The Twilight Zone

Season 2 Episode 6

The Eye of the Beholder

Aired Unknown Nov 11, 1960 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
251 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

A young woman is forced to undergo experimental treatments in an attempt to make her appear "normal."

Who was the Episode MVP ?


    by Dane Youssef

    IF THERE TRULY IS ANY and all episode that best sums up what "THE ZONE" is all about, it's this one. Serling told us at the end of last week's episode to tune in for this episode as he remarks: "... It's called 'The Eye of The Beholder' and it comes

    This time, Serling takes us to an anonymous hospital which could probably be anywhere. He takes us right away head-first into room #307 where a woman with a grotesquely misshapen face is awaiting her last attempt at corrective surgery. Her whole life is just lying in that bed, bandaged from the neck-up like a mummy they've just started work on.

    The rest of the medical staff talk about what a poor soul she is. The nurses try their best to accommodate her with the best "bedside manner" physically possible. They certainly sound sympathetic. The doctor asks why such prejudice seems to exist in a society. Aren't we supposed to all be on the same team? Isn't that the purpose of civilization? Our heart breaks right along with hers--and Doctor Bernardi's in one touching speech that takes place in the employee break-room.

    Janet Tyler sounds like such a tender soul. The kind of decent person there just isn't enough of in this cold, cruel world. And this world seems more fascist than our own. We hear of "The Apparently this time, Serling has brought us to a hypothetical land where Hitler won. There is only one world leader, one way, one regime. We hear him on the early flat-screen TV's praising "the glory of conformity. The delight of our unified The whole world is one giant united annexed totalitarian dictatorship. We all know what it's like to want to belong, to flourish. To be part of humanity. And we want that for her.

    It's true that opposites tend to attract more than they repel. And we do tend to attack and destroy that which is different to us. Even as children. Even this day in age. But as those who opposed fascists like Hitler knew... doesn't conformity limit our humanity rather than strengthen it? Is this form of oppression and de-humanity the only way there will be total world order and peace?

    And it's true that anyone with a working brain cell can see the trademark "Big Rod Serling Twist" coming a hundred thousand miles away... from space even, it isn't about whether or not we can guess what the big ironic or karmic ending is--it's about the whole journey there and what it all means. And pop culture has only made the finale more known.

    And in the end... what's really ugly and frightening... is how much this world isn't really galaxies away from our own.

    Still in the end, Serling's message still remains as relevant as it did about half a century ago.

    And this was one of the episodes that was re-made for the re-incarnation of the series in 2002. Technology had improved, particularly the make-up and the TV flat screens. And believe it or not, the re-make followed Serling's original script more faithfully--and the "surprise" (notice that's in quotes) was a little less obvious. The acting was terrible however, with few exceptions.

    The cast here is all solid and the acting rarely comes across as campy, with a few exceptions. The two actresses doing "Ms. Janet Tyler," the "Before " and "After" play it for all it's worth. Maxine Stewart does a better job that Donna Douglas, but Donna does exactly what she was meant to. Douglas and Edson Stroll have a moment right out of "Gone With The Wind" that seems appropriately turned on it's director Douglas Heyes does a fine job of capturing the right mood, playing with the light and camera angles to establish the right feel... as well as making the conclusion pretty clear. The make-up is pretty silly and unconvincing by any standards, but in the end--the point remains intact.

    One thing's for sure... You'll never think of the labels of "beautiful" and "hideous" the same way again...

    --For Rod Almighty... God Serling Himself... And All That Ever Happened In His Almighty Zone, Dane Youssefmoreless
  • Great epsiode

    This episode is the most scary of the entire series. Those faces are just hideous and terrifying. This is the scary episode that you hope for because of all the bland episodes. This one makes up for it. In the 1990's Saturday night live made fun of this episode and also this episode was recreated on the updated version of the Twilight zone.
  • A woman named Janet Tyler is in the hospital with her face covered in bandages. Apparently she is hideous looking and she has undergone an experimental treatment to make her look "normal."moreless

    "Eye of the Beholder" is one of the more popular episodes of The Twilight Zone and for good reason. It has a very clever and well written storyline, it is well acted and it certainly keeps the viewers' attention held up until the end. The revelation of what Janet Tyler, as well as the rest of the "normal looking" hospital staff looks like is a terrific climax to this episode. The dialogue between the characters and their reaction to people who don't conform to the majority is also a good reflection on life and culture then and now. Great episode.moreless
  • eye of the beholder indeed...

