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Recap / The Twilight Zone S 4 E 105 Valley Of The Shadow

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Philip asks for an explanation from Ellen.
Rod Serling: You've seen them. Little towns, tucked away far from the main roads. You've seen them, but have you thought about them? What do the people in these places do? Why do they stay? Philip Redfield never thought about them. If his dog hadn't gone after that cat, he would have driven through Peaceful Valley and put it out of his mind forever. But he can't do that now, because whether he knows it or not his friend's shortcut has led him right into the capital of the Twilight Zone.
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Air date: January 17, 1963

The Intrepid Reporter Philip Redfield finds himself in the small, seemingly town of Peaceful Valley, New Mexico. However, something sinister is around. Gradually, he discovers the truth about the place. He also meets a beautiful hotel porter, Ellen Marshall, who might be more sympathetic to him than other people in town.


Valley of the Tropes

  • All Just a Dream: That's how the power trio makes it to be in the end.
  • Balance, Speed, Strength Trio: Played to some extent during the short fight between Philip and the three town leaders.
    • He knocks to the ground Evans, the leaner and shorter aide of Dorn who approaches him first.
    • He simply pushes away Connolly, a big and burly man, who approaches him second. Connolly makes several steps back and nearly loses his balance.
    • Dorn remains in his armchair all the time. As Philip overpowers both of his aides he simply applies a device and dematerialises him.
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  • Back from the Dead: Rollie is killed when Philip's car impacts against the Invisible Wall surrounding Peaceful Valley. However, he is almost immediately revived and appears none the worse for wear.
  • Blatant Lies: The town citizens use these several times.
    • First, several of them say that Philip needs a doctor and lead him to Dorn, who is not a doctor.
    • Dorn himself says to Philip that his car is being repaired. Later when Philip comes out his car is still in ruins.
    • Ellen is guilty of this as well. She says that the hotel is full when all the keys are hanging on the board.
  • Butt-Monkey: Evans. Not only does he get the worst of it when Philip gets physical, Dorn actually stabs him in the heart at one point to demonstrate how the healing device works. And, no one else in the ruling council ever listens to his suggestions.
  • Character Filibuster: Occurs repeatedly throughout the episode.
    • The characters delve into reasonings about whether the Applied Phlebotinum at the disposal of the citizens of the town will do good or bad if given to the whole world. Philip and Dorn with aides do it during their conversation.
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    • So do Philip and Ellen as they debate whether he should reveal the town's secrets to the outside world.
  • Cutesy Name Town: Peaceful Valley. Generally played straight though not totally so. In the end, the people there are indeed peaceful.
  • False Friend: Ellen for Philip.
  • Generic Guy: Philip lacks any special features. He is also a reporter, which is a very common profession for these types of characters in fiction.
  • Godwin's Law: Philip invokes this when Evans starts talking about the need to make sacrifices for the Greater Good, actually calling him Hitler.
  • Have We Met?: That's how Philip reacts to Ellen in the epilogue when, after he is woken up in his car which has been refueled and as he is ready to leave town for good, she comes out and looks at him.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Peaceful Valley is a small isolated town where people live quiet lives with advanced technology and care not a whit about the outside world.
  • Hypocrite: Philip, who claims that the townspeople are selfish for keeping their technology to themselves and claiming they're worse than Adolf Hitler while he has resorted to violence and tried to steal technology that could cause just as many problems as it could solve.
    • The townsfolk likewise qualify, as they chastise Philip for resorting to violence when they had only just earlier murdered one of their own, then revived him just to demonstrate their power. In their case, at least, they seem somewhat aware of the hypocrisy.
  • Instant Death Bullet: After Philip creates a .38 Special revolver, he shoots Dorn and his two aides with one bullet each, instantly killing them. They did not appear to be shot in an area which would kill them that quickly (head or heart) and there was no blood.
  • Intrepid Reporter: A reporter named Philip Redfield is forced to stop in a quiet town when he gets lost and runs out of gas. He notices odd events and realizes that there's something unusual going on, leading him to investigate. Once he discovers the truth he is determined to reveal it to the world, even risking death to do so.
  • Invisible Wall: Philip cannot go through the invisible wall. That's how he is confined in the town.
  • It Meant Something to Me: Invoked by Ellen after she turns against Philip during their attempted flight and he is detained and asks her, Was It All a Lie?.
