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No. 56 - "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" 5/29/98
Executive Producer - Grant
Writer - Garner Simmons
Director - Brenton Spencer
Thirteenth episode of the Third Season.
We owe major thanks for this description to: Kris Kroner
Legacy House - Dawn
Alex is having a troubled dream. Two men dressed in gentlemen's clothes from the mid-1800's, stand arguing over an unnamed woman. One argues that she's his property and the other says, "not any more."
Alex, sleepwalking, gets out of bed and puts on a flowing yellow robe over her long flowered nightgown. She opens the door of her room, leaves and goes slowly down the steps and out the front door as she experiences the dream.
Moss hangs from the trees surrounding the men. It's barely dawn and a red sun rises in the horizon. One of the men, Wakefield, holds up a silver locket and asks the other if he recognizes it saying. "I believe she was sending it to you." Then he throws the locket at the man and says derisively, "Do your dance." The second man replies, "On your grave." They prepare to fight a duel and both have revolvers. A third man, Monsieur Rimbaud, begins counting the cadence as the men pace slowly apart. Monsieur Rimbaud finishes the count, 7, 8, 9, 10. As he calls out "10", the men turn, a shot is fired and one man falls.
Alex, outside on the front driveway, screams and collapses against the winged lion statue in front of the house.
Alex's bedroom a short time later
Alex, still in her nightgown, sits up in bed and listens as Nick tells her she was sleepwalking and asks what she remembers. She's upset but remembers the men were arguing over a locket and had guns. Nick asks "What kind? Rifles, pistols?" She thinks then remembers, "revolvers." They were fighting a duel. When Nick asks "Over what?" she replies worriedly, "Me.".
Nick and Derek try to understand what the dream means. Nick suggests that perhaps it came from a story she read or a movie she saw. Derek replies that whatever it is, it's buried in her subconscious. He thinks it's a sense of déjà vu, a past life connection. He tells Nick that somnambulism is caused by dreams so vivid you're compelled to act them out. Concerned it may be some type of reincarnation and Alex may be in real danger, he tells Nick that she needs to be watched more closely.
The phone rings and a very tired sounding Alex, still in her nightgown, picks it up. Her Grandma Rose asks why she's always the one that must call. Alex replies warmly that it's nice to hear from her and she's been meaning to call but "one thing leads to another." Grandma, listening to the tone of her voice, responds, "Troubles. I can feel it." She then adds that voices spoke through her and whispered her name. Alex, concerned, asks Rose what she's saying. Very matter-of-factly, Rose replies, that she has been "dreamwalking." Alex recounts the dream and the duel being fought over her. Grandma worriedly says, "Not so good, child." She tells Alex to come to her that day. Alex agrees, tells her she loves her and promises to be there as soon as she can.
Nick reads aloud that dueling was outlawed in 1851 but persisted in the south and western frontiers. Alex comes in, dressed in a green shirt and black slacks. They ask how she feels and she replies as long as she doesn't sleep, she's fine. Derek, sitting behind his desk, tells her he wishes Rachel were there so she could talk to her about the dream. Then her tells her they've been trying to narrow down the source of what she's been experiencing. She tells them that Grandma Rose just called and wants her to come to Baton Rouge to be with her for a few days. Nick, looking concerned, asks if she's up to traveling. She replies she was hoping that one of them would come with her. Derek agrees that Rose may be just the person to talk to but that he can't go now because he has to finish a report for the London house first.
Nick smiling, volunteers to go and that he could use some of Grandma Rose's cooking. Derek looks up and asks, "Is that right?" Nick shrugs and simply replies, "A guy could starve to death around here." Alex grins widely and Derek smiles and goes back to his report.
Grandma Rose's house - night
In the darkness, Grandma's bottle tree rattles as Nick and Alex drive up. Nick honks as he drives up and Grandma Rose hurries out of the house looking very concerned. Alex happily gets out and greets Grandma Rose warmly. Rose her it's late and she was very worried. Nick brings the bags from the car and Alex says to Rose, "You remember Nick." He kisses Rose's cheek and says sincerely that he hopes he isn't imposing. She reassures him with a smile, saying "Nonsense, you're a comfort for my eyes." Smiling sweetly, he replies, "It's nice to see you too." She gives him directions to the guestroom, "last door on the left," and notes that Alex's room is right across the hall. He says good night and takes the bags inside.
