Director: Abner Biberman
Writers: Charles Beaumont and John Tomerlin
Cast: Collin Wilcox, Richard Long, Pam Austin, and Suzy Parker
Composer: None (Stock Music)
Air Date: 1/24/1964
Production Code: 2618
In the year 2000, all men and women are required to undergo a process known as the Transformation—a procedure whereby the body is surgically altered to resemble one of several beautiful models. Content with her natural state, Marilyn Cuberle (Collin Wilcox) objects to the notion of “upgrading” her appearance—with a disturbing outcome.
Combining aspects of Brave New World with a message of nonconformity, “Number 12 Looks Just Like You” will appeal to fans of dystopian science fiction. Critics may, however, take issue with this episode for its languid pacing and didactic execution.
For her willingness to challenge social norms, defend her beliefs at any cost, and retain her sense of self in a world of cookie-cutter stereotypes, the character of Marilyn will compel the audience to root for her success. (Viewers should be warned, however, that Marilyn’s cruel, unwarranted fate may evoke disgust from those who identify with her plight.)
“Number 12 Looks Just Like You” explores an interesting concept in a science fiction setting. Nevertheless, this offering lacks the dramatic substance to carry a full-length episode—much in contrast to “Eye of the Beholder,” which, though similar in content, maintains an atmosphere of mystery, horror, and suspense from beginning to end.
Also deserving of mention is the lack of nuance in this episode, wherein the attractive characters come across as shallow, dim-witted, and devoid of empathy while Marilyn—a homely young woman with a spirit of independence—is depicted as a paragon of sensitivity and virtue.
Despite forgoing subtlety in favor of explicit moralizing, this episode should be commended for teaching people the value of uniqueness, compassion, and intellectual curiosity when assessing the worth of an individual.
“Number 12 Looks Just Like You” is a poignant and thought-provoking, if overrated, installment of The Twilight Zone. Especially well-written is the character of Marilyn, who benefits from the delicate and heartfelt performance of Collin Wilcox.
Overall Quality: 7/10
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