Director: Montgomery Pittman
Writer: Montgomery Pittman
Cast: Elizabeth Montgomery and Charles Bronson
Composer: Van Cleave
Air Date: 9/15/1961
Production Code: 4802
Following a nuclear holocaust, two soldiers—one man (Charles Bronson) and one woman (Elizabeth Montgomery)—from opposing sides confront each other in a deserted city. Suspicious of the man, the woman gradually considers letting go of her reservations and acquainting herself with a former enemy.
Featuring Charles Bronson—a man with pronounced Slavic features—in the role of an American soldier and Elizabeth Montgomery, a woman of Irish and Scottish descent, as an implied member of the Soviet Army, “Two” may evoke criticism from those with a keen eye for detail. This episode should, however, be commended for its underlying themes, which compensate for an occasional lack of realism.
Though filmed long before the prevalence of mainstream post-apocalyptic fiction (e.g. Fallout, The Walking Dead, etc.), “Two” presents a haunting, devastating, and thoroughly convincing picture of a once magnificent society ravaged by nuclear warfare. Especially worth praising are the soot-faced characters; shattered window panes; and decrepit, vine-covered buildings scattered throughout the wasteland, all of which serve to reinforce the credibility of Montgomery Pittman’s narrative concept.
In one scene, the man pours a bucket of clean water (undoubtedly a scarce commodity in the post-apocalyptic world) over the woman’s face—an incredibly foolish and therefore implausible act from a trained soldier.
With the possible exception of the man’s initial encounter with the woman, “Two” fails to generate an absorbing layer of tension with which to captivate the audience. For this reason, those who enjoy The Twilight Zone for its dramatic elements would be wise to avoid this slow-moving, albeit thought-provoking, episode.
Produced in 1961, “Two” offers a damning statement on the futility, if not absurdity, of the Cold War—a message that, when applied to any foreign conflict, remains just as relevant today as it was over fifty years ago.
For employing science fiction as a vehicle for political commentary, this installment deserves praise from fans of The Twilight Zone. Also terrific are the performances of Bronson and Montgomery, who, though arguably miscast, embody the quiet skepticism and paranoia typically associated with the Cold War era.
Overall Quality: 7/10
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