As an adolescent, I was glued to CBS every Friday night for The Twilight Zone. After weaning myself from the addiction to attend college and then live without a television in young adulthood, it’s been possible to catch up with missed episodes whenever the US network SyFy holds a marathon – which the cable channel did during the recent holidays. Although thinking that by now I’ve seen the entire Rod Serling oeuvre, I tuned in and found one of the best stories the show ever produced: “Two,” which first aired in mid-September 1961, addresses the issue of mutually assured destruction. Such topics apparently were popular with the peacenik intellectuals who penned and directed these scripts during a Cold War era marked by nuclear weapons proliferation.
The spare “Two” is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where a man and a woman, quite possibly the last people left on Earth, cross paths in a badly damaged town that’s devoid of all other living things. They’re soldiers from disparate armies, dressed in different military uniforms, not able to understand each other’s language. Hers might be Russian, though it’s difficult to say since she utters only one word throughout the half-hour they’re on screen. Both are searching desperately for food and struggling to survive. They fight. He slugs her. She’s knocked out. A simple desire for companionship then begins to supplant his wariness, and the former enemies edge their way into an uneasy truce that might ensure survival of the human race.
|Bronson and Montgomery in "Two"|