Sunday, February 04, 2018

The Twilight Zone (1959) -- Season 1 Episode 21 (Mirror Image)

Millicent Barnes is just an ordinary woman waiting for an ordinary bus.  When the ticket agent seems unusually bothered by Millicent inquiring about the late bus, things take a turn for the weird.  He insists that she’s asked twice before.  She insists that this is her first time asking.  When she goes to the ladies’ room, she has a similar experience.  The attendant insists that Millicent has been in the ladies’ room before, despite Millicent’s denial.  Also, why is her bag checked in?  She never checked it in.

The entire ordeal is causing her more than her fair share of anxiety.  Fortunately, Paul Grinstead is waiting for the same bus.  He provides a sympathetic ear.  He does consider that maybe she’s going crazy.  However, Millicent says that she has heard stories of doppelgangers from an alternate reality that sometimes come into our own world.  Each person has a twin in this world that would like to take over the life of the person in this world.  Could that be what’s happening here, or has she really gone off the deep end?

Paul‘s disbelief is to he expected.  Millicent’s twin is nowhere to be found.  You’d think that in such a small bus station, someone would have seen two of the same person.  The ticket agent insists that it’s Millicent who keeps asking about the bus rather than her sister.  Given that he has a clear view of the station, his reaction is unusual.  Given that the attendant is in the ladies’ room, her confusion is at least understandable.

For that matter, Millicent seemed to have a clear view of the ticketing area; she didn’t seem to see anyone else approach the booth.  This is why it’s entirely possible throughout the episode that Millicent is hallucinating.  There’s definitely something odd going on, although it might all be in her head.  This is why Paul calls for the police to take her to a hospital and have her checked out.

It’s a somewhat decent story.  It doesn’t try to tie us up with too many theories.  If there really are doppelgangers from an alternate universe, they seem somewhat sinister.  (The Alternate Millicent is presented with somewhat of an evil-looking grin.)

I haven’t seen this episode before in marathons.  I don’t know if I’m just not watching at the right time or if it’s one that usually gets skipped over.  I would say that the acting carries the story.  What we see here is a woman who’s increasingly driven insane.  To what end, we’ll never know.  If only that bus had been on time.  

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