The Twilight Zone
CBS All Access
Season 2 Episode 7
A Human Face
A grieving couple finds themselves at odds when a strange creature invades their home with a familiar face.
Robert and Barbara are holed up in their home separately grieving the recent loss of their daughter Maggie. When there is a crash in their basement, the couple investigates only to discover a strange, blob like creature gnawing on an old table. When it’s confronted, it flashes the face of the couple’s dead daughter before they run away and lock themselves in the bathroom.
When the creature fully takes shape, it mimics their daughter physically and re-opens wounds between the estranged couple when it not only mimics her personality, but also her memories.
There was so much potential to be had in this episode, but it was hampered by two big things; Barbara and Robert are too unlikable to care what happens to them and the creature mimicking Maggie doesn’t have a compelling purpose. Christopher Meloni is fine as Robert. He is a man dealing with grief in the only way he knows how, denial and anger. He’s not a sympathetic character by any means, but his suspicion of the creature pretending to be his daughter is the only thing that makes sense in this episode. He was consistent for most of it which is what makes his turn in the end more unbelievable.
Jenna Elfman’s Barbara is the worst character in the episode. You know she is grieving, but her grief just comes off as vapid and annoying. Her choices are infuriating and her lack of self-awareness or emotional depth makes every decision she makes hard to understand and even harder to care about.
Both performances are flawed, especially when the actors are together. You never get the sense these character like each other, let alone were married to each other. Had the tone been altered to make the episode more comedic, one could argue that the performance choices were warranted, but this episode is trying to deal with issues of grief and family and fails at every step.