There is a saying that goes, "we cannot undo the past." Visiting the future seems fun but time travelling to the past seems more appealing. This is probably because we all have this fascination to the idea of what it is like to go back to yesteryears and change certain events. The three classic episodes of The Twilight Zone have depicted one common element, which is about revisiting the past.
"Walking Distance" is a story of successful but discontented businessman named Martin Sloan. He finds himself unexpectedly back to his childhood while driving cross-country. Sloan meets himself as a young boy. He decides to trail his young self and introduce himself to his parents. His parents refuse to believe that he is their son from the future. They ask him to leave the house since what he told them is just impossible. He leaves but later finds his young self, riding on a carousel. He tells his young self to enjoy his childhood so that he would not regret anything.
However, his young self is so terrified of him that he falls to the ground. He is confronted by his father. The father is finally convinced that Sloan is telling the truth when he sees Martin's dollar bills, which are undoubtedly from the future. His father says to him that people have their own time. Martin, then, finds himself back in his own era, walking limply because of the fall that he had from the carousel.
Another episode of The Twilight Zone is "A Stop at Willoughby." It is about a New York advertising executive named Gart Williams who is very unhappy with his life. He has a domineering boss, an ill-tempered wife and to top it all off, he lost a major account. Due to his lack of sleep, he mostly dozes off on his everyday train commute. One snowy November, he wakes up and finds himself alone in the same train but he is in Willoughby and it was in a sunny July 1888. He realizes that he is in a very tranquil and stress-free place and time and wishes he could stay and never go back to his time.
When he wakes up from his, he asks the train conductor about a Willoughby, but the conductor replies that he does not know of such place. When he tells his wife about his dream, she only mocks him and says hurtful things to him. Things at work turn bad to worse and his wife finally leaves him for good. He finally realizes that he wants to stay in Willoughby. One day, on his way home, he falls asleep and finds himself in Willoughby. This time, somebody helps him get off the train. He is greeted warmly by the inhabitants of Willoughby. But in reality, he jumps off the train while shouting the word Willoughby. The bizarre thing about it is that his body is taken by Willoughby & Son Funeral Home.
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"No Time like the Past" is another episode of The Twilight Zone which is about Paul Driscoll, a scientist who travels back to the past with his time machine. He intends to change history. He does everything to stop World War I and II from happening. Unfortunately, no matter what he does, bad events still occurs. He attempts to prevent fire from taking place, but instead, he is the cause for the outbreak of the fire. And then he realizes that there is nothing he could do to alter what is destined to happen.
The three episodes may be similar in theme. However, "A Stop at Willoughby" ends in tragedy. Going to the past is a form of escape from the sad life of the main character. He is resigned from all his frustrations and problems. Meanwhile, "Walking Distance" and "No Time like the Past" depict that one must accept the way things are, because it is meant to be. The main characters do their best to correct the mistakes of the past, but their efforts are futile.