Alex tells her she looks great. Grandma chides her that it's not nice to lie to your Grandma "My worry lines got worry lines." Rose, worried about her, asks Alex how long it's been since she slept and tells her to go to bed and sleep. Alex tells her it's been a bad week but now that she's there, she'll be all right now. Grandma says they'll talk tomorrow. "Man plans but God decides, and right now God decides it's time to sleep." As they turn and go inside, the bottle tree rattles in the breeze again.
Alex goes into her old room, and begins unpacking. She opens a bureau drawer and finds a silver locket. As she picks it up she begins to have a vision immediately hears voices. In the vision she sees a gravestone with the words La Belle then she hears gunshots. She opens the locket and sees a lock of hair. The locket is inscribed "La Belle Dame Sans Merci." She hears a voice saying, "a lock of your hair entwined with mine and placed in a silver locket. Only Marie can set us free." Then she hears a mans voice say, "so we can die together."
Alex slowly puts the locket on her neck and remembers how much she loved the man that was killed. Just then, the man dueling with her lover in the dream appears. He grabs the locket off her neck and asks if she thought she could escape him. A gunshot rings out and Alex wakes up in her bed.
Alex is in the kitchen with Grandma and tells her about the vision. She tells her worriedly that when she woke up there was no man and no locket, but they seemed so real. Grandma, concerned, asks Alex to describe the locket. . Alex says it was an old silver hand wrought locket with the lock of hair inside. It had an inscription. Just then Rose cuts in saying, "La Belle Dame Sans Merci." Alex, confused at Rose knowing that, translates, "the beautiful lady without mercy." Grandma tells her La Belle was the reason she called Alex back. She heard voices calling her name and they also whispered Alex's name She goes on to say that La Belle was a former slave whose "beauty made men ramollissement, soft in the head." When Alex wonders what that has to do with her, Grandma tells her that La Belle was half sister to her great grandmother Marie. Therefore La Belle is related by blood to Alex. Grandma goes on to say "Madame Marie had beaucoup powers. Saw the future, saw the past."
Alex asks what happened to La Belle. Grandma replies that she died after her lover was killed in a duel with pistols. She remembers the man that killed him was named Wakefield but doesn't recall the lover's name. Alex remembers the gravestone from her vision and asks where he's buried. Rose can think of only one place, out west of town along the bayou and gives directions to take Post road about 5 6 miles. She also cautions her to be careful because the spirits are talking to her and they're bad business. Alex reassures Rose that she's taking Nick with her. She kisses Rose on the cheek, then turns to leave.
Nick and Alex, both wearing jackets, drive up to the old unkempt cemetery. Alex, remembering her dream, tells Nick that the stone of La Belle's lover had a broken top. She doesn't know the name on the stone just that the top was broken. She implores Nick to humor her because she feels she needs to find the stone to convince herself she's not going crazy. He smiles at her and they start to search. They split up to cover more ground. While looking, Alex sees an old wooden one story shack and approaches it.
The front door is unlocked and banging in the wind. Cautiously climbing the steps to the door, she calls out to see if anyone's there and then enters the shack. She hears voices whispering and again calls out. Straw mats are on the floor and there's a fire burning in a stone fireplace.
Meanwhile, Nick, with his longish wavy hair being blown by the breeze, stops searching and calls to Alex. She doesn't answer so he begins to move towards where he saw her last.
Alex walks towards the voices and suddenly the door slams shut behind her. Wakefield, the same man from her vision, appears and menacingly tells her he's been waiting for her. He also says he knew she couldn't keep away. He reaches for her and says he owns her. Alex protests "Like hell you do" and begins fighting him off. He throws her down and tells her he can do anything to her that he wants and he wasn't asking her, he was telling her. Alex shouts, "Leave me alone!" As she struggles, he sarcastically asks if she forgot her manners. Then he throws her on the bed and rips her blouse. She fights him off by kicking him and runs away in a panic. As she leaves the shack, she hears him shout, "you'll never escape me." She runs blindly until Nick stops her from continuing. She tells him there was a man in the house. "The same man as last night." Puzzled, he looks around and then asks, "What house." She turns and says, "It was right there! He tore my blouse." The house is gone. Alex is very upset; "There was a house. It was right there! He attacked me." Nick calmly reassures "It's OK. I believe you. Come on." They head back to the car.
