The Twilight Zone

Season 4 Episode 3

Valley of the Shadow

Aired Unknown Jan 17, 1963 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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  • The Critic Missed the Point Back in '63

    Author Marc Scott Zicree asserts in his book The Twilight Zone Companion, that "Valley of the Shadow" is uninvolving as an episode of The Twilight Zone because the viewers never see how the citizens of Peaceful Valley live rich, full lives. The portrait we are painted lacks depiction of the people going about their daily routines. In truth, the core of the plot explains all of that quite lucidly. The citizens of Peaceful Valley have in their possession an energy source which they carry in devices that can move and reshape matter and have had this power for more than a century. This power they are free to use for their benefit and one can surmise they have been so using it since it was bestowed upon them. Since this power tends to their daily needs they do not have to exert the normal amount of effort the average person elsewhere must in order to tend to his or her daily needs and through the passage of time living like this they have become in Zicree's own words cardboard through and through. Ergo, the way we see them living are likely their daily routines-the result of being dependent on an energy source that has sapped the personality from them and rendered them little more than drones. Furthermore, the character of Dorn (David Opatoshu) admits that they have become too complacent because they have had no interlopers for so many years, so it is likely this complacency is reflected in their daily routines as well. Still, to their way of thinking they lead rich, full lives because there are no problems that the energy source cannot solve, and it is so ingrained into their existence they do not realize how sterile the have become, or they believe it is a small price to pay for harnessing a great power. Philip Redfield (Ed Nelson) tried to convince them otherwise but they refused to listen.

    Zicree continues that it is hard to follow the plot twist when Redfield is told he will be executed but instead they just send him back in time to when he entered Peaceful Valley (devoid of his memories of what has transpired), but his dog does not jump from his car, so he never learns the town's secret and just buys his gas and drives on. If you recall the reason explained by Dorn, why they do not share their secret with the outside world this twist makes perfect sense and you will not be lost by it. The citizens of Peaceful Valley were forbidden to share the energy source with the outside world by the giver of it until the Earth is at peace. This energy source has enabled them to create peace within their borders that is not found in the outside world and they probably believe themselves to be superior because of this. And when you look at them and their town it is obvious that they do not live extravagantly, despite that this energy source would unequivocally enable them to, indeed, they use their power very sparingly. Therefore, although they initially consider executing Redfield, perhaps they reconsider after realizing that to do so would lower them to the likes of the outside world that is either unable or unwilling to achieve the peace they have achieved and they realize that as an outsider-not to mention a journalist-Philip Redfield cannot begin to understand their perspective and cannot be blamed for that. All told, it is better just to send him back and send him on his way and in the future they will never again be so complacent but mindful of the possibility of strangers. As to why they did not just do this in the first place again, the citizens of Peaceful Valley use their power very sparingly, so although they have always had the power to reverse time possibly they have never had occasion to use it until Philip Redfield came to town. As to why Redfield's dog did not jump the second time, the likelihood is that the cat that he jumped out of the car to chase was kept out of sight by its owner this time to prevent the catalyst for Redfield learning the town's secret. The Orlando (FL) television critic who complained in 1963 that in the end she only saw the daydreams of the character of Philip Redfield obviously missed the point.

  • A very enjoyable and clever episode.

    I like watching the Twilight Zone episodes because they occasionally contain material that is used in modern day TV shows and/or movies. This episode blew me away because it indeed contains the precursors to transporter, force field, and replication technology, as well as time manipulation. Although the sound effects certainly show their age, the basic concepts are seemingly ahead of their time.

    The show was well written too, since it had me guessing what was going to happen next almost the entire time. At first, I thought the romantic scene was a bit too much, but once the true meaning of the romance became apparent later in the episode, it was certainly needed for the whole effect. Of course, most of Charles Beaumont's work was excellent this way.

    I enjoyed seeing a young James Doohan (best known to Star Trek fans as Montgomery Scott aka "Scotty") play a small part in the episode, minus the famous Scottish accent. Amazing coincidence that he plays a role in this episode containing so many Star Trek type technologies.