The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 1 Episode 7 – The Lonely

The Lonely is a science fiction short story about being human.  I take a few points off because of the silliness of the set-up.  James Corry is a convicted killer who’s been sentenced to a fifty-year prison sentence but the “prison” is an asteroid nine million miles from Earth.  Let’s forget about the inaccuracies of where and how but let’s look at the silliness of the logistics of this prison.  Four times a year a ship has to come from Earth and drop off supplies to all of the asteroid prisons in use.  So apparently there are enough asteroids to keep each prisoner in solitary confinement.  Next, according to the supply ship personnel, they have to spend eight months out of every year performing their supply circuit.  So in effect, they too are virtual prisoners of their jobs.  The whole things is completely absurd and pointless since a prison on Earth would be infinitely cheaper, easier and equally effective.  Okay, rant off.

Corry is in year four of his sentence when a sympathetic supply ship captain, Allenby brings him a present.  Believing Corry to be an innocent man and knowing that Corry is close to despair, he gives him a crate that he tells him to open after the ship leaves because it is contraband which the Captain would be punished for giving to Corry.

Corry opens up the crate and finds a robot that looks and acts like a living woman.  Alicia, as she calls herself, tries to befriend Corry but at first he rejects her because he feels she is a mockery of life and worse than being alone.  But when he treats her roughly she feels pain and her tears touch his heart and he grows to accept her as a human and love her as a real woman.  The scene of the two of them sitting out in the desert night while he points out the familiar constellations is very touching.

Then Allenby’s ship returns unexpectedly with the best news he could possibly hope for.  Corry has been pardoned and can now return to Earth immediately.  In fact he has only minutes to leave and can only bring fifteen pounds of belongings.  He is overjoyed and states that he doesn’t have fifteen pounds of possessions, just a notebook and a pencil.  He tells Allenby that he’ll call Alicia and they can go right away.

But Allenby breaks the news to him that Alicia cannot come.  There is no allowance for her weight and she is a criminal possession anyway.  Corry becomes agitated and angry and tells Allenby and his men that Alicia is a real woman and she must go along with them.  Allenby realizes the harm he has caused by his gift to Corry but sees the only possible resolution to the dilemma.  He shoots Alicia in the face and thereby destroys her.  Corry goes into a shocked silence seeing the mechanical components behind her face and Allenby assures him that leaving the asteroid will mean waking up from a nightmare and the only thing he’ll be leaving behind is loneliness.  To which Corry mechanically replies, “I must remember that, I must remember to keep that in mind,” as he’s lead back to the relief ship.

Jack Warden who played Corry was a pretty familiar face to television viewers of the era.  He seemed to play a lot of cops from what I remember of him.  He does a good job playing the part.  Allenby is played by John Dehner who is not as well known but played in several Twilight Zone episodes and is actually one of my favorites for western sheriffs and space ship captains.  He also did a good job.

I like this episode.  It’s far-fetched and a little bit contrived but fits my tastes for a half-hour drama.  It gets a B.

18JAN2019 – Quote of the Day

“Either Christianity is true or it’s false. If you bet that it’s true, and you believe in God and submit to Him, then if it IS true, you’ve gained God, heaven, and everything else. If it’s false, you’ve lost nothing, but you’ve had a good life marked by peace and the illusion that ultimately, everything makes sense. If you bet that Christianity is not true, and it’s false, you’ve lost nothing. But if you bet that it’s false, and it turns out to be true, you’ve lost everything and you get to spend eternity in hell.”

Blaise Pascal

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 1 Episode 6 – Escape Clause

At last, the first season has an episode I can applaud.  Escape Clause is the story of Walter Bedeker a hypochondriac in a high rise who says that it’s unfair that he can only live such a very short span.  Along comes Cadwallader a portly fellow who says he can provide Walter with virtual immortality and indestructability in exchange for his insignificant soul.  After just a little bit of haggling the bargain is struck and Cadwallader even throws in an escape clause just in case the day ever comes when Walter tires of life and wants an easy way out.

Mr. Bedeker strides forward into his new life by hurling himself in front of every subway train and bus he can find.  He makes a few thousand dollars of liability insurance but finds himself bored to tears.  After drinking a glass of poison in front of his horrified wife, the jaded Methuselah informs his better half that he’s going to the roof and jump the whole fourteen stories just to see how it feels.  When she follows him to the roof and tries to block his way, she accidentally falls over the edge to her death.

Walter calls the police and claims he murdered his wife in order to try out the electric chair.  But the trial ends with him sentenced to life in prison without parole (damn Democrats).  Faced with the endless boredom of a perpetual prison sentence he agrees to the escape clause and Mr. Cadwallader gives him an immediate heart attack exit.

Now that’s my idea of a Twilight Zone.  Walter is a cranky egomaniac and Cadwallader is a friendly if oily ambassador for hell.  It’s an obvious match made in heaven?  There aren’t any big stars but it’s filled with character actors that you’ll recognize from any number of shows and series of the time.  The most notable for me is Joe Flynn playing one of the insurance agents paying off on his accident cases.  Flynn played Captain Binghamton (Old Leadbottom) on the McHale’s Navy sit-com opposite star Ernest Borgnine as Lieutenant Commander Quinton McHale.

Finally a Twilight Zone that deserves a solid B+.

Hell or High Water Soundtrack – A Country Music Review

So this is the companion to my review of the movie “Hell or High Water” movie.  The film brings up to the present day the Texas outlaw genre.  The music is a mixture of evocative movie background instrumental and then songs from various artists that speak to the theme.   The artists, Townes Van Zandt, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Waylon Jennings, Colter Wall,  Scott H. Biram and Chris Stapleton are far from uniform in their styles or even genre.  I believe Van Zandt is considered a folk music singer/songwriter but the songs fit the theme and even the instrumental pieces provided by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis fit together well and qualify as actual music and not just sound effects.  I’ve listed the non-instrumental songs below.  All in all, an enjoyable album of music.  Recommended for when you’re feeling like an outlaw which for me lately is most of the time.

Dollar Bill Blues
by Townes Van Zandt

Dust of the Chase
by Ray Wylie Hubbard

You Ask Me To
by Waylon Jennings

Sleeping On The Blacktop
by Colter Wall

Blood, Sweat and Murder
by Scott H. Biram

Outlaw State Of Mind
by Chris Stapleton

17JAN2019 – Quote of the Day

“Modern liberalism, for most liberals is not a consciously understood set of rational beliefs, but a bundle of unexamined prejudices and conjoined sentiments. The basic ideas and beliefs seem more satisfactory when they are not made fully explicit, when they merely lurk rather obscurely in the background, coloring the rhetoric and adding a certain emotive glow.”

James Burnham