That Night Grandma's house
Alex describes the man and the shack she saw. Rose recognizes it as slave quarters. She recounts that right before the Civil War, that whole area was part of Wakefield manor, a huge plantation. Mama Marie and La Belle were slaves there and that's when their time in America began. She tells Alex warmly that their family started there. Rose remembers hearing that the slave quarters and the cemetery stood side by side. Nick asks what happened to the plantation. Rose tells her some say the manor house was burned down by the slaves the night Grant took Vicksburg.
Alex, both mentally and physically exhausted, needs to sleep. Rose gives her mirabella tea to help her sleep, "Puts your dreams to rest," she says confidently. Nick says "just to be safe" he's going to sleep outside her room in a chair. She thanks him and he wishes them 'good night' and goes upstairs.
Grandma Rose then shows Alex Mama Marie's gun. She tells Alex that Marie left it to her when she died. "It had beaucoup power. Protect against demons of the night." Alex takes the small gun in her hands and immediately hears whispers and has a vision of the duel. A woman, looking identical to Alex, cradles the man shot in the duel and screams in grief when he dies. She also sees the other man, telling her to save her tears and that she's his now. Defiantly shouting, "Never!" she turns Marie's gun on herself. The other man screams, "No!" Worried, she tells Rose what she saw. Alex wonders why La Belle killed herself. Rose doesn't know but wisely says that it's clear that La Belle chose her and that she's the only one that can know the truth. She tells Alex to sleep.
Morning Grandma's kitchen
As Rose cooks breakfast, Alex answers the phone. It's Derek, who's calling from a private jet. He tells her he found out that Aaron Wakefield died in 1868 leaving a wife and child. He also found that there's a grandson, Seth, in his 80's still alive in L'acadia Retirement Home at 6623 3rd street. Derek goes on to say he'll be landing in Baton Rouge late that afternoon.
Alex decides to go check it out and asks Rose to tell Nick where she's going when he gets out of the shower. She says she'll be back in time to go with him to meet Derek at the airport. She leaves in the car.
L'acadia Retirement Home
Alex, in a leather jacket, goes up the steps to the home and asks Claudine, who's sweeping the porch, to direct her to Seth Wakefield. Claudine looks at Alex with disdain and suspicion and asks if she's there about the Klan and is she from the states attorney's office. When Alex tells her she's there to see Seth Wakefield, Claudine replies, "On the other hand Mr. Seth don't put a lot of stock into talking with coloreds, either." Alex tells the woman that she feels the same way about fat people. Claudine asks if she's trying to tell her something, and Alex replies calmly, "I think I just did." She then walks inside.
Nick, unable to get Rose's old car started looks under the hood. She comes out and reminds him, "I told you it won't start." Nick smiles, "It's a temporary condition." He's upset Alex left without him. When Grandma reminds him that Alex said she'd be back, Nick tells her gently, "No offense Rose, but I didn't come here to wait." He then continues to work under the hood. He notes that the battery is fine and asks when she drove it last. She tells him the car doesn't like her and she last drove it a week or more ago. He asks her "hop in the car and try and start it again." She does. When it won't start she throws up her hands in disgust, saying, "I told you, this car hates me."
Alex enters and sees the old man in a wheelchair. He looks at her saying, "Hey Baby, you're a new one." Alex responds that she's not his baby and she wants to talk to him about his grandfather, Aaron. Seth continues to talk down to her and she asks him if he's always that offensive. He then smiles, impressed that she's not afraid of him. He asks her for a cigarette and she replies that "smoking will kill you." Alex then asks about his grandfather and what happened back then.
He tells her that the story he heard was that La Belle was a whore and the man killed in the duel deserved killing. Alex accuses him of lying and he says indignantly to see for herself and gives directions to the graveyard because both La Belle and her lover are buried on Post road. She protests this, saying she was there and hadn't found them. He replies that's because they weren't fit to be buried in the cemetery itself. He was a gambler, she was a whore and you don't bury them next to decent folk. She didn't see them the first time because they're buried outside the gates.
Alex notices a picture on the table of the other man from the duel and realizes it's Aaron Wakefield. She picks it up and has a vision. Suddenly, Seth changes into Aaron Wakefield who grabs her arm and says intensely, "Tomorrow. You will come at sunup. King's Cross. You'll be mine." Aaron disappears and Seth reappears. Upset, Alex leaves abruptly.
