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Level 1 Red Mage
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know it happened!” – Lieutenant Colonel Forbes
episode is grand sci-fi escapism at its best.
The mystery, which does not even need a detailed explanation, keeps the
viewer hooked throughout. Instead of
spelling everything out, it takes the less is more approach. By not overtly stating the cause of the
disappearances, the mystery is all the more frightening. Leaving it up to the imagination of the
viewer gives the episode room to breathe as a riveting mystery.
the episode begins, Forbes opens the hospital room door quickly as if he is
afraid Major Gart has vanished too. He
looks into the hospital mirror and we see the two of them in it. They are reflections and will soon fade
set pieces, we are given a hospital room and a bar. The hospital is a place where people go to
get fixed. If something was wrong, it
should be somewhat controlled there. The
bar is a social place that also signifies safety. This makes the horror of what is happening
more unstoppable. It is completely out
of their hands. They are being erased
and there isn’t anything they can do about it.
There are no heroes to save the day, no doctors to explain the
unexplainable, and no communications with the cause. It is a hopeless one way trip of a nightmare;
and it is glorious.
men are all likable. They each give a committed
performance. The performance and
attitude of the men before they know anything is wrong and then after they know
what is happening is inspiring. They
joke around with one another and present a real camaraderie. Their friendly nature makes it more suspenseful
to see them scared out of their wits.
first it may seem like Forbes is going crazy.
To begin with there is no evidence that there ever was a third astronaut
named Harrington. Yet, in the Twilight
Zone, we can trust that something out of the ordinary is going on. To let the audience know that Forbes is
right, the episode decides that seeing is believing. We are taken to the previous day and the
second we see Harrington, we feel impending doom. We know he did in fact exist and that in the
next day he will be erased from the world.
the bar, the bartender offers them drinks on the house. The girl is interested in their recent
notoriety. In other words, they should
be riding high. These are the men who
went to space and lived to tell about it.
Harrington drops a glass of beer that shatters on the ground. It is almost like their ship crashing back on
earth. The shattered beer is also used
to prove its disappearance is supernatural due to the nature of the cleanup
when Forbes goes back to the bar, he is desperate. His world is collapsing around him and he has
nowhere to turn. The bar is closed and
he stares into the darkness. Needing a
release he shatters through the glass in the door and lets out a scream,
“Harrington!” He is trying to will his
world back into normalcy. The empty bar
is symbolic. It is filled with empty
seats where people once sat. He pushes
some of the chairs almost as if to make sure they are still real.
make their disappearances final, they touch all the bases. The newspaper, for one, is an ingenious
picture to go to. It isn’t likely that
it was changed more than once so it is one quick visual that we can trust that
they are indeed vanishing from history.
Harrington’s parents say they don’t have a son and have no memory of
him. This is to further bring home the
point that they never existed. These
things are as much to prove to the audience as the characters that this is no
“gag.” The threat is that this is real
and it’s only a matter of time before it gets our next astronaut. The reality of the situation raises the
tension all the more.
it is Forbes turn to vanish, Gart looks down the long and empty hospital
hallway. It is a nice dramatic
effect. Jim Hutton really sells his
fright as Gart finally realizes that his friends are truly gone, and that he is
can surmise that it was an alien force that caused their erasing. This is an indirect way of saying that it isn’t
mankind’s place to venture into space just yet.
They don’t need to show giant squids with laser guns blowing up the
White House. Instead, “we” see what they
can do. The world is none the wiser, but
we know they are more powerful than all the missiles of the earth
combination of a scary science fiction story that delves into the unknown and
the suspense thriller of battling the unexplainable is Twilight Zone at its best.
Sep 22 14 8:26 PM
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Jan 4 15 6:51 PM
Jan 4 15 6:53 PM
James B W Bevis wrote:There's been a long-running controversy over whether Forbes can or can't see his reflection near the end.* There's even a poll thread specifically about that controversy. This evening, I posted something in that thread that won't necessarily end the controversy, but may shed some light on it - because this is Twilight Zone Cafe.
Jan 9 15 8:56 AM
Jan 9 15 10:16 AM
Gilbert and Sullivan State Trooper
Crown 85 wrote:Calling on our experts. Does this mean that now all of the cast members of this episode are now deceased?
Jan 10 15 7:56 AM
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