War of the Worlds/To Heal the Leper

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To Heal the Leper
WOTW - To Heal the Leper.png
Season 1, Episode 9
Airdate November 21, 1988
Written by David Tynan
Directed by William Fruet
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The Good Samaritan
War of the WorldsSeason One

To Heal the Leper is the ninth episode of the first season of War of the Worlds.

Starring: Jared Martin (Harrison Blackwood), Lynda Mason Green (Suzanne McCullough), Philip Akin (Norton Drake)

and Richard Chaves (Colonel Ironhorse)

Special Guest Star: Ann Robinson (Sylvia van Buren)

Also Starring: Kim Coates (Scott), Guylaine St-Onge (Beth), Paul Boretski (Leo), Richard Comar (Advocate #1), Ilse Von Glatz (Advocate #2)

Featuring: Neil Dainard (Detective Harley), Diane Douglass (Nurse), John Dee (Old Man), Philip Williams (Fred), Len Carlson (Attending Alien), Ross Manson (Officer Roberts), Elizabeth Leslie (Desk Honey), Krista Bridges (Teen Queen) Claude Rae (Dean), Harold Luft (Guard)


Plot Overview

When one of them suffers from degenerative effects of chickenpox, the Advocacy take the risk of venturing into the outside world to fuel a powerful enough distillery to cure the sick one so that they may resume their collective leadership. Without it, there has been a lapse in alien activity that has caused everyone, including Sylvia Van Buren, to believe that the alien menace is finally finished. Everyone except Harrison who becomes increasingly obsessed that the threat is still in the air.


Teaser Quote

"This is Harrison Blackwood. These maybe the last words I ever speak on this earth."

Base Three

  • The aliens steal three dozen brains from the morgue.

The Number 23

  • The number of victims at the beauty salon.


  • Oregon


  • The newspaper reads October 3, 1988. However, this can be presumed to reflect a date during production and therefore an error as information gleamed from "The Walls of Jericho" and "Eye for an Eye" make this impossible given that this episode has to also take place after "Thy Kingdom Come". When recording his message in the final scene, Harrison does state that it's the 7th.

Arc Advancement


  • With one incapacitated, the collective conscious of the Advocacy is unable to give counsel, not only to the lower classes, but even seem to struggle with their own decisions.
  • The aliens seem susceptible to disease, even with the irradiated atmosphere protecting them from the kind that caused their hibernation in 1953. Their lack of immunity, having not evolved on the planet, may make any infection more dire than for a human.


  • The fracture of the Advocacy, or at least the lax in alien activity, causes Sylvia's condition to go into remission. However, when the Advocacy begin channelling so much power into their distillery, she suffers a sudden relapse.
  • Despite what seems like overwhelming evidence, Harrison is hesitant to believe the aliens are gone, to the point of obsession.


  • The old man at Whitewood tries to warn Harrison and Ironhorse that it's "not safe out there." This is what Harrison reminded the old man in "Thy Kingdom Come" when he insisted it isn't safe inside the care centre.


The Show

  • The Lyndon Power Plant shares its name with that of Barré Lyndon who wrote the 1953 film.
  • As of this episode, the shot of Richard Chaves playing with a Rubik's cube in the credits (which is most likely an outtake taken from "The Good Samaritan") is replaced with a shot from "The Second Seal" of Ironhorse pulling out his knife. This minor change remains the only visual alteration to the credit sequence throughout the season.

Behind the Scenes

  • This episode was written to replace an unfilmed script that was rejected by someone in charge at Paramount who believed it was too intellectual for the show's audience. While David Tynan is credited as the writer, there's been implication that Tom Lazarus and Herbert Wright had a heavy hand in the script.
  • Coincidentally, Kim Coates, who plays one of the healthy Advocates' host bodies was in the film La Famiglia Buonanotte along with Ilse Von Glatz. This means that there is a 50/50 chance of them basically playing the same character here.

Allusions and References

Memorable Moments

  • The morgue attendant finds the cadavers with their brains removed - including his co-worker.
  • As Ironhorse prepares to preform CPR him, Harrison stops him, noting the lasagna on his breath.
  • One of the Advocates (Scott) asks an unsatisfied teen queen at the beauty salon "How about a little off the top?" before turning the bone saw on and begins cutting in off-screen, his face splattered with blood just before the scene ends.


