Reviews & Ratings for
"The Twilight Zone" One Night at Mercy (2002)

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A good message…for the right audience

9/10
Author: brainybrailler from United States
28 March 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was intrigued by the concept of Death saying he hated his job enough to drop it. Though I dislike the show, this is one of the better episodes. Still, I found a few things strange. Jason Alexander uses good sarcasm/boredom for Death, but I keep thinking he didn't look the part. I expected Death either to look very old or young, and he's neither. But I can't think of a better actor - he nailed the job of a patient who has to explain himself to new physician Jay Ferguson, played just as well by Tyler Christopher, who just rescued a man. Alexander is an attempted suicidal who was apparently barely rescued, but claims he was hanging for just under a day and realized "they" (powers) weren't going to let him die since they don't want him quitting. He says he's been considering quitting since the Dark Ages, but Jay believes he's mad. Sure, he knows the name of the hospital's first casualty, but anyone can find that out, and that name could've just been written down with others that "show up" in the formerly-empty log he carries....Then he displays a paper: there's a notice reading "No obituaries today due to no deaths to report." Jay phones friends in other cities, though learns theirs read the same. But though he believes nobody is dying (today), he still can't reconcile it with the man...then instead of Death behind him, a woman calls him by a nickname. Jay swings around to see his mother, quoting her last prayer. When he looks away, Death is suddenly back, remarking on how her death inspired Jay's becoming a physician. Jay then believes who he's dealing with, and encourages Death not to give in to "them". since he sees no deaths a miracle with only bearable disadvantage (overpopulation)....Until he's called to work on several burn victims, and is convinced when they tell him the monitors give no vitals that it's a malfunction…then glimpses the monitors himself, and a nurse admits the patients are writhing and screaming, yet their skin is blackened as though dead...Jay is forced to tell Death he has to get back on the job, but who else in Jay's life will die? This was a great story, and the message it gives is great and thought-provocative – life isn't life without death. The only thing is, sadly, I already knew what no death would mean to those in pain: before I saw the show, I'd witnessed two people's deaths that were depressing but really a blessing to them, since the alternative would've been for them to linger on sick for good. I guess the reason I didn't think of that right away was, my concept of immortality usually goes to people never dying of aging, not to those whose injury or disease should have taken them but didn't. The writers were clever to make that one startle me, showing it from the viewpoint of a doctor of two days! I guess my one complaint about that is, the patients' not breathing when they acted alive seemed like a weak way to show they shouldn't have been thus. I'm surprised they didn't just show their heartbeats/breaths being so slow it seemed as though they should die soon, and the remark that they shouldn't live. SPOILERS FOLLOW: I thought the ending came as a great surprise – they didn't overdo the "headache" since it was mentioned once and one time where he might've suffered it was when he's shocked seeing a dead relative. My only thought was poor Jay'd be one of those who'd live with only an occasional headache instead of dying so young. The other message shown, to not only make your life worthwhile but also to live, is beautiful. It's not every day that Death holds off your time for a full day but gives you one last chance to smell the flowers, as you haven't had time for in your busy life, first. It's really ironic, since he worked so hard to get into a job where he could save lives, based on loss, and barely got work in before he died himself. Still, I'm probably the only one who thinks it was ironic that during his extra day he was trying to figure out who Death "really" was and then ended up trying a job he couldn't solve. I think there were mentions of other easier cases he treated, but it's still really strange. The only thing wrong with the ending isn't really the ending, but the narration - Whitaker's a great narrator but his writers were remarkably weak, saying Jay now lived in "The Twilight Zone", making it synonymous with death (not for the last time) instead of somehow remarking that Jay learned about life and death's coexistence from a place in between, called the Twilight Zone...or something like that. SPOILERS END. I guess the only weird thing I noticed was why Death quit when he did - he hung on through the Black Death, the World Wars, the September 11th attacks...but he chose to quit in Anytime, 2002, without mass casualties to drive him to it. Still, I love this. I recommend this to anybody...who doesn't already know first-hand about the good side of Death in their lives.

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This isn't a joke! Am I laughing?

6/10
Author: kapelusznik18 from United States
25 January 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

***SPOILERS*** Somewhat of a remake of a 1962 "Twilight Zone" episode called "Nothing in the Dark" with a 25 year old Robert Redford as Mr. Death in here we have Jason Alexander in the same role as the "Grim Reaper". Mr Death after some four billion years of ending the lives of people as well as all living creatures on earth tried to call it quits by him putting an end to it all by hanging himself.

At the hospital emergency ward the doctor in charge Dr. Jay Ferguson, Tyler Christopher, is shocked to see that his patient, Mr. Death, miraculously survived being hung for 22 straight hours! It takes a while for Dr. Furguson to absorb what Mr. Death tells him about him being reasonable for all the deaths on earth since, because of the "Bing Bang", it came into existence 4.5 billion years ago. Thinking that the guy is off his rocker Dr. Fersuson suggests he get psychotic help until he checks the morning papers, at Mr. Death's urging, and sees in the obituary column that no one died over the last 24 hours while Mr. Death was incapacitated! Even worse at the hospital emergency ward all the people who are supposed to be dead, from natural causes as well as accidents or being murdered, are not only alive but in excoriating pain.

****SPOILERS**** What really gets to the now very puzzled Dr. Ferguson is that his long dead mother, Joyce Krenz, has suddenly come back to life in the hospice ward begging her son to have he put back to sleep, or death, so she won't have to suffer anymore and forever rest in peace! Despite wanting to quit his job as Mr. Death he realizes the fact that without death there's no life and the life that's left is to be in an eternal state of suffering and decides to get back to work. And the the first thing on his agenda is to give Dr. Ferguson who's been working around the clock for the last three days without sleep, and popping pills to stay awake, the eternal rest that he so rightfully and unselfishly earned for himself!

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3 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Insipid, unoriginal in this genre

5/10
Author: jakethedog85 from United States
21 December 2006

Unfortunately much pressure is exerted when you carry a name with a lot of clout behind it (ask Sean Lennon), I have tried to silence this in myself, but certainly it appears on a subconscious level, but I am disappointed with this series as a whole. In this particular episode, I feel it could have had more bite if it was shorter, and the script needed some action sequences, I was bored at the hospital. You are much better off with the original Twilight Zone (obviously), Tales From the Crypt, or The Outer Limits (either the old one or the new). Jason Alexander gives a perfunctory but competent performance as death, but fails to shock or surprise us with anything. I think we are generally too jaded when it comes to entertainment, but for the record, I don't think anyone in 1959 would have found this groundbreaking either.

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