The Twilight Zone: Blurryman Review
In its season finale, Blurryman, The Twilight Zone goes full-blown meta and offers a great commentary on what the series has brought thus far as well as some fun, surprising twists that look at the series as a whole.
The episode follows Sophie (Zazie Beetzs), a writer that’s writing the final episode for The Twilight Zone but struggling to writer narrator Jordan Peele’s (himself) opening narration. Being a fan of the series since she was a child, Sophie struggles to create a compelling sci-fi story that also has a strong message about our reality. Just when she thinks she has the episode figured out; she starts to realize that the story has taken a dark turn towards her. Now with a mysterious figure, only known as the Blurryman, haunting her, as well as the show, Sophie must figure out what the Blurryman wants and what his presence means.
I’ll be honest, when Peele breaks out of his opening monologue to show viewers that the episode is actually taking place within an episode, I kind of loved it. It was surprising and came completely out of left field. It’s the kind of unexpected that’s satisfying, and the episode uses the Blurryman character expertly to create a sense of connectivity that’s satisfying and uses the opportunity to acknowledge some of the problems this revival has faced thus far as well as gives some thought to why the series is so important.
The issues of needing twists, messages that blend The Twilight Zone with our reality, and philosophical debates are actually directly referenced in a conversation between Peele and Sophie. While I did feel like they were sort of making excuses for themselves for why their episodes have not lived up to expectations, it does fit incredibly well with the episode’s desire to reflect on what The Twilight Zone means. In that same conversation, Sophie talks about how the Rod Serling’s vision was to not rely just on genre tropes, but to instead create impactful messages that would make viewers think. In any other show or series, having a meta-commentary on himself would come off as cheesy, however The Twilight Zone utilizes its meta-commentary to create a creepy environment for Sophie to explore and gain a deeper sense of what it truly means.
Director Simon Kinberg and writer Alex Rubens come together greatly to create environments and story points that makes viewers truly feel they’ve entered The Twilight Zone. From the great misdirection at the start of the episode, that also leads to some fun cameos from Seth Rogen and Betty Gabriel, to the use of sets to create a strong presence for the Blurryman to terrorize Sophie, this finale has a lot to offer. There’s a great sequence where Sophie is running through different sets and no one can hear her and it’s a sequence that’s incredibly creepy and tense. Not to mention, Beetz’ performance is great and Sophie’s love for the series is a great connecting point for old fans of the series. What makes Blurryman stand out, though, is its titular antagonist as he embodies everything that makes this episode a love letter to Serling’s work.
Now, it’s honestly hard to delve into my thoughts about the reveal of who the Blurryman is and his impact into the series without fully spoiling it. If you do not want the end of the episode spoiled, you should skip these next TWO paragraphs.
You’ve been warned.
The Blurryman is truly a creepy antagonist that’s presence is used perfectly to create a connective thread throughout all of the episodes. After Sophie realizes that the Blurryman can be seen in past episodes, I actually paused the episode to go back and see if he’s actually there and he’s actually been there the whole time. Easter Egg twists like this are great and adds some re-watch potential and purpose to the entire series. There’s a strong sense of mystery that surrounds him throughout the episode and it leads to a reveal that’s pretty epic.
The reveal of the Blurryman being Rod Serling, himself, was truly a drop the mic moment and sort of fit right at home with the series. While I must admit that it’s definitely a little predictable, Peele’s revival of the series was created as a love letter to Serling’s vision, so I honestly couldn’t think of a better tribute than to end its first season with the man that started it all. Having him be CGI, as Serling died back in 1975, did kind of rub me the wrong way at first, but with his wife Carol Serling being a producer for the series, I can’t imagine this reincarnation being created without the loving approval of Serling, herself. It’s a twist that’s more calming than creepy and, when thinking about Serling’s love for the series, is an ending that I think he would’ve truly loved to see.
End of Spoiler Section
The episode’s closing monologue is also a perfect way to capture and think about Serling’s vision. Not only does it reflect The Twilight Zone’s purpose of offering viewers messages and ideas to think about, but it’s oddly more calming and positive minded than anything that’s been offered thus far. Instead of feeling scared or shocked by Blurryman’s ending, I felt a sense of relief as the closing monologue offers advice to its viewers to not be afraid to face reality and seek out the truth. It’s calming sense that I hadn’t really felt throughout the series and its delivery offers glimmering hope for the future rather than something bleak. Not to mention, it makes the episode truly feel like a finale and offers a satisfying end to the start of the revival of Serling’s classic show.
Hopefully, Blurryman’s ideas of opening ourselves to face our reality and to be imaginative about how we choose to face it is something that’s taken into the development of the next season of The Twilight Zone. For now, though, this finale not only ties together everything we’ve seen thus far from the series, but also offers viewers some truly memorable moments that embody what Serling brought with the original series: impact, entertainment, and surprise. Not to mention, it’s final moments will make any long-time fan feel a pure sense of satisfaction.
MY GOD… IT’S FULL OF STARS!!!!!!
That was F***ing INCREDIBLE!!!
From the moment Jordan stepped out of the normal episode flow to become a fictionalized version of himself within a story taking place within the actual series itself, I was totally blown away.
It was a Twilight Zone episode that was aware of itself AS an episode of the current Twilight Zone.
Telling a story set within a ‘fictional’ episode of the series we were actually watching was…..
The episode had me from that moment and for the Blurryman to be Rod Serling himself wasn’t just the icing on the cake,…. it was the party that the cake was meant for in the first place!.
What a treat to watch, pure imaginative enjoyment with a clear message..
Imagination is soooo important and such a powerful gift.
Well done, Jordan Peel and co, WELL DONE!.