Thursday, February 11, 2021

Review of "It’s A Good Life, season 3, episode 8" of The Twilight Zone

 Review of

It’s A Good Life, season 3, episode 8 of The Twilight Zone

Five out of five stars

Great rendition of a classic science fiction short story

 This episode is based on a short science fiction story by Jerome Bixby. When I started watching the episode, I immediately recalled having read the story in a collection of classic science fiction short stories. It is based on the premise that a baby with powerful mental powers is born in a small farming community.

 In the original story, the physician attending the birth immediately recognizes the baby’s power and tries to kill him. However, the baby also has enormous instincts for self-preservation and kills the doctor and somehow isolates the community from the rest of the world and perhaps universe. It is never resolved whether the baby simply deleted the rest of the world (universe) or somehow transported the community away from the rest of the world.

 The boy (Anthony Fremont) is now six years old and there are apparently few people left in the community. Everyone, and that includes his parents, is terrified of him. He has the normal inability of a six-year-old in separating his wishes from the reality of others. He can, with a simple thought, end a life, change the weather or make a television work without electricity. The community is completely cut off from everything else, so they must produce their food and make do with the other diminishing resources.

 Anthony is capable of reading thoughts and detecting disapproval, so everyone must always tell him that what he has done is good, even when someone is killed. Other than his incredible power, Anthony is a normal six-year-old with the emotional immaturity and impulsiveness. It is a powerful episode with the moral ambiguity of perhaps killing a dangerous child.

 Fans of the original Star Trek series will no doubt recognize the seeds for the episode, “Charlie X.” When Charlie is being taken away, Captain Kirk is told, “He would destroy you or force you to destroy him in order to save yourselves.” It is clear that the people around Anthony are in the same position, for it is likely he will get worse if they survive until he reaches adolescence.

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