Follow TV Tropes


Recap / The Twilight Zone S 1 E 28 A Nice Place To Visit

Go To

Rod Serling: "Portrait of a man at work, the only work he's ever done, the only work he knows. His name is Henry Francis Valentine, but he calls himself Rocky because that's the way his life has been: rocky and perilous and uphill at a dead run all the way. He's tired now, tired of running or wanting, of waiting for the breaks that come to others but never to him, never to Rocky Valentine. A scared, angry little man. He thinks it's all over now, but he's wrong. For Rocky Valentine, it's just the beginning."

Air date: April 15, 1960

We open on Rocky Valentine (Larry Blyden) in the middle of his "job," robbing a store. He stops when he hears a police siren and starts to make a break for it. He turns into an alley and opens fire on the "dirty screws" that are in pursuit while trying to climb a fence. He's hit several times in the back and falls to the ground. He comes to, seemingly alive and well, with a fat man in a white suit (Sebastian Cabot) standing over him, calling his name. He wonders how "Fats," who informs Rocky that he can call him Pip, knows his name. Pip simply states that it's his job to know. He also knows several facts about Rocky's life, including his childhood. Pip makes the situation plain: it's his job to see to Rocky's comfort and give him anything he could want. All of this for nothing in return, at all. Rocky is disbelieving but after a demonstration of that his bullets will do "Fats" no harm, he works it all out: he died in that alley and now here he is getting anything he can ask for from a kind old man in a white suit, he must be in Heaven! This realization, combined with "a dame that never quits" and a million bucks in loose change on a whim, he changes his tune.


We cut to Rocky living it up in a casino. He's hot tonight and rolling in the dough, winning round after round. He lives the highlife, with "Fats" giving him anything on demand. It's all wonderful, except for one thing: he can't quite figure out how a crook like him managed to get through the pearly gates. He asks "Fats" if they have a hall of records around this place, which they do. So they go there, "it's always open," and pull up his file. With such wonderful notes as "Age of 6, slaughtered small dog," Rocky wonders if there's been some misunderstanding. Pip assures him, there's been no mistake. He's right where he's supposed to be. And Rocky brushes it off—if it don't bother The Big Man then it don't bother him none.

We cut back to the casino. Rocky is winning again. He always wins. It's the same back at his fancy pad, the dames are getting dull and he wins a game of pool on the first stroke. He summons "Fats" and explains his boredom. "Fats" makes a suggestion—perhaps he would be happier if he went back to his old ways. This gets Rocky excited, finally some action, some risk. But "Fats" would have it "exactly as he requested" and that's no good. There's no point. It's not the same, artificial risk. He'd "know" and it's eating him up. He goes into a frenzy, telling Pip, "I don't belong in Heaven, see? I want to go to the other place." "Fats" then delivers the Wham Line that this episode is famous for: "Heaven? Whatever gave you the idea you were in Heaven, Mr. Valentine? This is the other place!!" As the realization dawns on Rocky's face he frantically tries to open the now locked door while "Fats" laughs at his desperation and the camera pans up.


Rod Serling: "A scared, angry little man who never got a break. Now he has everything he's ever wanted and he's going to have to live with it for eternity, in The Twilight Zone."

A Nice Place to Trope:

