The Twilight Zone

Season 2 Episode 6

The Eye of the Beholder

6
Aired Unknown Nov 11, 1960 on CBS
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  • "IN THE EYE OF THIS BEHOLDER, IT REMAINS INVALUABLE"

    8.0
    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 Youssef
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