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‘The Twilight Zone’ season two gives hope to the series

‘The Twilight Zone’ season two gives hope to the series

‘The Twilight Zone’ season two gives hope to the series
July 02
12:00 2020

Content warning: Spoilers ahead

I admit it, I was thrilled when I initially heard that “The Twilight Zone” 2019 reboot was going to be Jordan Peele’s take on the classic series. Though he served as the narrator on screen, you could really feel Peele’s work as an executive producer behind the scenes as a viewer. As a series that bends from science fiction to the downright supernatural, “The Twilight Zone” is known for creating episodes in which troubled characters go through complex issues, often ending with a twist M. Night Shyamalan would gush at.

In season two, Peele’s vision is no different as every lead character is familiar with a sense of loss, which seems to be one of the main recurring themes for the season. In the first episode, “Meet in the Middle,” Phil is a lonely thirty-something who longs for human connection to a painful extent. When his mind is suddenly linked up with a woman he’s never met before named Annie, Phil finds that he can never go back to normal life.

“Meet in the Middle” feels like a romantic comedy at the beginning, but we never see the episode from Annie’s perspective, so she is just as much of a mystery to us as she is to Phil. She is then revealed to be married, which begs us to ask, “What else is she hiding?” We get our answer in the end after the episode takes a dark twist you might have seen coming.

The message of the episode is that people long for a real connection to the point where they could be manipulated by the emotion they fantasize about. The person you love can be the one who hurts you the most, so be careful who you trust. Overall, the episode was a great launching point and set the tone for the rest of the season.

The second episode titled “Downtime” shows a woman, Michelle, who sees a giant orb in the sky with everyone looking up at it, all in a catatonic state. What happens next is science fiction at its finest when Michelle finds out her entire life has been a lie. Her husband is not really her husband, she is not really a hotel manager and she is not really Michelle, but a man named Phineas. It asks a philosophical question I find fascinating: What makes life in virtual reality different than real life if they both serve the same purpose?

“The Who of You” is a worthy successor to “Downtime” and is possibly the most entertaining episode of the entire season. A struggling actor named Harry robs a bank and finds that he’s able to jump into different bodies, which he uses to his advantage in an attempt to perform the perfect escape. He uses a bank teller, a police officer and a jogger, and you’d think I’m leading up to a punchline, but it’s just another episode of “The Twilight Zone.”

Much less can be said about “Ovation,” following a struggling street singer named Jasmine who becomes an overnight sensation when she receives a medallion from another singer. Jasmine is fond of the fame at first but quickly finds out it’s not what she thought it would be when she receives an unreal amount of applause every time she performs, including botched performances. Though not a terrible episode, “Ovation” never really lives up to the potential of the premise.

Boarding school is hell, and “Among the Untrodden” does everything it can to hammer that down. Madison is the popular girl of an all-girl boarding school who finds out she has psychic abilities when transfer student and outcast, Irene, makes her class take a psychic quiz for a project. If you like “Mean Girls” and “The Craft,” this is going to be a fun episode.

“8” is a filler episode like “Downtime” but it’s significantly less interesting. A group of scientists meets a highly intelligent yet murderous octopus in the deep part of the sea. That’s it. Underdeveloped characters, awkward pacing and a confusing ending made me too bored to care about where the episode was trying to go. Sorry, Joel McHale.

“A Human Face” and “A Small Town” are the episodes with the most heart. The lead characters have flaws, but they aren’t terrible people. They just want to move on from past grief and begin again. “A Human Face” has a plot you’ve seen before, but the heartwarming twist makes you feel that not all “Twilight Zone” episodes are doom and gloom. Both are much-needed breathers from dark, hard-hitting episodes.

“The Twilight Zone” returns to its nothing-is-as-it-seems roots with “Try, Try” where a young woman’s seemingly prince charming holds a dark secret, and the finale “You Might Also Like” connects the reboot to the classic series by having familiar faces return on screen.

Overall, the season has its ups and downs. You’ll really like some episodes and be really disappointed with others. The second season of “The Twilight Zone” isn’t as dark as it could be, but the generally good dialogue, colors that fit the tone of the story and acting give me hope that the series will translate well to a new generation of viewers.

Rating: 4/5

Featured image: Courtesy CBS

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Adrian Maldonado

Adrian Maldonado

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