The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 1 Episode 19 – The Purple Testament

This is the second war themed episode in a row.  Lt. Fitzgerald commands a squad of American soldiers in the Philipines at the end of WW II.  But a bizarre situation has arisen when Fitzgerald looks at the men in his command he can see which men will die that day.  Their faces have an unnatural light on them with no physical source.  So far he has written down the names of four soldiers who die the next day after he identifies them.  He tells this to his CO, Captain Phil Riker, played by Dick York (of “Bewitched” fame).  Riker tells him he’s imagining things but it happens again while Fitzgerald is visiting an injured soldier in the infirmary.  Riker tells Fitzgerald that he’s going to have him sent back up the line for a rest but as he tells him Fitzgerald sees the shine on Riker’s face.  He tells Riker not to go to the front that day.  Riker tells him he doesn’t believe him but when he’s about to head out he takes off his wedding ring and leaves it and photos of his family behind in the tent.

Riker of course dies in the battle and as Fitzgerald prepares to be sent back to headquarters he sees his own reflection in a mirror and sees the familiar shine.  And when his driver for the ride shows up he also has the light.  A soldier tells them that the road they’re taking may have some landmines.  Just a few minutes later the squad hears an explosion and we assume it’s the jeep hit by a mine.

The concept is an interesting one and it has been done before and since.  And there are a few good moments, notably Dick York taking off his wedding ring before leaving for battle.  But dramatically it’s kind of flat.  I attribute this to a lack of interesting dialog.  It’s sort of paint by numbers.  I’ll give this a C+.