“Try, Try” finds a new angle from which to approach the played-out time-loop conceit, but the execution is off in a disappointing penultimate episode.
This recap of The Twilight Zone season 2, episode 9, “Try, Try”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
In its penultimate episode, The Twilight Zone season 2 tries to turn the classic Groundhog Day time-loop conceit on its head, reframing it as the secret weapon of a creepy stalker who has spent years reliving the same day with a woman he has fallen in love with. It’s a fine idea, but like most of the ones this season has had, the execution leaves a lot to be desired.
“Try, Try” is enigmatic at first, introducing us first to Claudia and then to her ostensible savior, Marc. Both bond over various pretentious things while claiming not to be pretentious. They roam a museum in that awkward getting-to-know-you meet-cute way. But The Twilight Zone season 2, episode 9 quickly shows its hand. Marc starts reeling off very specific quotes that Claudia also enjoys. He finishes her sentences. Before long, she realizes something’s up.
This stuff would work better, I think, if these two had any chemistry, which they don’t. It might be said that’s intentional; a way to position Marc as someone who is trying to force himself on this woman he has come to know intimately yet who still considers him a complete stranger. His dark secret reinforces this; doomed to repeat the same day again and again, he has not only fallen for Claudia but devoted himself to creating a perfect date with her, violating the typical process of getting to know someone. But those early moments of their first interactions needed a little bit more spark to convince us to care about what happens to either of them.
Since we don’t care, it’s a fairly rote development when Marc, stung by rejection yet again, goes a bit bonkers and gets aggressive. And it’s entirely perfunctory when Claudia resolves the matter by just repeatedly punching him to the ground. There’s a case to be made that this is upending the typical dynamic, giving agency to a potential victim before they even have a chance to become one. But both characters are so two-dimensional that it never really takes.
The low-key ending of The Twilight Zone season 2, episode 9 is Marc, beginning the day again, deciding not to pursue Claudia. I guess he values his snout too much. But… wasn’t he supposed to be obsessed with her? He got over that quickly.
These niggling questions undermine an already disappointing episode. This second half of The Twilight Zone season 2 has proved consistently disappointing.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.