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The Twilight Zone’s Second Season Favors Tales of Troubled Men, But Ends on a Dystopian High Note

Last week, CBS All Access’ Twilight Zone revival dropped its second season all at once, enabling a binge-view that made it easy to note parallels between episodes. Amid the aliens, creatures, magical objects, and alt-reality scenarios, a big theme emerged: there’s no scarier monster than a frustrated man.

WATCHGUIDE: The Twilight Zone

The Jordan Peele-hosted Twilight Zone already dug into this topic in the season one episode “Not All Men,” but it was rather heavy-handed—not just with that Twitter hashtag of a title, but also its plot, which was about meteorite-contaminated water that appears to turn a town’s male population into woman-hating, violent fiends. Season two takes a more nuanced approach to its examinations of the fragile dude ego, and the end results are more chilling as a result.

The season opener, “Meet in the Middle” (directed by Mathias Herndl and written by Emily C. Chang and Sara Amini) introduces us to Phil (Westworld’s Jimmi Simpson; much like season one, Twilight Zone season two boasts an outstanding cast and crew). The reason for his lonely life is easily understandable from the very first scene, as we see him petulantly complain that his date’s hair is styled in waves, unlike her profile photo which showed it straight. Later, we see his therapist reminding him that he routinely blames the women he dates for his unhappiness, and that “the perfect woman doesn’t exist.”

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