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The Utterly Perfect Murder - Recap

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As a boy, bullies led by Ralph Underhill tormented Doug Spaulding. They tied him up to a tree in the woods and left him

Now, on his 40th birthday Doug calls Ralph and then hangs up. The next day after his party, Doug looks out the window and remembers vowing how he hated Ralph as a boy. He goes to his workshop and looks at a cabinet filled with childhood mementos, and reminders of his torment at Ralph's hands. He goes inside and says goodbye to his wife for the day, and explains that he's packing for a trip to Chicago for a jingle-writing campaign. He puts his childhood items in a case and considers a photo of himself and Ralph, and then puts it into the case. He then calls Ralph again and hangs up... and picks up a pistol and puts it in the case.

As Doug drives to Chicago and stops at a diner, he remembers Ralph cornering him, taking a marble from him, and throwing in into a creek. In the diner, he almost drops it and just manages to grab it. As he continues, he remembers trying to join Ralph's club. To get in, he has to break a neighbor's window. Doug refused and ran away, and Ralph and the other boys accused him of being chicken. They eventually caught him and Ralph hit him repeatedly and said that he would never be a part of their club, and he should look Ralph up when he's older so the boy could remind him. In the present, Doug remembers what Ralph said.

Doug finally arrives at his hometown and drives by the neighbor's house, long since boarded up. He then goes to his old home and looks up at the window of his bedroom. He remembers how the other boys thought he was a freak for playing the piano. Doug leaves, carrying his case, and walks to Ralph's house. He remembers begging Ralph to be his friend and let him into the club. When Ralph refuses, Doug runs away but the bullies catch him and tie him to the tree in a ravine. Now, Doug walks through the ravine and goes to Ralph's old house. Ralph still lives there. Doug steps behind a tree and takes out his gun, and then waits until night.

Finally, the time is right and Doug approaches the house and sits on the porch. He takes all of his childhood mementos and places them on the step, Ralph's wife sees him and sends her husband to investigate. Doug gets up and rings the doorbell, and Ralph demands to know who it is. He opens the door... and is a wizened old man, aged beyond his years. Ralph looks at Doug and then the mementos, and goes to pick them up. Doug takes his empty hand out of his pocket, points his finger at Ralph, and "shoots" him. He declares him dead and then walks away as Ralph wonders if it his childhood acquaintance.

Doug walks to the ravine and the tree and sits down to wait out the night. He wakes up the next morning and returns to his old home. He tosses some gravel up at the window and calls out to the boy he once was to come down, inviting him to come out and play. Doug imagines Young Doug coming out and walking away to play, and asks him to wait. The memories of his younger self fade away.

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Warning: The Ray Bradbury Theater season 5 episode 18 guide may contain spoilers
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