The Mirror (The Twilight Zone)
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||Don Medford|
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Original air date||October 20, 1961|
|List of Twilight Zone episodes|
In a Central American dictatorship, Ramos Clemente, and his four lifelong confidants, D'Alessandro, Garcia, Tabal, and Cristo, stage a successful revolution against the regime of General De Cruz. Clemente faces down De Cruz and revels in his victory, but the deposed general says that Clemente will soon learn the consequences of ruling by force. De Cruz also tells Clemente that his ornate mirror has the ability to reveal enemies in its reflection. Clemente initially dismisses De Cruz.
When Clemente begins using the same repressive tactics used by De Cruz, a rift develops between him and his four friends, now the heads of government. A particular point of contention is Clemente's order for mass executions of prisoners he has declared to be enemies of the state. When Clemente looks into the mirror, he sees visions implying that all four of his confidantes are plotting to assassinate him—D'Alessandro with the rifle, Garcia and Tabal with knives, and Cristo with a poisoned glass of wine. Clemente believes that the mirror reflects their true thoughts, and accuses them of their supposed future crimes. In spite of their denials, he takes steps to eliminate them; he kills two himself, and orders the other two killed by his men.
Finally, Clemente is approached by a priest who asks him to end the executions, which have been going on for a week. Clemente refuses, saying that as long as he has enemies the executions will continue. Eventually Clemente seeks counsel from the priest, but finds no comfort in the priest's response that all tyrants have but one real enemy, whom they never recognize until it is too late. Clemente takes one last, long look in the mirror ... and sees only himself. He picks up his pistol and throws it at the mirror, smashing the glass. The priest, who is standing just outside the office, hears the glass break. As he listens at the door he hears a gunshot. He rushes into Clemente's office and find Clemente's lifeless body sprawled on the floor, a gun in his hand. "The last assassin," he says, "and they never learn ... they never seem to learn."
- Peter Falk as Ramos Clemente
- Will Kuluva as De Cruz
- Richard Karlan as D'Alessandro
- Vladimir Sokoloff as the Priest
- Antony Carbone as Cristo
- Rodolfo Hoyos, Jr. as Garcia
- Arthur Batanides as Tabal
"This is the face of Ramos Clemente, a year ago a beardless, nameless worker of the dirt who plodded behind a mule, furrowing someone else's land. And he looked up at a hot Central American sun and he pledged the impossible. He made a vow that he would lead an avenging army against the tyranny that put the ache in his back and the anguish in his eyes, and now one year later the dream of the impossible has become a fact. In just a moment we will look deep into this mirror and see the aftermath of a rebellion in the Twilight Zone."
"Ramos Clemente, a would-be god in dungarees, strangled by an illusion, that will-o'-the-wisp mirage that dangles from the sky in front of the eyes of all ambitious men, all tyrants – and any resemblance to tyrants living or dead is hardly coincidental, whether it be here or in the Twilight Zone."
The closing titles screen is of the mirror, shattered by Clemente's gun. This episode's main character is based on the real life of Fidel Castro. Castro executed "Batistianos" on live television shortly after he acquired power in Cuba about a year before this episode originally aired.
- DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
- Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0