Another of Serling’s one-room plays that places an enormous amount of emphasis on the actor or actors involved to retain the interest of the viewer given the lack of interaction and change in scenery.
Fortunately Joe Mantell is excellent here in the role of Jackie Rhoads, the nervous man of the episode’s title, who is a two bit criminal working for a mobster. Here in this room he is awaiting instructions, which is to go and kill and storekeeper who has refused to pay their protection money. Jackie starts to talk to himself in the mirror, when to his surprise his reflection starts to talk back to him. Only it isn’t quite his own reflection. Staring back at him is his doppelganger, a confident image as against his own nervous and undecided nature.
The episode focuses on the discussion between the two, with the reflection of Jackie wanting to ‘take over’ their life, and come out into the real world to replace the nervous Jackie and get their life on track. Given the day and age, this episode is excellently filmed and wonderfully acted by Mantell in playing both parts, and the back and forth is completely realistic. When the ending comes it mightn’t be a surprise, but it is convincingly portrayed. An enjoyable sojourn.
Rating: Don’t spin that mirror. 4/5