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Recap / The Twilight Zone S 5 E 134 You Drive

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Oliver's car makes its displeasure clear.

Rod Serling: Portrait of a nervous man: Oliver Pope by name, office manager by profession. A man beset by life's problems: his job, his salary, the competition to get ahead. Obviously, Mr. Pope's mind is not on his driving... Oliver Pope, businessman-turned killer, on a rain-soaked street in the early evening of just another day during just another drive home from the office. The victim, a kid on a bicycle, lying injured, near death. But Mr. Pope hasn't time for the victim, his only concern is for himself. Oliver Pope, hit-and-run driver, just arrived at a crossroad in his life and he's chosen the wrong turn. The hit occurred in the world he knows, but the run will lead him straight into the Twilight Zone.
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Oliver ("Ollie") Pope is in a hurry. The nervous and distracted man's mind is not on his driving and, as a result, he slams his 1956 Ford Fairlane into Timmy Danbers, a young boy delivering newspapers on a bicycle, injuring him seriously enough that the boy eventually dies of his injuries. Pope doesn't stop to offer aid, but instead hurries off, trying to conceal his part in the accident. His wife, Lilian, and his co-workers notice that he is increasingly irritable. A co-worker, Pete Radcliff, is inaccurately identified by a witness and Pope does everything to foment that erroneous suspicion.

Before long, the vehicle seems to take on a mind of its own. The vehicle itself rebels against its owner: at first, when Ollie is near the car, it honks its horn, flashes its lights, attempts to start on its own, drops its bumper, tries to close its hood on him and repeats the radio newsflash of Timmy's death in an attempt to get Ollie's attention. Then, while his wife is driving the car, it drives to the scene of the accident and stalls out, seemingly determined to get Pope to admit his guilt. Eventually, as Pope starts walking to work so the car isn't seen by police, the car leaves Pope's garage on its own, chases him down the street in a rain storm and seems to be about to run him down. It stops just before doing this and the passenger door opens; Pope gets in and the car then drives him to the police station, where he walks in to confess.

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Rod Serling: All persons attempting to conceal criminal acts involving their cars are hereby warned: check first to see that underneath that chrome there does not lie a conscience, especially if you're driving along a rain-soaked highway in the Twilight Zone.

Tropes:

  • Death of a Child: Oliver's young victim does not survive.
  • Dramatic Irony: Mrs. Pope can't believe Pete committed the hit-and-run and says, "You can tell if a man would do a thing like that." She never once suspects her husband, the guy who actually did do it.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Oliver takes the day off to recover from his experience. Pete does some of his work for him as a good-natured favor, but Oliver accuses him of plotting to steal his job out from under him.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Oliver Pope.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: Pete is wrongfully identified as the hit-and-run driver. He is arrested, despite having a wife and kids that can account for his whereabouts at the time of the accident. Luckily, though we don't see it for ourselves, Oliver confessing in the end would get Pete off the hook.
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  • My Car Hates Me: Oliver is distracted while driving and kills a young neighborhood boy named Timmy Danbers in a hit-and-run accident. His car soon begins to behave strangely, honking its horn and turning on its lights by itself. When Oliver's wife Lilian later attempts to drive it, the car drives itself to the scene of the accident. The car eventually tries to run Oliver down but stops at the last moment. It then opens its passenger door, instructing Oliver to get in, and drives him to the police station so that he can confess.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging:
    • Mrs. Pope talks about how awful the hit-and-run was and how she hopes the man at fault is caught in front of her husband, who, unbeknowst to her, is the hit-and-run driver. Later, she says that nobody's safe with a lunatic like that around.
    • Pete Radcliff, his coworker, says while visiting that the dead boy Timmy used to play with his children and was a very decent, ambitious kid, also in front of Pope.
  • Police are Useless: Zig zagged. The police take the hit-and-run very seriously, keeping watch at the corner in case the driver comes back and checking out leads. On the other hand, they arrest Pete who is not only innocent, but actually has a pretty good alibi.
  • Sentient Vehicle: After Pope kills a boy in a hit and run accident, his car develops a mind of its own and forces him to confess to the crime.
  • Terrible Ticking: The car does everything it can to guilt Oliver into confessing: turning on the headlights, honking the horn, stalling at the scene of the accident, playing the radio. Oliver's persistent refusal and attempts to avoid driving force the car to take more direct action.
  • Villain Protagonist: Oliver Pope.
  • Wham Line: The news of the young victim's death becomes this to both Oliver and the audience.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When Oliver expresses delight at hearing Pete was (wrongfully) arrested for the hit-and-run, Mrs. Pope expresses disgust that her husband would take pleasure from Pete's misfortune.

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