Episode #21 - Mirror Image

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Episode #21 - Mirror Image

Post  BoG on Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:12 pm

Air Date: 2/26/60  Arrow  written by Rod Serling  Arrow  Directed by John Brahm

A fairly eerie episode, taking place at a lonely bus stop, but eventually revealing itself to involve the sci-fi concept of parallel Earths, a well-known premise by this time. The main character is a young woman (Psycho star Vera Miles) who is waiting for a bus at this bus depot. Things abruptly begin to go sideways for her when the ornery attendant at the bus stop rudely suggests that they already had a short conversation minutes earlier, even though the woman is certain that she is approaching him for the first time. There's also the matter of her disappearing suitcase and what appears to be a duplicate of her suitcase. Eventually, she realizes that a duplicate of herself is somehow weaving in and out of that bus stop. Of course, other people she encounters, such as a young man (Martin Milner) also on his way somewhere, regard her strange problem as some kind of delusion. Indeed, during most of this episode, it seems as if the woman is truly out of her mind. But, there's the old TZ twist at the end.
This episode has the markings of something cobbled together by Serling during perhaps his own short stay at a desolate bus stop, as he mused about the possibilities of strange occurrences in the what if? realm. The whole thing is stylistically gloomy and unsettling, but also vague in the attempt to explore the concept of parallel realities. The lead character herself suddenly and implausibly offers the explanation near the end, referring to something she read a while back, about our duplicates on a parallel earth suddenly finding themselves here due to a freakish imbalance and then making the moves to replace their counterparts. However, the actions of these duplicates are somewhat supernatural - they make luggage disappear and can pop up or shift away like ghosts.  It's like a bad dream where you are haunted or stalked by your doppelganger. The unreality extends to this supposedly real USA, as well - I didn't know that police officers can just drive up and grab citizens off the streets without due process, simply on the say-so of another citizen. The final scene - and one of the final images, someone chasing himself - has become one of the more iconic TZ images. BoG's Score: 7 out of 10


TZ Trivia: Milner began his role as a regular for 4 years on the series Route 66 just after his guest spot here and would become even more well-known a decade later in his regular role as the senior cop of the duo in Adam-12
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