To See the Invisible Man
|"To See the Invisible Man"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
Scene from "To See the Invisible Man"
|Episode no.||Season 1
|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, a man living in a world parallel to ours, has been found guilty of the crime of "coldness"—of not being friendly or open enough with those around him. According to the State, his punishment is to be rendered "invisible", a social outcast, for one year. A scarring implant placed on his forehead warns others to ignore him on penalty of being sentenced to a similar fate. Chaplin laughs at the verdict and its so-called "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 continually shun him. A blind man he meets, unable to see his mark, is refreshingly cordial, until a passing woman whispers the warning "invisible" to him. The blind man furiously curses Chaplin and turns away.
Misfortune after misfortune befalls Chaplin, with his lowest point reached when he is denied medical care after being hit by a car driven by bullies who pick on invisible people. Finally, on the last day of his sentence, two guards wordlessly enter his apartment, remove the implant...and address him by name, signifying his acceptance 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, initially he ignores her, but her crying moves him to turn around and hug her. As they are surrounded by drones warning him of a new sentence of invisibility for his crime, he declares that he can see the woman, and that he cares.
|“||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.