Monday, August 7, 2017

The Twilight Zone - The Passersby



That ending just gets me every single time. I know it’s coming, but yet Abraham Lincoln enters the frame to comfort the wife of a murdered Confederate Captain, and the tears well up. I just can’t help but feel the true tragedy of “the last casualty of the Civil War”. Lavinia learning that this path tread with the continuous footsteps, leading the Civil War soldiers, both of the North and South, past her fallen plantation to the “end of the road” is also meant for her, as her husband arrives to assure her that hanging on to the broken dreams of rebuilding what is lost just isn’t meant to be. The episode is a testament, like many Twilight Zone episodes, of a war that tore a country apart and left a residue of bloodshed and damage. Serling wrote the script, detailing this road that leads to an afterlife of some sort, at the end of a road right past the house of a tormented soul, a wife yet to have accepted that the fever took her as the war took her husband.

The opening narration really sets up the mood and tragedy of the story told: This road is the afterwards of the Civil War. It began at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, and ended at a place called Appomattox. It's littered with the residue of broken battles and shattered dreams.

Lavinia is a dour reminder of the casualties of war. The soldiers themselves weren’t the only victims. As Gregory’s sergeant comments: men, animals, and God’s own beauty suffered as a result of this war. Lavinia pines away for her husband, agonizes as every soldier walks past, and spends her days alone. Her home is of constant reminder of her side’s ruin as a result of the war. Her hate for “them damn Yanks” builds and builds as every single footstep crosses the road near the threshold of her porch’s walkway. Weak and worn, Lavinia wants some measure of revenge, to just shoot one man tied to the soldier she holds responsible for the loss of her Jud. Arriving for a drink of water, eventually keeping her company and humming a tune on his “guit-box”, Gregory offers a friendly face and conversation. He’s been in the war, tended to by a soldier “on the other side” after a serious injury, and seen too much ugliness and violence. He’s stomached quite a bit and is just tired of it. When Lavinia dotes on her desire for shooting just one of the Yankees, Gregory’s sergeant chides her for even thinking it. That is when they soon encounter the soldier—to her he’s the enemy, and to Gregory, help in his time of need—and see that anymore use of the gun, of violence, doesn’t benefit any of them. She could shoot the soldier but this no longer alters anything. They are all in the Twilight Zone.

When Lincoln leans down to help Lavinia, addressing their eventual walk, quoting Shakespeare and commenting on how he represents that tragic exclamation point on the Civil War, I reckon the musical accompaniment just compounds it all until my heart is just breaking. The fatal blow (even though he wasn’t the realistically last casualty of the war, his death clearly was with resounding impact the death knell), so Abe emerging on his walk down the road (a lonely walk he was taking before Lavinia) simply makes me choke up.







With each viewing of The Passersby, it continues to rise up the ranks of my favorites list. It leaves me with profound sadness and I spend the rest of the day thinking about its message. It hadn't been on my mind until the New Years marathon of 2016/17, coming in on it at about 1:00 on a Sunday afternoon. I then watched it again this year about sixteen days later in January on the seventeenth. And again today, Sunday at 1. Why? It just seems to be the right time, something about watching this episode at this specific day and time returns me back to when I became re-acquainted with it on the 1st. I had the review for this episode on the IMDb for 2017. I go to these reviews as re-evaluation. Like where I was then and where am I now? The same power remains. I invest in each character's pain. It covers a terrible time in this country's history, with that Serling spin, allowed to take a few folks from the era (even if maybe not altogether accurately tied directly to the time as prickly historians might balk) in this vocal opened wound, a comment about how war victimizes, with the road by Lavinia's home taking those who bled and died on the battlefields onto a different realm...the Twilight Zone allowing us to see their walk, the walking dead.


Powerful allegory on the unrelenting horrors of war (in this case, the Civil War), and the victims left behind, has a Confederate soldier (James Gregory) stopping off by an ill widow's battle-weary plantation while others "wounded" walk the road ahead to "parts unknown". Lavinia (Joanne Linville) agonizes over the loss of her husband, and the soldiers walking the road by her home en masse without fail, with Gregory's Sergeant offering an ear to her, willing to listen and offer his own reflections on what has happened to him, trying to encourage her to release the hate (for the Yankees) unyielding in her heart. Absolutely heart-breaking, with a few soldiers passing by who leave a lasting reminder that *no one* wins in war. The blinded Yankee officer (David Garcia) who actually helped Confederate Gregory (his foot nearly blown off, Garcia stopped to help taking hot lead in his face) stopping by for a drink of water scene, as Lavinia packs her shotgun ready to get her some vengeance is unforgettable…the lighting is especially fantastic, with how a lantern by Gregory reveals his face, and Garcia's voice has this beaten and broken tone that comments on how the war punished both sides. Linvwille's pain is palpable and understandable, a performance that literally aches as her tears swell. Gregory, all rough and sweaty, guitar strumming and humming, adds a particular charm and earthy character to the story, just another victim in a war that took a lot and left in its wake a lot of broken and dead bodies. Gregory speaks on a father who looked upon him with disapproval until he shuffled off to war "to become a man", mentioning that he returned "half that". The neighbor emerging, his eyes lifeless and aimed for the road ahead, as Lavinia is relieved to see him, looks like a zombie urged to keep moving…it is among many such scenes that chill the bones. I can't fight back the tears when Honest Abe shows up…the last casualty of the war. Abe's quoting of Julius Caesar and his encouraging Lavinia to accept her fate and join her husband, finally walking behind them all by himself; this just gets me every time. Ridiculously underrated episode that I think remains with you once it's over; Silverstein's direction and Serling's script find an effective presentation to call attention to a war that left a lasting scar on this country. When divided, all suffer.

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Battlestar Galactica - And So It Begins

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Jtm 2

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Gb

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mh2

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Hiii

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Fred

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Ghspo

Ghspo
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Enl

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gm

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No 2

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Ahorr

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Cbi1

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Wsha

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Mouth3

Mouth3
In the Mouth of Madness

Fdfn2

Fdfn2
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Vyr

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Sh fr

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Vlov

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Edpos

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Ttf2

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Jm2

Jm2
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Psycho '60

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Kife

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Meg

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ring 2

ring 2
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poster

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exor1

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Conj

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Tz1

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In the kitchen, The Shape

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Ps56

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Hun

Hun
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Ps89

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Cof

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His

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Efny

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sus

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Edfen

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h1

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Bs

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Amer

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The h gang

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Nlc

Nlc
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Hp

Hp

Smoke

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Strek

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Hill

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Castle

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Frere and dummy

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Mlove

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Alone/dark

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Lips

Lips

Fhz

Fhz

Ph

Ph

Vestron

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Vintage VHS

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Monique parent

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Were5

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Bmate

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Ms45 w

Ms45 w

Churcvh

Churcvh
The Church 1989

Ww

Ww
The Whip and the Body 1963

Lsho

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Every actor has to make terrible films from time to time, but the trick is never to be terrible in them.

Vampyros lesbos

You are one of us now. The Queen of the Night will bear you up on her black wings

The Unknown 1927

No....not sick. But I have lost some flesh.

Alonzo, the Armless.

Ckvh

Ckvh

Blood of Dracula's Castle (1969)

Glen: We'd like to speak to the Townsends, please.

The Butler: They are not available till after sunset.

Bw5

Bw5

Jill

Jill

Mad Love 1935

Doctor Gogol: Did you ever hear of Galatea?

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