Welcome back to my Twilight Zone Marathon! As adults, have you ever thought about what you would say or do if you could meet your younger self? Would you bask in innocent times or see if you could right some wrongs? This episode explores catching up with the past. This is “Walking Distance.”
Martin Sloane is out for a Sunday drive when he has to stop at a gas station. While there, he discovers his hometown is walking distance away and decides to revisit the place. Once in town, he realizes everything’s the same as when he was a child and eventually runs into his younger self. Could Martin have traveled back in time and what will he do about it?
This was not an exciting episode. But that’s not a bad thing, because it was an effective one. It focuses on our basic need for carefree fun and nostalgia. Unlike the previous episode which had great build-up but a lackluster ending, this one stayed true in tone all the way through and didn’t really have a twist. It wouldn’t have been needed anyway.
The main character is Martin, although his father plays an important part. Martin’s father is suspicious of his rantings at first, casting him aside as a mentally unwell man claiming to be his son. Once he has proof that he IS his son, there’s a nice scene between the two talking of Martin’s need to go back to a simpler time and how he must move on while retaining that child-like sense of fun. That one scene was very solid, but the acting overall was good.
Martin is played like a frazzled businessman who longs for the freedom of being a child again. It’s a relatable feeling for people who have to bear the typical adult responsibilities that kids are unaware of. The trip to the past helps him grow as a character a bit, and it’s nice to see him reminisce about his childhood as people like to do. Even his position as vice president of a company doesn’t overshadow his relatability, because he doesn’t come off like a rich snob or anything.
The episode starts off slow and quiet and ends slow and quiet. There’s no out of nowhere twist and the tone is pretty consistent. When I started watching, I was afraid the quiet tone would bore me, but I actually was interested in his nostalgia and was surprised (in a good way) that there wasn’t a bizarre twist to wrap things up. I think a lot of that for me is that I’ve thought a lot about the pros and cons of my childhood, and what I’d revisit and would gladly continue to leave behind. That’s easily why this episode works, because I doubt there’s anyone who hasn’t reflected on their childhood at one point. This just shows a more direct way of revisiting it.
Overall, “Walking Distance” was a pleasant surprise for me. While it doesn’t have scares, suspense or thrills like other episodes, it was a nice look at how we enjoy nostalgia and reflecting on the good times. This episode might not appeal to everyone, but I would still recommend it for something with a different pace and feel.