The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 6 – The Mirror

Peter Falk is Ramos Clemente, who is a stand in for Fidel Castro.  Clemente and his four lieutenants are celebrating their victory over and capture of the former dictator De Cruz (a stand-in for Battista).  The five friends toast each other with the wine they’ve captured in the Presidential Palace.  De Cruz is brought in and Clemente taunts him with the prospect of a slow torturous death.  De Cruz dismisses his taunts and rails at Clemente with the reality that now he was the new dictator and he would be living in fear of the next avenging angel to follow.  De Cruz follows up by telling them that the ornate mirror on the wall of the Presidential Office is magic and will show Clemente the face of his would-be assassins.  Clemente sends off De Cruz to his fate but we can see that de Cruz’s words have hit home in Clemente’s mind.

At this point one of Clemente’s lieutenants upbraids him for treating De Cruz in an extralegal fashion.  He insists that Clemente cannot murder De Cruz but must have him tried in court.  Clemente explodes at him and calls him a fool and dismisses his criticism as stupid.  But when Clemente turns away from his critical comrade, he sees in the mirror that this man is now holding a gun as if he means to shoot Clemente.  But when he turns back to the man, he has no gun and isn’t even looking toward him.  But now Clemente remembers De Cruz’s words of the magic mirror.  He accuses the man of plotting his murder.  And immediately Clemente pushes his comrade through the balcony doors and throws him down to his death.

Now two of his other three lieutenants are shocked and agitated and upbraid him for what they see as insanity.  By the way one of these two is dressed and made up to look like Che Guevara.  Clemente argues with them and when he turns to the mirror again the two men are shown with a gun and knife.  He tells the two men to go down to the prison and make sure De Cruz hasn’t escaped.  They go reluctantly and as soon as they are gone, he calls the gate of the prison and tells the guards to kill his two lieutenants when the appear.  Then he tells the guards to let him know when it is done.

Facing his last comrade, he asks him whether his turn will be next to turn on Clemente.  The man says that there are two kinds of men, followers and leaders and he himself will follow Clemente until that day when he no longer thinks Clemente is the strongest.  But he also tells Clemente that he can never again think of other men as his friends.  A dictator has no friends, only followers or rivals.  This seems to satisfy Clemente.  Next the lieutenant answers the phone and informs Clemente that his two men have been executed by the prison guards.  This seems to depress Clemente and he turns away.  But when he looks in the mirror again, he sees his last comrade leering at him and holding a glass of wine.  When he turns around the man is not holding any wine.  When shortly after the man offers Clemente a glass of wine, he assumes the man is trying to poison him.  He slaps the glass out of his hand and accuses him.  The man mocks him for believing in magic mirrors but despite this Clemente shoots him dead.  Now he is alone.

In the next scene the Catholic priest in charge of the area comes to Clemente and demands that the firing squads that have been working around the clock killing De Cruz’s men end.  Clemente refuses saying he will kill off all his would-be assassins.  The priest leaves but he tells Clemente that all dictators always miss the one real assassin.

As he leaves and closes the door Clemente in desperation throws his gun through the mirror and a few seconds later the priest and the guards outside the door hear a shot ring out and enter to find Clemente has committed suicide.

At the time Castro was in the news having just overthrown Battista and taken control of Cuba.  Of course, no magic mirror overthrew Castro and he only finally died a few years ago but Peter Falk is so much fun to watch in this thing as a crazy Latin American dictator.   A-

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War Pig
War Pig
1 year ago

I loved Falk as the henchman Max Meen in “The Great Race”. Here he shows his drama chops. Most people think of him in comedy (I consider Colombo to be half-comedy) but one of his Oscar nominations was for “Murder, Inc.”, and he played a quite deadly fellow in “Anzio”.

War Pig
War Pig
1 year ago

The closest I came to a video game in my youth was Etch-A-Sketch, Wild Willy the magnetic hair guy, and the wooden puzzle with two “controller” knobs that you used to tilt the surface and make a steel ball run a maze and avoid pit traps. Heck, Etch-A-Sketch didn’t even come out until 1960 when I was already eleven. These days I see parents hand kids tablet computers to keep them busy at age four.