    I've always found this one to be overrated. I never thought the filming method came off all that natural; it seemed clear that the cameras had something to hide. And of course once again Serling has to drub us over the head with the moral by having all the Big Brother vids at the end repeat their message over and over. On the plus side though, Donna Elly Mae Douglas is indeed stunning.moreless
  • wow what a fantastic episode! i don't consider myself someone who gets scared or creeped out easily, but i was truly disturbed by this episode. and the messege it sends is great. what may be beautiful to some isn't necessarily beautiful to others.moreless

    when this episode starts out we see a woman's face wrapped in bandages. throughout the episode we don't get to see the woman's face, nor do we get to see the faces of the doctors and nurses taking care of her. the woman is undergoing surgery. she is ashamed of her physical appearance and she is hoping the surgery will make her appear "normal" so she can look like everyone else around her. throughout most of the episode, the viewer is under the impression that this woman is hideous and grotesque. but in true TZ form, there is a twist at the end. the woman is actually beautiful and the people around her are deformed. and because she doesn't look like them, she is considered "ugly". but to us, she is stunning. the title says it all. beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Although the faces of every one besides the woman with a bandaged head are kept fairly hidden until the very end of the episode, there are still many scenes prior to the end where you can at least see just enough of another character's face to know that they couldn't possible look the way they do in the final scenes.

    • For someone whose entire head has been bandaged for several weeks, Janet Tyler's curly hair is remarkably unflattened when the bandages are finally removed, and her thick mascara isn't smeared in the least.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • (Opening Narration)
      Narrator: Suspended in time and space for a moment, your introduction to Miss Janet Tyler, who lives in a very private world of darkness, a universe whose dimensions are the size, thickness, length of a swath of bandages that cover her face. In a moment we'll go back into this room and also in a moment we'll look under those bandages, keeping in mind, of course, that we're not to be surprised by what we see, because this isn't just a hospital, and patient 307 is not just a woman. This happens to be the Twilight Zone, and Miss Tyler, with you, is about to enter it.

    • Nurse One: You ever see her face? Patient 307?
      Nurse Two: Indeed I have. If it was mine, I'd bury myself in a grave somewhere.

    • Janet: I want to belong! I want to be like everyone else!

    • Leader: We know now that there must be a single purpose! A single norm! A single approach! A single entity of peoples! A single virtue! A single morality! A single frame of reference! A single philosophy of government! We must cut out all that is different like a cancerous growth! It is essential in this society that we not only have a norm, but that we conform to that norm! Differences weaken us! Variations destroy us! An incredible permissiveness to deviation from this norm is what has ended nations and brought them to their knees! Conformity we must worship and hold sacred! Conformity is the key to survival!

    • (Closing Narration)
      Narrator: Now the questions that come to mind. Where is this place and when is it? What kind of world where ugliness is the norm and beauty the deviation from that norm? You want an answer? The answer is, it doesn't make any difference. Because the old saying happens to be true. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, in this year or a hundred years hence, on this planet or wherever there is human life, perhaps out amongst the stars. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Lesson to be learned... in The Twilight Zone.

  • NOTES (3)

    • This episode was remade on the 2002 UPN version of The Twilight Zone.

    • The original broadcast version of this episode is included on Image-Entertainment's "More Treasures of The Twilight Zone" DVD.

    • Rod Serling's original title for this episode was "The Private World of Darkness" and it has been shown in syndication with this title. The version on volume 43 of Image-Entertainment's DVD collection also bears this title.