Outside she finds Nick driving up in Rose's car. He walks towards her also wearing a jacket and asks if she's OK and chastises her for leaving without him. She tells him she saw the picture of Aaron Wakefield and that it's the same man from her dream. She goes on to say that he grabbed her arm and wants her at King's Cross tomorrow. Nick replies "That doesn't leave us much time." Again Alex asks Nick "if I'm going completely crazy?" Nick gently replies, "No more than the rest of us." She also tells him that the graves are outside the cemetery. Since Derek is due to arrive in an hour, they decide to leave to pick him up, with Alex following Nick in case Grandma Rose's car quits.
Later that night - cemetery
Derek and Alex, in the rental car, follow Nick, who's driving Rose's old car. They stop outside the gates of the graveyard. The three of them search by flashlight among the many graves found outside the gates. Then they find the broken top. It's a double gravestone and they see that La Belle is buried right next to her lover, who was named "Chevalier." They surmise that since they died together, they were buried together. Derek finds an inscription that says, "13 decades must fall like rain, before La Belle comes back again."
Nick notes that tomorrow will be exactly 130 years. Alex realizes by the dates on the gravestone that "La Belle was the same age I am now when she died." Derek says somberly that it's called psychic convergence, a "portal through which a soul can be reborn into the body of another. La Belle found a portal in you. That explains your dream." Tomorrow on the anniversary La Belle will try to take Alex over completely. Concerned, they decide to go talk to Grandma Rose to find out what they can do to stop La Belle.
Grandma Rose's later that night
Alex tells her they were buried together. Wistfully, Rose replies, "a final embrace. Mama Marie always said she loved him." They discuss that when La Belle returns, she won't find Chevalier because he didn't join in the pact and is now dead forever. But Wakefield's spirit obviously isn't dead. Since they don't know what will stop La Belle, Rose decides that only Mama Marie, her own grandmother, can provide the answers. She prepares for a ceremony to summon Mama Marie. She cooks mandrake root since it's aligned with the soul of man. . When boiled it gives off vapors that will allow her to channel Marie. Nick closes the doors and windows in the house so Rose isn't disturbed while she's in the trance.
As she breathes in the vapors from the root, Rose recites,
"Root of the mandrake, Boiled and tossed, Loosen tongues of spirits lost."
Rose goes into a deep trance and continues, "Roots of Nightshade, Roots of toil,
Hear me, Mama Marie. Truth to tell. You speak through me."
Rose's voice becomes welcoming and says,
"Bon soir dame. Come into me. Sil vous plat."
Parlez en plein air complete."
Derek asks, "Who's here?" In a deep voice, the spirit answers, "Marie Delarue. Why do you disturb my sleep?"
Derek replies, "Unfinished business between a young woman named La Belle and a man named Chevalier."
Marie tells them that La Belle came to her and asked her to make a juju pact. She needed to escape another's lust. Marie had told her to take a silver locket and put inside 2 locks of hair, one La Belle's, the other Chevalier's. That would cause them to die and be reborn.
Alex, who was listening intently, says, "I only saw one." She tells them only La Belle made the pact. Chevalier fought a duel instead.
Marie ends by saying "To die and be reborn. Red sun dawning at King's Cross Road. Enough. Taisez vous! " Marie's spirit leaves Rose and vanishes.
Grandma returns to normal. Suddenly, the front door opens by itself and La Belle's spirit enters and quickly overtakes Alex. Derek shouts for her to fight her and Alex faints and falls into Nick's arms. Worriedly, Grandma announces that it's past and La Belle's spirit is gone for now.
Alex sleeps on flowered sheets. Rose sits at her bedside. Nick and Derek look worried as they discuss that Alex is in danger since La Belle's spirit is very close. She chose Alex because they're kindred sprits and she had no other choice. They figure there's only one explanation as to why Wakefield can appear and disappear at will and that's because he made a bargain with the darkside. They worry that he will appear and try to kill Alex unless they stop him.
Alex, in her sleep, has a vision. La Belle and Chevalier are in bed tenderly kissing. La Belle encourages him to enter the pact. Chevalier reassures La Belle that she should let him handle it. "You leave him to me. The war is over. Wakefield doesn't own you anymore." She worries he'll find her and she tells him Mama Marie can set them free. She encourages him to believe in her. She tells him about the locket and the hair. They would die together so they could be reborn together. He tells her it's crazy and if anyone dies it's Wakefield. They profess their love to each other and kiss. She pleads that he do what she asks and that he leave the rest to her.
