"Mr. Denton On Doomsday" is another fascinating episode of 'The Twilight Zone'. This time the story takes place in the old west as a town drunk is given the chance to reclaim his respect by becoming a gunslinger. The story briefly talks about why Al Denton turned to alcohol, but does not develop this theme fully. Furthermore, Denton finds it incredibly easy to stop drinking considering he's been an alcoholic for so long. However, while Denton's personal demons would have made for an interesting story, Rod Sterling decided to create an interesting tale around the magical gun, as well as other tricks, that Denton uses to reclaim his quick-draw skills. Dan Duryea provided a good portrayal of his character and reminded me of William H. Macy. Like so many other Twilight Zone's, this episode features a fine twist at the end that adds just the right mix of tension and uncertainty to the story. Overall, while this is not one of The Twilight Zone's great excursions, it is a good average episode. And an average 'Twilight Zone' is still very much worth watching. I gave it 7.5 out of 10.
Things moves along at a pretty steady pace so there's plenty of time to attach ourselves to the main character. Al Denton who starts off an alcoholic wollawing in self pity, who takes abuse and sings his dingnity away for dregs of beer. Becomes a respected figure in the town when his gun-slinging abilities sunddenly return after finding a mysteriously abandoned gun. The transition is enetertaining and believable; when Al can shoot well enough to kill anyman, everyman gives him respect. When we learn why Denton laid down his weapons in the first place things get more intresting as we know this isn't the way he would like to earn his respect. There's no honour for him in blowing away strangers who challenge his quick draw, killing day after day until he takes a bullet instead. When the first of said challenges comes his way the mysterious Mr Fate gives him an elixer that will give Al an edge in the shoot out. But theres an intresting twist due to more of Mr Fates medling and a nice morale to boot.
There's some good characterisation and some nice plot elements, however I did find it odd when he lost the ability to shoot again. Pretty solid stuff, but not amazing.
It's a good episode with a good message, but it's kinda slow compared to the episodes I really liked. Martin Landau shows why he was a premiere actor and that he plays a good badguy. A young Doug McClure shows his penchant for old west shows. The writing is average, the plot is average, but the actors do shine. But what really makes this episode interesting is Henry J. Fate, the mysterious old codger with the wagon full of elixirs. "Fate" stepped in, according to one of the townsfolk. This episode is good, but could have been even better than that.
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