The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 31 – The Trade-Ins

John and Marie Holt are an elderly couple and John has a medical condition that causes extreme and chronic pain.  In this future, medical science has advanced to the point that replacement bodies are commercially available for the price of $5,000.  The couple are interviewed by the salesman and he walks them through the displays of attractive young bodies that are available.  And he explains their satisfaction guarantee.  Within the first week if the patient changes his mind his old body is returned.

But when the Holts explain that they only have $5,000 the salesman apologetically informs them that government regulations forbid anything but a cash in advance payment.  Marie tells John to have the procedure done for him first and she will wait.  But John refuses saying that it will be all or none.  The Holts leave greatly disappointed.

John finds a shady high stakes poker game and goes into it with his $5,000.  He loses most of his money and in the last hand he can play the dealer asks him why he is risking his money in a game he obviously has no skill at.  He tells him his story.  Feeling pity for John he lets him win back his $5,000 and leave with what he started.

Suffering badly from his condition John relents and agrees to have his procedure first and earn the money afterward for Marie’s new body.  When John returns after his operation he is elated by his health and youth and exults to Marie about all the things they will do.  Every week an anniversary and every night a honeymoon.  And at first Marie shares his joy but then when she embraces him and realizes how old she will be compared to this youth she is shocked and filled with despair.

But John sees the look in her eyes and immediately goes back to the medical facility and has the procedure reversed.  He tells Marie if the price of being with her is pain then so be it.  John and Marie leave the building together with their love intact and their understanding of life deepened.

Joseph Schildkraut plays John and he is a favorite of mine for the comical villain he played in “The Shop Around the Corner.”  This Serling written story is a terribly sentimental drama.  Rod has shamelessly tugged on our heart strings with this story.  But I must confess I enjoyed it anyway.  B+.

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War Pig
War Pig
1 year ago

If I’d had the chance, I’d have made the same decision.

Tyler, the Portly Politico
Reply to  photog

A beautiful little story. Too bad he couldn’t scrounge up another $5K. Body replacement surgery is exactly why Dave Ramsey says to have at least six months’s salary or $10,000 in emergency funds ready to go!

Tyler, the Portly Politico
Reply to  photog

I agree 100%, photog; after all, “it is appointed unto men once to die.” That said, it just goes to show you how useful that sweet, sweet emergency fund is. That’s why I’m always hustling with gigs and lessons and such (and drive a thirteen-year old Dodge minivan).

Chemist
Chemist
1 year ago

I hate this episode.
The ending is stupid. Its a classic false choice fallacy.
John seems to think he can only chose between a life of pain or losing his wife.
The third option: Spend the $5K and then use his pain free, younger, stronger body to earn the $5K for his wife to get a new body is completely ignored.
Its not just stupid, it insults the intelligence of the viewer.

Greg Tyson
Greg Tyson
1 year ago

The transformation caused a gulf between the Holts, a gulf neither had anticipated. John didn’t want to spend what time he had left with his wife with that gulf between them. He could make money as a young man so that he could buy the transformation for his wife. But in that time his wife might pass, robbing him of spending their twilight years together. So he chose to spend what time he had left with his wife as himself. He chose to let things play out as they were meant to. Yes, he would still have pain … but… Read more »