Jackie Rhoades is a 34 year-old small-time hood who lives in a cheap $4 a night hotel room. He's waiting to hear about his next job but when George shows up telling him that his next job is murder - of a bar owner who doesn't want to pay off his gangster bosses- Jackie begins to have a conversation with his alter ego who appears to him in a mirror. The alter-ego takes him to task for the choices he made in his life - choices that led to crime, prison and broken relationships. He also offers Jacjie an alternative. Written by
Long before Taxi Driver (1976) or even Dirty Harry (1971), the Jackie Rhoades character - as he looks a mirror - is the first to deliver the famous lines "You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me?". See more »
The main character's reflection in a mirror has come to life and much of the episode is a confrontation between the character and his reflection - although they made an effort to reverse the image (the reflection wears his watch on the opposite hand and he bites his fingernails with the opposite hand) they forgot to reverse the buttons on his shirt. See more »
Exit Mr. John Rhoades, formerly a reflection in a mirror, a fragment of someone else's conscience, a wishful thinker made out of glass, but now made out of flesh and on his way to join the company of men. Mr. John Rhoades, with one foot through the door and one foot out - of The Twilight Zone.
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While Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room is not exactly one of the most interesting episodes I've seen of the show, the stifling atmosphere of the tiny room comes across very well. I almost felt claustrophobic at parts of it, not the least reason for which is the heat that accompanies the tight space. Joe Mantell stars as Jackie Rhoades, a small time crook who is hoping for one big score to get him out of his pathetic life, only to discover that the job, the details of which he spends the first half of the episode waiting for, involve committing a payback murder, a huge crime which he doesn't feel prepared to do.
Unfortunately, he is forced to commit the murder under penalty of being killed himself. What follows is a battle of two sides of his mind, talking to each other through a magic mirror of sorts, in which the strong half (in the mirror) berates him about the life he could have had, had he been smarter and been able to stand up for himself. The effect of having a fake mirror is pulled off remarkably well, with the only real IMDb goof being the laughable claim that the buttons on his shirt weren't reversed. Come on people, quit with the ridiculous details.
The performances, all two of them, are great and, while it's not the most deep and meaningful message I've seen in the series, it makes a good point about doing the right thing in the face of difficult circumstances and, maybe most of all, not taking any crap from crappy people. Not bad.
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