episode #49 - Back There

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episode #49 - Back There

Post  BoG on Thu Feb 13, 2014 6:18 pm

Air Date: 1/13/61  Arrow  written by Rod Serling  Arrow  Directed by David Orrick McDearmon

A prototypical if minor venture into the realm of time travel: at a men's club in 1961, immediately after a conversation about the possibilities of time travel, a young professor (Russell Johnson) suddenly finds himself back in 1865, on the day of Lincoln's assassination. Now he can put theory to the test - about whether the past can be changed. He has several hours to effect a change, which he attempts to do with warnings, but he is placed in jail for his erratic behavior. Just as suddenly, he has a mysterious benefactor who gets him released, which suggests that he has a chance to succeed. But, he is drugged and awakens too late. It turns out that the mysterious benefactor was none other than John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln's assassin. The professor returns to his present time, sobered by the conclusion that the past cannot be changed. But, a slight TZ twist awaits him back at the men's club.
This episode is composed of mysterious occurrences, to the detriment of the story; it comes across as mostly clumsy and contrived. In other better episodes, when the big turn happens, there's the suggestion of cosmic forces, of something out there. Here, when the professor shifts in time, it just happens, for no reason. Then, why does Booth go through the trouble of getting the professor released from confinement? Curiosity? It's never explained. It just happens to provide some lopsided tension. And why would the police release the professor into Booth's custody, anyway? Again, it just happens to further the contrived plot. I did like the little twist at the end; it's these types of twists that nudge many TZ episodes above most other similar TV fare. BoG's Score: 6.5 out of 10
Trivia From the Zone: actor Johnson would go on to play a similar professor character in the comedy series Gilligan's Island.
The site Buzzfeed didn't like this one very much, ranking it 20th worst episode of the series...
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