Marsha White is looking for a gold thimble as a gift for her mother. She can't find it anywhere in the store and an elevator operator suggests she try the 9th floor. She arrives there to find it abandoned but a sales clerk suddenly appears and has just what she is looking for. On the way back down to the main floor, she realizes the thimble she bought is scratched and goes to the complaints department where she is told there is no 9th floor in the building. She is shocked however to see a mannequin that looks just like the woman who served her. A return to the absent floor reveals the explanation to her dilemma. Written by
Most TZ episodes are worth watching two or three times, but I'm not ashamed to admit that I've watched this episode countless times and the emotional effect is undiminished every time. This episode is about being a misfit in a world that demands and rewards outward conformity. It is about forgetting your true self to the point of self-parody. It is about the terror and trauma of being suddenly confronted with the self you betrayed for the sake of receiving love and acceptance from a world that refuses to recognize the real you. Lastly, it is about the rapture that comes from rediscovering one's self, often with the help of sympathetic friends -misfits themselves.
Most TZ episodes fall into one of 4 categories of realization: homespun warmth & nostalgia, scientific paradox & warning, social criticism -usually in an historical context, and psychological disorientation & epiphany. Of this last category, I consider After Hours to be the best by far.
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