The Twilight Zone Inspiration: Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room

A Vintage Nerd, Vintage Blog, Twilight Zone Show Review, Twilight Zone Inspiration, Classic TV Blog, Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room

I don't think I have ever watched a Twilight Zone episode where there was one lone, main character that truly shined as brightly as the one in this episode. This episode first aired on October 14, 1960 and it starred Joe Mantell who was known for his role as Angie in the 1955 film, Marty. Mantell plays an insecure and anxiety ridden small time gangster named Jackie Rhoades who ends up going through some major changes.

The episode begins with Jackie pacing the confines of his cheap motel room talking to himself, sweating profusely wondering when he is going to get a call from George (William D. Gordon) about his next illegal job. Eventually George does offer him a job but it is to kill an old man who is in George's way. After George leaves, Jackie's reflection in the mirror begins to talk to him. The reflection refers to himself as John and begins to question Jackie on why he can't try to be a better version of himself.

This is where it gets interesting. Mantell gives an incredible performances playing two versions of himself debating and bickering on what kind of person they could be. It's John (reflection) who confronts Jackie with wanting to live his best life. Jackie argues with John because of the fear of the unknown and the possibility of living a better life.

The idea of living your best life is a topic I have heard a lot in the past few years. But what does that mean exactly? This episode asks a powerful question and it reveals its answer in the very end. It asks us to look at ourselves in the mirror and face who we are and ask ourselves the hard questions. Are we happy with who we are? Can we be a better person? This episode is a powerful one and it lingers in your mind days after you watch it. 

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