Helen Foley is a school teacher who when arriving home one day meets a little girl, Markie, sitting on the steps just outside her apartment door. Helen invites her in and gives her a cup of hot cocoa. Strangely however, Markie seems to know a great deal about her - that she doesn't like marshmallows in her cocoa or that she has a scar on her elbow. She also knows what Helen did earlier that day including seeing a somewhat familiar man, Peter Selden, behind the wheel of a car. When Selden arrives at her apartment a few moments later he says he worked for her mother but Helen has no memory of what happened to her mother all those years ago. As her memories return however, she finds herself in grave danger. Written by
Month of November, hot chocolate, and a small cameo of a child's face, imperfect only in its solemnity. And these are the improbable ingredients to a human emotion, an emotion, say, like - fear. But in a moment this woman, Helen Foley, will realize fear. She will understand what are the properties of terror. A little girl will lead her by the hand and walk with her into a nightmare.
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Were I giving out TZ Oscars, I'd give one to Janice Rule for her compelling turn as the troubled Helen Foley. And while I'm at it, I'd give a junior-sized one to little Terry Burnham as the sinister 10-year old girl, Markie. Between them, they really grab viewers though nothing much happens except the subtle dialog. Just who is this kid, and how is it she knows so much about the adult Helen and her mother's mysterious death. Overall, it's psychological drama at TZ's most insidious, and more dependent on good acting than most.
I really like that initial staging where little Markie sits on the stairs as if she's just stepped down from above, like from Helen's brain or maybe the Twilight Zone itself. Plus, she's so angelic looking. Could she be Serling's version of the Bad Seed (1956) despite her innocent looks. All in all, it's another first-rate installment from the series's magical first year.
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