AHP Marathon: “A Bullet for Baldwin”

bullet for baldwin

Welcome back to my “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” marathon! Have you ever had a boss fire you for making a mistake? Ever wished you could get back at them for it? Well, today’s episode sort of centers around that idea. This is “A Bullet for Baldwin.”

Benjamin Stepp has been a loyal clerk for 21 years for investment banker Mr. Baldwin. Benjamin is growing old and accidentally misplaces a file, causing Mr. Baldwin to fire him on the spot. Upset, Benjamin takes his anger out on him by shooting him dead. But upon being called into work that Monday, he finds his boss seemingly alive and well with no recollection of the incident. Is Benjamin just seeing things, or is it possible that Mr. Baldwin is back from the dead?

This was a tightly focused story with a rather bookend-ish feel to it. While it has a little ambiguity in its ending, I really liked how it all came together. After the supposed murder, we follow Benjamin and his second boss Mr. King as the aftermath unfolds. This is one of those stories that’s difficult to talk about, because the reason behind Baldwin being back is revealed halfway through the story instead of at the end. Everything past that point sheds light on both Benjamin and Mr. King as characters.

Benjamin is very much a mousy old man whose existence seems to revolve around his job. He enjoys the security of it, so when he’s fired he quickly goes off the deep end. However, he’s not entirely unhinged either. Before he even discovers Baldwin’s alive, he’s in a state of depression and is ready to be hauled off by police at any moment. When he admits to Mr. King what he did, he’s genuinely upset and confused. The character was portrayed very well and I was invested in finding out what would become of him.

Since we don’t spend a huge amount of time with Mr. Baldwin, Mr. King is the liaison between Benjamin and what happened. He comes across as friendly and concerned toward Benjamin, but you can’t help suspecting him of knowing more about what took place than he lets on. As the story continues, you see even more layers of him exposed that give him more depth. He was also portrayed well and I was more impressed with him than Mr. Baldwin.

As with the previous episodes I’ve seen, this takes place mainly within the office setting, going between Benjamin’s clerk desk and his bosses’ offices. I found that this episode didn’t feel quite as tense as other ones have, but it was enjoyable to watch and I didn’t expect it to end the way it did. One thing I have failed to talk about so far is the host bookends with Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock doesn’t tend to focus on the main gist of the upcoming story, but he does hint at it in clever ways and loves to inject dry humor in as well. For example, while introducing this story, he mentioned he’s found a cure for insomnia and proceeds to set out a few bullets and a gun. He then mentions that any idiot can use it, as evidenced in the story. As well, in the end, he pokes fun of how they try to invoke morals with each story. These are segments that you could easily skip past, but Hitchcock is just so engaging that I can’t help staying tuned through them.

Overall, “A Bullet to Baldwin” may just end up being one of my favorite episodes of this month. The story was simple but effective, the main characters were portrayed great, and the halfway reveal and conclusion were well done. It’s definitely one I’d recommend for anyone wanting to check out this show.

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