Twilight Zone Marathon: “A Penny For Your Thoughts”

ImageWelcome back to my Twilight Zone Marathon! What would you do if you suddenly could read minds? Would you use the knowledge for good or as a tool to get what you want? Today’s episode looks at a possible use for telepathy courtesy of the original Darrin from “Bewitched”, Dick York. This is “A Penny For Your Thoughts”.

 Hector Poole is going to work when he decides to buy a morning paper. When he tosses his money into the paper boy’s box, the coin lands on its edge. Soon after, Hector starts hearing the thoughts of others, though he doesn’t realize this right away. Will this sudden telepathy be a gift or a curse, and what will he do with it?

 This was a feel-good kind of episode and definitely felt like a breath of fresh air from the usual Twilight Zone fare. There’s no real twist to speak of, but the episode flows well from start to finish. The only thing I can think of that kinda annoyed me was the abrupt start of the plot, as he gets his telepathy from the get-go. It was jarring at first, but with the brisk pace of the episode, it was nice to just jump right into it. The majority of the story takes place at the bank where Hector works as an accountant, which actually made for some interesting moments. It lead to him interacting with coworkers, his boss, and a fellow female coworker who secretly liked him.

 I liked the characters for the most part, with the highlights being Ms. Turner, who’s crushing on Hector, and Mr. Smithers, an elderly coworker. Ms. Turner is the only female character, but she’s smart and seems to know Hector better than he does. And Mr. Smithers fantasizes about taking the bank’s money and leaving for Bermuda, which causes initial confusion for Hector. The boss wasn’t half bad either, although he’s stereotypically a bit of a jerk and not to mention cheating on his wife.

 But Hector is who the story centers around, and while he’s kinda a weenie, I like Dick York’s portrayal here. He often has a confused expression on his face, which annoyed me at first, but then made me realize it suited Hector given his situation. He has a nice arc through the episode, going from a soft-spoken, insecure man to one with more confidence. Granted, the use of his powers is mostly passive, as he overhears people’s thoughts. I won’t spoil the outcome of the story, but there’s a decent balance in his telepathy being both good and bad. His arc felt believable despite the telepathy thing and, like I said, made the episode come off on a positive note.

 The ending ultimately ties everything up, though I can see it coming off as cliched given Hector’s character. Still, it plays off as well as you’d expect since he didn’t ask to suddenly have telepathy. I liked that this episode had a bit of a message to it as well, in that people often hide the truth in their thoughts rather than speaking it out loud. It’s something I feel everyone is guilty of even once in their lives.

 Overall, “A Penny For Your Thoughts” was a fun, light episode. It kicks off the plot right from the start and doesn’t stop till the closing narration. For a change of pace or even just to see the original Darrin, I would recommend this episode to anyone. It doesn’t have anything scary or suspenseful, but it’s sure to leave you with a good feeling once the credits roll.


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