Director: Elliot Silverstein
Writer: Richard Matheson
Cast: Diana Hyland, Marsha Hunt, Philip Ober, Roger Davis, and Robert Hogan
Composer: Rene Garriguenc
Air Date: 2/21/1964
Production Code: 2608
Hours before her engagement party, heiress Anne Henderson (Diana Hyland) encounters a black-clad woman riding a horse. Returning home in a distraught state, Anne receives a visit from her old lover David Mitchell (Roger Davis)—a young man of dubious character, whose pursuit of Anne leads to a terrible outcome.
“Spur of the Moment” delivers an important life lesson through the use of chilling imagery. Unfortunately, this episode is marred by pacing problems, melodramatic scenes, and heavy-handed exposition.
Diana Hyland deserves praise for her portrayal of Anne’s future self, who, by resembling a horseback rider from hell, serves as an ominous reflection of Anne’s poor life choices in the present. (Viewers may, however, question the logic of the older Anne, who screams like a madwoman while capturing the attention of her younger self.)
Though visually haunting, the revelation of Anne’s older self lacks the harrowing impact of a typical Twilight Zone twist. Especially at fault are the camera angles employed in the opening sequence, which fail to obscure the weathered, albeit still recognizable, features of the 43-year-old Anne.
On a similar note, the fate of Anne’s character becomes obvious at a premature point in Richard Matheson’s narrative. As a result, “Spur of the Moment” leaves little room for mystery or dramatic tension—much in contrast to “A Hundred Yards Over the Rim,” which, despite also containing a predestination paradox, maintains an air of urgency from beginning to end.
“Spur of the Moment” demonstrates the folly of dwelling on old mistakes while failing to address immediate concerns. Note, for example, that Anne makes no attempt to preserve her father’s estate and care for her elderly mother, choosing instead to chase after the ghost of her former self—a statement on how obsession with the past can hinder progress in the present.
Featuring temporal anomalies and a terrifying spectral figure, “Spur of the Moment” will appeal to fans of The Twilight Zone. Critical viewers may nevertheless take issue with this episode, which suffers from a weak execution.
Overall Quality: 6/10
If you enjoyed this post, please enter your email address in the subscription box to stay tuned for more updates.