The Twilight Zone Episode 2: One for the Angels

General Information

Director: Robert Parrish

Writer: Rod Serling

Cast: Rod Serling, Ed Wynn, Murray Hamilton, Dana Dillaway, Jay Overholts, and Merritt Bohn

Composer: None (Stock Music)

Air Date: 10/9/1959

Production Code: 173-3608

 

Overview

Returning home after a long day, Lou Bookman (Ed Wynn)—a kindly old street vendor whose time will soon expire—is visited by Mr. Death (Murray Hamilton), a the-twilight-zone-one-for-the-angelspersonified version of the Grim Reaper. Explaining his desire to make the perfect sales pitch, Lou requests a life extension from his new acquaintance. Though initially willing to grant Lou—now forestalling the inevitable—the extra time that he desires, Mr. Death decides to make “other arrangements” as a consequence of Lou’s deception.

An emotionally stirring episode, “One for the Angels” combines a poignant morality lesson with a supernatural twist. Fans of The Twilight Zone should therefore enjoy this episode, which, on a side note, contains a cameo appearance of a classic science fiction icon (i.e. Robby the Robot).

 

Pros

By portraying Lou as a quirky, hopelessly naive salesman, Ed Wynn (known for playing the Toymaker in Disney’s Babes in Toyland) complements the tongue-in-cheek subject matter of Rod Serling’s narrative. Worth praising in particular are Wynn’s the-twilight-zone-one-for-the-angelsinteractions with the neighborhood children, which will simultaneously amuse and tug the heartstrings of sensitive viewers.

Though involved in a morbid profession, the businesslike manner of Mr. Death prevents him from conveying his intentions in a frightful, ominous, or maniacal fashion—an aspect that further accentuates the child-friendly tone of this episode.

 

Cons

When the main character finally makes his sales pitch “for the angels,” the audience will likely feel disappointed, if not thoroughly underwhelmed, by Lou’s delivery.

 

Analysis

the-twilight-zone-one-for-the-angelsHighlighting self-sacrifice as a means of redemption, “One for the Angels” should be commended for offering a wholesome, positive message in conjunction with an oft-employed trope (i.e. coming to terms with mortality).

 

Concluding Comments

“One for the Angels” is a touching, cleverly written episode of The Twilight Zone. The satirical undertones of many sequences (e.g. Lou’s original encounter with Mr. Death) may, however, evoke criticism from those of a mature and serious mindset.

 

Overall Quality: 7/10

 

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One thought on “The Twilight Zone Episode 2: One for the Angels

  1. I very much agree with your comments that the opening is almost a farce or satire, it just does not seem real at all. If the whole episode maintained this tone it could of worked as a comic episode, but as it is it weakens the overall story.