‘Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams’ Recap: Even Baseball Can’t Save You From The Father Thing
In this week’s episode of Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, we meet Charlie, a young boy obsessed with baseball at the exclusion of all else—and it doesn’t take long for us to understand why. While Charlie’s busy brushing up on his Reggie Jackson trivia, his parents’ marriage is quietly falling apart. During a camping getaway with this little slugger, Charlie’s unnamed father (Oscar nominee Greg Kinnear) plans to break the news of an impending separation.
As you probably guessed, he never gets around to it because they’re too busy talking baseball. However, this topic is briefly pushed into the background by an eye-popping discovery: a series of lights in the sky that appears to be an extreme form of meteor shower.
The following day, father and son attempt to return to their normal existence, but they both struggle to get back in the swing of things. Charlie can’t shake the image of a mysterious bald man he spotted at a gas station, and his father is preoccupied with marital non-bliss, not to mention an intrusion that has made a mess of the family trash.
While we’re left to ponder these lingering crises, Charlie heads to school and discovers that many of his classmates are absent. Rather than let this unsolved mystery get in the way of a good day, he anxiously checks to find if he made the all-star baseball team—and confirms that he landed one of those elusive spots! The first clue that baseball is not the solution to all of life’s problems comes when he goes to share the news with his father, who is otherwise engaged.
That’s right, the body of Charlie’s father has been invaded with lasers and replaced by an alien entity that arrived on Earth in that unexplained light show the other night. His son heads back inside and awaits further explanation. Instead, he is greeted by a terrifyingly cheerful, clean-cut version of his father, one who can’t wait to start planning a trip to the Galápagos Islands. This may be Charlie’s dream vacation destination, but he’s not going anywhere with alien dad, especially after he spots an unidentified creature poking around beneath his face.
As the father-son tension escalates, Charlie locks his bedroom door, breaks the still-confusing news to his friends, and spots his dad scheming with a swarm of like-minded alien people. As if any further confirmation of foul play was required, Charlie breaks into the garage and makes yet another discovery: several of his dad’s abandoned body parts buried in a trash can.
Alien dad eventually comes clean—while playing a newly violent form of baseball with Charlie—and makes an unlikely plea for understanding: “Charlie, can you imagine what it’s like watching your world disappearing, wandering the universe on star winds with no chance of being with your progeny, no chance of a real tomorrow—it sucks.” While he makes a valid point, Charlie and his friends are forced to take action, and all involved suffer the consequences of an unwanted alien confrontation.