Revisiting The Twilight Zone: S05E07: The Old Man in the Cave
In a post-apocalyptic world, which Serling delights in pontificating over throughout the series, a small group of survivors have put their trust in a leader whose decision making is made for him and ultimately everyone in the town by the so-called Old Man who lives in the cave. Early on it is shown that when they go against what the Old Man has said – in this case, planting and trying to raise crops in areas that the Old Man has nominated as contaminated – they suffer from the consequences of their actions.
Given that this is the case, the quickness with which they changed their ideas when a small band of soldiers rumbles into town and starts to rale against the ideas that there is an all-knowing person who keeps them alive seems strange. Of course, these people are tired and hungry, and when the soldiers decide to eat and drink the food that has been deemed contaminated, they quickly join in – all but Goldsmith, the town leader of course. But once his leadership is questioned, and he is forced to reveal where the Old Man is, things begin to tumble even quicker.
With the inevitable conclusion, Serling again shines a rather bright light on the fallibility of the human race, where ego and power can easily dominate over equanimity and reasoned judgement. Once again his script is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago.
Rating: Humans capacity to kill each other remains. 4/5