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Recap / The Twilight Zone S 3 E 76 Still Valley

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Rod Serling: The time is 1863, the place the state of Virginia. The event is a mass blood-letting known as the Civil War, a tragic moment in time when a nation was split into two fragments, each fragment deeming itself a nation. This is Joseph Paradine, Confederate cavalry, as he heads down toward a small town in the middle of a valley. But very shortly, Joseph Paradine will make contact with the enemy. He will also make contact with an outpost not found on a military map—an outpost called the Twilight Zone.

Air date: November 24, 1961

During The American Civil War in June 1863, a Confederate soldier named Joseph Paradine with a comrade hears the marching of the Union army, but is puzzled when it stops. Curious, he sets out alone to a nearby town to find what's going on. Upon arriving, Paradine sees the frozen forms of the Union soldiers, and sees a strange man named Teague with a book, who happens to be unaffected. Teague reveals that the book he has is magical and he used it to freeze the soldiers in place. Paradine initially doesn't believe him until the same spell that froze the Union soldiers. As Paradine wonders why Teague doesn't use the power of the book to subdue the Union army, the old man reveals that he's dying and gives the book to Paradine, encouraging him to use its powers against the enemy. The Confederate soldier looks upon the book and realizes all that is not what it seems...


Later, as Paradine returns to the camp and informs his superior what he saw. The lieuteunant refuses to believe him, until another soldier confirms Paradine's tale. Realizing the power of the book can help them win the war, Paradine's superior urges him to read from the book. He does... until he realizes that doing so would renounce God and result in eternal damnation. He hurls the book into the flames and says he would rather let the Confederacy die in hallowed ground. The next day, Paradine's troop receives orders to head to Gettysburg.

Rod Serling: On the following morning, Sergeant Paradine and the rest of these men were moved up north to a little town in Pennsylvania, an obscure little place where a battle was brewing, a town called Gettysburg, and this one was fought without the help of the Devil. Small historical note not to be found in any known books, but part of the records in the Twilight Zone.

Still Tropes:

  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: In the short story "The Valley Was Still" by Manly Wade Wellman, Paradine survives the war and repeatedly claims in his old age that the cause of the Confederacy was lost not at Antietam or Gettysburg but at the titular valley hamlet of Channow. The television adaptation ends with Rod Serling noting that Paradine and the other members of his troop were moved to Gettysburg with the implication being that they will be killed in the battle.
  • Affably Evil: Teague borders on this. He may have whole-heartedly embraced Deal with the Devil, but he's surprisingly laid-back and friendly, and is generous enough to bestow his book on Paradine.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Averted. Paradine has the means to help the confederacy win the Civil War, but he doesn't like the greater cost it requires.
  • Chromosome Casting: Given its military theme, this episode has an all-male cast.
  • Black Magic: The book contains magical powers... Which only work if you forsake God and accept the Devil.
  • Deal with the Devil: This is required in order to unlock all the magic book's spells, not just the freezing spell. The Confederates are eager to use the Devil's power to win the Civil War, but Paradine manages to convince them not to do it.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: In the short story "The Valley Was Still", Paradine decapitates Teague with his saber after he suggests using the book of Black Magic to defeat the Union. In the television adaptation, Teague dies off-screen of natural causes.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Essentially the moral of the episode. When Paradine finds out how to fully unlock the magic book's potential, he is horrified and vehemently refuses to rely on its powers. Just because the Confederates were all in for slavery doesn't mean they're that evil.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The closing narration mentions a little town called Gettysburg...
  • Magical Seventh Son: Teague is the seventh son of a seventh son of a seventh son.
  • Nicknaming the Enemy: Commented on; Paradine argues that the Confederates' nickname for the Union, the "damn Yankees", will become their own doom if they do this.
  • Time Stands Still: One of the book's powers. Teague uses it to freeze numerous Union soldiers in time.
  • War Is Hell: Dauger says that he went to war as if he were playing a children's game but the experience of fighting has shown him the realities of war. His only desire is to remain alive and he even suggests surrendering to the Union troops. Paradine slaps him across the face in response.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Out of all the Confederates, Paradine is the only one to realize that it's better to go off to war and lose than win by Black Magic that would tarnish their souls. He believes if is the Confederacy is going to be buried, it should be in hallowed ground.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Teague can sense that he is going to die when The Sun goes down and gives his book of black magic to Paradine to use against the Union.

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