CBS’s The Twilight Zone
2×03: “The Who of You”
Directed by Peter Atencio
Written by Win Rosenfeld
* For a recap & review of 2×02, “Downtime” – click here
* For a recap & review of 2×04, “Ovation” – click here
Meet Harry Pine (Ethan Embry). He’s an actor. Currently he’s reading for a new part, and it’s not exactly going well. Later, he goes home and sulks. It doesn’t help that his partner, Morena Brue (Carmel Amit), is an up-and-comer in the same industry. He’s pretty passive-aggressive with her, too. That doesn’t help any, either. While they argue about career-related issues the power goes out, and Harry confesses he hasn’t paid the power bill. There appears to be a bit of a fundamental difference between the two— as the minutes go by we get the idea that Harry’s not a super responsible adult, and he’s kinda lazy about life in general. Morena won’t take any of his “antiquated gaslighting” when he turns things into a bit of man v. woman issue rather than, y’know, taking responsibility. And things look like they’re falling apart faster than they had been already.
What do you think Harry decides to do?
He figures he’ll use his upper class Juilliard training to become a bank robber. He covers his face, pulls out his gun, and starts holding up a bank teller named Jill (Veena Sood). She hits a silent alarm without him noticing. A security guard starts asking questions, too. Things are becoming a hell of a lot more tense. When the teller hands over the bag of money Harry stops dead in his tracks. The teller takes the bag back, and Harry drops the gun, claiming: “That’s me.” Somehow, some way, Harry and the teller have switched places. So, the teller, now Harry, sneaks off with the money bag. The Narrator fills us in some, talking about Harry’s self-centred, narcissistic worldview that’s about to be shattered by current events. Will a trip to the Twilight Zone provide “self–discovery“? Or just ruin?
Cops are on the scene at the bank. Jill’s busy trying to make it out of there with the stolen money as a co-worker accuses her of stealing. An officer (Mel Rodriguez) walks into the middle of it and the conversation gets more heated. When the officer takes the money Jill grabs him, and Harry’s acting spirit gets transferred to the cop, leaving the teller a confused mess. This gives Harry another existential chance to run with the cash, sneaking out the bank’s backdoor. That also leaves the officer trapped in Harry’s body. What a mess!
Harry as the cop calls Morena, who won’t believe it’s him because it’s very clearly another voice. Makes things slightly more complicated. He tries calling back but she won’t even pick up. Meanwhile, the cop, in Harry’s body, is in an interrogation room being vetted by a detective, Pete Reese (Daniel Sunjata). So much existential confusion. The body-switching starts bringing up thematic questions about whether you can really ever know somebody at all. It’s further bringing out an identity crisis in Harry as he gets a kind of crash course in literal method acting. The cop, inside Harry, is trying to get through to his pal on the force, Pete, and he claims to know something Mr. Pine wouldn’t: “I know your secret.”
In a coffee shop, Harry switches bodies again to evade the police by switching into the body of a barista, Blair. This sends Blair off running when a few more cops show up. Harry looks for the perfect person to switch with, laying hands on a runner and switching right before the cop tackles Blair. So, Harry gets away once again. At the bank, Jill’s being questioned by Dt. Reese and she has no clue what the hell’s going on, either. She suggests it’s “criminal hypnosis.” Harry’s body continues to be confused, as well. The guy inside him now— John the runner— is freaking out, trying to explain his situation to the police. Pete goes at it logically, asking where the man was before he woke up in that room as Harry. If only logic could help.
“Is anybody really anywhere?”
Inside John, Harry walks into a Tarot shop where a psychic, Keith (Billy Porter), can already see through the thin veil of his identity. Harry hands over some stolen money to get a reading and some “psychic–client confidentiality.” He’s very forthcoming about the bank robbery. They talk frankly about his reasons for doing it. Harry gets into talking about his life problems, from his potentially cheating partner to their money troubles and everything else. The psychic tells him to be “generous with your empathy,” that his issues aren’t actually with money at all. Keith wants to test out Harry’s supposed powers.
Out of nowhere, Keith’s inside Harry and playing games with Dt. Reese. After a bit, John’s back in Harry’s body. But they have an idea where Harry is now. As does Harry, in John, know where his body is at the cop shop. The psychic gives Harry a hard lesson in humility then tosses him out. Harry’s always treated people like “a husk” rather than actual human beings, and it’s only exemplified by this body-switching fiasco. One problem? Harry left the bag of money in Keith’s shop, now he’s kicked out and the place is locked up. So, Harry, in John, calls the cops, which doesn’t help his cause. He pulls a couple fast switcheroos from one body to the next, eventually getting into someone with keys to the same building in which Keith has his shop. Inside, he does another switch into the body of a child, Miles— a kid who lives in the apartment next to Keith’s shop. The poor little kid’s now in Harry’s body in the car with Dt. Reese.
Miles is in bed and his mom reads him a bedtime story. He rushes her off so he can sleep. When he’s really just looking to get himself inside the shop. Miles gets in and runs into the body in Harry’s body and Dt. Reese. The cop urges Harry to switch back to himself so they can settle all this for good. Reese pleads with him to “do the right thing.” Harry decides to switch bodies once more, putting the detective in his body and turning the tables. The detective, inside Harry, grabs the gun, and it backfires once more cops turn up, gunning down who they think is the bank robber.
This leaves Harry inside Dt. Reese, who goes back home to his apartment with Morena. The existential despair sets in when Harry realises Dt. Reese is the man with whom Morena was having an affair. Oh, goddamn! Harry’s inadvertently locks himself into the betrayal perpetrated against him. I guess, in the end, it serves him right. At least now Harry can use some of his newfound method acting for good. Except he suddenly gets all the roles he couldn’t get before because he’s a “leading man” now.
A stunning episode with a powerhouse performance from Embry! Great, unnerving stuff.