episode #089 - To Serve Man

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episode #089 - To Serve Man

Post  BoG on Sun Dec 05, 2010 3:06 pm

Air Date: 3/2/62  Arrow  written by Rod Serling, based on story by Damon Knight  Arrow  Directed by Richard L. Bare
PLOT: an alien ship arrives in Washington DC; the Kanamits are 9-foot tall aliens who say they will help mankind do away with problems such as war & poverty...they leave a book in the government chambers; an encryption expert (Lloyd Bochner) is assigned the task of deciphering it.

It's still memorable - when the lady yells that line at Bochner's character near the end and that slashing-like music cuts in, it's still a jolt, after all these years; C'mon, get off that ship's stairs, man! I always think at that moment as he tries to jump off - he never makes it, of course.

I think what makes this one work as well as it does - in part - is the depiction of Lloyd Bochner's character (Chambers) as the prototypical sophisticated modern male - he's invulnerable to a large extent, the top of the heap, the ultimate in mankind's evolution up to this point. Bochner seems to have been instructed to act extra confident and extra smart. To realize that he has been turned into just a portion of someone's meal at the end is very chilling.
This was meant as a dark comedy - even over-the-top at the end when that Kanamit pats Chambers, asking him to stay plump - but I never found it to be very funny; it just makes me a bit queasy. I also like Chambers' assistant, played by a nice-looking, good actress - Susan Cummings - which I unfortunately have not seen very much otherwise. I think it does go a bit too far into comedy with the Soviet rep (Theo Marcuse), who is portrayed as a clown. And then there's Richard Kiel, in an early role. He doesn't actually speak here; the Kanamits send thoughts as communication. Can you picture him sitting down at his dinner table and beginning...? Yucch!
Just one question I'm not sure has ever been delved into much - why did the Kanamits leave that book to perhaps be later deciphered? Was it an oversight? Their sense of humor? This I have never really figured out. BoG's Score: 8 out of 10

http://www.cbs.com/classics/the_twilight_zone/video/?pid=8b1b93phXwS1wzen_VJ4gPJti_8oA7M3
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