"Escape Clause" is the sixth episode of The Twilight Zone, first broadcast in November of 1959, and starring David Wayne and Thomas Gomez.
This episode is the first Twilight Zone to feature a "Deal with the Devil" story, with David Wayne playing selfish hypochondriac Walter Bedecker. Despite assurances that he is in good health, he is so afraid of dying that when the devil (going under the name Mr. Cadwaller) (Thomas Gomez) appears and offers him immortality, he quickly takes it. But almost as quickly, he discovers that total immortality is boring. In a series of scenes reminiscent of the movie Groundhog's Day, he tries to find ways to kill himself. He discovers that his life is now a prison, and that deals with the devil are seldom what they seem. Luckily, he still has an escape clause.
This episode is well done, and Wayne's performance as the sociopathic Bedecker carries the story. But more importantly to me is that we finally have a Twilight Zone episode without a happy ending. The previous five episodes all had endings where supernatural intervention led people to good realizations about themselves. In this episode, however, we get a bad person, who meets the devil, and gets to learn just how bad he is. Although the story is comedic itself, it portends darker things to come.
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