The vision changes to the site of the duel. The gun fires. Chevalier falls. The gun that killed Chevalier was Mama Marie's gun and was fired by La Belle. As his body lies in her lap, she turns the gun on herself and fires. .
Later that night
Alex wakes up and tells them that La Belle killed Chevalier, Wakefield didn't, and then she killed herself. La Belle is so upset because she's ready to be reborn but Chevalier isn't there because he never made the pact. She doesn't want to be re-born without her lover. La Belle wants them to save her from Wakefield and stop him or she'll never be free. Derek tells Alex to stay there with Rose. He then asks Rose what Marie meant when she said, "red sun dawning." She replies, "Red dawning, devils warning."
Derek then asks about King's Cross and Rose tells him it's off old Parrish Road on the left side. It has a marker in the shape of a cross. They surmise that Wakefield needs to experience the same moment in time in order to take La Belle. He's going to expect she'll be there. Grandma says worriedly, "That's the only way he can have her."
Derek and Nick plan to meet Wakefield at King's Cross. They have one opportunity to stop him. Derek tells Alex to stay with Rose and they'll handle Wakefield.
King's Cross Road
Derek and Nick pass an old large stone cross on the road. On it is an old weathered plaque that reads, "On this spot in 1633, the Jesuit missionaries converted the Choctaw Nation to Christ in the name of Louis XIII."
Derek says that the only way to stop Wakefield is to meet him face to face. Nick asks what he's going to do, "Challenge him to a duel?" Derek replies that if it comes to that he will. "Once dawn is come and gone the window will be shut forever."
La Belle's voice whispers to Alex. "Just do as I say and leave the rest to me."
Rose is preparing breakfast and Alex, wearing a long nightgown and a flowing green robe, walks behind her. Rose cooking with her back to Alex, comments that she's surprised to see her out of bed. Alex goes to the bureau as if in a trance and takes Mama Marie's gun. She turns and walks towards the front door. Rose comments to herself that she feels a draft and it's "giving me a bad feeling down to my very bones." She asks aloud if she wants a cup of tea. When she gets no answer she turns and realizes Alex has left the house.
Kings Cross Road - dawn
As dawn comes, Wakefield appears, looks at Derek, and asks if he's her new lover that's "come to claim your just reward?" Angry, he then throws the locket at the Derek and Nick. Derek demands that Wakefield stop this saying he has no power. Wakefield scoffs and asks just who will stop him. Just then, Alex/La Belle, runs up the road calling for him to stop. Wakefield pulls out his revolver saying, "Do your dance." Both Nick and Derek draw their guns and aim directly at Wakefield. A red sun rises in the horizon.
She runs right up to Wakefield, calling, "Wait! Take me." Saying he knew she would come, Wakefield grabs her around the neck and pulls her in front of him. Derek and Nick tell Wakefield to let her go. He scoffs, "She's why I've come. To kill her. To make her mine. La Belle Dame Sans Merci. " La Belle replies seductively, "Why Mon Cher, the way it was, the way it will always be." He relaxes and let's her go.
La Belle/Alex turns and strokes his face while softly and sweetly telling him that "You don't know how much I thought about you, or how I feel. How I regret what I did that day." Derek implores her to realize that Wakefield is using her and to step away from him. She ignores him. Wakefield tells her, "I knew you'd come round. You really are mine." Just then, from the folds of her robe, she pulls out Mama Marie's gun with her left hand and shoots Wakefield point blank in the chest. He looks stunned and she shoots him again. Angrily, she exclaims, "You're the one who deserved to die."
The bullets cause him to drop back and a fire starts burning from the wounds.
Alex/La Belle watches as Wakefield screams. She takes several steps back towards Derek and Nick as the fire gets intense and begins to consume Wakefield. The fire shoots from his chest and he totally burns up leaving nothing but a burned spot on the grass.
La Belle had watched this until he was destroyed. Then screaming, La Belle's spirit leaves Alex's body in an upsurge of light and goes up in the sky and disappears. As soon as the spirit is gone, Alex faints and is caught by Derek and Nick as she falls to the ground. She lies unconscious in their arms.
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