Pickles are a dangerous business.
Overview (Spoilers Below)
Through casual error, Patient 88 eats one of Ahmed’s drug-pickled pickles and begins the acid trip to end all acid trips. What was supposed to be a normal day of going to court ends up being something almost indescribable?
Ahmed serves as Patient 88’s guide through the whole affair, though that is little comfort to the distressed man who keeps going deeper and deeper into his trippy waking dreams. As things continue, there is no end in sight to how insane his hallucinations can go.
On his path to enlightenment, Patient 88 comes in contact with tribal, imagined versions of his coworkers. Especially Doctor Roberts, who fits in well the imagined dreamscape of 88’s mind. By the end of it all, 88 sees himself released from a cocoon which Ahmed made. Of course, this just another hallucination within the hallucination, as its revealed by the end that only eight minutes have passed, and Patient 88 has 14 more hours to go.
This episode is a trip if I’ve ever seen one. Moving away from the traditional formula that Dream Corp has presented us so far, “Pickle Trip” takes us on a wild journey into the hallucinogenic world of a pickled pickle. Buckle your seatbelts and prepare for taking off, because this week’s second Dream Corp episode looks to take you for a drug-fueled spin.
In addition to just being a fun drug trip episode, “Pickle Trip” is also a look at the Dream Corp lab from the perspective of one of its employees, Patient 88. This episode isn’t about curing dreams, but another great way to make resident sad sack Patient 88 suffer in new, exciting and surreal ways. This brings an exciting new dimension to the show, but that doesn’t mean its necessarily a great time to watch.
Because the episode uses a mescalin/LSD/deer hoof infused pickle as the source of a hallucinogenic sequence, Patient 88’s drug trip serves as a stand-in for the dream sequences we’ve come to usually expect. Because the sequence isn’t animated, though, it’s not nearly as exciting as the gorgeous colors and motions of the patient’s dreams are. However, since the episode tries to give a recreation of what an actual drug trip is like, things feel all the more real. I personally have never tripped before, but I don’t doubt that this is at least a little bit what it’s like.
But this brings us the core question of the episode: is it funny? Well, not so much. It does have things that are amusing in it, but the episode doesn’t have a lot of gags or jokes, just a lot of strangeness. Its funny in a sort of “Hah, well this is completely nuts” sort of way, but I felt more weirded out than anything else. Really, watching the episode instills a sort of hallucinogenic feel in the viewer, which I think is more what the episode is going for.
What can you really say about an episode like this? From the moment Patient 88 eats the pickled pickle, the episode flies in a fit of whirlwind insanity. Since the episode doesn’t try to make you laugh in the traditional sense, the only real metric of judgment is in the quality of its hallucinatory experiment. I find that its a strange, but exciting thing to watch, if not a bit disturbing. Its ending offers some closure, some thematic purpose to 88’s trip that offers him some enlightenment, but it’s so wrapped up in insane weirdness it’s hard to make heads or tails of.