The Eye of the Beholder- Season 2 Episode 6
Starring: Donna Douglas, William D. Gordon, Jennifer Howard, Edson Stroll
Written by: Rod Serling
In my opinion, this is the greatest Twilight Zone episode. I first saw this episode of a few years back on a Syfy re-run day (the best days of the year…) on Fourth of July I believe and I was incredibly shaken and touched by the message of this. The story follows Janet Tyler who undergoes surgery for the 11th time for facial reconstruction, though you don’t see her at first. Later, it is revealed that she lives in a dystopian future where everyone’s faces are deformed like their dictators, and Janet’s is one of the few “ugly” faces left (she appears normal to us).
The narration Rod gives at the end of the episode has stayed with me for the rest of my life. To me, I obviously don’t know for sure, this was an extremely personal episode for him because I know of his political activism especially when it came to totalitarian regimes. Rod, a Jewish man, fought in WWII and many of the themes throughout the show express his feelings towards the cruelty and prejudice that feeds and erupts from them. To me, the social conformation that happens as well as the outcasts represent Rod’s feelings for WWII and his message really struck me. I wish I could know for sure what he believed about this episode, but I guess I will never know. Regardless, this is my favorite episode.
“Now many questions come to mind, where is this place and when is it? What kind of place is this that ugliness is the norm and beauty the deviation from that norm? The answer is it doesn’t make any difference, because the old saying happens to be true: beauty is in the eye of the beholder…”