We pan across harsh concrete architecture which suggests correctly that it is a future college campus. The few students present and the shadows forming little cages suggest a totalitarian future (or perhaps the totalitarian mind-think of current college faculty).
Inside, students assemble in a classroom made of Krameresque levels, humanity having evolved out of the need for chairs. Vincent Price enters and reminds the students that this is the day of their final oral exams.
He begins randomly selecting students and quizzing them on propulsion and behavioral sciences — what freakin’ class is this? In his questions, be pits white against black, hottie against nottie, Caucasian against Chinese.
It plays out almost completely in that one classroom, and there is a lot of talking. Never the less, this is one of the best so far. The story is compelling, and Vincent Price is excellent as the professor.
Of course there is a twist and the standard Serling hectoring about how awful humanity is; but really it is the story and the performances that make the episode — which is preferable to dumping all the weight on a twist ending.
- Twilight Zone Legacy: None.
- Strangely, this is the second segment in this episode which requires live actors to play corpses / frozen people. It is similarly off-putting here (in a good way).
- Skipped Segment 1: The Merciful is a twist on The Cask of the Amontillado. For a change, it is one of the short sketches that actually works. The title is a mystery as it would have made more sense to somehow reference the original story title. Once you see the bricks being laid in the first shot, either it’s spoiled or it’s not, anyway.
- Skipped Segment 2: Satisfaction Guaranteed also works better than most. The payoff is a little strange, even pornographic if you’re of the mind. But Victor Buono’s performance and a few cute 70’s babes save the day. Due to a switcheroo by NBC, IMDb has this segment replaced with Witch’s Feast,
- Hulu sucks.