Really? Was it that common? This episode was aired in 1971, a year after the Charles Manson trial. Not that his shenanigans were related to hitchhiking, but I would think it might have put people off the idea of inviting strangers into their cars for a while. Maybe it was Texas Chainsaw Massacre that 3 years later made hitchhiking less attractive. It certainly did no favors for the perception of people in wheelchairs.
Pianist Eric Sutton comes into the police station to report his car stolen. He was driving around 2 in the morning and picked up a female hitchhiker. When he stopped at a store to by a newspaper, the woman stole his car.
Three days later, he is out driving again. He goes for a stroll at the San Francisco Bay, and the same woman hits him in the head with a pistol and “cops the car” again. The police show him a few mugshot books which are no help. He insists the detective have the sketch artist create her likeness so she can be picked up. The resulting sketch is of a hottie that the detective says should be hanging in the “Loover”.
The woman is out shopping and her chauffeur is getting a parking ticket. Wait, what? The cop recognizes the woman from her Wanted (and I mean, wanted!) Poster and hauls her in.
Sutton is brought in to pick her out of a line-up. Before they come out, the detective tells Sutton the woman’s name is Claire Foster and her husband is in construction. She claims to have been with her husband on both nights, but he is in Venezuela where they apparently do not have phones. Sutton does not nail her in the line-up, but seems interested in doing so later.
Turns out the only fingerprints in Sutton’s car are his own. The detective tells Claire she might have a civil case against Sutton. She wants to talk to him and somehow finds him in a bar. He says he has been dreaming of her for years. Because a private detective was too expensive, he came up with the idea of filing a bogus police reports to get them to look for her for free.
She says she has been married “contentedly” for 3 years. Her husband also has recurring dreams — in his case, it is of a man strangling him; a man with a long scar on the back of his hand. There is a suspenseful moment when Sutton turns over his hand, but no scar is revealed. He is not only a pianist but a player — he tells her she is afraid, but doesn’t know how to get out of her marriage. They kiss in the bar. He asks her to go on tour with him, she asks him to stay with her.
As they embrace, she deftly reaches behind him for a knife and slices a long scar on the back of his hand, paving the way for her husband’s dreams to come true. She says she is sure things will work out for them now.
Damaging the hand of a pianist is a clumsy way for the script to close the circle. Clearly, she intended no injury to him; just to give him the requisite scar. However, a micron too deep, and he would be doomed to a one-song repertoire. Surely a career less hand-centric could have been used.
It felt like the rest of the script could also have used one more pass, but it was a better than average segment, completing one of the better episodes.
- Twilight Zone Legacy: None.
- Title Analysis: I can make no sense out of it. But it’s still better than Edge of Tomorrow.
- Claire was played by Joanna Pettet, last seen in The House. She was very stylish and hot in both, although her hair is just way too long — maybe that was a 70’s thing.
- Two notes on Richard O’Brien who played the detective: I was disappointed because I was expecting the other Richard O’Brien who played Riff-Raff in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Also, his voice sounds exactly like William Windom.