★★★★ October 14, 1960 Season 2 Episode 3
If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.
If you want to see The Twilight Zone now that Netflix lost the rights to it…you can see it on Hulu.
Rod Serling could write about a certain kind of character better than most. The small time criminal who is a loser. They are not or ever will be a successful crook or human being just the B level kind…forever bench warmers.
In this episode Rod took a different approach to the crook (Jackie Rhoades) played by Joe Mantell and you have some sympathy for him…which usually is not the case in the Twilight Zone. In Jackie you can find a trace of conscious although it’s buried in his cowardice.
Jackie battles himself in this episode and Mantell pulls this off wonderfully. Like King Nine Will Not Return, Mantell turns this into a one man show for most of the episode. His boss (George) played by William D. Gordon takes advantage of the coward Jackie and wants him to do the ultimate crime. The battle begins between Jackie and himself in his hot cheap motel room.
The special effects with the mirror in this one are really good.
This one is about redemption or the chance of redemption if you can find it in yourself.
Something I noticed in this episode is Joe Mantell talking into the mirror at himself said “You talking to me?” and I had to wonder if Martin Scorsese was taking notice before he made Taxi Driver.
This show was written by Rod Serling
Rod Serling’s Opening Narration:
This is Mr. Jackie Rhoades, age thirty-four, and where some men leave a mark of their lives as a record of their fragmentary existence on Earth, this man leaves a blot, a dirty, discolored blemish to document a cheap and undistinguished sojourn amongst his betters. What you’re about to watch in this room is a strange mortal combat between a man and himself, for in just a moment, Mr. Jackie Rhoades, whose life has been given over to fighting adversaries, will find his most formidable opponent in a cheap hotel room that is in reality the outskirts of The Twilight Zone.
The loser is locked in his self imposed cell. He has failed his entire life. He is a two bit crook who does jobs when he is told. He is a bootlicker, full of fear and anxiety and self loathing. He is a throwaway and knows that some day he will be caught and put away forever. Enter his alter ego who talks to him from behind a mirror. This is his good self, his productive self. Most of the episode is a nicely done dialogue between man and image. It gets at the roots of the problem. A psychologist may pick this apart and put it back together. It is about unrealized potential and reformation. It is also a very satisfying story of a man who has a chance to reclaim his soul.
Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:
Exit Mr. John Rhoades, formerly a reflection in a mirror, a fragment of someone else’s conscience, a wishful thinker made out of glass, but now made out of flesh, and on his way to join the company of men. Mr. John Rhoades, with one foot through the door and one foot out of the Twilight Zone.
Joe Mantell … Jackie Rhoades
William D. Gordon … George
Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)