  • Kick the Dog: Subverted for the citizens of the town. They detain Philip by the invisible wall, his car is severely damaged and his dog Rollie is killed. They use their technology to revive his dog and, at the end of the episode, fully restore his car.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: See Take a Third Option.
  • Matter Replicator: The citizens of Peaceful Valley can replicate any object provided that they have its atomic structure on file. Dorn demonstrates this to Philip by replicating a ham sandwich on white bread with mustard. Philip later uses it to create a .38 special.
  • Mood Whiplash: The scene where Philip ostensibly kills three men, Dorn and his assistants Connolly and Evans. This violence was never properly set up even though he previously fought with Dorn's two aides. Somewhat downplayed, as the men fall but no wounds are seen and in general this carnage looks artificial. Later they are revived.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Philip Redfield is a journalist but he also is an aspiring writer. The trope "every journalist dreams of writing a novel" (which is not present on this wiki) is mentioned in this episode too.
  • Nothing Personal: Connolly says it to Philip:
    We have nothing against you.
  • Not So Different: Invoked by Philip when the trio of leaders suppose that they should execute him to keep the secret of their town from the whole world. He says that they are as bad as the humans outside their town whose deeds they abhor ("worse than Hitler"). Immediately subverted as it turns out that he has a choice, either to be eliminated or to remain in the town and live a comfortable life. It is again subverted when it turns out to have been a test of character, which Philip had failed by resorting to violence. Finally, the leaders are able to find an alternative, see Take a Third Option below. This is, in fact, the primary theme of the episode, as the townsfolks realize, to their shame, that they're really no more qualified to wield the power they do than Phillip, or anyone else in the world. Their panic and isolationism drags an innocent into a no-win situation, which in turn forces him to take more and more drastic action to try and escape. In the end, no one is really ready for the power, which they choose to keep hiding.
  • Power Trio: Played straight, as there are three rulers who always meet with Philip. In fact it is nearly always the main one named Dorn who speaks.
  • Secret Test: A newspaper reporter learns too much and is taken prisoner by the inhabitants of the title valley. An attractive woman sets him free and he takes advantage of this to steal their secrets, killing several of them in the process. After he escapes with the girl, she turns on him, revealing that the whole set-up was a test of his worthiness to know the information. He failed.
  • Small, Secluded World: The town named Peaceful Valley.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Played nearly straight. Philip (and the viewer) see only two women in the town. One of them is a little girl named Cissie Johnson who sets the plot in motion. The other is Ellen, who becomes Philip's Love Interest.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Played very straight with Philip and Ellen. She is ready to walk away but he grabs her exactly by that area and she stops.
  • Take a Third Option: Eventually, after studying the law, Dorn figures out an alternative to either keeping Philip imprisoned or executing him. Instead, he has Philip's memory of the events that took place wiped, making it seem like it was All Just a Dream. This satisfies their law while at the same time spares him.
  • Teleportation: The citizens of Peaceful Valley have the ability to teleport anything using a device called a desimulator. Philip first realizes that there is something unusual about the town when a young girl named Cissie Johnson uses her desimulator to make his dog Rollie disappear when he chases her cat. Dorn later prevents Philip from leaving in the same way.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Not that dark, as the people here do not resort to violence as they have their phlebotinum. The secret is rather esoteric.
  • Traitor Shot: Played straight in the beginning when several discreet shots of the facial expressions of the town denizens reveal that they hide something from Philip.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: It is invoked between Philip and Ellen very soon after they meet. Later they form a couple.
  • Was It All a Lie?: That's what Philip asks Ellen when she turns against him after they flee Peaceful Valley as he is captured. She reveals that it wasn't.
  • The World Is Not Ready: The residents of Peaceful Valley were instructed not to share their technology with the outside world until mankind learns the ways of peace. Notable in that the residents imply that they themselves aren't exactly ready either.

Rod Serling: You've seen them. Little towns, tucked away far from the main roads. You've seen them, but have you thought about them? Have you wondered what the people do in such places, why they stay? Philip Redfield thinks about them now and he wonders, but only very late at night, when he's between wakefulness and sleep in the Twilight Zone.
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