What's in the Box - Recap

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Cabbie Joe Britt is at home eating dinner and complaining to his wife Phyllis. She thinks he’s having an affair and he flees into the living room where the TV repairman is working on the TV. As Joe waits to watch his wrestling, he tells the repairman not to rip him off. The TV repairman abruptly says he’s finished and that the work is on his own. After the man leaves, Joe tunes in his channel and gets a new channel, 10. He starts to call in Phyllis, but realizes that the TV channel is showing his mistress complaining to him about how long she’s been waiting.

Joe tries to switch the TV back to wrestling but temptation proves too great and he turns back to Channel 10. This time it shows him complaining to his wife over dinner from a few minutes ago. Joe faints and Phyllis comes in to see what the matter is. He wakes up and tries to explain that he saw the two of them on the TV. She doesn’t believe him and he angrily tells her to forget it. He figures she set something up to trap him and tells her to call the TV repairman back. She goes out into the kitchen and calls Dr. Saltman to come over.

Once she’s gone, Joe turns on the TV, which shows him chasing Phyllis around their devastated apartment. He screams that he’s going to kill her, punches her, and knocks her out the window to her death. Joe on the TV starts weeping in sorrow. Phyllis comes in but can’t see anything but static on the television.

Dr. Saltman arrives and checks on Joe, giving him a sedative. He tells Phyllis that Joe may have started hallucinating that he’s part of a TV program, and that Joe thinks he’s going to murder Phyllis. Once he leaves, Joe apologizes for setting off their fights and gets her to sit down. He talks about how he’s alone on the job and has customers screaming at him. He talks about someone coming along and being nice to him, but Phyllis doesn’t understand what he’s talking about. Joe finally admits that after the shock of seeing her dead, he realized that he loves her. She isn’t impressed, accusing him of finally settling for her after 27 years. She packs to leave and says she’ll take him to court.

Outside in the living room, Phyllis packs while the TV runs in the background. Joe hears a prosecutor arguing that he was sane when he killed his wife. He runs out and sees himself on the TV being sentenced to execution for murder. Phyllis mocks him, saying it’s his conscience bothering him, and he watches as the TV shows him being strapped into an electric chair. Phyllis continues to taunt him and he smashes his fist through the TV screen. He chases her around the room, smashing everything in the room. Finally he punches her and knocks her out the window where she falls to her death.

The police and neighbors barge in as Joe sobs with guilt and admits he killed Phyllis. As the police lead him away, the TV repairman arrives and asks if he’ll recommend his service.