Wednesday, April 08, 2020

The Twilight Zone (2019) -- Season 1 Episode 4 (A Traveler)

One of the things I liked about the original Twilight Zone was that there was no overlap.  Here, we appear to have some hints at other episodes.  For instance, there’s a doll resembling the gremlin resembling the one from Nightmare at 20,000 feet in the second episode and this one.  The first episode has a ventriloquist dummy from another episode.  The new incarnation does seem to be tying things together.

Each story, overall, seems to exist independently of the others, though.  A Traveler is about the residents of Iglaak, a small town in Alaska.  Sergeant Yuka Mongoyak is the only Inuit officer in the town’s police station.  Her captain, Lane Pendleton, has an Christmas Eve tradition of pardoning a non-violent criminal in their custody.  Due to a lack of people to pardon, Yuka brings in her brother, Jack.

When Yuka goes to get Jack for his pardoning, she notices another person in the last cell.  She gets Pendleton; neither one has any idea who the newcomer is.  He identifies himself as A. Traveler, an extreme tourist who does all sorts of strange things.  Everyone in his circle has heard of the town’s pardoning and party.

Pendleton is initially not suspicious at all.  He agrees to pardon Mr. Traveler this year, leaving Jack in his cell.  Traveler parties with the other guests while Yuka searches for any outstanding warrants.  It’s not until Traveler starts deflecting attention by knowing things about the other people in the building.

He claims that Jack has tools in his trunk that he stole from the station, for instance.  He also claims that Pendleton is a Russian spy.  The stolen goods aren’t found in the trunk, but Pendleton acts suspiciously enough that there might be some truth to it.

This is what the episode comes down to.  It shows how easily someone could play to our paranoia.  Everything Traveler says is a lie.  As they say, though, even a broken clock is right twice a day.  He’s bound to say something that’s close enough to the truth.

I wondered why Traveler would have chosen a small Alaska town.  It’s possible that the same thing was going on elsewhere.  It’s never stated that he was working alone.  There is also a military listening post nearby.  This may have been a mildly important location.  It could also have been part of a coordinated attack or a test run.

The ending was a little weak, but is one of the better episodes so far.  I think only The Comedian had a stronger story.  It’s not quite as profound as I would have liked, but did still have a pretty strong message.


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