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These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Complete Monster: While most of The Twilight Zone lacked anything resembling pure evil, Gunther Lutze from season 3's "Deaths-Head Revisited" was the exception. A former Nazi concentration camp captain at Dachau, the opening narration describes Lutze as existing only to give pain; an animal strutting in a black uniform, walking the earth without a heart. Lutze revisits Germany, and plays a game where he mentally torments a woman at a hotel who recognizes him and is utterly terrified. After this, Lutze visits Dachau, reminiscing about his atrocities and flashing back to the times when he had innocent victims hanged, shot or experimented on as if those were the best years of his life, until he is confronted by Dachau's "caretaker," a former inmate named Becker. Lutze had murdered so many he can't even initially remember he actually killed Becker years ago before he is confronted by the ghosts of his victims. While The Twilight Zone often had Smug Snake villains to receive a comeuppance, Lutze was the most singularly vile. As the ending narration by Rod Serling states, he is representative of a time when a group of men tried to turn earth into a graveyard, and into it they threw away their compassion and humanity.
Downer Ending: "Mute" depending on how you look at it, where a gifted telepathic girl is put in a normal school and encouraged to give up her powers, becoming a Muggle by the end.
Fair for Its Day: While most episodes are timeless in their Aesops, a few that deal with bad marriages have become less-resonant with modern values, now that divorce has lost so much of its stigma. While "The Bewitchin' Pool"'s message that children should be cherished is still potent, its implication that a divorce will drive children away from their parents forever definitely comes across as short-sighted today.
Actually, it came across more about not taking the children's needs into consideration. The parents were already neglectful before they decided to divorce, and then forced to kids to decide who would be going to live with which parent. The mother than had the gall to chastise the kids for making it more difficult for herself and their dad, as if just choosing if you're going to live with your mother and father and being separated from your sibling for who knows how long was a trivial decision.
First Installment Wins: There have been a few revivals and spin-offs of the series, but the original show is easily the one that most people remember.
Dead? Not really. As long as people talk about you, you're not really dead. As long as they speak your name, you continue. A legend doesn't die just because the man does.
Hilarious in Hindsight: Set during World War II, "A Quality of Mercy" sees a lieutenant in the American forces sent back in a time by a few years and into the body of a lieutenant on the Japanese side. This main character here was played by Dean Stockwell, who would be on another show with a similar time travel concept about thirty years later.
The identity of the monsters in "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street": humanity itself, with all its paranoia and prejudice.
The real meaning of the title "To Serve Man": it's a cookbook, with man the main dish.
"Nightmare at 20,000 Feet". William Shatner is carried off by the doctors, and we pan to the plane's wing... and see evidence that there really was a gremlin destroying the wing.
The true nature of the condemned man's escape in "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge": it was merely a hallucination in the last seconds before he died.
The twist at the end of "Eye of the Beholder", when we see just what sort of appearance the patient was trying to change: to the audience, she looks perfectly normal, but in the bizarre world she inhabits, she is the only one who does.
"Time Enough At Last". Everyone knows what happens to Burgess Meredith. "No! There was time now! It's not fair!"
Jerkass Woobie: Erich Streator in "Living Doll". Even the writer of that episode stated that he's not a good guy and yet you can't help but feel for him in this situation. He wants to improve himself, but the evil talking doll keeps screwing up his chances.
Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Perhaps the Ur Example. Every single episode has had its plot reused or redone by some sci-fi/horror show, movie, or book. Most modern viewers rewatching the series will often find themselves scratching their heads and asking, "How did people think this was scary? The story's been done to death." It's been done to death because Twilight Zone did it first. It really can't be overstated how explosively original (and at the time, controversial) a lot of the plots were, and the fact that they've since been repeated ad nauseum is a testament to The Twilight Zone's success as a show.
"The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street". And then the same anvil had to be dropped again in the 2000's remake. Prejudice, paranoia, and hysteria can do your enemy's job a lot better than the enemy can.
The episode "He's Alive!", featuring the ghost of Adolf Hitler as the mysterious advisor to a Neo-Nazi organization, may not seem to fit in this category today. Although, given that some four thousand people wrote in complaining about the portrayal of Hitler as a villain (more hate mail than any other episode triggered), it certainly fit into the category back then. What definitely falls in this category is the closing narration, where Serling explains that as long as hate and bigotry, regardless of its recipient, exist, "he is alive".
"I Am The Night-Color Me Black" is about the wrongful execution of a black man for a killing of a bigot in self-defense. The episode is clearly based on lynchings (and partially inspired by Emmett Till's death), features black men speaking from the voice of moral authority over white people, and heavily implies that many in the town don't care whether the man's guilty so long as they get to kill him. This episode aired in the final season in 1964, after the show's cancellation, and bare months before the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Rod Serling: There is an answer to the doctor's question. All the Dachaus must remain standing. The Dachaus, the Belsens, the Buchenwalds, the Auschwitzes - all of them. They must remain standing because they are a monument to a moment in time when some men decided to turn the Earth into a graveyard. Into it, they shoveled all of their reason, their logic, their knowledge, but worse of all, their conscience. And the moment we forget this, the moment we cease to be haunted by its remembrance, then we become the gravediggers. Something to dwell on and to remember, not only in The Twilight Zone, but wherever men walk God's Earth.
Values Resonance: "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" supplies the page quote.