The Twilight Zone: Point of Origin Review
The Twilight Zone dives further into terrible territory with its newest episode, Point of Origin, as it can’t manage to express its own themes and is completely unimpactful.
The episode follows Eve (Ginnifer Goodwin), a housewife that’s incredibly concerned for their housekeeper, Anna (Zabryna Guevara), after she is taken in by authorities. However, strangely enough, Eve is soon placed under the same kind of arrest for not really being from here. Where is here, really though? Eve has no idea and now must figure out where she is from so that she can return to her family and go back home.
Now, like Not All Men, the directing and acting is not what makes this episode such a hot mess. Goodwin actually plays up her housewife persona well and her sense of confusion helps attempt to drive any sort of mystery into the story. James Frain also puts in a solid performance as a mysterious agent and comes off as both secretive and creepy. Even the direction from Mathias Herndl is mostly solid and the camera movements work well, and the overall atmosphere is kind of intriguing. Honestly, I can tell that everyone is trying really hard, like most who are involved with this season, but nothing can save Point of Origin from the episode’s messy script and mixed up messages.
The episode is so blatantly about immigration but has either nothing to say about it or completely fumbles it through bad depictions and wording. First off, the episode constantly tries to paint Eve in a bad light by making her seem privileged and having her being taken almost seem like karma for helping Anna. I’m not going act like Eve isn’t living a privileged life as a housewife or that her personality doesn’t give off this sense of entitlement at times, with her wanting to bribe Frain’s Allendale to get out of her arrest, but she’s not this awful person because of it.
Eve comes off as sincere when offering to help her get her grandson get into a better school and when Anna is taken. She’s even shown to be less entitled then her friends when they are talking about Anna’s arrest and she’s much more concerned than anyone else at the table. However, it seems like everyone just wants to put her down all the time with Anna badgering her for her privilege, which feels as if it comes out of nowhere, and a person at a grocery yelling at her after her credit cards decline. Honestly, because of how the episode has such trouble painting Eve, it makes it seem like she deserves to be arrested because she tried to help Anna and that’s not what this episode should’ve been about.
Even the way it depicts the “others” that are like Eve is incredibly odd and they come off like bad guys. When Eve finds a “leader” of the other incarcerated people, the woman rants about how “this is our home, now” and “they can’t make us leave” and it comes off more menacing than sincere. It pretty much dehumanizes them and makes it seem like there’s an ulterior motive rather than just survival. Not to mention, the way Eve’s eyes change when she thinks about home and the way the menacing face the leader has during her speech really paints them as unsympathetic and it makes it hard to sympathize with their plight. It’s tough to say where this problem stems from, but it makes the moments where it’s connecting to the mindsets of immigrants looking for bluer skies and a better life incredibly forced.
Honestly, this is how the episode should’ve gone: The episode is instead taken from the perspective of Ana, in order to have a protagonist that reflects people in the real world who face the struggles of immigration. Instead of these people actually being from a different place, like really different, it’s only thought that they are, and the episode ends with the realization by the captors that they actually aren’t from anywhere different. Thus, the episode would be about the perceptions people have about immigrants and xenophobia. This kind of perspective and story actually offers strong messages and self-realization that could get viewers to think and is something that Point of Origin struggles to do.
Point of Origin is just another downward spiral The Twilight Zone seems to be facing and is just a complete mess. It’s frustrating how a series that was once known for being a strong force for both sci-fi thrills and social thought can fall this far and fumble what it’s supposed to be great at. With just two episodes left in season, hopefully they can elevate the series to the heights it should be able to reach, and that the previous two episodes haven’t come close to.