In “The New Exhibit”, Who Was the Killer? A Poll Post
What would The Twilight Zone be without its twist endings? Still one of the most well-written, thoughtful series that ever aired, of course! But Rod Serling and company obviously made their points more effectively by using irony and surprise.
So I always try to give spoiler warnings when I write about the endings to certain episodes. I know — it’s a legendary series that debuted over 50 years ago, so who doesn’t know how they end?
Actually, a lot of people. Think about it — new fans are born all the time. I came along well after “Psycho” was a new movie, but I would have enjoyed seeing it without the ending spoiled. It must have been fun to see it when you didn’t know.
All of which is a slightly long-winded way of saying “spoiler alert”! Especially because I want to discuss, briefly, the ending to “The New Exhibit”, which aired during TZ’s lesser-known 4th season (the one with the hour-long episodes) — and ask you to vote on it.
Why “The New Exhibit”? Because not everyone agrees on how it ended. (Here’s where you should bail if you haven’t seen it yet. You can watch it on disc, Hulu or Amazon Prime — it’s one of the few episodes not on Netflix, alas — then come back and tell me what you think.)
It’s always been a favorite of mine. I mean, you have “Psycho” alum Martin Balsam as the caretaker of a serial-killers exhibit at a wax museum. When the people around him start turning up dead, it looks as if the figures are responsible. What’s not to like?
In the end, Balsam is shown immortalized in wax himself, the latest addition to “murderers’ row”. It turns out that he was the one committing the murders, then blaming the figures. Their participation was something he hallucinated.
Or did he?
I’ve talked to some people who feel it was the other way around: that the figures did, in fact, commit the murders (don’t ask how — this is the Twilight Zone), then poor, innocent Balsam took the fall. And you know what? Even though that thought hadn’t occurred to me, it makes sense.
I don’t mind not knowing for sure — both endings are satisfying, in that creepy, TZ sort of way — but I’m curious what others think, and which view is the predominant one.
So here’s your chance to, ahem, take a stab at giving your opinion. And feel free to sound off below, of course, in the comments section:
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Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!