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Tear Jerker / The Twilight Zone (2002)

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  • "Night Route" had a young woman named Melinda Croner who was a respected college professor and bride-to-be almost struck by a car. Throughout the episode, she receives unexplained injuries and sees various parts of her life, from her job to her apartment, gradually disappear, to her confusion and eventual intense fear. Most horrifyingly, a mysterious bus keeps following her and she keeps avoiding it, explaining that she was happy with her life and didn't want to give it up. As the bus leaves (after her little dog hops on himself), it reveals the truth of what really happened the night of the near-miss; she really was struck by the car and as emergency personnel try desperately to save her life, a crowd of onlookers have gathered around, some crying and one woman explaining that although they were neighbors, she never spoke to anyone else in her building and that all she did was go to work—in the coffee shop that she had appeared at earlier in the episode and was adamant about not working at—and walk the dog who did survive the accident due to getting on the bus. As she then succumbs to her injuries, she lastly sees her fiance walking through her spirit as he consoles and leads his fiancee away from the scene. Then a booming voice explains to her that the bus wasn't going to take her to the afterlife, but was going to save her and allow her to live the better life she could have had. She now realizes the regret she made of her decision and her soul departs to Heaven.
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  • "Last Lap" features a terminally ill man named Andy going out racing with his best friend Marco in their racer when they get into a crash and the best friend is killed. As everyone else in their lives go about it and are either angered or non-chalant about his death, he is both upset and confused with everyone's reactions and that he's the only person who is actually grieving his death, even at Marco's funeral. He then wakes up in his coffin to tell him that everything is okay and that he and everyone else will be fine and that it's just a part of life. The ending reveals that it was Andy who was mortally wounded in the crash and the last shot is of Marco pulling his body from the flaming wreckage as he begs him not to leave him. He then tells Marco that he's Not Afraid to Die and passes away. Forest Whitaker then steps back into the frame to commend him for accepting his fate and even breaks the fourth wall to say, "Rest in peace, man."
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  • "The Collection" features Miranda Evans, a kindhearted young woman studying child psychology, who works as a babysitter thanks to her natural gift with kids. She's tasked with caring for Danielle Randall, a shy but friendly girl with a Control Freak mother (the first thing she does upon meeting Miranda is hand her a binder that lists everything from foods Danielle can eat to "approved television programs") and a distant father. Miranda bonds with Danielle over her many toys, but especially the titular collection—a group of extremely lifelike dolls kept under lock and key in the child's bedroom, all of which have their own names and, to Danielle, personalities. A clearly lonely Danielle happily declares Miranda her "new best friend," chatting about her previous sitters and how she's better than all of them. All seems well—but then Danielle starts claiming that the dolls are hurting and chasing her, and occasionally violently lashes out at Miranda, suggesting that she's emotionally disturbed. The babysitter does her best to protect the girl, and soon realizes that the dolls are very much alive when they all begin moving through the house and trying to hurt her. At one point, the toys separate Miranda from Danielle and even try dragging her away. Miranda rushes to save the girl, finds her in her bedroom closet...along with driver's licenses that correspond with the names of the dolls, along with matching pictures. Miranda realizes that Danielle somehow transformed all of her previous babysitters into toys, and that the dolls weren't trying to hurt the girl—they were trying to get Miranda away from her. But in a Downer Ending, it's too late—a hysterical Danielle changes Miranda as well. As Danielle's oblivious father scolds the babysitting agency, her mother calls her a "wild thing" and grounds her for being bad. Once she's alone, Danielle mimics her mother's words, declaring to the dolls that she's grounding them and will never again let them out. She then tells the dolls that they have a new friend, and places Miranda, now still fully sentient but trapped in a plastic body forever, into the collection. What makes it worse is that you can tell Danielle isn't evil by any stretch of the imagination, just desperately lonely for companionship and miserable with her parents, but too afraid to say anything. At one point, she even explains that she keeps the dolls locked up because she loves them and wants to keep them safe, which is probably the justification her mother uses for being so controlling and cold. So she's a little girl with Reality Warper powers that only work under duress, no idea how to use them, and the vague notion that what she's doing is wrong—but it's the closest thing she'll ever have to real friends, and so she can't stop herself. Of course, the thirteen or so permanently transformed young women are in a horrible state as well. Really, the only "villains" in this episode are the horrible parents.
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