‘The Twilight Zone’ (1959) Season 1 Episode 6 Escape Clause (Review)
Walter’s a hypochondriac, and he isn’t very pleasant. The last thing he wants to hear is that he’s in perfectly good health. To call him a complex character might be underselling the magnitude of his personality… greatly.
Walter’s obsession is unbearable. Not even his own loved ones, or his paid doctor care to spend much time with the man. He’s a constant whiner, endlessly complaining of his illness and imminent death.
And then a mysterious man shows up out of nowhere. He makes Walter an intriguing offer: He offers Walter immortality in exchange for his soul. Walter is completely aware of who this man is and what is at stake, but he signs on the dotted line all the same. The dumb bastard sells his soul for immortality, but we know this is going to find a way to bite him in the rear sometime soon.
There’s a moment I do want to touch on, before wrapping my thoughts up. Midway through the episode Walter leaps in front of a train. Initially I thought little of it. Then I thought of modern society. A few years back there was easily accessible footage of a man falling in front of a train. And in that moment of realization I understood that this brief scene was a potentially risqué maneuver on Serling’s part. It just struck me as interesting and thought provoking.
Before long Walter learns the dreadfulness, but he made a deal. Is there any way to escape that deal, and who else must pair one foolish man’s mistake?
This episode has an extremely powerful finale, and it still leaves me a little rattled. The bulk of the story is pretty much by the numbers, but the climax is absolutely jaw dropping. There are 156 episodes of The Twilight Zone. Very few offer finales this extremely grim.
It’s a hard episode to judge, but bonus points must be given for that conclusion. You can watch the full episode below!
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