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Recap / The Twilight Zone S 5 E 122 Steel

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"Steel" Kelly and Mr. Pole, his mechanic, arrive in town with an outdated boxing robot, Battling Maxo, for a heavyweight bout. Mr. Pole has doubts about the wisdom of this, which only seem to be confirmed when Maxo suffers a breakdown during last-minute preparations for the match. However, "Steel" has never given up on giving Maxo his comeback, and he doesn't intend to start now — even if he must pit "Steel" against steel to do it.

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This episode contains examples of the following tropes:

  • The Boxing Episode: The episode has a boxing team arrive in town for a heavyweight bout, with the twist that human boxing has been outlawed and the boxer is a robot. It winds up being a man-versus-machine bout when the robot breaks down before the fight and its owner "Steel" goes into the ring in its place.
  • Cynic–Idealist Duo: Mr. Pole, the mechanic, has a very clear view of how broken-down Maxo is and complains about him or suggests that they try something else (like getting a newer model) throughout the episode. "Steel" never stops believing that Maxo has more years ahead of him, as soon as he gets some work done.
  • Determinator: "Steel" Kelly never concedes that his robot should be retired, despite Maxo's condition having remained at the breaking point for three years and robotics having continued to advance in that time. When Maxo breaks down, he goes into the ring himself and gets beaten practically to a pulp trying to earn repair money.
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  • I'll Kill You!: When Mr. Pole grumbles that he should have told someone Kelly was "Maxo", Kelly says that he would have killed him if he'd let the cat out of the bag.
  • Masquerading As the Unseen: When Maxo breaks down, "Steel" muses that only the manager and his assistant have actually seen himself and Mr. Pole and that the audience hasn't seen a B2 boxing robot in years — meaning they might not know the difference if he disguises himself as Maxo and goes through with the bout.
  • Reality Ensues: Regardless of what tends to prove true about underdogs, it's impossible for a human to outpunch a robot designed for boxing or even to last very long in the ring.
  • Zeerust: The episode, in which human fighters have been replaced by boxing robots, takes place in the far off year of 1974, with human boxing having been outlawed in 1968.
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