The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 1 Episode 30 – A Stop at Willoughby

Gart Williams is a New York advertising executive who hates his job, is despised by his rapacious wife and wants desperately to escape from his torturous life.  When first we meet him, he is in a sales meeting where his boss belittles him for not preventing his protégé from quitting and stealing away a big account.  This fat repulsive jerk just keeps haranguing him to push, push, push.  Push, push, push.  Push, push, push.  Williams finally screams at his boss to shut his mouth and storms out of the room.

While he’s sitting in the commuter rail car on the way home to Connecticut, he shuts the window shade to shut out the swirling snow that mimics the cold despair he feels.  He falls asleep and he is awakened by the conductor calling a stop at Willoughby.    When he looks up, he sees sunlight streaming in and realizes it’s a summer day.  We can see that the train is now an antique one and the conductor is dressed from an earlier era.  Williams looks out the window and sees an idyllic turn of 19th century town with little boys heading to the fishing hole with their poles and citizens walking leisurely around their town.  As the train leaves Willoughby Williams wakes up and realizes he dreamed of Willoughby.  When he gets home his wife belittles him for being an unambitious loser.  He tells her about Willoughby and her reaction is that she was the fool for marrying a man whose ambition was to be a grown-up Huckleberry Finn.

The next day he sees Willoughby on the way to work but once again wakes up before he can get off the train.  He has another horrific day at work and is determined that on the way home he will get off at Willoughby.  He falls asleep and this time he gets off the train at Willoughby.  He talks to the inhabitants and feels like he has found his way home.

The scene changes to the snowy New England landscape near the train tracks and we see the body of Gart Williams lying in the snow.  The conductor says that Williams shouted that he had to get off and he jumped off the train while it was in route.  The Doctor says that Williams must have been killed instantly.  When we see the back of the Funeral Parlor’s hearse picking him up the name reads Willoughby and Sons.

Well.  So, we’ve already seen the nostalgia for the simpler, happier time before (Episode 5, Walking Distance).  But in this one we are presented with the aftermath of this choice, violent death.  Well, based on Mr. Williams lifestyle I think he chose wisely.  Now, what about my choice?  C+.