Friday, October 19, 2012

Lonely...and Bored: The Twilight Zone: "The Lonely"

Jack Warden plays Corry, a murderer sentenced to the ultimate punishment- fifty years on an asteroid thousands of miles from Earth.

His only human contact is a supply ship that arrives every three months, with Captain Allenbe (John Dehner) aboard. One visit, Allenbe brings a crate. Inside is a robot named Alicia (Jean Marsh). She can feel pain and loneliness, just like Corry, and the two live together and eventually fall in love. A year later, Allenbe arrives with good news. Corry has been pardoned, and all the prisoners on all the asteroids are going home. The problem is there is only enough room on the ship for Corry and fifteen pounds of his belongings, and Alicia weighs much more than that.

Despite an effective Death Valley location and some nice acting by Warden, "The Lonely" is one of the series' least satisfying episodes. The cast is fine, but Serling's script should have been longer. Corry and Alicia's year together is glossed over, so we do not feel the same emotional attachment Corry does when told he must leave her behind. The ending is too pat, as if it was decided on after the shooting started.

"The Lonely" would be ripe for a remake either as a feature film or an hour long episode of one of the many "The Twilight Zone" incarnations that have popped up in the forty plus years since this aired. (* *) out of five stars.