The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 4 Episode 4 – He’s Alive

Dennis Hopper plays Peter Vollmer, a sort of street corner neo-Nazi who hasn’t been having much success selling his neighbors on his ideas.  He also has a friend, Ernst Ganz who also happens to be a Holocaust survivor.  He’s known Peter since he was a scared little boy beaten by his father.  Ernst criticizes Peter for adopting the same cause that the Nazis had established back in their time.  But he doesn’t reject Peter because he still thinks of the scared little boy he pitied before.

After Peter suffers a particularly humiliating failure in his street corner proselytizing, a man who stands cloaked in the shadows of the night tells Peter that his technique is all wrong and starts to teach him how to work the crowd and get them to sympathize with his message.  This works remarkably well and Peter’s group starts drawing larger and more enthusiastic crowds.

Next the shadow man tells Peter that he needs a martyr to solidify his cause.  Peter tells his comrades that one of their oldest members is a spy and orders them to murder him but to make it look like their enemies did it.  They kill the man and indeed, the crowds become even bigger.

Finally, Ernst sees how the movement is growing and decides he must stop it.  He goes to the rally and belittles Peter and tells the crowd that Peter is just a cut-rate Hitler and a coward.  Peter implores Ernst to stop but Ernst refuses.  Peter slaps Ernst in the face but as he leaves he tells the crowd that Nazis always handle the truth with violence.

Now the shadow man comes back and tells Peter he must kill Ernst.  Peter complains that he is sick of taking orders from someone hiding in the shadows.  The man steps forward and reveals himself to be Adolph Hitler.  Now Peter is completely overwhelmed and agrees to kill Ernst with the Luger pistol that Hitler gives him.  Hitler’s parting words to Peter is for him to remember that from now on he has no sentiment, and is made of steel.

Peter goes to Ernst’s apartment and after Ernst taunts him he pulls out the gun and kills Ernst.  His dying words are that Peter has become steel and has therefore lost his humanity.  Peter goes back to his headquarters and the police have come to arrest him for complicity in the murder of his “martyred” comrade.  Peter runs onto the roof of the building and is shot down by the police.  As he lies dying, he tells the police that something is wrong because even though he’s made of steel, he’ bleeding.  Then we see the shadow of Hitler walking away and Rod Serling gives a speech on how the Nazis still live through the hate and prejudice that still exists.

Whew!  Okay, Rod thinks the Nazis are coming.  Now this is in the 1960s when we’ve been fighting proxy wars against the Russian and Chinese communists for decades and Fidel Castro is emplacing Russian nukes in Cuba.  But Nazis are what’s worrying Rod.  Looking back on what that attitude spawned I guess Rod is why the Social Justice Warriors rule the campuses and infect just about every institution in the United States.  For the fruits of this hysteria I’ll have to flunk Mr. Serling on this overwrought exercise.  F.

 

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