Thoughts From the Gilligan's Island Episode Gilligan vs. Gilligan (1966)
Synopsis: In an effort to learn more about the castaways, the Russians send a spy to the island to pose as Gilligan (Bob Denver), leading to a series of misunderstandings that cause the rest of the castaways to believe Gilligan is suffering from a mental illness.
I wasn't a big fan of Gilligan's "friends" in this episode. Over the course of three seasons and roughly 100 episodes, I have never seen any evidence of Gilligan even being capable of telling a lie unless it was to protect someone. If anything, he is truthful to a fault. Yet, when a pie goes missing and the laundry ends up on the ground, the rest of the group were quick to call him a liar. And, let's face it, him saying there is someone on the island that looks exactly like him isn't exactly the weirdest thing that has happened to the castaways.
This is another episode that forgets what has already happened on the island. I understand this show wasn't meant to be a serial and, with a couple exceptions, the events in the episodes aren't supposed happen in a particular order. However, as someone who has a hard time with that, I question why the Professor (Russell Johnson) and Skipper (Alan Hale, Jr.) were quick to dismiss Gilligan's doppelganger story when something like that had already happened with Mr. Howell (Jim Backus). On a similar note, the Russians should already know the castaways' backstory after their space capsule crash landed in the lagoon in season 2 though, to be fair, maybe you could link the two stories by having the cosmonauts not believing they were really shipwrecked.
I kind of wish this episode would have done things from more of a first-person perspective. It might have been kind of cool to see the episode be entirely about the fake Gilligan and tell the story from his perspective. If nothing else, it would have been a change of pace from what you would normally expect to see in an episode from this series.
OK, so do the Skipper and Professor believe him now or not? I didn't hate the ending, but I feel the Professor finding that pocketknife should have vindicated Gilligan more than it did. I don't think the castaways still believed he was a liar or going crazy, but he also never got that "I told you so" moment that I feel he more than deserved after the way they treated him.
Final Opinion: I like the premise but also feel the episode relied a little too much on the castaways not believing Gilligan even though he had never given them a reason to doubt his honesty and his story was virtually identical to something that had already happened once.
My Grade: C+