The Man With The Golden Gun
I can’t remember the last time I watched an anthology series with such wildly inconsistent quality. From the last couple of episode that rank among the worst I’ve seen this year through to the second episode, which ranks as the best of the series, The Twilight Zone is an unpredictable monster – and not in a good way either. Back for another week, The Twilight Zone returns with one of its strongest episodes of the season, and a late resurgence of originality in this first season.
The episode begins with Jeff’s dad shooting himself and his son left to pick up the pieces. A golden gun lies on the table next to him with a solitary bullet. As Jeff picks it up and inspects it further, his name mysteriously appears before fading out and returning to normalcy. Thinking nothing of it, Jeff continues to go through his Dad’s things, stuffing the gun and the bullet in a case and trying to put the ordeal out of his mind. Unfortunately, he then begins seeing and hearing his name everywhere.
Jeff soon learns his Father’s gun is the infamous Blue Scorpion, a fabled weapon that’s supposedly afraid of the dark. Numerous phone calls from the Gun Superstore follows while numerous people called Jeff continue to pop up, slowly driving him mad. He eventually heads to the gun shop to pawn the weapon off, asking to fire the gun once at the shooting range. Unfortunately this one shot turns into emptying the chamber and Jeff unable to get rid of the weapon. Instead, he heads to his office and puts the gun in his office drawer, complete with a flashlight to give it some light.
As the episode progresses, Jeff continues to slowly descend into madness, losing his temper in his office before sitting in his car at night with the gun. He’s snapped out of his trance by a burglar though, who arrives and begins wrestling the gun from his hands. In self defence, he shoots the man before the police arrive and detain him. They soon let Jeff go though and via a newspaper article, we learn he’s regarded by many as a hero.
The episode then ends with Jeff signing documents before eventually getting rid of the gun and moving on with his life, throwing the weapon in the lake. Some time later, two kids arrive and find the gun on the shore, one of which realizing his name is inscribed on a bullet, beginning the cycle again.
The Twilight Zone finally delivers a well written episode with minimal political or societal pull. While there are still some themes around gun violence and our attitude toward gun laws, for the most part The Twilight Zone is quite happy to deliver a weird and uncomfortable episode, performed perfectly by Chris O’Dowd who depicts Jeff’s descent into madness in a realistic manner.
Quite what next week’s finale has in store for The Twilight Zone is anyone’s guess and with such wildly different levels of quality throughout the series, it’ll be interesting to see whether this show ends on a high or not. Already renewed for a second season, I do hope The Twilight Zone comes out swinging next year, delivering more episodes of this quality with less political and societal sway. If it can do that, The Twilight Zone could be a very good anthology series.