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 Lou Diamond Phillips
We’re back with another episode of everyone’s third (okay fine, fourth) favorite version of this series! The lack of impact behind some of these episodes has been a major stumbling block as very few of them seem to resonate as well as even the middling episodes of the original series, but I think they might have swung too hard in the other direction with this one in what seems to be a less than ideal way to redress the issue. Is this a case of a good idea with a few sour notes in it, or are we sailing right past that into the realm of really bad taste? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with a very dingy looking high school classroom (the windows are really tiny, way high up, and I’m pretty sure they have steel bars on them) where a bunch of disinterested looking teenagers are taking a written test on Romeo and Juliet. One kid named Ben just turns in a blank sheet of paper which is pretty bad considering it’s worth a third of his grade, and when the teacher picks up the test of an unnamed kid, she reads aloud “Romeo and Juliet killed themselves because they were asshats”. Now if that was the ONLY sentence perhaps I’d be as dejected as the teacher feels, but frankly, I’ve heard worse opening arguments for a critical analysis of a creative work; just look at this site for examples of that! Anyway, the teacher in question is Rachel Stark (Samantha Mathis who played Princess Daisy in the Super Mario Bros movie) who’s had just about enough of this nonsense and is planning on quitting her job next week but sadly she’s in an episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE which means those plans are going to get derailed. This is another example of an episode that LIBERALLY lifts from an episode of the original series, but I’ll give them credit because the premise is much more malleable and can fit into all sorts of interesting contexts. The episode in question is The Purple Testament where a GI in the Pacific theater started seeing a glow across the faces of men who were going to die soon, and this episode follows the same basic idea; she sees a screaming man on the bus light up like he’s about to tell a ghost story, and then he drops dead of a heart attack then and there. Aside from the fact that she just saws someone die right in front of her, this revelation has put her on edge a bit as she saw a similar light on the face of one of her students who was riding a skateboard. Her boyfriend the school gym coach (Reed Diamond) thinks it’s some sort of latent guilt she’s feeling for planning to quit her job and essentially giving up on the kids, but when she learns the next morning that the skateboarder had died… well, it seems like there’s more at stake than an unfulfilled work life.