The Twilight Zone
CBS All Access
Season 2 Episode 9
A meet cute takes a strange turn when a woman discovers the man she’s met has an interesting secret.
Claudia is on her way to the museum to continue researching masks when she is almost hit by a truck. At the last second, she is saved by Mark who happens to be going to the same museum. The two begin to talk and Claudia is charmed by the young man who seems to know a lot about her and shares in her interests.
As the two continue to talk and tour the museum, Claudia begins to notice that Mark seems to know more thank just things about her. He seems to know when things are going to happen and where people will be. When he reveals that he’s stuck in a time loop and reliving the same day everyday, he can Claudia discuss the implications. When Mark reveals the reason he chose to tell her the truth, things get dark.
On its face, this episode was interesting in both its premise and execution. Topher Grace plays Mark with a sly, self-effacing charm which makes it easy to understand why Claudia might initially like him. What makes the episode work for the Twilight Zone is how it subverts the premise of the meet cute. There is a lot of Groundhog Day elements in this episode from Mark knowing when someone is about to sneeze to when a plane is going to fly overhead and muffle what he’s saying. Those moments are fun and Grace plays them with the disarming charm that keeps Claudia interested.
It’s only when Claudia examines and questions Mark’s motivations for reliving the same day over and over to get her to fall in love with him that the viewer can see how unsettling the premise is and that Mark’s obsession is dangerous and inappropriate. The best episodes of The Twilight Zone seek to subvert expectations and take familiar stories into unknown territory. This episode does that well. If there is one thing that doesn’t work in the story is that there was too much exposition about the ramifications of Mark’s actions. In a visual medium, it would have been more interesting to see those scenarios play out.