The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 1 – Two

Rod Serling tells us the town we see has been deserted for five years after a war.  He tells us this could be a century in the future or a million years in the past.

A shapely young woman in a military uniform arrives in the town.  Her face is covered in grime and she seems very wary of her surroundings.  Walking down the street she sees a building with a sign that says restaurant.  She walks in and rummages through the shelves until she finds a food can.  She opens it but before she has a chance to examine its contents, she sees a man enter wearing a military uniform different from hers.  She immediately throws a kitchen cleaver at him and follows it up with a frying pan.  He dodges the missiles and attempts to restrain her but she continues to pummel him with kitchen ironmongery so he clocks her in the jaw and knocks her cold.

The man (played by Charles Bronson) walks over to the can of food and starts eating the chicken drumsticks it contains.  On a personal note, the chicken always made me a little hungry but I think I might have hesitated to eat canned chicken that was over five years old.

Now the man goes over to the unconscious woman (played by Elizabeth Montgomery a very attractive actress of the day) and checks to see if he has broken her jaw.  Satisfied that she is intact, he picks up a pot of water and pours it over her face.  This revives her and she cowers at his feet.  Neither speaks the other’s language but he tries anyway to tell her that there is no longer any reason for them to be enemies.  He pushes the can of chicken toward her and leaves the building.

He walks down the street and finds a barber shop.  He gathers a razor and some soap and water and proceeds to give himself a shave.  Meanwhile, the girl has finished her meal and has followed him into the barber shop.  As he finishes his shave, he tosses her a bar of soap and she washes her face.  Now feeling slightly more human they walk out on the street together and inspect the town.  They walk over to the movie theater and see a poster for a war-time romance film which makes them smile but then they both notice two skeletons with rifles.  Each grabs a rifle and points it at the other but the man soon decides to just ignore the threat and walks away with the rifle strapped over his shoulder.  The girl follows behind him and they end up in front of a clothes store and they both look at a mannequin wearing an evening dress.  The girl says something that must mean pretty and the man goes into the window display and takes the dress off the mannequin and throws it to the girl.  He walks to next door and points to it to tell her to go inside and change into the dress.  After hesitating for a moment, she goes inside and he waits across the street on the curb.

Inside she begins to get undressed but the storefront is a recruiting station and there are pictures of the armed forces and they represent her army as the enemy.  This angers her and she runs out the door and fires two energy rounds at the man (so it is not the 20th century anyway).  She misses him with the shots but keeps the rifle trained on him.  He reacts in shocked disbelief but soon walks away and is gone.

In the next scene the girl is sleeping in the barber shop during a rain storm and looking very lonely.  The next day the man is on a second story porch putting on some civilian clothes and gathering some jars of preserved fruit.  When he looks down, he sees the girl’s head poking above a car parked across the street.  He yells to her to go away because, “this is civilian territory.”  But she walks around the car and he can now see that she is wearing the evening dress.  Smiling, he throws her a jar of fruit and walks down the street in front of her.  She hurries to catch up to him and lifts her dress to walk faster and we can see she’s still wearing her army boots.  She catches up to him and they walk on hand in hand.

Bronson and Montgomery are perhaps the least likely couple I could imagine in a love story.  But damned if this isn’t a very affecting and enjoyable teleplay.  It’s especially interesting that Bronson was given all the lines.  He is usually the strong silent type in his movies.  Good Zone.  A.

The Twilight Zone Revisited

My hypocrisy knows no bounds.

Last July I posted a review of the Twilight Zone in which I stated unequivocally that all but a handful of the episodes are unwatchable.  Once again, the SyFy Channel featured a marathon of the episodes around the holidays and once again, I found myself watching way too many of them.  I recorded about fifteen of them on the cable box and proceeded to replay them almost obsessively over the last few weeks.  I did find a couple more that I had forgotten were pretty good and kept re-watching the few that I do enjoy.  But what became intolerable was having to deal with the commercials from the SyFy Channel each time I watched.  Even fast forwarding through became so painful I finally deleted all the episodes in disgust.

The one episode that I had forgotten I liked was “Two.”  Charles Bronson and Elizabeth Montgomery are soldiers from opposing armies that wander into a deserted city five years after a war has depopulated the world.  Surprisingly, the sparse dialog and minimal action work remarkably well and create a genuinely affecting moment.

Anyway, I buckled under the pressure.  I went on Amazon and bought the whole series on blu-ray, all one hundred and sixty odd, mostly awful shows.  I guess this proves I’m a hopeless addict to bad television.

It showed up tonight and I put on “To Serve Man.”  Oh well, at least there are no SyFy Channel commercials.  That’s one nightmare I won’t have to face again.  That’s at least an improvement.

“Mr. Chambers, don’t get on that ship!  “To Serve Man,” it’s a cookbook!”  Ahhhh, ain’t it grand!