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Recap / The Twilight Zone 1985 S 1 E 3 Healer Childrens Zoo Kentucky Rye

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A burgler (Eric Bogosian) uses a stolen Native American talisman to heal others.

Children's Zoo

A little girl brings her constantly bickering parents to a special zoo.

Kentucky Rye

After crashing his car while driving drunk, an alcoholic (Jeffrey DeMunn) comes across a bar called Kentucky Rye.

This episode contains the following tropes:

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  • Adaptational Backstory Change: Harry Faulk is Jackie Thompson's neighbor and they seemingly did not have much of a relationship until they began using the healing stone to make money. In the short story adaptation by Alan Brennert, Harry is the closest thing that Jackie has to a father. They met when they were both serving sentences in Vacaville Prison ten years earlier. Since their release, they had worked together on numerous scams and swindles and the occasional burglary but only made enough money to pay their bills until Jackie stole the stone.
  • Adaptation Expansion: This episode tells the story of Jackie Thompson's discovery and use of the healing stone to set himself up as a Fake Faith Healer. Alan Brennert's short story adaptation of this episode features the alternating narrative of Ta'li'n, one of the priest-rulers of the City later known as Teotihuacan, who is haunted by premonitions of the City's destruction. He also receives a vision of Jackie using the stone in what is to him the distant future. Ta'li'n belongs to the ancient and never conclusively identified civilization that built Teotihuacan, which the Aztecs settled centuries later. One of Ta'li'n's contemporaries, Ch'at'l, is an elderly healer who has been entrusted with the stone for sixty years. Furthermore, the present day sections of the short story go into further detail about the stone's limitations. For instance, it cannot cure cancer permanently but it can cause it to go into remission and it is unable to heal diseases such as multiple sclerosis and AIDS.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Harry Faulk is almost as mercenary when it comes to money in the short story adaptation of this episode as he is here but he still has a conscience. In this episode, Harry refuses to use the stone to heal Jackie Thompson's gunshot wound since he wants all of the money that they have made for himself. In the short story, Harry makes a genuine effort to heal Jackie but he becomes scared and runs away, promising to call an ambulance as he does so.
  • Adapted Out: Alan Brennert's short story adaptation of this episode omits Duende, the Mexican man who warns Jackie Thompson that he is misusing the healing stone.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Jackie's partner has gotten away with stealing the money they were going to split and leaving Jackie for dead. But not only has Jackie used the stone one more time to heal a boy's deafness, the boy used the stone to heal Jackie's bullet wound, and the stone has been returned to its rightful owner. Best of all, Jackie has changed for the better.
  • Death by Adaptation: The mob boss Joseph Rubello has a bad heart which Jackie Thompson is unable to heal as he has begun using the healing stone for selfish purposes. In spite of this, Rubello is still alive when he is last seen. In the short story adaptation by Alan Brennert, Jackie is able to heal Rubello in the short term but his heart problems return and he dies two weeks later.
  • Healing Hands: This trope overlaps with Healing Factor. A small-time crook named Jackie Thompson steals a rare stone from a museum and is shot in the process. He soon discovers that it can heal any injury when his wound disappears. The next day, his neighbor Harry Faulk has a heart attack and dies but Jackie manages to heal him using the stone. Realizing that they can make a great deal of money, Jackie (calling himself "Brother John") becomes a Fake Faith Healer and televangelist with Harry as his manager. Jackie enjoys the experience of healing people, including a wheelchair bound girl named Amanda, but Harry is simply in it for the money. A Mexican man named Duende visits after a taping and warns Jackie that the stone, which his people loaned to the museum, is in the wrong hands. When a mob boss named Joseph Rubello for whom Jackie used to work asks Jackie to heal his rapidly spreading lung cancer, Jackie charges him $2 million. Rubello agrees but the stone fails to heal him. Jackie's attempt to heal a deaf boy is similarly unsuccessful. Duende then reveals that the stone only works when it is used selflessly. Immediately afterwards, Jackie's gunshot wound reappears. Harry refuses to use the stone to heal him as he wants all of the money for himself. The deaf boy finds Jackie dying in the alley and heals him. Having learned his lesson, Jackie returns the favor and heals the boy.
  • The Mafia: Jackie Thompson worked for a mob boss named Joseph Rubello in the 1970s. After he botched a delivery, two of Rubello's thugs beat Jackie so severely that he ended up in hospital.
  • Meaningful Rename: The small-time crook Jackie Thompson begins calling himself "Brother John" after setting himself up as a Fake Faith Healer using the healing stone that he stole from a museum. After he realizes that it is wrong to use the stone for a selfish purpose, he begins calling himself simply John.
  • Out-of-Body Experience: After being brought back to life by Jackie Thompson, Harry Faulk describes moving outside of his body and being able to see all of his neighbors gathered around him when he was temporarily dead.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Jackie Thompson revives Harry Faulk using the healing stone after he has a heart attack. However, Harry refuses to heal him after his gunshot wound reappears as he doesn't want the share that the money that they made from their TV ministry.

