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Twilight Zone Collector's Edition (Walking Distance, Nightmare at 20,000 ft, plus 2 others)

1 rating: 5.0
A Twilight Zone Collector's Edition tape
1 review about Twilight Zone Collector's Edition (Walking...

Four excellent episodes

  • May 22, 2010
Rating:
+5
"Walking Distance" is yet another story where a person goes back to their youth. Martin Sloan is thirty-six and exhausted by his job as an advertising executive in New York City. After a particularly rough stretch, Sloan takes a drive out into the country and his journey takes him to a service station a short distance from the town where he grew up. He leaves his car there for service and walks the rest of the way into town, finding it just the way it was in his youth. In many ways he is now the outsider, for he is still an adult and he meets himself as a boy and his parents. These are awkward meetings, for he finds himself wanting to be treated as a boy again, a specific boy, namely himself. His aggressiveness leads to his youthful counterpart suffering a leg injury and when Sloan finally walks back to his car to return to normal time, it is with a limp.
The acting and scenes in this episode are superb, especially the scenes involving the carousel in the park. Sloan is completely believable as a man that wants to go back to his youth, exactly the way it was, when life was simpler and he can filter out the difficulties he is having now and those he experienced as a youth. Nostalgia is largely an exercise in selective memory, we all know that yet still suffer from it. Stories that tell us this are enjoyed, appreciated and have no affect on our capacity to look back with fondness.
"The Midnight Sun" is an absurd story that is saved by a dramatic plot twist and change at the end. For reasons unknown, the Earth has been shifted in its' orbit and is now closer to the sun. Nearly all people that can have left for cooler climates, but Norma and her neighbor Mrs. Bronson remain in their apartment building. The heat continues to rise, commodities become scarce and they rapidly begin to lose their minds. After Mrs. Bronson collapses, Norma watches her paintings melt, an event that causes her to collapse. Norma awakens to a very cool apartment, she had been suffering from a high fever and Mrs. Bronson and a doctor are hovering over her. All is not well however, when she wakes up her initial euphoria at recovering rapidly changes to dread as she realizes that her situation has not improved.
The absurd part of the story is that the action of the Earth being shifted in orbit leads to the sun shining nearly all day. If that were to happen, the Earth would continue to rotate and there would still be a night. Nevertheless, the unusual ending of the episode saves it and makes you forget the astronomical gaffe.
"Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" stars William Shatner as an intelligent, yet frightened man named Robert Wilson. He is recovering from a nervous breakdown and is with his wife on a night flight in a rainstorm. His breakdown occurred on a flight and he is still very uncomfortable with flying but determined to overcome it. Suddenly, he sees a creature walking on the wing and he tries to get others to look out. Before they do, the creature flies off and his wife and the airplane crew believe that he is relapsing. When Wilson sees the creature attempting to sabotage the engine, he manages to take the gun of a law enforcement officer, open the emergency exit and shoot the creature. The plane lands and Wilson is carried off the plane on a secured stretcher and the crew and his wife are commenting on his delusions while he smiles to himself. The last scene is a pan of the camera to the engine, where the cover is partially ripped off.
William Shatner is a superb actor, capable of portraying everything from a solid commanding officer to an unstable personality. In this case, he is thoroughly believable as a mentally unbalanced man fighting to control his fears in order to overcome a danger that only he can see.
"The Purple Testament" is a war story with an unusual twist; one that some actual war stories indicate is a real one. The U. S. military is in action against the Japanese forces in the Philippines in 1945. Lieutenant Fitzgerald suddenly realizes that when he looks at some of the soldiers, he sees an unusual light on their faces and when that happens in a short time they are dead. It unnerves him and he confides in Captain Riker, his commanding officer. After initial skepticism, Riker becomes a believer, so when Fitzgerald sees the light on Riker's face, Riker knows yet still leads his men into action, becoming the only K.I.A. in what was a relatively easy mission. As he is about to depart for division headquarters, Fitzgerald sees the light in his face and he now knows that his end is soon. Nevertheless, he gets on the jeep sent for him and the driver comments on how careful a driver he is. The episode ends with the men remaining behind hearing what they think is an explosion.
Some writers that have experienced combat write how after a time they believe that they can predict which men will be killed in the next operation. They describe it as a look of combat fatigue where the man looks like he just doesn't care any more. That look is exaggerated in this episode and the way the men in the outfit react to the thought that Fitzgerald can predict who will die is superbly acted. The light on the faces of the soon to be dead men sends a light chill down your spine.

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"Four excellent episodes"
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