Twilight Zone Marathon: “Person or Persons Unknown”

ImageWelcome back to my Twilight Zone Marathon! Have you ever feared what would happen if people stopped recognizing you? Not just for your skills or achievements, but as a person they’re close to. This episode visits that possibility and how terrifying it could be. This is “Person or Persons Unknown.”

David Gurney is an ordinary man who leads an ordinary life. But one day after a wild party, he wakes up to find that no one, not even his wife, knows him. He’s completely lost his identity. What could be the cause of it, and will David ever be recognized by his peers again?

I wanted to like this episode, and for the majority of it I did. But have you ever seen something where the ending either confuses or annoys you to the point of bringing everything else down? That’s basically how this one felt to me. The ending annoyed me at first due to a cliche, but then it plain confused me in its twist and message. That being said, let’s look at the things I did like, starting with the main character.

David was portrayed really well, going through all the emotions you’d expect someone in his position would have. While he starts off as a bit of a grump, this is mostly because he’s hungover. Throughout the episode, he goes through anger, denial, and a sense of acceptance. Not a single person knows who he is, and just to really drive it home, there are no official records of him, like a driver’s license or phone number. I sympathized with him and enjoyed following his attempts to get his identity back.

The plot was nice and simple that way, which made for a stronger lead character. While it covers common ground by people, including a doctor, thinking David is crazy, it all felt realistic in execution. I found that main part of the episode pretty solid.

Where things fall apart for me is the ending. It starts with a cliche and ends with a confusing twist. Even the closing monologue says that David will never know what’s going on, which made it feel like a cop-out. It left me feeling confused and disappointed at how lackluster it felt. The episode seemed to be building up to an interesting climax and just squanders it for me.

I would still recommend “Person or Persons Unknown” if only for the majority of the episode. It stands out as a good example of a fear you might not consider and how horrible it would be. There is the possibility that others may enjoy the ending, but I was hoping for much more.  Still, give it a watch and judge for yourselves.

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