Twilight Zone – Dream Me a Life (10/22/88)

Retirement home resident Roger Leads is having another one of his nightmares.  He is in a dark room lit only by many candelabras.  An old woman is crouched in the corner, terrified of what is trying to get in the door.  She pleads with him to help.  This is too much for Roger and he wakes up shivering, although that might be because the staff turns the thermostat down to a chilly 85 at night.

The narrator tells us that since the death of his wife three years ago, he leads a life where “he touches no one and no one touches him.”  That is about to change as his pal Frank says the room next door to him is getting a new resident.  I wonder what happened to the old res . . . oh, right.

A nurse wheels in his new neighbor — it is the woman from his dream.  Unfortunately, his dream about the frightened old woman, not the other one about Angie Dickinson.  Roger’s pal Frank says she hasn’t spoken a word in 10 years, so she really is the girl of his dreams.

Later, Roger’s pals are passing the time playing cards.  He sees the new gal, Laura Kincaid, has her chair parked across the room.  She is catatonic, also silent and unmoving, as she has been since her husband died.  Roger recalls his dead wife and realizes how much he needed her.

That night, Roger again dreams of being with Laura in the dark room.  She is begging him to help her again.  When he accidentally burns his hand on a candle, he wakes up.  He is stunned to see his hand actually is burned.

The next day, he sees her sitting outside.  He asks her some questions, but the woman seems to take no notice of him.  Join the club, pal.  He asks, “That is you, isn’t it?  In my dream?  Even before you got here, you were there!”  He asks how she picked him, and pleads with her to pick some else.  He feels unworthy because he couldn’t save his wife.  He shouts at her to “get out of my head!  Leave me alone!”

That night, he has the same dream again. As always, Laura is begging him to save her from the thing behind the door.  Roger has the revelation that “you’re not keeping someone out, you’re keeping someone in!”  Roger opens the door and a respectable looking old gentleman enters.  It is Laura’s dead husband.  He tells her she has got to let go.  And so on . . .

This is yet another episode where I think it is fine, just not what I’m looking for from a series called The Twilight Zone.  I know the original series had its share of sentimental episodes, but the 1980s reboot feels like I’m watching Kick the Can every other week.

Taken on its own, there is a lot to like here.  There is a lot of yakking, but well-done for a change.  It is not the printed prose torturously forced into a screenplay like Ray Bradbury Theatre, nor is in the nonsensical padding of The Hitchhiker.  I appreciated that it was natural dialogue which brought depth to both the story and the characters.  Eddie Albert, who seemed so feeble just 2 years later on RBT, carries most of the episode.  Whether he is angry, scared, or just curmudgeonly, he nails it throughout.

Other Stuff:

  • Holy crap, Laura was only 61!  That seems pretty young for these shenanigans.

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