The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 4 Episode 1 – In His Image

Alan Talbot is a young man living in New York City who is in love with a girl named Jessica.  When we first meet him, he is waiting on a subway platform.  A religious zealot approaches him and after she harasses him about his religious convictions, he has some kind of mental breakdown and throws her under the train and flees.

Jessica and Alan plan to get married and Alan has invited Jessica to go back to his home town to meet his Aunt Mildred.  But when he gets back there many of the details seem different from his memory.  And when he goes back to his aunt’s house the guy living there denies knowing anything about the Talbots and says he’s been living there for ten years.  Utterly confused, Alan checks the town records and finds out there’s no Talbot family there and the college he thought he went to doesn’t exist.

He heads to the graveyard and instead of the Talbot family he finds the Ryders.  While Jessica is driving him back to his hotel, he has another attack and gets out of the car.  When Jessica follows him, Alan realizes that he is ready to kill her with a rock and he orders her to flee.  Once she runs to her car, he follows her but she drives off in time and he’s left standing in the road.  Suddenly a car narrowly misses running Alan over and when he gets up and examines a wound on his forearm, he sees that under his skin is electronic and mechanical components.

Returning to his hotel he tells Jessica over the phone that he will meet up with her the next morning and straighten things out.  He looks up a Mr. Ryder in the phone book and goes to his house.  There he meets Walter Ryder.  And Ryder is the spitting image of Alan.  Walter explains that he created Alan as part of his childhood dream of creating a perfect version of himself.  He shows him the two earlier protypes.  Then he explains that some fault in his design renders Alan violently insane which explains the earlier homicidal actions.  Alan tells Walter about his engagement to Jessica and tells Walter to build an improved version of himself and send it to Jessica.  But suddenly Alan has another mental breakdown and attacks Walter.  The scene ends with the two of them locked in a life and death struggle.

In the next scene we see Alan show up at Jessica’s apartment and tell her that he’s now okay and that they can be happy together from then on.  She hesitantly listens to him and then accepts his word that his crazy actions are behind him.

A final scene shows the inanimate body of Alan lying dead on the basement floor of Walter’s laboratory.  Walter has replaced his robot in a real relationship that he always wished he could have.

Wow!  Well, you know photog’s rule against robots or mannequins that think they’re humans.  There’s one strike right there.  But let’s move on.

Putting aside the mistaken identity and the modern setting this is the story of Frankenstein.  The monster seeks revenge on his creator for making him an outcast in the world of men.  The ending is a bit talkative and Jessica ending up with Walter is a little trite but I’ll give the story some credit for interaction between Alan and Walter.  That portion is at least well written.  Well, all things considered I’ll go with a B-.

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Greg Tyson
Greg Tyson
2 years ago

The opening is one of my favorite TZ openings ever. Many a time I’ve been waylaid by religious zealots not unlike the one that waylays Alan in the subway. I’ve never done anything violent to them like what Alan does here … though I have been tempted. The first 30 minutes or so of this episode really worked for me. I had absolutely no idea what was going on and that kept me glued to the screen. Granted, it does get a bit talky with Alan and Walter (though, as you rightfully observed, it is well written). And Jessica ending… Read more »