Walking Distance-Twilight Zone 1×05

Walking Distance (1×05) TheTwilightZoneLogo

“Walking Distance” of The Twilight Zone is entirely about nostalgia, and the protagonist, Martin Sloan, is symbolic for it. Martin is a stressed business man who happens to come upon a drugstore in his hometown. When he enters this drugstore, he is overwhelmed by the sense of nostalgia he gets from it. The drugstore, for him, is a symbol of the good times he had as a child, noted by how much he discusses with the owner the memories of being in the drug store when he was young. He speaks fondly about how everything is the same, which is a reoccurring theme in the story.

It turns out that Martin has stepped into the past when he was a child simply because that is how he chose to remember everything. Because Martin was being stressed from his job in the present, when he sees his home town, he wants to remember everything as it was. Later in the episode, Martin remarks how his childhood was the happiest time of his life because of how simple it is. His return to the past is symbolic of this desire for everything to be the same.

This Twilight Zone episode also makes the commentary that you can’t keep dreaming about the old days and wanting to live through nostalgia, because it can only lead to bad things. Another symbol for Martin’s past was the town fair, which sported a merry-go-round that he loved to ride. Towards the climax of this episode, Martin Sloan chases after his past self to tell him to enjoy his childhood before it is too late upon seeing the merry-go-round. The child Martin runs away until he ends up tripping and injuring his leg severely. While the child Martin is being taken away, the adult Martin tells him sadly, “I only wanted to tell you that this is a wonderful time of life for you, and don’t let any of it go by without enjoying it.”

Because Martin was so concerned with making sure his child-self enjoyed his life, he ended up causing him to hurt himself and gave his adult-self a limp in the process. This also disallowed his child-self to have as much fun as he would have liked. Martin’s father then talks to him and tells him that he needs to go back to his time, then asks him if things are really so bad where he’s from that he wanted to come back and experience his childhood again. His father encourages Martin to look ahead instead of dwelling on the past.

The theme, using Martin as a symbol for nostalgia, is that no one should continually try to relive their past, no matter how bad things are for them. It can only lead to bad things (represented by Martin’s injured leg), meaning the best course of action is to look to the future and try your best to make that better instead.


jet set jet set