They've only been married a matter of months and already Sam's maternal instincts are clanging like church bells! Though it will be a year before Tabitha is born, we're given here a glimpse into the future of just what a great mom Samantha will be: Loving yet firm, full of encouragement, instilling values without preaching, all the while looking incredibly sexy and beautiful!

Without relying on a gimmick premise of someone being under a spell or turned into something, this episode is very much grounded in mortal territory -- dealing with pesty salesmen, befriending neighborhood children, going to Little League games, conflicting with another parent -- every day things most of us can relate to at some point or another in our lives. The opening, with the salesman, is a rare case here of having a scene that's really independent from the actual plot but it's impotant here for it sets up nicely that Sam will do everything "humanly possible" to deal with an issue until she's forced to bring on her witchcraft.

Only into the sixth episode, Darrin has become understandably cautious (if not downright paranoid) of Sam's witchcraft --even asking if she's been messing with his head! But that only adds a great subtext to his character so when he's witnessing the increasing hostility between Sam and Mrs. Burns, he's now apprehensive and very, very careful to cool the situation down before he has another Sheila Sommers incident on his hands.

June Lockhart as Mrs. Burns is wonderful here. Usually playing perfectly sweet mothers, she's created a complex character, one that is grounded in reality -- we've all come across a Mrs. Burns in our lives! As the "villainess," Ms. Lockhart has created a sympathetic and not totally dislikable foe despite her icy glares and rude tone and her scene where she tells Sam and Darrin to "stay away from my little boy" is a dramatic highlight! Costumed in pearls and high heels (and a long wiglet it would seem she wears to bed!!!) it's no wonder that with the arrival of Jimmy Mathers as Marshall that this episode starts to look a lot like "Leave it to Bewitched." The little brother of Jerry Mathers (of "Beaver" fame) Jimmy is an uncanny double for his famous sibling. Not only looking like the Beave and sounding like the Beave, Jimmy has also inherited his brother's talent and is an excellent choice for this role, delivering some of the episode's funniest lines.

Alice Pearce (like June Lockhart here) once again finds that delicate balance between having to be the antagonist yet finds something in the character to redeem and save her from being totally unpleasant and Byron Keith as Coach Gribben is a perfect love match for the uptight Mrs. Marshall -- something tells me that wiglet and high heels will be coming off before we know it!

Actually quite a romantic episode on many different levels, Darrin and Sam kiss and hug a lot, talk often with sexual innuendo and behave like, well...newlyweds and it's interesting to note how Sam doesn't rely on her witchly ways but her "wifely ways" to get Darrin to do what she wants her to do. Sounds like real life to me.

FAVE QUOTE: GLADYS: "Since she came along he's improved 100 percent."
ABNER: "I think it's entirely possible the same thing could happen to ME!"

GUEST STARS: June Lockhart made a career
playing moms, most notably on "Lassie" and "Lost in Space." Byron Keith played Lt. Gilmore on TV's "77 Sunset Strip."

LOOK FOR: The "baseball" Marshall pitches is actually animated.
Gladys yells in Sam's ear and even pokes her in the ribs (two things which Liz clearly dislikes!)

© Review Copyright 1997 by SCOTT VIETS

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