Director: Lamont Johnson
Writer: Rod Serling
Cast: Joseph Wiseman, Katherine Squire, Trevor Bardette, and Gage Clarke
Composer: None (Stock Music)
Air Date: 1/12/1962
Production Code: 4823
Suffering perceived injustices from Reverend Hughes (Gage Clarke), high school teacher Mrs. Langford (Katherine Squire), and military commander Colonel Hawthorne (Trevor Bardette), millionaire Paul Radin (Joseph Wiseman) invites each of his former acquaintances to an underground bunker in his office building. Thereafter, Paul—convincing his guests that an apocalyptic nuclear war will soon occur—agrees to provide shelter under one condition: all three individuals must apologize to their host.
“One More Pallbearer” should be commended for emphasizing the value of forgiveness, making amends with old enemies if possible, and letting go of past slights—real or imagined. Nevertheless, this episode may evoke criticism for its poorly executed twist ending.
Presenting a set of nuanced (i.e. realistically flawed) characters, “One More Pallbearer” leaves ambiguous whether Paul—though clearly a bitter, narcissistic person—does, in fact, deserve an apology from at least two of his so-called oppressors. Specifically, viewers are forced to question whether Mrs. Langford and Rev. Hughes, despite having been justified in reprimanding Paul, made the right choice in deciding to publically humiliate and ruin the reputation of a morally dubious young man—an aspect that strengthens the credibility of Paul’s position, preventing him from coming across as a one-dimensional villain.
“One More Pallbearer” is marred by languid pacing and an utter lack of suspense leading into the climactic scene—likely a consequence of the long-winded, overly expository interactions of Paul, Col. Hawthorne, Mrs. Langford, and Rev. Hughes.
(Spoilers beyond this point)
Upon surfacing from his bomb shelter, Paul imagines that the world around him has been devastated by a nuclear war. Prior to losing his mind, however, the main character never demonstrates so much as a hint of mental instability, weakening the plausibility of his last-minute breakdown.
Combining an important life lesson with a Cold War theme, “One More Pallbearer” is a thought-provoking episode of The Twilight Zone. That being said, this offering fails to conclude in a powerful, resonating manner—in contrast to the similarly themed “Time Enough at Last” from season one.
Overall Quality: 6/10
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