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January 13, 2010

The Twilight Zone: The Invisible Man (1985)


To See The Invisible Man (1985)To See The Invisible Man
(from season one episode 40) was about as close as the 80's series got to the brilliance of Rod Serling or Richard Mathheson in the in the original 60's series.

Mitchell Chaplin (a faceted performance by Cotter Smith) is a man who has been found guilty of the crime of "coldness" - of not being friendly or open enough with those around him. According to the State, his punishment is to be rendered "invisible", a social outcast. For a period of one year, a scarring implant is to be placed on his forehead warns others to ignore him upon penalty of being sentenced to a similar fate.

What seems like a welcome chance to be left alone becomes a lesson in humility, compassion, and empathy, as Chaplin begins to feel the consequences of social isolation. Under the omnipresent eye of floating security drones that monitor all of society, people continually shun him. A blind man he meets, who can't see the mark, is refreshingly cordial, until a passing woman whispers the warning "invisible" to him. The blind man furiously curses Chaplin and turns away.

Misfortune after misfortune befalls Chaplin. His lowest point reached when he's denied medical care after being hit by a car due to his status. On the last day of his sentence, two guards enter his apartment and remove the implant, restoring him back to visible society.

Four months after completing his sentence, Chaplin is confronted in public by a young woman (whom he encountered during his invisibility) who now wears the scar of the implant. Knowing the law, initially he ignores her, but her crying moves him to turn around and hug her. As they are quickly surrounded by drones who announce a new sentence of invisibility for his crime as he declares that he can "see" the woman...

References:
Wikipedia, Twilight Zone: To See The Invisible Man
Postcards From The Zone, 1.40: To See The Invisible Man

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