The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling
Episode directed by Peter o’ Fallon
We’re back with another episode of Extreme Twilight Zone! After seeing Katherine Heigl kill Baby Hitler, what else is there!? Where can this series possibly go after that!? Well we’re gonna find out as we’ve barely even started on this series and there are a whole lot of episodes left, including this one about a tortured artist who brings dream girl to Life… which is the premise of Ruby Sparks only done about a decade earlier. Anyway, let’s get started!!
The episode follows Graphic Novel writer Andrew Lomax (Adrian Pasdar) who is living the nightmare of all writers; having no fucking clue what to write. How could this be though!? He has a plaque on his wall confirming that his last book, Sleepless City, was a New York Times best seller for sixteen consecutive weeks! Clearly this bout of writer’s block must be the machinations of… THE TWILIGHT ZONE. While in the middle of a pity party for himself, he starts to see a hot woman wrapped in nothing but a towel (mirroring a pinup drawing he just did) who is eagerly awaiting his tender embrace! Too bad it’s all a dream! OR IS IT!?
Now this new version of The Twilight Zone did in fact end up remaking two episodes from the original series (as well as a sequel). However, this isn’t one of them despite the fact that this is VERY reminiscent of A World of His Own. Now sure there are differences (there’s no wife character who will turn out to be a creation of the writer), but they’re clearly dipping in the same well here what with both being about writers who seem to have the uncanny ability to bring what they write (or draw) to life. The rules of how all this work are still a bit muddled though as the two of them have sex, yet for some reason this happens.
So he seems to be well aware that she’s a figment of his imagination (or maybe, THE OTHER WAY AROUND!?) but is more than happy to fuck his imaginary friend while trying to come up with a new idea for his next book. Too bad he has to go to sleep because he wakes up the next day to find her gone, so either he was having ANOTHER dream, or we we’re dealing with a Groundhog’s Day situation here. He tries to get back to work and forget the whole thing but gosh darn it; he JUST can’t come up with any ideas! What’s an isolated struggling artist to do in such a situation!? Well more hallucinations are probably on the table as he hears a sound in the kitchen and goes there to find the mystery girl (played by Shannon Elizabeth of American Pie fame) making him a late breakfast and clearly not wearing any pants. The imaginary friend (who is named Casandra) seems completely aware that she’s a figment of his imagination, but that doesn’t seem to be much of a problem for either of them, so who am I to judge? Not only that, but she starts helping him get his mojo back as he starts writing scripts and drawing panels for his new graphic novel… that’s due in a week. Seriously? What is this guy, Hunter S Thompson? It took him THIS long to start going nuts and imagine a smoking hot Life Coach? Hopefully he can dream himself up some proofreaders and editors too! Still, she’s pretty good at sultry pep talks as she strokes his shriveled ego and even says his rough sketches are better than Alan Moore.
Still, things seem to be going well for the rambunctious duo here as he ACTUALLY starts to get some work done and they even successfully avoid the dude’s manager who’s losing his shit over the lack of progress from his one-time cash cow. That is… until a snake enters their little Garden of Eden.
So any chances of guessing what the twist is yet? The only person who’s interacted with Andrew so far is Casandra (the agent didn’t see either of them when he came a-knocking) and here we have evidence of HER interacting with someone else. Andrew hasn’t caught to the rest of us yet though, and is first puzzled by this development and then becomes incredible jealous for seemingly no reason. The atmosphere gets SUPER icy for the next day or so, leading to the point where Casandra takes his car and drives off into town. Andrew, STILL NOT GETTING IT, is baffled that she knows how to drive and even goes so far as to chase her down to the local gas station (he wasn’t able to hitch a ride by the way) where he tries to fake apologize to her to no avail. The guy is acting like a REAL jerk right now and it’s made even worse when he finds clear evidence that she’s hooking up with The Cable Guy which is turning his sour attitude into pure toxicity and venom. Fortunately he gets that rude awakening we’ve all been expecting up to this point when he tries to punch Cable Guy in the face and it goes right threw him which means that ANDREW is the figment of CASANDRA’S imagination! Twilight Shock!
Now this is where things get a bit confusing. The episode played its hand about five minutes before the end which can work if they have somewhere to go after that, but instead, the next five minutes are reiterating what we just learned. In fact, it feels like the scene at the gas station where Andrew finds out he’s a drawing didn’t actually happen. He finds her at his drawing table working on the graphic novel (BECAUSE SHE’S THE REAL AUTHOR HERE) and he just goes to her and says that he wants to establish ground rules considering she’s HIS drawing (except he KNOWS that’s not the case) and just goes on and on like a really obnoxious pig about her not seeing other people or going outside, and how he’s the center of her universe. DUDE! Take a fucking hint already! It’s at this point that Casandra has had enough and reveals the drawing she did of Andrew and also points to the plaque on the wall which now has her name on it.
Now I probably would have still seen this twist coming because I’m LOOKING for twists, but I can still tell that it would have been more effective if they hadn’t given up the ghost (or the imaginary friend in this case) before Casandra’s big moment and before Andrew became irredeemable. I’m just not getting the necessity of that scene at the garage other than it happens right before the commercial break so it gives the audience some kind of hook to return to. If that was the real reason though, it was a poor decision as it may have grabbed people’s attention, but it then left the episode with nothing else to offer after the commercial. Well, there’s at least ONE interesting thing and that’s Andrew’s death scene which looks pretty cool. Casandra no longer needs him to give her inspiration so she starts to erase the drawing which we see happen to the physical Andrew in real time as he pleads for a second chance.
And with that, the tale of Andrew Lomax has come to an end… or the tale of Casandra Lomax has turned a corner; whichever you prefer. What does Forest Whitaker have to say about all this by the way?
“For some, the blank page can be a source of dread. But for Sandra Lomax, who’s on her way to another best seller, that nightmare is in the past. Thanks to her own resolve and a sturdy eraser. Tools of the trade… in The Twilight Zone.”
Not bad I guess, but I feel that a message like that which focuses ENTIRELY on Casandra’s growth as a character would be more meaningful if that was the focus of the episode rather than the twist itself (and therefore only about five minutes at most). There’s another episode much later down the line that similarly has an imaginary friend character, but who’s real and who’s not is established right away and is not left for the twist itself, so I think THAT kind of approach would have worked better for this moral here. Still, the story itself is interesting enough with a heavy emphasis on character, and they even managed to have some solid effects in here (at least by early 2000s TV standards). Really, my biggest problem is with the execution of the twist. Even though it’s REALY obvious where this is heading, I felt like some of the misdirection here was flat out cheating, such as the plaque changing names and us seeing Casandra come to life as a drawing in the beginning; neither of which were all that necessary to hide what was going to happen (plus, they could have saved the A-ha effect until the end which would have been more effective). Then when the DO reveal the Twilight Shock, it’s too early to be all that effective and completely undercuts the dramatic tension of the final scene. It’s a solid enough episode of this series, but there needed to be a better script, better direction, or both for this episode to have really lived up to its potential.
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