Phil Redfield and his dog Rollie are lost on a backroads short cut. He is relieved to see a sign for Peaceful Valley, Population 981. Running low on gas, he stops for a Phil-up. Giggity.
While paying the gas station attendant — this really is The Twilight Zone — his dog Rollie runs off after a little girl’s cat. As Phil approaches the girl, she whips out a device and makes Rollie vanish. The girl runs inside her house. Phil bangs on the door until her father comes out. Further contributing to the twilighty zonish nature of the episode, it is Scotty from Star Trek and he has no accent!
Scotty promises to help Phil look for his dog. When he is out of sight, around the corner, he pulls out the Popeil Pocket Transporter and causes Rollie to reappear. Phil gets back in his car and goes on his way. He passes the closed Restaurant and goes into the local hotel which claims to have no vacancies. When he leaves town, his car crashes into an invisible barrier.
A few local yahoos just happen to be nearby and take him to the doctor. They actually take him to see the head yahoos in charge. When he roughs them up, one of them uses another device on him. He disappears form the doorway and reappears sitting down in a chair.
Head yahoo Dorn tells Redfield that he can never leave. 100 years ago a visitor came to their town bearing science hundreds of years ahead of his time. They take him to the basement and show him a “disumlator” which is able to makes items vanish and return; but wait — that’s not all! Dorn stabs one of the other men with a letter opener, then uses the disimulator to not only heal him, but remove the blood stain from his shirt! Now how much would you pay?
Kudos to the other man, also. He knew he was going to be stabbed and allowed it just to show Redfield they weren’t kidding around. OK, he knew he would be healed, but surely that would have stung a little.
Having already seen the transporter, shields, and healing gizmo, they then show Redfield a food replicator. Finishing the tour, Dorn shows him a book which contains all the secrets of the amazing things he has seen. Surprisingly, it is not called Chicago Mobs of the Twenties.
The strange visitor must have been an alien because we get the same condescension seen in thousands of Star Trek episodes. A few men were given this gift of knowledge, but warned not to to share it with others because humans were not ready. Dorn illustrates this by stating how we misused the power of E=MC2. We then get the old horseshit about how many thousands of lives were lost rather than how many thousands of lives were saved. Dorn laments that it wasn’t used to bring water to the deserts and to feed the hungry. Well, tell that to the people who stopped the building of nuclear power plants in this country.
Redfield pretends to accept Dorn’s offer to stay in Peaceful Valley forever. He finds that another invisible shield has been erected around his house. The next day a local girl agrees to flee town with him. He first snatches the book and shoots the town leaders. Strangely enough, the murders and some backstabbing result in a mostly happy ending for everyone.
Unlike the last episode, this one zipped by with no obvious padding. Thus far, the 4th season’s poor reputation is not deserved. This episode might have been better at 30 minutes, but it was pretty good at 60.
- Natalie Trundy was in every Planet of the Apes movie except the one written by Rod Serling.