Episode 9 of The Twilight Zone Season 2 begins with a woman named Claudia saved at the last second from a speeding truck by a charismatic, mysterious man. As they both head to the same museum together, they end up talking and he dazzles her with his humour and intelligence.
As they keep talking, she remains wary of the way he brings out quotes relevant to her and finishes off her sentences. When he suddenly catches a bottle of water without turning his head or flinching, alarm bells immediately begin to ring.
The two continue to get to know one another and it turns out they have an eerie amount in common. Despite how wonderful everything is, it turns out Marc hides a much stranger secret; he’s stuck in some sort of Groundhog Day time-loop, forced to repeat the same day again and again. This is how he knew everything that’s transpired and he’s repeated this day thousands of times.
He’s dedicated all this time to creating the perfect date for Claudia and he admits he’s fallen in love with her. Despite it being her first encounter, Marc has spent years with her.
His truth unfortunately doesn’t go down well with her and she rejects him again. Something inside Marc snaps and he starts to lose his sanity, confronting her and deciding not to be so nice this time. Claudia promises to fight him and punches the man square in the nose. After knocking him out, the guards take him away.
In the morning Marc decides against pursuing Claudia in the future, and the episode ends with him giving her a warm smile.
On the whole, The Twilight Zone’s latest episode has a lot of potential but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. With a central protagonist not focused on the one who’s time-jumping, it brings up some fascinating concepts but never really follows through wholly with them.
The ending feels like a bit of a betrayal for Marc’s character too, as we’ve already established he’s obsessed with Claudia and will pursue her no matter what.
Claudia punching him in the nose is hardly cause for him to stop doing this and I can’t help but feel a far eerier and creepier ending would have been Marc repeating the cycle again anew, determined to win over Claudia no matter the cost and playing the nice guy
Despite the disappointing final 5 minutes or so, there’s some nice material in this episode but on the whole, this second season has failed to really live up to expectations. It’s certainly better than the first but that’s hardly a high bar to reach.