In the basement apartment of a condemned building, elderly Wanda Dunn. She wakes up to see a policeman outside on her doorstep. She cowers in silence until a gunshot bursts out. The policeman knocks on the door and begs for help, saying he's been shot. Wanda says that he can't fool her: he's Death. He says his name is Harold Beldon and he begs for help, saying that he's bleeding to death and can't move. Wanda refuses to open the door, saying she doesn't want to die and that she knows who he is. He continues to say he's going to die and Wanda reluctantly unlocks the door and goes outside. She touches him and notes that she's still alive, then brings him inside...Read the full recap
This is the first of three appearances for Gladys Cooper who would later star in "Passage on the Lady Anne" from season 4 and "Night Call" in season 5.
A young Robert Redford appears in this episode and would later become an award-winning motion picture actor and director.
Narrator: An old woman living in a nightmare, an old woman who has fought a thousand battles with death and always won. Now she's faced with a grim decision - whether or not to open a door. And in some strange and frightening way she knows that this seemingly ordinary door leads to the Twilight Zone.
Contractor: Easy, lady. Just lie quiet till you get your strength back. You gave me quite a scare when you caved in like that.
Wanda: And still I live.
Contractor: Well... You’ve got to understand, ma’am. I-I don’t get no pleasure out of bustin’ in doors. You don’t seem to realize how important this is. I’ve got a crew and equipment coming in an hour to pull this tenement down. Beggin’ your pardon, ma’am, but it’s long overdue. I-I’m surprised it’s still standing.
Wanda: And you’re really... not Mr. Death?
Contractor: I ain't a monster, lady. I've got a heart just like anybody else. But uh, I can see how you could get attached to a place and not want to see it wrecked. But the building is old, it''s dangerous, it's got to come down for a new one. That's life, lady: the old make room for the new. People get the idea that I'm some kind of destroyer, they think I get kicks out of tearing stuff down. That ain't the way it is. I just clear the ground so other people can build. In a way I help 'em do it. Look around, it's the way things are. A big tree falls and a new one grows right out of the straight ground. Old animals die and young ones take their places. Even people step aside when it's time.
Harold Beldon: Mother, give me your hand. You see. No shock. No engulfment. No tearing asunder. What you feared would come like an explosion is like a whisper. What you thought was the end is the beginning.
Narrator: There was an old woman who lived in a room and, like all of us, was frightened of the dark, but who discovered in the minute last fragment of her life that there was nothing in the dark that wasn't there when the lights were on. Object lesson for the more frightened amongst us, in or out of the Twilight Zone.