The subtle trick Showtime's "Penny Dreadful is that it is far less about the blood, gore and the specter of gruesome death than the sharp pain and exhilarating pleasure of living, and the terror of feeling alone even in close company. Read our review in the May Picks section.
Immediately after their wedding, Virginia and Alex Walker return to his mother's house to make arrangements for it to be sold. Virginia has waited a long time to marry Alex as his domineering mother Henrietta doted - and smothered - him. Going back home has a strange effect on him as he reconnects with his his environment such as his room and his toys. He slowly begins to change and Virginia realizes that her mother-in-law's influence hasn't subsided. Written by
Although Rod Serling's opening narration describes the character Alex Walker as 34 years old, he looks much older, and in fact, the actor, Alex Nicol was 46 years old, at the time. See more »
The sound from the phonograph in Alex's old bedroom is for the song "Lady In Red". However, a closeup shot of the spinning turntable reveals the label of the record, which reads "Lady Be Good" performed by Buddy Crawford, which is a different song. See more »
Exit Miss Virginia Lane, formerly and most briefly Mrs. Alex Walker. She has just given up a battle and in a strange way retreated, but this has been a retreat back to reality. Her opponent, Alex Walker, will now and forever hold a line that exists in the past. He has put a claim on a moment in time and is not about to relinquish it. Such things do happen - in the Twilight Zone.
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Two good points of interest here in what otherwise is a TZ to forget.
One is that Richard Matheson has put a darker spin on a theme that Rod Serling used several times. The wish to return to childhood happens in 'Walking Distance', 'Kick The Can', 'Horace Ford', with variations of this theme elsewhere in the Zone. This time is different because we see this story through the wife who becomes fearful of her husband slipping away.
The second point of interest is Phyllis Thaxter in the role of the anguished Virginia trying to finally claim her husband as her own. The thinner plots in TZ were often held together by the lead actress. This minor star (to be found in a few Alfred Hitchcock Presents) provides a very sympathetic character and was always so expressive and watchable. The mother-in-law was clearly no monster, but for the sake of sanity we side with poor patient Virginia. Husband Alex (Alex Nicol) starts to act weak in a real creepy manner. Come on Virginia ! - but what's the girl to do?
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