Friday, February 02, 2018

The Twilight Zone -- Season 1 Episode 20 (Elegy)

Sometimes, bad people get what they deserve.  Other times, good people stumble into a situation that they’re not getting out of.  Captain James Webber, Kurt Meyers and Peter Kirby are good people.  They’re astronauts that happened to run out of fuel.  When they find an asteroid with Earth-like conditions, they land and find a world just like Earth, except that everyone is frozen.

After wandering around, they meet Jeremy Wickwire.  Wickwire is the asteroid’s caretaker.  He explains that rich people, rather than being buried, can spend their eternal rest in a situation to their liking.  This could take the form of winning a beauty pageant or being elected mayor.  Each scenario that the astronauts walked through was a similar scene staged for a wealthy client.

It turns out that Wickwire is an android, turning on only when necessary. Wickwire serves the three astronauts wine and asks what their wish is.  The only thing any of them wants is to go home, which Wickwire is happy to give them…in his own way.

The episode was a little confusing to me.  It seems odd to be posed like that after you die.  It looked almost like a set of museum displays.  I don’t imagine that the people were conscious.  It also didn’t look like the asteroid got a lot of visitors.  So, why spend all that money on something you won’t be able to enjoy?

It’s not a great episode, but it is watchable.  I think part of my confusion with the episode is that it first aired almost fifty years ago.  I have to wonder if I’m missing some sort of context.  To me, the episode was a wrong-place-wrong-time story.  Had the astronauts found any other place to land, they might have lived, even for a little while longer

I would say that it’s a mid-level story.  The story didn’t drag, which probably owes to the 30-minute format.  It’s also generally safe for teenagers and above.  Other than the asteroid being an elaborate graveyard, there’s nothing overly scary about it. The three astronauts are the only ones killed and that’s by poisoning.  I would say that younger children might not fully understand it and if they do, it’s the kind of thing that would stick with them.  I’m not certain that I fully understand it.



No comments :