Shadow Play (The Twilight Zone, 1985)
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Directed by||Paul Lynch|
|Written by||James Crocker and Charles Beaumont|
|Original air date||April 4, 1986|
"Shadow Play" is the first segment of the twenty-third episode of the first season (1985–86) of the American television series The Twilight Zone, and is a remake of the original series episode of the same name. The episode first aired on April 4, 1986.
|“||Adam Grant, a nondescript man found guilty of murder and sentenced to be hanged by the neck until dead. Like most other criminals caught in the wheels of justice, he's scared, right down to the marrow of his bones. But it isn't prison that scares him, the long, silent nights of waiting, the slow walk to the hanging room, or even death itself. It's something else that holds Adam Grant in the hot, sweaty grip of fear, something worse than any punishment this world has to offer, something found only in the Twilight Zone.||”|
Adam Grant (Peter Coyote) is being judged for murder in the first degree and is found guilty. After being told that he will be executed, he laughs in disbelief. He tells the judge that his execution won't matter because he is only dreaming. After returning to his cell, Grant continues talking about his dream. Of course, his fellow inmates don't believe what he's saying, even after Grant is able to provide detailed accounts of what it feels like to be executed each night.
While Grant is in his cell, his prosecutor Mark Ritchie (Guy Boyd) ponders his case. His wife Carol Ritchie (Deborah May) attempts to distract him but then Grant's attorney Erin Jacobs (Janet Eilber) shows up and tries to explain that Grant may be telling the truth despite the overwhelming evidence against him. For evidence, Jacobs asks why there was no press in or around the courtroom despite this being a murder trial. Ritchie is puzzled by this notion.
Ritchie visits Grant and claims that he is using a crazy dream theory to try to fool everyone, even though Grant can lip-sync everything Ritchie says to him. Grant asks Ritchie if he is to be executed today, which is the right day for executions (Mondays at 12:01 am), then how is it that he was sentenced on a Sunday, as courts do not operate on Sundays. Grant then mentions Carol who is the only person who never changes in the dream because she is in fact Grant's sister in reality. Grant even knows what Carol told Ritchie earlier that evening which makes Ritchie panic and leave.
The execution proceedings begin and a priest visits Grant in his cell. Grant claims that the priest is actually his own father who died years ago. Meanwhile, Ritchie frantically tries to get a stay of execution, and just as the governor calls the execution chamber - the switch is thrown. Grant lurches forward in the chair.
Suddenly, a courtroom scene appears and Grant is being sentenced for murder in the first degree, only the characters in the courtroom are different now—Jacobs is now the judge, Grant's father is the jury foreman, inmate Flash is now the prosecutor, and Jimmy (another inmate) is the defense attorney. It's implied that Grant is doomed to repeat the same nightmare forever with the same people always changing parts.
|“||We know that a dream can be real, but what if reality is only a dream? We exist, of course, but how? In what way? As we believe, as flesh and blood human beings, or are we simply playing parts in someone else's feverish, complicated nightmare? Think about it and then ask yourself, "Do you live here in this country? In this world? Or do you live instead...in the Twilight Zone?"||”|