“Someone should remind her that Christmas is more than barging up and down department store aisles and pushing people out of the way. Someone has to tell her that Christmas is another thing finer than that. Richer, finer, truer, and it should come with patience and love, charity, compassion.” -Henry Corwin
The Twilight Zone is one of the most popular horror/sci-fi series of all time. However, that doesn’t mean they never strayed from these two genres. Sometimes, they would have episodes that tried to tell a different kind of story, fantasy or “slice of life” tales. Today’s tale is one of these stories. But is it a Christmas miracle or should this episode have stayed in the back alleys of the Twilight Zone. Let’s find out. This is Night of the Meek.
Portrait of a man, a down on his luck dime-store drunk by the name of Henry Corwin. He’s been hired as a mall Santa around Christmas time. Unfortunately, his disillusionment with the world has made him quite depressed. For one night, he wants to see the poor, the unnoticed, the meek of the world get the things they deserve. Well, he’s about to get his wish, for Mr. Corwin has just found a magic bag that gives him the ability to give others the perfect gift. Is this a bit of magic or is this another warped mind that found themselves in the Twilight Zone?
This episode was perfect. If you ever wanted to see the Twilight Zone tackle the true meaning of Christmas in it’s own way, this episode is definitely it. The story of a man who seems to find Santa’s magic bag and uses it for good is inspiring and heartwarming. He doesn’t use it to find financial gain, doesn’t use it to better his own life. He uses it to spread happiness and cheer to the people of his neighborhood. It makes you feel so good seeing something good happen to these great characters.
And I do mean that these characters are great. Henry Corwin is played by the late great Art Carney and he plays it wonderfully. His depression seems deep and all-encompassing, but his passion and joy are uplifting and heartfelt. The other characters are good, even the jerk store owner, Mr. Dundee. Dundee is played by John Fiedling, who was the voice of Piglet for the longest time, and my god he plays a good jerk character. You just want to punch him in his smug face sometimes. But his turn around in the end makes the jerk-iness feel all the more good, honestly. It’s difficult to explain, but I never HATED him, I just enjoyed disliking him.
I’ll say it again. This episode was perfect. It had the perfect characters for this story, the perfect Christmas-y atmosphere, the perfect twist and pay off. I think this might be my absolute favorite Twilight Zone episode of all time. It’s not the scariest, or the most thought provoking, but it has the most heart.