    Children's Zoo 
  • Abusive Parents: The four-year-old Debbie Cunningham's parents Sheila and Martin are frequently verbally and emotionally abusive towards her. Her mother yells at her without the slightest provocation, her father ignores her and the two of them spend most of their time arguing with each other with no regard for the effect that it is having on Debbie. This leads Debbie to trade her parents in for a new pair at the Children's Zoo.
  • Five Stages of Grief: When Debbie abandons her neglectful parents in the zoo, they have trouble realizing this (denial). The little girl then sees a desperate couple who beg for her to choose them (bargaining), a couple who angrily order her to let them out (anger), a sleeping couple (depression), and two people who tries to buy her decision by promising to spoil her (also bargaining). The kid then stops in front of a last couple. They humbly admit that their son was right when he abandoned them there. But they learned from their mistakes and know that now, they can be good parents (acceptance). Debbie is convinced by said couple, who apparently became wiser after they went by the five stages. She let them out and chooses them as her new parents.
  • People Zoo: Debbie Cunningham, whose parents Sheila and Martin are constantly fighting and are often emotionally and verbally abusive towards her, receives an invitation to the Children's Zoo. Her parents take her to the zoo, very reluctantly, only to discover that it is a zoo where bad parents are imprisoned after being brought there by their children. Debbie inspects five pairs of parents in locked rooms before deciding on the two that she wants to become her new parents.
  • The Voiceless: Debbie Cunningham never speaks but all indications are that she can.

    Kentucky Rye 
  • Dead All Along: In an extremely disturbing way, this episode ends on this note. After managing to walk away from a car crash, Bob Spindler (drunk at the time) wanders into a bar and, after befriending the patrons and the owner, winds up buying it (after getting a little help from a somber looking man). The next morning, Bob wakes up in the bar... which is dusty and abandoned. The somber man is with him. And as they look outside, they see police and ambulance workers clean up a car crash outside the "Kentucky Rye". The victims? The somber man... and Bob (who hit him, then crashed).
  • Drunk Driver: An alcoholic named Bob Spindler and his co-workers celebrate closing a big deal. As ever, Bob has too much to drink and becomes angry when several of his co-workers suggest driving him home or calling him a cab. Instead, he drives drunk, seemingly not for the first time, and runs another car off the road. Bob is injured in the process and seeks refuge in a tavern called the Kentucky Rye. The owner sells him the tavern for $1,600, the last $100 of which is contributed by a strange man. The next morning, Bob wakes up to find the tavern covered in cobwebs and dust. There is no one there except for the strange man. It turns out that the man is the driver of the other car, who was killed when Bob ran him off the road. Bob himself was killed in the accident and is trapped in the Ironic Hell of a deserted bar for all eternity.
  • Ironic Hell: A Drunk Driver named Bob Spindler, who was killed in an accident that he caused, is doomed to spend all eternity in the titular deserted bar as punishment for having killed another driver.

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