The Twilight Zone

Season 2 Episode 3

Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room

Aired Unknown Oct 14, 1960 on CBS
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Ordered to commit a murder he doesn't want to perform, a smalltime hood nervously looks in the mirror and sees the man he could have been--confident, strong...and determined to get out.

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Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • "What's to do now?"

    Most Twilight Zone episodes have a moral (though in a few it's hard to figure out what it is), and this one is no exception. Jackie Rhoades is a small-time hood who could move up to the big time by performing a deed ordered by his gang boss, who wants Jackie to kill a man he never met, but his boss wants dead. Jackie, sitting in his cheap, dingy room, somewhat reluctantly agrees. Though he's afraid to kill this man, he's more afraid of his boss's wrath if he doesn't. There's one man who's not afraid. Jackie himself, or rather, his "other self", the one he suddenly sees in the mirror, and who won't leave him alone until he lets the man in the mirror take over. This other Jackie is the man Jackie could have and would have been if he'd conducted his life differently, and reminds Jackie of the mistakes he made that put him, "them", in this position. Jackie could have been married and been a respectable citizen, if only he'd listened to his other self. After much nagging, Jackie acquiesces and lets his other self take over. He gives his boss, George, the boot, and leaves the dingy little room a new man, ready to make up for his misdeeds and become the man he could have been if only he'd listened to the other Jackie. He was a man at war with himself, and is now ready to make peace.

    Make no mistake, quitting a gang is not so easy as it appears here, but it's the moral that counts. A leopard can't change its spots, but people are not leopards, and behavioral patterns are not spots. Forget meaningless cliches. They can be effective in communicating ideas, but are not rational ideas of themselves. You can change, if you earnestly want to.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Just before George leaves the room after talking to Jackie, his position suddenly changes from in front of Jackie to behind him.

    • When Jackie pulls the wardrobe from the wall and spins it around, the mirror briefly reflects an area beyond where the set ends.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • (Opening Narration)
      Narrator: This is Mr. Jackie Rhoades, age thirty-four, and where some men leave a mark of their lives as a record of their fragmentary existence on Earth, this man leaves a blot, a dirty, discolored blemish to document a cheap and undistinguished sojourn amongst his betters. What you're about to watch in this room is a strange, mortal combat between a man and himself, for in just a moment Mr. Jackie Rhoades, whose life has been given over to fighting adversaries, will find his most formidable opponent in a cheap hotel room that is in reality the outskirts of the Twilight Zone.

    • George: It's a gorgeous place you got here, Jackie.
      Jackie: Well, four bucks a night, you can't go wrong, you know, four bucks a night.
      George: You can't go wrong, but you could get roasted to death, or poisoned by small creatures.

    • George: Anyone ever tell you what you look like? You look like a man trying to catch a subway at five o'clock. You always look like someone's squeezing you through a door. What do you do to sleep at night, Jackie, hide in a locked closet?

    • Jackie: But George, I got no guts.
      George: You're going to get guts, Jackie, I don't care where from. You get them under the bed, you buy them from a vendor, you grow them in a pot, I don't care, but you get them and you do the job.

    • Jackie: Listen to me, listen to me. I'm having an argument with a big piece of glass.

    • Jackie: Why don't you cut it out! Will you do that? Will you knock it off? What do you want from me anyway? I'm asking you, what do you want from me? I'm still waiting to hear. What do you want from me?
      Mirror-Jackie: I want to take over, Jackie. I want to call the shots. I want you to let me out. I want a chance to live. I want to live with all the guts and goodness you left behind. I want to live the dreams you dreamed and never had the guts to live.

    • Mirror-Jackie: It don't make any difference, Jackie, because you're not going anywhere. You go out that door, you're finished. We're both finished. That's the door to nowhere. Jackie, Jackie, let me out. I wanna take over. I gotta take over. I want a decent job, some friends.
      Jackie: I got a job, I got friends, I got everything I want.
      Mirror-Jackie: You got nothing, you got nothing but a pain inside. You got no friends, no honor. You got nothing. You are nothing. It's time to be something. Jackie, let me out. Let me take over, Jackie. This is your last chance.

    • (Closing Narration)
      Narrator: Exit Mr. John Rhoades, formerly a reflection in a mirror, a fragment of someone else's conscience, a wishful thinker made out of glass, but now made out of flesh and on his way to join the company of men. Mr. John Rhoades, with one foot through the door and one foot out of the Twilight Zone.

  • NOTES (3)