Director: Perry Lafferty
Writer: Charles Beaumont
Cast: George Grizzard, Gail Kobe, Katharine Squire, Wallace Rooney, George Petrie, James Seay, Jamie Forster, and Sherry Granato
Composer: None (Stock Music)
Air Date: 1/3/1963
Production Code: 4851
While touring his hometown with his fiancée Jessica Connelly (Gail Kobe), Alan Talbot (George Grizzard) discovers that none of the local residents appear to recognize or know of him. Searching for answers, Alan pays a visit to inventor Walter Ryder Jr.—with a horrifying outcome.
Combining mad scientist tropes with a narrative centered on identity crisis (a concept previously explored in “Where Is Everybody?” and “Five Characters in Search of an Exit”), “In His Image” offers a clever and disturbing introduction to season four of The Twilight Zone. This episode also deserves praise for its poignant and exceptional performances, which add a strong human element to the tragic backstory of Alan Talbot.
George Grizzard should be commended for his portrayal of Alan, whose loss of identity and subsequent loss of humanity are conveyed in a realistic, harrowing fashion. Upon revisiting his hometown, for example, the frustrated and confused reactions of Alan—now a total stranger to his original environment—compel the audience to sympathize with him on a deeply primal level. In addition to relating with the protagonist and his plight, sensitive viewers will later feel tremendous pity for Alan when he, having returned to his actual “birthplace,” responds with utter incredulity toward the only logical explanation for his predicament: that all of his memories, experiences, and even his own sense of self are nothing more than the fabrications of a misguided scientist.
Though fascinating for its intellectual value, Alan’s encounter with his creator, Walter Ryder Jr., is marred by copious exposition.
A philosophical episode of The Twilight Zone, “In His Image” provides a damning critique of transhumanism and, more specifically, those who attempt to “play god” with the forces that govern life and death—similar in many ways to the original Frankenstein legend, wherein a created being rebels against his master and, having been made in the image of man, retains the human capacity for cruelty and malice.
“In His Image” is a well-acted, thought-provoking entry of The Twilight Zone. Sci-fi/horror fans in particular should enjoy this offering, which contains a modern twist on the premise of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Overall Quality: 8/10
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