The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 32 – The Gift


In Madeiro, Mexico two policemen are sent to investigate a UFO.  When one of them comes across a fleeing alien they have a firefight and the policeman is killed.  His partner fires at the alien and wounds him.  When the policeman returns with his partner’s body, he warns the town that a dangerous creature is on the loose and telegraphs a message for the Army to come to Madeiro.

At this point a man that seems to be an American shows up in the cantina and asks for a drink.  He passes out and is discovered to be bleeding from gunshot wounds.  The town doctor removes the bullets and finds that this man (who calls himself Williams) very quickly recovers from what should have been fatal wounds.  Williams more or less admits to being the alien and claims that the police officer forced him to kill him.

A boy named Pedro who cleans the cantina befriends the alien and in return for this Williams gives Pedro a box which he tells him is a gift that Pedro should show to the doctor.  At this point, the Mexican Army shows up and a platoon of riflemen corner Williams.  When Pedro tells the crowd that Williams has given him a present, they grab it from him and burn it declaring that it is the work of the devil.  As Pedro and Williams walk toward each other, a woman yells out that the alien is going to harm Pedro and the soldiers all open fire on Williams, killing him.  When the doctor reads what is left of the gift it says “The following chemical formula is a vaccine, a vaccine against all forms of cancer.”  But that is all that is left.  The doctor says, “We have not just killed a man; we have killed a dream.”

First off, I’m really proud of Rod Serling for allowing someone other than Americans to be trigger happy xenophobes.  It’s sort of an achievement for Mexicans to be allowed to be the bad guys in a Twilight Zone.  It’s an acknowledgement of first world status to be responsible for oppressing somebody else.

Now, as to the dramatic quality of this episode, I’ve got some thoughts.  First off, Williams is something of an anglophile.  He can quote Robert Burns in the Scottish dialect.  I assume this is rare in space aliens.  Also, the panicked crowd of villagers were, shall we say, a little too excited.  After all the monster more or less looked and sounded like a guy from Cleveland.  And finally, why is it always cancer?  For once can’t it be high cholesterol or male pattern baldness?

Anyway, it was a little thin and there were a few too many stereotypes.  C+.

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Greg Tyson
Greg Tyson
2 years ago

This, “I Sing The Body Electric,” “The Bard,” “The Fever,” “The Mighty Casey,” “Mr. Bevis,” “The Mirror,” “Rance McGrew,” “A Thing About Machines,” “Sounds and Silences,” “Jess-Belle,” “Caesar and Me” and “The Fugitive” are all among my least favorite episodes. If I ever work up the courage to watch “The Gift” in particular I always need a palate-cleanser, preferably something like the similar, and superior, “The Day The Earth Stood Still.”

Greg Tyson
Greg Tyson
2 years ago

You handed out a lot more “A”s after season one it seems. I personally would have handed out the majority of my “A”s in season one. I love season one; it just might be my favorite season of TV ever. Serling was really on a role that season.