Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Twilight Zone (1959) -- Season 1 Episode 35 (The Mighty Casey)

Being the last in the league can make you do desperate things.  You want to do well, but there comes a point where it would take a miracle to make any sort of progress.  "Mouth" McGarry is the manager of  the Hoboken Zephyrs, a baseball team in dead last.  If they’ve played five games, they’ve lost six of them.  That’s how bad they’re doing.  They could really use that miracle.

The good news is that it comes in the form of a great pitcher named Casey.  He can throw a really fast fastball or a really screwy curveball.  The one thing every pitch has in common is that no one can hit them.  The catch is that Casey is actually a robot.  (I think he’d technically be called an android.)  Since the team needs Casey, no one needs to know what he is.

He’s signed immediately and the team does well.  All good things must come to an end, as they say.  When Casey is hit during a game, the physician discovers that he has no heartbeat.  It comes out that Casey isn’t human and is banned from playing.

A deal is made with the commissioner that Casey will only be suspended until he can be given a heart.  This proves fatal to Casey’s baseball career, as he can’t bring himself to strike out the opposing players.  He doesn’t want to ruin their careers.  Casey leaves the team to pursue social work.

Casey is, without a doubt, mighty.  The episode?  Not so much.  I’m not saying it was bad.  It’s just one of the few Twilight Zone episodes that seemed out of place.  The twist was ironic, but not as much as other episodes.  You can sort of see it coming and it just didn’t have the same impact that I would have expected.

It could be that times have changed.  I’ve grown up in a time where human-looking androids were commonplace in fiction.  They’re almost a reality.  (We may actually get an actual Casey within my lifetime.)  The episode first aired almost 60 years ago.  I would imagine that the audience was different.

To me, it seems like a script they bought just in case they needed one more episode to round out the season.  (There was one more after this.)  It was a little weak.  For instance, Casey feels that he’d ruin the careers of the opposing players.  No attempt is made to dissuade him of this notion.  Losing to one pitcher, especially one as good as Casey, probably wouldn’t cause a player to get dropped from a team.  There are plenty of other games for the opposing teams to do well in.

If you’re binging the series, it’s not a horrible episode.  It’s worth at least one viewing.  However, I wouldn’t expect a lot from it.  The Twilight Zone is like any other series; sometimes an episode is a home run and sometimes it‘s not.   I just have to wonder: Why is Casey left-handed?

1 comment :

Unknown said...

I saw this episode when it was originally broadcast and have always liked it. It was meant to be whimsical and I think it succeeds. I wonder if it was inspired by Herb Score's story. He was a left handed pitcher who was overwhelming on the mound. He got hit by a line drive and was never the same.