On August 6, 1945 - the last day of World War II - a forward platoon acting as artillery spotters get an eager and aggressive Lieutenant Katell. The artillery has been unable to dislodge a Japanese unit from a cave and Katell decides that the unit is going to attack. He suddenly finds himself in 1942 however, leading a Japanese unit that is about to attack Americans who are holed up in a cave. He looks into a mirror of sorts when his Japanese superior orders destroy the American stronghold. When he flashes back to 1945, he has second thoughts about the attack. Written by
'The quality of mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.' Shakespeare, the Merchant of Venice, but applicable to any moment in time, to any group of soldiery, to any nation on the face of the Earth - or, as in this case, to The Twilight Zone.
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The Twilight Zone is all about finding yourself in a situation where you must face something that is totally alien to you. This is no exception. In war, the soldier often sees the enemy as worthless--dehumanized. They forget that they were children, had loving families, and are now thrust into the same conflicts that their adversary on the other side is. This episode was selected for the Twilight Zone movie. It's the one where Vic Morrow was killed. It is much more intense, of course, but the message is the same. Walk in the man's shoes. Understand what terror is like. If we are to fight wars, then don't romanticize them. This is certainly a memorable episode and makes one think.
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