Twilight Zone (2002)

Season 1 Episode 36

The Pharaoh's Curse

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Apr 23, 2003 on UPN

Episode Recap

Magician Mario Devlin is performing his newest large-scale illusion: jumping into a giant spinning blade and surviving. The illusion goes fine and he goes back to his office where his secretary informs him he's getting new calls… and a tape that he's been trying to obtain. It shows young Harry Kellogg and his mentor John Holland performing an illusion known as the Pharaoh's Curse. In it the two men enter two antique glass cabinets and switch places. Mario admits that no one has ever figured out how it's done and he plans to use the tape to get the now-retired Kellogg to see him.

Mario goes to Kellogg's estate and sees his young wife Shannon. She initially refuses to let Mario see her husband, but Kellogg eventually comes out. He's unimpressed with the young magician but Mario manages to charm him into granting an invitation to stay at the manor. As Shannon shows Mario around, she explains that her aging husband is undergoing physical therapy, and has a personal theater for private performances.

Harry puts Mario through a series of physical tests to determine if he can survive the Pharaoh's Curse, which he warns is exceedingly dangerous. One night after training, Mario chats with Shannon and she admits that she and Harry both know that Mario can perform the illusion. Mario is still angry but Shannon kisses him and they end up together in bed. Afterward, Mario sneaks into the theater where the Caskets are set up. He enters one and it seals shut and fills with smoke. Mario's unable to get out and Harry arrives to release him… from the other casket. Mario realizes it was no mere magic trick and Harry explains that the Caskets are real magic, a gift that can't be stolen or taken: only bestowed upon by the current owner. Harry finally acknowledges that Mario is a great magician. He also notes that he's aware that Mario and Shannon are together, but seems fine with the idea that his wife is having an affair with his protégé. Finally, Harry informs Mario that he sent him the tape anonymously and he wants Mario to replace him. The next night Harry will give his final performance: he and Mario will perform the Pharaoh's Casket Illusion.

As Mario waits for the next evening, he talks with Shannon and wonders why Harry is okay with them having an affair. Shannon says not to worry about it and agrees to stay with Mario when she asks.

That night a group of Harry's friends gather and he introduces Mario to them as the greatest magician of the era. He brings in Mario, who calls for one final round of applause for Harry on the eve of his retirement. They enter the caskets and Shannon stands center-stage as he two caskets rise into the air and spin. Finally they stop and Mario realizes he's in the same casket. However, he sees his reflection and realizes that he and Harry switched bodies. Harry is now in Mario's young body, and Mario trapped in Harry's aging physique. Harry explains that he's John Holland, and once every generation he seeks out a young protégé with an ideal body to act as his new host. Shannon is with "Mario," just as she promised. Harry and Shannon depart, leaving Mario trapped for the rest of his very short life.

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