Twilight Zone Marathon: “The Purple Testament”

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Welcome back to my Twilight Zone Marathon! Stories of psychics and premonitions are nothing new, but I’ve had a big interest in them. So when I heard the synopsis for today’s episode, I just had to check it out. The episode in question is “The Purple Testament.”

Fitz, an army lieutenant, leads a platoon of men who have hunkered down in the Philippines during the end of World War II. Tormented by the deaths of four men, he admits to the captain that he could feel it was their last day just by looking at them. Soon Fitz starts to see the same with other men in his platoon who also end up dead. Is it all just coincidence, or is Fitz really predicting their deaths?

This episode wasn’t overly spectacular, but much like with “A Game of Pool,” I was surprised how invested I was with it (though not as much as the aforementioned episode). I’m not a fan of movies or shows set in war, but this was the perfect setting for a story about premonitions involving death. There was a weight to it in that regard as no one knew if they’d survive to the next day back then. The episode is simple enough – following the platoon through a few days of fighting and resting at camp.

There are really only two characters to speak of, Fitz and the captain. First off, both were very well-acted. The captain, while not the main character, has a beefy role and shows concern over Fitz’s state of mind. I won’t say how he turns out by the end, but he carried a lot of gravitas in the role.

Fitz was a great character and the actor was awesome, showing emotions ranging from fear to frustration to sadness and pulling off a great performance overall. Even with evidence showing his point of view of the men he can “see” die, there’s still wonder if he’s just really traumatized. All of the performances in this episode were believable, but Fitz felt extra complex given his situation and role in the platoon on top of his premonitions.

This all comes to a head in the twist ending, if you wanna call it that. Considering the somber mood throughout the episode, it was an effectively executed ending. I went into this episode solely knowing the basic premise, so I felt it flowed with the rest of the episode. Not once did I feel the pacing was slow or the tone was messed with.

“The Purple Testament” is an episode I’m positive war buffs will really enjoy. I would easily recommend it to anyone, though, as the use of premonitions and death is pulled off well. I’m not sure if I’d consider this one a favorite, but it’s one of the better uses of the war I’ve seen.

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