The Twilight Zone: Blurryman

blurry.JPGSeth Rogan in a Twilight Zone episode?  Please don’t tell me this one will be comedic.  Let the season finale be good, please!  The trailer actually looked scary, so please please please, don’t fail me.  I don’t want a lecture either; I just want a good story.  WARNING: Spoilers follow.  Please wait to read if you have not seen the episode!!!  You have been warned…

The story opens with Seth Rogan, a writer stuck for an idea.  He comes up with one, and what he writes becomes reality.  “It was only a story…” he says, stunned, as he looks out the window and realizes what he wrote, has become his world.  The camera pans to the left and Jordan Peele, the Narrator, begins: “Witness: Adam Wegman, a writer who up until tonight has never paid much mind to the idea of an artists social responsibility.  He’s about to learn that there’s more to art than entertainment…”   I should point out that when I started the episode, I was surprised to see it was just under 40 minutes long.  I wondered if it was cut, or something went wrong with my recording.  The monologue continued, “He’s about to… you know what?  I think we can beat this.  Is Sophie here?” Jordan says, as he looks off-camera.  At this point, I was sure I accidentally recorded a making-of special, not the actual final episode!  Things were going to get very…. META!  It’s always something when you feel like you’ve become a part of the story, and I was being sucked into this one…

Let me point out that I’ve admired Jordan Peele for a long time.  His comedy, though not typically my style, is brilliant and I actually really enjoy it.  His Get Out was unique and special.  I can’t wait to see Us.  When The Twilight Zone came back, I was super excited, especially when it was announced that this was his show, but over the weeks, I lost some of that excitement as I felt I was being lectured.  I floundered between respecting the venue for a commentary, and being annoyed by it.  Then this episode started and Jordan was speaking about two things that matter a lot to me: art being more than entertainment and an artists social responsibility.  (Frequent visitors to our site might recall my feelings about that, here.)

Jordan pulls Sophie to the side to talk to her.  Sophie sums up the season very well, “It’s a little too on the nose?… we could approach it a little more allegorically.”  Jordan says he’s unhappy with the “arts vs entertainment stuff.  I mean, why do we have to make it an either/or?”  Sophie asks, “Isn’t that what the episode is about?”  We are looking at entertainment that is also art.  We are seeing the social responsibility of the writer in action; creating a piece of entertainment that is something beyond the humdrum, repetitive stuff that is on television these days.  This is more.

And this is all in the first 5 minutes.  No sign of this “Blurryman”.  In fact, it’s another 5 minutes before Jordan re-records the opening where the focus has changed from “Adam Wegman” to Sophie Gelman.  It is not until 10 minutes before the opening credits roll.  Over the next 25 minutes, Sophie is caught up in a nightmare.  As the production team watch earlier recordings of the show, a man is seen in the background of a number of shots, some from earlier episodes (which has made me want to go back to re-watch each to see if there is, in fact, a Blurryman in each one).  This Blurryman begins to stalk Sophie, even acting like a poltergeist hurling bottles across a room.  Without a play by play, she eventually goes back to a library where she confronts the Blurryman head-on.  And things even get more magical.

Final warning: major spoilers ahead…

She has entered a world of black and white.  Burgess Meredith’s appears on a screen in the classic Twilight Zone episode Time Enough at Last.  Believe it or not, as soon as I saw the Blurryman, I knew what it was going to be, so the surprise was missing for me, but to see it come to life was still awesome.  The image clears and Rod Serling steps out.  Though the technology is not 100%, it’s not far off and Rod looks and, amazingly, sounds like he has truly come back from the great beyond.  The way he speaks blew my mind. His inflection was spot on!

Then as the music plays to a wonderful, awe-inspiring piece, Sophie and Rod step through a door that opens many doors and they begin walking into the cosmos together.  Serling’s unforgettable voice continues…

“What do we do when our world is turned upside down?  When everything we thought to be true is ripped away and we’re forced to face a new reality?  Sophie Gelson has just awoken to the fact that when we put away childish things, we may be closing our eyes instead of opening them.  And that perhaps our only hope is to face all reality; a multitude of truths not shrinking from that vital, arrogant, fatal, dominant X beyond imagination, but to embrace it. To open ourselves to the unknown. Not the end of the story, but a new beginning… for the Twilight Zone.”

Best.  Episode.  Yet!  Meaningful, emotional, allegorical, self-referential, socially responsible, and above all, a story from The Twilight Zone!  WOW!  What an ending.  What a thrilling and satisfying conclusion.  I loved it.  If we can pull this off in under 40 minutes… well!  I just signed on for season 2 of The Twilight Zone.  ML

This entry was posted in Doctor Who, Entertainment, Random Chatter, Reviews, Science Fiction. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Twilight Zone: Blurryman

  1. Your sister says:

    Sounds great. I will likely watch it. Spoilers don’t bother me. But ps- the movie Us started great. Middle was idiotic. Ending was predictable but okay.

    Liked by 1 person

    • scifimike70 says:

      The closing narrative for this TZ summed up just about everything I enjoyed about The Twilight Zone as a kid, as well as all SF that teaches that there’s always more than we know, especially about ourselves, and that it can always be a good things. Even if we must learn to exercise our perspectives and reevaluate what we consider to be normal and logical. Reminiscing with the classic TZ’s King Nine Will Not Return and with how that episode’s drama was resolved makes it another one of my recommendations.

      Whether the newest of the TZ, Star Trek, Dr. Who, X-Files or Red Dwarf motivates us to reminisce more with their classic eras or make us optimistic about their futures, it can be episodes like the new TZ’s S1 finale that thankfully remind us that the efforts, certainly in the creative hearts of those like Mr. Peele, remain somehow worthy of recognition.

      Thank you, ML, for your quite thoughtful review. 🌎🌏🌍🌌🖖🏻

      Liked by 1 person

    • scifimike70 says:

      Now that you mention predictable endings, I think the classic Twilight Zone proved a valid point (as I also addressed my comments for Dr. Who: Earthshock) that endings should be permitted a certain lack of surprise for the sake of the endings making enough sense. It’s particularly essential for SF and so the classic TZ’s solution was to openly encourage and appreciate how we, as individuals, could comfortingly respond to TZ endings. That for all intents and purposes can be the most important surprise. Because any TV show that has enough respect for its audience to motivate us all into thinking for ourselves, which would further Eye Of The Beholder’s claim to fame as the most groundbreaking TZ of all time, is in itself a surprise for many obvious reasons in the world television.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Roger Pocock says:

    I also loved this episode. I guessed Rod Serling but obviously not as quickly as you did! The face wasn’t quite right and I wasn’t quite as impressed with the voice as you were. It was a very competent impression though. Really enjoyed all that though, when it went to b&w and recreated the original library set. I’m guessing if we went back and watched the other episodes again we would be able to spot the blurryman? Great play with the fourth wall, although I was actually a bit disappointed not to be able to see the episode they were making!

    Liked by 1 person

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