by Noël Coward
Date Aired: November 8, 2021
Team: Jennifer, Ricardo, and Sam
Analysis Technique: Theatricality
Community Voices: Anne Mollerskov, calling about this episode to talk about acting in Blithe Spirit.
Novelist Charles Condomine wishes to learn about the occult for a novel he is writing, so he arranges for an eccentric medium, Madame Arcati, to hold a séance at his house. At the séance, she uses the song "Always", which inadvertently summons Charles's first wife, Elvira, who has been dead for seven years. The medium leaves, unaware of what she has done. Only Charles can see or hear Elvira, and his second wife.
Initially Ruth, does not believe that Elvira exists until a floating vase is handed to her out of thin air. Elvira is appealingly decadent, unconventional and moody, in contrast to the more strait-laced Ruth. The ghostly Elvira makes continued, and increasingly desperate, efforts to disrupt Charles's current marriage. At first Charles basks in the attention, but Ruth realizes that a series of accidents that injure both Charles and their maid, Edith, are actually attempts to murder him so that they can be together in the afterlife. Charles and Ruth decide to get Madame Arcati to help but it is too late, Elvira has sabotaged the car in the hope of killing Charles, but instead it is Ruth who is killed.
Who immediately appears in ghost form to attack Elvira.
Charles calls Madame Arcati back to exorcise both of his dead wives, but the Madame Arcati phrases the request problematically and her spirit guide manifests Ruth Condomine instead of vanishing Elvira Condomine. With both his dead wives now fully visible, and neither of them in the best of tempers, Charles and Madame Arcati, goes through séance after séance and spell after spell to try to exorcise them. It is not until Madame Arcati works out that the housemaid, Edith, is psychic and had unwittingly been the conduit through which both wives were summoned that she succeeds in dematerializing both ghosts. Charles is left seemingly in peace, but Madame Arcati, hinting that though the ghosts may be unseen that does not mean they aren't there and possibly still angry; she warns him that he should go far away as soon as possible. Charles then hurls insults to the seemingly empty space to see if he can get a rise out of Ruth and Elvira -- he tells them he didn't love them and that he wasn't faithful and that he is glad to be free of them. At this the wives (unseen) destroy the room and Charles just barely escapes with his life.