Friday, December 18, 2009

Science Fiction: Twilight Zone

I have just recently realized I am fascinated with the Twilight Zone. I love how every holiday they play a marathon of it on sci-fi, and I am going to use this science fiction blog post to talk about an episode that I find particularly interesting.

This episode is about a bank teller (Burgess Meredith) who is too preoccupied with reading. It interferes with his life the amount of reading he wishes to do. He is constantly reading even when waiting on customers at the bank, and his boss lectures him about it in the beginning of the episode. The bank teller Mr. Henry Bemis takes his lunch break in the episode, and locks himself in the bank vault.The camera shows the newspaper's foretelling headline: "H-Bomb Capable of Total Destruction". Moments later, loud explosions can be heard from outside, violently shaking the vault and knocking Bemis unconscious. In the aftermath of the apparent war, he regains consciousness and emerges to find he is the last person alive on Earth, everybody else having been killed by the bomb. This is not terribly upsetting to Bemis, as he did not approve of people initially. He realizes this is his chance to do as much reading as he would like.

"Seconds, minutes, hours, they crawl by on hands and knees for Mr. Henry Bemis, who looks for a spark in the ashes of a dead world. A telephone connected to nothingness. A neighborhood bar, a movie, a baseball diamond, a hardware store, the mailbox at what was once his house and is now rubble. They lie at his feet as battered monuments to what was but is no more. Mr. Henry Bemis, on an eight-hour tour of a graveyard."

After this, Bemis contemplates suicide, and actually holds a gun up to his head. Just before pulling the trigger he sees the remains of a public library. He wanders over to it to find all of its books still intact. Bemis realizes he now has all the books he could ever want, with all the time in the world to read them. He organizes an enormous stack of books, probably several years worth of reading. As soon as he bends over to pick up the first book, he stumbles and his glasses fall off and shatter. He wore thick, coke-bottle glasses throughout the episode, and without these he cannot see at all. The episode ends with him repeating to himself "that's not fair".

" The best laid plans of mice and men and Henry Bemis, the small man in the glasses who wanted nothing but time. Henry Bemis, now just a part of a smashed landscape, just a piece of the rubble, just a fragment of what man has deeded to himself. Mr. Henry the Twilight Zone."

thanks to for the two quotes and other various refreshers of the episode.

1 comment:

The Constructivist said...

Seen the Simpsons parody?