Mirror Image (The Twilight Zone)
|The Twilight Zone episode|
Vera Miles as Millicent Barnes
|Episode no.||Season 1|
|Directed by||John Brahm|
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Original air date||February 26, 1960|
|“||Millicent Barnes, age twenty-five, young woman waiting for a bus on a rainy November night. Not a very imaginative type is Miss Barnes: not given to undue anxiety, or fears, or for that matter even the most temporal flights of fantasy. Like most young career women, she has a generic classification as a, quote, girl with a head on her shoulders, end of quote. All of which is mentioned now because, in just a moment, the head on Miss Barnes' shoulders will be put to a test. Circumstances will assault her sense of reality and a chain of nightmares will put her sanity on a block. Millicent Barnes, who, in one minute, will wonder if she's going mad.||”|
Millicent Barnes waits in a bus depot in Marathon, New York, for a bus to Cortland, en route to a new job. Looking at a wall clock she notices the bus is late. She asks the ticket agent when the bus will arrive, and he gruffly complains that this is her third time asking. Millicent denies this. While speaking with the ticket agent, she notices a bag just like hers in the luggage pile behind her. She mentions this to the ticket agent, who says it is her bag. She does not believe this until she notices her bag is not beside the bench anymore. She washes her hands in the restroom and the cleaning lady there insists this is her second time there. Again, Millicent denies this. Upon leaving the restroom, she glances in the mirror and sees, in addition to her reflection, an exact copy of herself sitting on the bench outside.
She then meets a young man from Binghamton named Paul Grinstead, who is waiting for the same bus. Millicent tells Paul about encountering her double. Paul, attempting to calm Millicent, says it is either a joke or a misunderstanding caused by a look-alike. When the bus arrives and the two of them prepare to board, Millicent looks in the window and sees the copy of herself, already seated on the bus. In shock, she runs back into the depot and faints.
Millicent lies unconscious on a bench inside the depot while Paul and the cleaning lady attend to her. Paul agrees to wait for the 7:00 bus. While they wait, Millicent, now coming to, insists the strange events are caused by an evil double from a parallel world - a nearby, yet distant alternative plane of existence that comes into convergence with this world by powerful forces, or unnatural, unknown events. When this happens, the impostors enter this realm. Millicent's doppelgänger can survive in this world only by eliminating and replacing her. Paul says the explanation is "a little metaphysical" for him, and believes that Millicent's sanity is beginning to unravel. Paul tells Millicent he will call a friend in Tully who has a car and may be able to drive them to Syracuse. Instead, he calls the police.
After Millicent is taken away by two policemen, Paul begins to settle himself. After drinking from a water fountain, Paul notices that his valise is missing. Looking up towards the doors, Paul notices another man running out the door of the bus depot. Pursuing this individual down the street, Paul discovers that he is chasing his own copy, whose face shows excited delight. His copy disappears as Paul calls out "Where are you?" while looking around in confusion and shock.
|“||Obscure and metaphysical explanation to cover a phenomena. Reasons dredged out of the shadows to explain away that which cannot be explained. Call it 'parallel planes' or just 'insanity'. Whatever it is, you will find it in the Twilight Zone.||”|
In a short film pitching the Twilight Zone series to a Dutch television station, creator Rod Serling claimed to have gotten the idea for "Mirror Image" following an encounter at an airport. Serling noticed a man at the other side of the terminal who wore the same clothes and carried the same suitcase as himself; Serling considered what would happen if the man turned around and was revealed to be a duplicate of himself. However, the man turned out to be younger and "more attractive".
This is one of several episodes from season one with its opening title sequence plastered over with the opening for season two. This was done during the Summer of 1961 as to help the season one shows fit in with the new look the show had taken during the following season.
- "The Twilight Zone Rods Netherlands Sales Pitch". YouTube. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
- "Stream a Twilight Zone episode that inspired Jordan Peele's Us". www.theverge.com. Retrieved 2019-03-22.