The Twilight Zone

Season 2 Episode 12


Aired Unknown Jan 06, 1961 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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out of 10
137 votes
  • A moving melodrama on the human condition...unfortunately diluted a bit for secular Hollywood.

    (The new rating system is another thing that should have left alone. This episode is not an "8.5," but it wasn't a "9" either. It is an "8.8" and I'll explain why).

    A young man is sentenced to hang for accidentally running over a little girl in a drunken stupor. The fact that he is Hispanic doesn't gain him any sympathy from the already soulless, and his only friend appears to be the gentle and philosophical sheriff, who must lead him to his execution.

    A diabolical peddler, himself a drunk, has sold the rope for which to hang the young man. After mercilessly taunting him, the peddler tells the doomed man's little sister to inform their father that he has "magic dust" to sell him for 100 Pesos, and to meet him immediately if he wants his son to live. The little girl does as she's told, and the ruthless peddler laughs hysterically out of heartless greed.

    To everyone's astonishment, when the father of the condemned man shows up beside the scaffolding, he begins flinging dust everywhere. Everyone begins laughing at him derisively, but they are all in for a surprise when the trapdoor falls through, and the young man remains alive.

    This was a very touching episode, and to my surprise I had never seen it before today. I thought it ranked among the best for themes of the Twilight Zone, with superior acting, great writing, and a gripping plot. My one fault for this episode was watering down the "grace" message at the end. They hinted at it, even said it was "Providence," then rid it of all its potency by defining the substance of the change that took place in the townsfolk's hearts as "magic." In other words, they took a profound, central theme and assigned a Mickey Mouse explanation for it at the end. It could have been a "9.5" otherwise.
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