CBS’s The Twilight Zone
2×10: “You Might Also Like”
Directed & Written
by Osgood Perkins
* For a recap & review of the penultimate episode, “Try, Try” – click here
* Will there be a 3rd trip back to The Twilight Zone?
The future is on its way! All sorts of new devices and services are making their way into peoples futuristic lives. Like iWide Shut, the Intimacy Goggles— with its password, Fidelio, all a reference to Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut— which helps husbands deal with fragile male ego after their wife has pushed a child out of her. More importantly, the Egg could avoid all that sexual, bodily nonsense.
We Meet Mrs. Warren (Gretchen Mol), who wakes up in bed like she doesn’t know where she is, staring at the portraits of her and her husband (Gil Bellows) on either side of their marital bed. She does know where is, she’s just a little bored with things in this existence as a housewife. Even in the family photo over the mantle she looks totally uninterested in her normal life.
Mrs. Warren and her friend Mrs. Jones (Greta Lee) talk a little about it. Is her friend’s reference to “browning out” a subtle reference to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, or just a coincidence? Anyway, Mrs. Jones is more concerned with the look of the kitchen and how it compares to her own, or what time she has an appointment at their local “fulfilment centre.” She’s getting an Egg. So is Mrs. Warren, but she really wants help figuring out what’s being happening lately, considering she’s “losing time.” The Narrator notes the material existence of Mrs. Warren, that this is a mere appearance, that having “every thing” does not equate to having everything, and this housewife’s going to learn it by travelling deep into the Twilight Zone.
“We might have a lot of the same things
but we don’t have the same problems”
Mrs. Warren, with a twig now in her hair, and Mrs. Jones have both lost time and woken up in the former’s bed. Mrs. Warren says she saw the Egg, like a commercial in her head. She knows she’s seen it, even if she can’t prove it. She says it’s “ugly.” Her friend’s reluctant to believe the Egg’s perfect dream. She can’t accept that the “centrepiece for every American home” would be something ugly. Mrs. Warren knows there’s something strange about this latest consumerist tool. But Mrs. Jones is quite happy being oblivious. They don’t even seem to have first names!
Later, Mrs. Warren gets talking to her husband’s secretary on the phone, a young woman named Meghan (Charlotte Kavanagh). She asks why Megan wants an Egg, seeing as how she doesn’t have a family. Megan says she wants everything to be “okay again” for everybody, for the collective, the whole— that’s to say, the Egg is a consumerist miracle that unites everybody, and through possession of this material object society, together as one, can return things to being great again. Somehow buying material things will heal the world. The great capitalist lie.
Question: is the muzak on the line while Mrs. Warren’s waiting to talk to somebody a version of “Dirty Work” by Steely Dan?
When Mrs. Warren gets through to an actual human on the fulfilment centre’s phone line she’s questioned about exactly why she doesn’t want an Egg anymore. The Egg’s being cancelled, supposedly. Yet there’s a sinister air at the end of the call, and Mrs. Warren can feel it. She can’t stop her curiosity about the twig, either. She carries it around looking at it. Upstairs, she notices dirt on the windowsill and some on one of her otherwise pristine running shoes.
Where does she go when she loses time?
Mrs. Warren takes out a baby monitor, in a room made up for an infant, suggesting they may have lost a child at some point(?) and that could be what they believe the Egg will replace for their family— the monitor with its glaring red eye is another Kubrick homage, to HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. All of a sudden, Mrs. Warren is in a commercial while she cries in the kitchen, becoming an advertisement for paper towels. Then she wakes up in bed again. She immediately goes to the window, looking for clues, and after that she checks the baby monitor’s camera. She sees herself being pulled along lifelessly towards the window, like something’s dragging her.
Part Three of the episode, “The Madwoman in the Oxygen Tower,” is a wonderful post-modern revision of the Madwoman in the Attic trope from 19th-century literature, in which women’s tragedies were depicted through their insanity, or as was the popular term then, hysteria. Fits perfectly here with Mrs. Warren, the post-modern housewife, as she so clearly is experiencing something real while those around her treat the poor woman like she’s mad. Mrs. Warren calls up Chantal (Colleen Camp), a shamaness. She thinks she’s been “abducted.” She asks a bit of mystical advice. Chantal gladly offers: “Resist gravity and fly away.”
So, Mrs. Warren rigs up a system to keep herself tethered to the bed. That night, the force pulls her towards the window. She flies out but the piece of furniture holding on prevents her from going any further than the tree outside. A HUGE Twilight Zone throwback shows several Kanamits outside trying to determine what to do now— one of the Kanamits is voiced by none other than George Takei, the other is director-writer of the episode, Oz Perkins, and the third is prolific voice actor Kirk Thornton. Mrs. Warren soon comes to and notices the aliens, scolding them for pulling people out of their lives. The Kanamits down there don’t quite know what they’re doing anyway, they answer orders from the top like any corporate structure. Mrs. Warren reverse the Take Me to Your Leader trope, going full Karen with “Take me to your supervisor.”
We discover Mrs. Warren’s first name is Janet. We see a video of her playing in front of a group of the Kanamits. She talks about delivering a stillborn daughter. She talks about the new house they remodelled, she talks about hating all the material things in her life. She wishes her life was different. The Kanamit Queen (Sheyi Ryane) is interviewing Janet, talking about the “shared mind” of the Kanamits versus the individualised minds of human beings on Earth. Janet notes one mind isn’t quite “democratic,” but the Queen rightfully points out that democracy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, really.
The Kanamits have been studying human beings, seeking out any semblance of a unified mind. The only thing they could discover was the consumerist urge of a global population. Janet thinks humans have evolved, when it’s just that all that consumerism and capitalist brainwashing has seeped into our very being, it doesn’t matter if we skip past the ads— the ads and consumerism/materialism are built into the shows themselves. Janet’s told that the Queen laid the Egg(s). And the Egg is a way to… start over, or “eradicate the human race.” Death by way of consumerist desire.
Now Janet wants to go back to the world she knew. All this is too real.
Back home, she hears the screams, the explosions, helicopters everywhere, gunshots. She happily goes to her dead child’s room, wishing it was her baby girl coming home today rather than an Egg. She takes a drive over to the fulfilment centre, driving past all the carnage going on across the city, walking up to the building as other happy people run out with their Eggs. And Janet, knowing full well what the Egg is, rushes to her eradication, so long as it’s in the right colour and it matches the drapes.
“I just want to hold it for a little while.
Because it’s mine.”
This was a KILLER episode! I’m a Marxist and I love when genre fiction digs into issues surrounding consumerism/capitalism(etc). Oz Perkins is a huge talent so it was a thrill to watch his brand of terror, here with the sci-fi rather than his usual horror, unfold in Jordan Peele’s Twilight Zone. Another of my series-favourite episodes. Really hoping there’ll be at least one more season.