well. I am so sad that he is gone and that his plans are unfinished.

  • Becky

    Give the show a chance. Its better than some of the other crap on TV every week.

  • AD

    This is a really good show. I wish they’d inject more $$$ to make it look better. Overall, it’s entertaining, medically interesting, and I hope Fox will consider renewing it for the Fall. I look forward to the next 10 episodes.

  • hope

    the title speaks for itself; creepy with a capital C.
    And Marry, please shut up about the dating handsome guys on whatever site it’s getting old and lame fast not in a mean way I hope you understand.

  • Margaret

    It is comforting to me to see others who have recently seen much of David Carradine’s work such as the original Kung Fu TV series. I also have purchased and watched all of the 1970’s episodes, and all 88 episodes of Kung Fu, The Legend Continues. He is a prolific writer not only of books, but also original song lyrics. His acting abilities were proven in the stage production of “The Royal Hunt of the Sun” as well as Shakespearean plays. The “Silent Flute” will always be a symbol of his fully lived life. His videos on Chi Kung and Tai Chi have helped many people improve their life style. How many people in the world can say that they have accomplished so many things? As a high school teacher, I will show his greater works such as Kung Fu and Bound for Glory. He will be missed by so many of us. Rest in peace, David.

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