The Twilight Zone Episode 124: A Kind of a Stopwatch

General Information

Director: John Rich

Writer: Rod Serling

Cast: Richard Erdman, Herbie Faye, Leon Belasco, Doris Singleton, Roy Roberts, Richard Wessel, Ray Kellog, and Ken Drake

Composer: Van Cleave

Air Date: 10/18/1963

Production Code: 2609

 

Overview

While visiting a bar one evening, the insufferable Patrick McNulty (Richard Erdman) is given a stopwatch that can freeze the passage of time. Trying outThe Twilight Zone A Kind of a Stopwatch his new gift, McNulty plays a juvenile prank on his former boss before robbing a bank—with a terrible outcome.

A sci-fi/fantasy narrative with an ironic twist, “A Kind of a Stopwatch” should appeal to fans of The Twilight Zone. Nevertheless, the audience may struggle to connect with the main character—a bland, annoying person with no sympathetic qualities.

 

Pros

The Twilight Zone A Kind of a StopwatchBy remaining perfectly still whenever McNulty activates the stopwatch, the actors/extras add an air of realism to this episode. (The performers in “Elegy” and “Still Valley,” in contrast, make slight movements when portraying immobile characters, preventing full immersion from viewers with low suspension of disbelief.)

 

Cons

The premise for “A Kind of a Stopwatch” is marred by one significant flaw: the bar patron at the beginning of the episode offers McNulty the stopwatch—possiblyThe Twilight Zone A Kind of a Stopwatch the most valuable item in existence—while demanding nothing in return. A more logical setup, however, would have a desperate alcoholic give McNulty the stopwatch in exchange for money, liquor, or a ride home.

Another logical problem stems from the fact that, when stopping the flow of motion, McNulty manages to pass through doors, pick up objects, and push cartloads of money without causing tremendous damage to the world around him.

 

Analysis

The Twilight Zone A Kind of a StopwatchThough very tongue-in-cheek, the life circumstances of McNulty teach a valuable lesson about wasting one’s potential on frivolous, unproductive, or immoral pursuits—especially when given a rare or extraordinary advantage over others.

 

Concluding Comments

“A Kind of a Stopwatch” is a clever, humorous entry of The Twilight Zone. Worth noting in particular is the twist ending of this episode, which benefits from a heavy dose of irony.

 

Overall Quality: 7/10

 

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