Nothing in the Dark
|"Nothing in the Dark"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||Lamont Johnson|
|Written by||George Clayton Johnson|
|Original air date||January 5, 1962|
"Nothing in the Dark" is episode 81 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone, originally airing on January 5, 1962. This is one of two episodes that were filmed during season two but held over for broadcast until season three, the other being "The Grave".
An old woman, Wanda Dunn, has not left her dark basement apartment in years because she's afraid "Mr. Death" is waiting for her outside. There is an altercation outside. A young man, police officer Harold Beldon, is at the door and lying on the ground, having been shot. He pleads for her help. Wanda has no phone to call for medical assistance and is convinced that Harold is Mr. Death trying to trick her into letting him in. However, Wanda's compassion overrides her fear, and she helps him inside. Having touched Harold and survived, she is convinced that he is not Death after all. He talks to her about her fear, and she tells him she has seen Death before in the form of a man, and witnessed him taking away the life of a woman on a bus just by touching her. Wanda has been afraid of death ever since.
With Harold still in the room, there is a knock at the door, which Wanda refuses to answer. A man forces the door open and she collapses from terror. When she regains consciousness, the man apologizes and explains he is a building contractor and is to demolish the building within one hour. In an argument which unintentionally doubles as an allegorical defense for death, he tries to persuade her that his work is both necessary and good, since the building is no longer fit for habitation and demolishing it clears the way for new buildings. He indicates that she has been given due notice, and if she will not leave he will call the police to force her from the premises. She asks Harold for help, but the contractor can't see him and asks who she is talking to.
After the contractor leaves, Wanda realizes that Harold is in fact Death. Death explains that he set up the ruse to get her to see that he means her no harm. Wanda continues her protests that she doesn't want to die. But he gently coaxes her, assuring her she has nothing to fear, and finally persuades her to give him her hand. Before she even realizes anything has changed, she finds herself standing beside her own dead body. Wanda and Death walk arm in arm through the doorway, up the stairs, outside into the sunlight.
|“||An old woman living in a nightmare, an old woman who has fought a thousand battles with death and always won. Now she's faced with a grim decision—whether or not to open a door. And in some strange and frightening way she knows that this seemingly ordinary door leads to the Twilight Zone.||”|
|“||There was an old woman who lived in a room. And, like all of us, was frightened of the dark. But who discovered in a minute last fragment of her life that there was nothing in the dark that wasn't there when the lights were on. Object lesson for the more frightened amongst us, in or out, of the Twilight Zone.||”|
- 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