The good news: Alan finally has his life back on the right track after a long battle with the bottle! The bad news: When his son "Jerry" comes to his office to walk home with him, little does he know that his problems are just beginning...
This was a great episode for season one. It's the classic tale of how a man can seemingly turn the proverbial corner in his life, in this case it is a "man vs. the bottle", only to have everything unravel just as swiftly as it began. Alan's family had stood by him after he botched job after job, and moved from town to town. His wife had at one point had to steal food for her family to eat. Yet the breaking point, and big question, here is like it is in so many situations. He seemingly turns the corner, but along comes his son "Jerry", who he doesn't know. The rest of the family immediately thinks that he's off the wagon again, as he spirals further and further out of control. In the end, his family does leave him, in order to protect themselves from his destructive behavior, and he does turn back to the bottle when it's all said and done. Of course, the classic moment occurs when his replacement at the office is wrapping up business at the end of the day, and "Jerry" comes to take him home. Nice chilling moment when the man is utterly shocked, and "Jerry" just offers an evil smile to close the show.
Alan is a hard working, family man and a recovering alcoholic who is in quite conundrum with convincing his family that he has not rekindled his love affair for the bottle when he begins to deny Jerry, a boy who claims to be Alan's son
This is an old fashioned horror episode, without all the shock and awe gore. With an evil entity appearing like an innocent eight year-old kid, Alan doesn't have a popsicle's chance in hell to reassure his family that he has not found his way back to the bottle. The entity, Jerry, does his work so effortless in a divide-and-conquer manner that it appears that Alan's wife and "other" son are Jerry's accessories. It could be argue that from the beginning of the episode to when Alan wakes up in his dismantled reality that he was dreaming, subconciously reminiscing when he finally got his life together and what was the cause that brought him into his present despair. What makes the episode more haunting is the ending, when Jerry comes to get his dad, Roger, and gives him the You-are-my-next-victim smile, with the commercial cut away song in the background.
This one is actually quite disturbing. Vic Tayback is completely believable as a recovering alcoholic with a temper who is confronted by a boy who claims to be his son. His character is reminiscent of Telly Savalas in the "Talky Tina" episode from the old Twilight Zone, and the story covers similar themes. You believe Tayback when he says he has no idea who this kid is, even when his wife is disgusted by his denial and accuses him of falling off the wagon. The story might have been more satisfying if it had turned out that the boy was his son, and was actually a ghost, rather than an entity which haunts recovering alcoholics to make them return to their vices. Regardless, it's an interesting study of the battles some must fight with their personal demons, and in this case, lose. A bit of a downer.
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