The Twilight Zone Episode 71: The Mirror

General Information

Director: Don Medford

Writer: Rod Serling

Cast: Peter Falk, Will Kuluva, Anthony Carbone, Arthur Batanides, Rodolfo Hoyos, Vladimir Sokoloff, and Richard Karlan

Composer: None (Stock Music)

Air Date: 10/20/1961

Production Code: 4819

 

Overview

After overthrowing the tyrant known as General De Cruz (Will Kuluva), peasant Ramos Clemente (Peter Falk) is informed of a magic mirror that exposes the true nature of any would-be assassins. Before long, Clemente finds himself unable the-twilight-zone-the-mirrorto trust fellow revolutionaries Cristo (Anthony Carbone), Tabal (Arthur Batanides), Garcia (Rodolfo Hoyos), and D’Alessandro (Richard Karlan) upon glancing into the mirror and witnessing the supposedly nefarious intentions of each man.

Marred by a lack of nuance, “The Mirror” offers a clichéd examination of the motives, beliefs, and practices whereby the majority of communist revolutionaries are defined. Fans of The Twilight Zone may therefore be wise to avoid this episode, which, as opposed to “The Obsolete Man” from season two, fails to make a compelling case against totalitarian ideology.

 

Pros

the-twilight-zone-the-mirrorHaving conveyed the brutality, impulsiveness, and emotional insecurity that one would expect of a young dictator, Peter Falk deserves praise for certain aspects of his performance.

 

Cons

A caricature of Fidel Castro, Clemente should be criticized for his cheap beard, goofy accent, and hysterical tirades directed at those around him—the obvious consequences of casting Falk (an the-twilight-zone-the-mirrorotherwise talented actor) in the role of an ethnic character.

Also worth noting is the predictable premise on which “The Mirror” operates. Specifically, as soon as General De Cruz warns of the “assassins” lurking in his mirror, the audience can easily surmise how Clemente—now haunted by imagined threats and paranoid delusions—will react toward his former comrades/accomplices.

 

Analysis

the-twilight-zone-the-mirrorDespite lacking the subtlety of a typical Serling effort, “The Mirror” contains a laudable critique of authoritarian leaders and the personal defects thereof.

 

Concluding Comments

“The Mirror” is a heavily dated and poorly executed, if commendable, episode of The Twilight Zone. Viewers may nevertheless appreciate the central message of this offering, which benefits from an implied supernatural twist.

 

Overall Quality: 5/10

 

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