Nothing in the Dark
|"Nothing in the Dark"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|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 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.||”|
Wanda Dunn, a frail and elderly woman, huddles in a dark basement apartment in an abandoned tenement. She is awoken by an altercation outside, in which Harold Beldon, a young police officer, is shot and falls just outside her door. He cries out that he is dying and pleads for her help, but she is afraid that he is "Mr. Death" trying to trick her into letting him in. She has no phone to call a doctor, and he continues begging her to help him, so she relents. She is relieved when she touches him and doesn't die, which convinces her that he is not Death after all. She helps him inside and stabilizes his condition. Explaining her reluctance to help him, she describes how she saw Death in the form of a man take an old woman's life just by touching her, and that she has seen him many times since then with different faces.
A man knocks on the door, and Harold persuades Wanda to answer him. The man forces the door open and she collapses from terror. When she regains consciousness, the man apologizes amiably and explains he is a building contractor and is taske to demolish the building in an hour. In an explanation of his role which doubles as an allegory for death as part of the circle of life, 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 firmly 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 turns to Harold for help, but the contractor doesn't see him, and leaves to get the authorities.
It dawns on Wanda that Harold is in fact Death. He explains with a friendly smile 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 Harold walk arm in arm through the doorway, up the stairs, outside into the sunlight.
|“||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