To See the Invisible Man
|"To See the Invisible Man"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
Scene from "To See the Invisible Man"
|Directed by||Noel Black|
|Written by||Steven Barnes|
|Original air date||January 31, 1986|
Cotter Smith as Mitchell Chaplin
|“||It's a world much like our own, yet much unlike it. A twisted mirror of reality, in which a man can find himself cast out, made invisible by public acclamation, belonging no longer to society, but only to the gray reaches...of the Twilight Zone.||”|
Mitchell Chaplin lives in a world parallel to our and has been found guilty of "coldness"—of not being friendly or open enough with those around him. According to the State, he is to be rendered "invisible" and a social outcast for one year. An implant placed on his forehead warns others to ignore him or be faced with a similar fate. Chaplin laughs at the verdict and his "punishment".
What seems like a welcome chance to be left alone becomes a lesson in humility, compassion, and empathy as Chaplin begins to feel the consequences of social isolation. Under the omnipresent eye of floating security drones that monitor their society, people shun him. A blind man he meets, unable to see his mark is refreshingly cordial until a passing woman whispers the warning to him. The blind man furiously curses Chaplin and turns away.
Misfortune after misfortune befalls Chaplin and his lowest point is reached when he is denied medical care after being hit by a car. Finally, on the last day of his sentence two guards enter his apartment and remove the implant on his head. They address him by name and accept him back into society.
Four months after completing his sentence, Chaplin is accosted in public by a young woman (whom he encountered during his term of invisibility) who wears the scar of an implant. Knowing the law, he initially ignores her but her cries move him hug her. As they are surrounded by drones, he declares that he can see the woman and that he cares about her suffering.
|“||A small footnote found in the court records of some parallel world. The name of Mitchell Chaplin, who served his sentence of invisibility and learned his lesson well. Too well. This time, however, he will wear his invisibility like a shield of glory. A shield forged in the very heart...of the Twilight Zone.||”|
In the original short story, the criminal is never named, and his one-year sentence was noted to begin on May 11, 2104. In addition, the gender of the criminal's friend was changed from a man in the original story to a woman in the televised version.