  • Beard of Evil: Pip has one.
  • Bloodless Carnage: No squibs or blood appear on Rocky anywhere when he's shot dead — especially since Pip states that Rocky was shot in the head. The censors would never allow it on The '50s television.
  • Brooklyn Rage: Rocky is from Brooklyn and speaks in a very thick accent.
  • Complete-the-Quote Title: "...but I wouldn't want to live there."
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: It may be boring but it does beat a lake of fire.
  • Dead to Begin With: Rocky Valentine dies in the first minutes of the episode.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: When he was six years old, Valentine slaughtered a small dog for biting him.
  • Enfant Terrible: In addition to killing the dog, Rocky stole 14 toys from a store, organized a street gang, and broke into a bike shop all before he turned ten.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Rocky thinks back on his childhood gang fondly, calling them a good group. He also asks Pip about the whereabouts of some fallen friends, wanting to see them again. These are about the only times he's thinking of someone other than himself.
  • Evil Laugh: The episode ends with Mr. Pip doing one after saying the Wham Line.
  • Exact Words:
    • Rocky calls Pip an angel. Pip never describes himself as an angel, merely a guide.
    • Rocky mentions the place must be Heaven. Pip says, "Something like that." Only one major difference.
  • Fatal Flaw: Rocky Valentine's Pride and Greed. He wanted everything in life and did nothing but take, now he is stuck in a paradise where he gets everything he ever wants. He always wins. He has women for miles around. He has money lining his pockets, but he becomes bored. Even when Pip offers to arrange for him to lose and have some hardships, Valentine's pride stands in the way and he still isn't satisfied. Because of Valentine's self-absorbed ambition and greed, he will suffer of boredom in his Ironic Hell for eternity.
  • Fat Bastard: Pip, who Valentine even nicknames "Fats", is actually a demon who is amused by Valentine going mad with boredom.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Pip turns out to be a demon who is only being courteous and obedient to screw with Valentine by making him live with boredom for all eternity. He drops the affable facade at the very end when he breaks out laughing after delivering the Wham Line.
  • Gang of Bullies: When he was eight years old, Valentine started a street gang called the Angels.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Sebastian Cabot and Larry Blyden take turns seeing who can out-ham the other.
  • Hell of a Heaven: Subverted; Rocky thinks this is where he ended up, and that's why he wants to go to the other place. But, of course, this is the other place.
  • Immune to Bullets: Pip to Rocky's absolute bewilderment.
  • Ironic Hell: It's set up like this. Valentine was a thief who always wanted more and more while he lived, and did nothing but take from others. Now, he doesn't have to work for anything—and he's stuck with the boredom forever. However, it is Valentine's own insatiable ambition and greed creating his own hell.
  • It's All About Me: Valentine is clearly very self-absorbed.
  • Karmic Twist Ending: Turns out Valentine was in Hell all along.
  • Kick the Dog: Valentine killed a dog who bit him while he was only six years old.
  • Lonely at the Top: Rocky Valentine is at the top of the world. He is the boss. He gets everything he ever wanted and more, but quickly grows bored, and ultimately miserable.
  • Louis Cypher: Pip is not really Valentine's guardian angel.
  • The Magic Poker Equation: Rocky is playing poker with his women. One of them draws a straight flush only for Rocky to win with the rarest and best hand in poker, a royal flush. Justified in this instance as part of Rocky's Ironic Hell is that he can never, ever lose at games of chance unless he specifically asks to. Which, in of itself, take away from the risk of the situation because the outcome of losing would have been *pre-planned*
  • Ms. Fanservice: Valentine's women, whom he calls "The Dolls."
  • No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction: Valentine's eternal punishment. He grows very frustrated and exasperated that every roulette round is a win, every card hand is a win, even the first shot on a billiards table results in all balls sinking with one strike. Every woman is a hot babe who's perfectly willing to have sex with him. Even when he wants to rob a bank, he knows he will get away and hates the idea Pip has to plan in a chance he would get caught because it will still feel fake to him. Turns out it wasn't the material and money that Rocky was seeking, it was the sheer pleasure and thrill of taking that gave him satisfaction.
  • The Sociopath: In life, Rocky cared for nothing and no one but himself, and was a thrill seeker who enjoyed the pleasure of taking from others, which makes his Ironic Hell so strong. What's the most effective punishment for someone who has done nothing but take? Put him in a paradise that gives him anything and everything he wants.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: When Rocky dials P-I-P, Pip appears without warning over his shoulder.
  • This Isn't Heaven: The famous twist ending provides the page quote for that trope.
  • Thrill Seeker: Rocky. Sadly, his eternity loses its luster very, very quickly...
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Rocky was a thief and gang leader as a child. He even slit a dog's throat when he was six.
  • Victory Is Boring: Why it's an Ironic Hell.
  • Villain Protagonist: Valentine is a self-absorbed, violent, and quick-to-anger thief who shows little remorse for harming other people. He does become slightly nicer after thinking he's in heaven, though.
  • Wham Line: "Whatever gave you the idea you were in Heaven, Mr. Valentine? This is the other place!"


Video Example(s):


This is the other place

Bored with his afterlife, Valentine suggest his guide Pip, or "Fats" to send him to "The other place".

Unfortunately, "Fats" reveals to him that he was in "The other place" since the start of his afterlife.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (19 votes)

Example of:

Main / ThisIsntHeaven

Media sources:

Main / ThisIsntHeaven