The Ray Bradbury Theater

Season 2 Episode 1

The Town Where No One Got Off

Aired Unknown Feb 22, 1986 on USA

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • Cogswell lives in the city but dreams of moving to a small town, where everybody knows each other. While on a train one day, he impulsively stops at such a town. Ironically, the fact that no one knows him there leads him to take the next train home.

    Jeff Goldblum turns in an expert performance as Cogswell, a big city man who passes a small town on the train and wishes he could live in a place just like it. Life would be so much simpler in a town where everybody knew you and you knew everybody, he thinks. The man sitting across from him on the train thinks Cogswell is just a starry-eyed idealist, but Cogswell, wishing to prove the man wrong, decides to get off the train and visit the town. It is a town where the train conductor tells him no one ever stops. Eager to meet the locals, Cogswell walks through the town, but is given the cold shoulder by all of the residents. The only person who seems to care he is there is a mysterious old man who follows him wherever he goes. Cogswell finally confronts the old man and learns that the man has been waiting at the train station for years in the hope that a total stranger would get off - a stranger he could then murder. It would be the perfect crime, the old man tells Cogswell, since no one would know the stranger and therefore no one in the town would be a logical suspect. Faced with his impending demise, Cogswell tells the old man that the real reason he is in the town is that he has had a similar fantasy - to go to a place where no one knows him and kill a complete stranger. Cogswell indicates that he has a gun in his coat pocket and the old man reluctantly lets him go. Cogswell boards the next train out of town that night and the old man reclaims his seat outside the train station, waiting for the day when another stranger gets off. A great story that is exceptionally acted by Goldblum. Is he really there to kill someone? Or is he just thinking on his feet to escape the old man? The viewer cannot be completely certain and it is this unanswered question that makes this episode a real classic. The episode also benefits from outstanding direction, as the almost deserted town becomes a creepy character of its own.