Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Twilight Zone Season 1 Episode 7 The Lonely

A Prisoner Falls In Love With A Realistic Robot? What is Love? 
One of my favorite movies from the past few years was “Ex Machina”. But did you know that the Twilight Zone explored this notion long ago? Seriously. On November 13, 1959 the notion of loving machine came into play, and it really shook things up. Rod Serling once again tapped into a very unique circumstance, and gets you thinking about the “What if” factors of what love is. Long before movies started to come into play with this, you are going to think about sex, love, and loneliness when it comes to robots, artificial intelligence, and the realities of loneliness in the seventh episode of the first season of The Twilight Zone.

The plot of this one is simple, as many are. A prisoner is cast off to a planet, alone. He wants to go back to Earth, but the powers that be won’t let him. The same time warp that was in “Interstellar” is described here, as a crew comes to the planet to check in on the prisoner. They say that there is no hope and he is going to stay put. He is given food, and supplies, and the crew leaves. Later a box arrives and in that box is a woman. A woman that is in fact a robot, but has all the elements of humanity, including synthetic skin, and anatomical elements, with an artificial intelligence that feels, cries, and more. It’s essentially a sex robot, come on. The prisoner doesn’t want her at first, but over time, learns to love this robot woman.

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The crew comes back. And our prisoner named Corry is allowed to go back to earth! However, they have to leave in 20 minutes, and that’s it. The crew that is there to pick him up only has room for him and a few of his things, and not the robot, whom is named Alicia. Corry screams and runs after the robot, and swears that he loves her, and that she loves him, only to find out that the world is a cold, cold place, with Alicia taking a gunshot to the face and dying.

What is love? Can you love a robot? The story here is fascinating, and it truly is epic in light of “Ex Machina” and the themes presented in that movie. There are only 5 people in this cast, and yet you get full emotion. Jack Warden and Jean Marsh put on a good performance, and you really start to feel for the lonely. But reality sets in and shakes you up. What is love? You’re left thinking as Rod Serling’s narration gives you a jolt.

“On a microscopic piece of sand that floats through space is a fragment of a man's life. Left to rust is the place he lived in and the machines he used. Without use, they will disintegrate from the wind and the sand and the years that act upon them. All of Mr. Corry's machines, including the one made in his image, kept alive by love, but now obsolete.”

And that my friends, makes for one of the best episodes of The Twilight Zone yet. It’s beyond good, seek it out. Buy the box set, holy crap. It’s an intellectual proponent that you can easily study as an academic, or at least enjoy as entertainment.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Twilight Zone Season 1 Episode 6 The Escape Clause Review

The Twilight Zone Explores Immortality 
What if you could be immortal? Would you go for it? That’s the question posed with the sixth episode of the first season of The Twilight Zone. In this case, “The Escape Clause” is the title, and it stars David Wayne, Thomas Gomez, and several others. It was first aired in 1959, and it really does showcase an interesting premise. One that we have explored in horror literature and movies for quite some time. Often, it’s the werewolf or the vampire that lives forever, but what if you didn’t have to be either?

Walter Bedeker is always thinking he is sick; he thinks he’s dying. But out of the blue comes a rogue. The devil shows up and tells him that he can in fact make sure that he lives forever. There is of course an escape clause, and Bedeker can choose to die when he’d like. Simple enough, right?

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What would you do? I don’t know what I would do, it’d be insane. Bedeker in this case uses his immortality to try and collect on a lot of money. He throws himself into insane situations, and collects money from accidents. After he gets bored of all of this, he ends up losing his wife to a fall off a roof. He admits he murdered her, hoping to go the electric chair and surviving, but nope. He gets life in prison and that’s where he asks for the escape.

And that’s that. It’s not a huge twist, but one that got me thinking yet again. This is a morality tale at heart, and one that asks what you would do with immortality? I don’t know what I would do. I can’t imagine living forever, unless I had a bit of money. I guess that’s the big deal here. Money. One has to live, right? And forever? What a cost! Oh well. This is just an example of how great Serling’s mind was. There is only one Rod Serling, and this morality play showcases that. I loved it.
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