Episode 8: ‘The Twilight Zone’ Time Enough at Last

This classic and much-lauded episode features acclaimed actor Burgess Meredith as Henry Bemis, a man who loves to read in a world where readers aren’t welcomed. His boss derides him for being a reader who isn’t dedicated to his job and instructs Bemis to stop reading at work and at lunch. His wife is worse. She scribbles on every page of a poetry book Bemis hid in his chair. When he tries to read it to her, at her request, he sees the vandalism. She then snatches the book and tears out the pages – one by one. This world is not for him, much like the gunslinger world wasn’t for Mr. Denton.

When everything is blown up, Bemis survives. He has plenty of food, but the isolation and the lack of entertainment start to get to him. Bemis finds his salvation in a destroyed public library where he is able to pile up books sorted by month and year. Then the unthinkable happens.

What Bemis did to deserve his fate is unclear – except for his last phrase. That’s not fair. It’s not fair. And so it isn’t, because life isn’t always fair, and this may be how Rod Serling reminds us that not all villains get their come-uppance and not all good men get what they long for.