  • During the teaser, there is a shot of the distillery, but looking at the background, it's obviously been lifted from a shot in the power plant later in the episode.
  • Harrison and Ironhorse walk into Sylvia's room and stop. However, the reflection in the mirror shows them walking in again as if for the first time.
  • The door to Sylvia's room is open when Harrison and Ironhorse walk in, both times, but when it cuts to Harrison's reaction, the door is inexplicably closed.
  • While in Sylvia's room, Harrison moves around to the other side of Ironhorse, so that he would be on Harrison's right. But without any indication that he has moved again, a shot of Harrison shows Ironhorse to his left again. He is even standing in front of the door again as in earlier shots.
  • Just before Harrison knocks the wrench/spanner, there is a reused shot from when he turns around to discover another body.


  • Fred: (readying to enter the morgue) Always look your best for the overnight guests.
  • Advocate #1: The Advocacy is indivisible, a trinity of undisputed strength and wisdom.
Advocate #2: Now we are less than three, capable of only the most simplistic activity. The counsel we give is less than perfect and becoming increasingly unreliable.
Advocate #1: We took one brief journey among the humans, and now the survival of our race - a race superior to any organism in this galaxy - is threatened by an insignificant disease.
  • Norton: We got a problem.
Suzanne: Somebody call off the reggae festival?
Norton: I said a problem.
Suzanne: That's it? That's all you can say?
Norton: Well, if I could say much more, it wouldn't be a problem, now, would it?
  • Norton: Now, for the last few weeks, we all know that the alien transmissions have multiplied and increased in number and strength.
Harrison: The final push.
Suzanne: I hate it when you talk like that. You're depressing me now.
  • Norton: Now, their transmissions went from precise and predictable - if you can call anything alien predictable - to totally random.
Ironhorse: Like the coyote.
Suzanne: Winning the Obscure Reference Award. More reading?
Ironhorse: No. Living. The Indians understand the coyote. The coyote, it seems to bark wildly, with no rhyme or reason. But it only seems that way. The barking coyote is really exercising sophisticated communication skills, about... protection, about territory, about mating, defence.
Suzanne: I thought research hadn't proven any clear communication pattern. We really don't know what they're saying.
Ironhorse: You may not. We do.
  • Advocate #1: How can we give guidance to others when we can barely guide ourselves?
  • Attending Alien: We are nothing without your counsel, Advocate.
Advocate #1: A most prophetic observation.
Advocate #2: (to caged humans) Originally, we'd intended to put your brain matter to good use. Now you vile creatures can serve a higher purpose.
Advocate #1: Now we will use your bodies. Bring us the three strongest.
Attending Alien: As you wish.
  • Ironhose: Maybe they... they've gone back to where they came from.
Harrison: How? Walk?
  • Harrison: Still think this is all over, huh?
Ironhorse: All over but the shouting.
Harrison: I wish I could buy that assumption.
Ironhorse: Well, you'd rather buy an old woman's nightmares.
Harrison: Colonel, those nightmares are alive and breathing out there, and they are scheming to take over this planet.
Old Man: It isn't safe out there.
  • Ironhorse: You feel better?
Harrison: Why should I?
Ironhorse: Now, wait a minute, Harrison. You dragged me all this way to hear what Sylvia had to say. I heard it. It's over.
Harrison: It's not over, Colonel, until they're all dead.
Old Man: Even the dead aren't safe.
(shows newspaper of brains stolen from morgue)
Old Man: Now, who in hell would do something like that?
  • Scott: (possessed) You're finished now.
Teen Queen: I am? I thought a perm took a whole hour.
Scott: Not anymore. We don't have time.
Teen Queen: I hate it. What are you gonna do with this?
Scott: (holds up a bone saw) How about a little off the top?
  • (subtitled)
Scott: Human brains are useless.
Leo: Useless for their original purpose. Essential for this!
  • Suzanne: What would Harrison do?
Ironhorse: Your guess is as good - no, better than mine.
Suzanne: Maybe there's a clue here. Something she's written or drawn.
Ironhorse: Do you remember that speech you gave to Harrison about obsessions?