The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 5 Episode 33 – The Brain Center at Whipple’s

Wallace Whipple is the CEO of Whipple Enterprises and he employs hundreds of thousands of people in his plants.  But he is obsessed with efficiency and he explains to his plant manager Walter Hanley that he intends to automate away all the workers in his plants.

Whipple waxes poetic about the joys of efficiency but Hanley chides him on his lack of feelings toward all the loyal employees that have worked faithfully for him for decades.  Whipple scoffs at Hanley and mentions the generous severance package and retirement benefits he will provide to all the employees he’s about to fire.

A mechanic named Dickerson becomes deranged when he hears about the computer that is replacing hundreds of men.  He comes back to the plant drunk and attacks the computer with a tire iron.  When the night watchman fails to act quickly Whipple grabs his gun and shoots Dickerson himself.

In the next scene we see Hanley returning from the hospital where Dickerson is expected to live.  When he castigates Whipple for shooting the man, Whipple tells him that he has purchased a machine that can do Hanley’s job.  And he adds that Hanley is fired.  Hanley’s answer is that he intended to quit that day anyway and in lieu of severance or retirement benefits he punches Whipple in the face as payment.

In the next scene Whipple is at the local bar and looks slightly disheveled with a one-day beard.  He sees Hanley at the bar and asks him how he’s getting along in retirement.  Hanley says it’s tolerable.  Whipple starts to explain that the Board of Directors of Whipple’s thought that Whipple had become too obsessed by his automation project so they retired him.  Now he whines to Hanley that it’s unfair that machines displace men and thereby diminish them.

In the final scene we see a robot in Whipple’s office talking on the telephone and doing all the things Whipple used to do, even twirling the same keychain that Whipple used to twirl.  Interestingly, the robot is Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet.

This is a silly episode but Serling couldn’t decide if it was serious or for laughs.  It comes off as odd and slightly flat.  I’m giving this a C.