"Mirror Image" is the twenty-first episode of the The Twilight Zone.
This is one of several episodes from season one with its opening title sequence plastered over with the opening for season two. This was done during the Summer of 1961 as to help the season one shows fit in with the new look the show had taken during the following season.
"Millicent Barnes, age twenty-five, young woman waiting for a bus on a rainy November night. Not a very imaginative type is Miss Barnes, not given to undue anxiety or fears, or, for that matter, even the most temporal flights of fancy. Like most career women, she has a generic classification as a, quote, girl with a head on her shoulders, end of quote. All of which is mentioned now because, in just a moment, the head on Miss Barnes' shoulders will be put to a test. Circumstances will assault her sense of reality and a chain of nightmares will put her sanity on a block. Millicent Barnes, who, in one minute, will wonder if she's going mad."
A young woman named Millicent Barnes is waiting in a bus depot in Ithaca, New York, for a bus to Cortland, en route to a new job. Upon looking at a wall clock she notices the bus is late. She walks up to the ticket counter to ask the ticket agent when the bus will arrive, and he gruffly replies that this is her third time there. Millicent denies this. While speaking with the ticket agent, she notices a bag just like hers in the luggage pile behind her. She mentions this to the ticket agent, who says it's her bag. She doesn't believe this until she notices her bag is not beside the bench anymore. Later she goes into the restroom to wash her hands and the cleaning lady there insists this is her second time there. Again, Millicent denies this. Upon leaving the restroom, she glances in the mirror and sees, in addition to her reflection, an exact copy of herself sitting on the bench outside. A few moments later she meets a young man from Binghamton named Paul Grinstead, who is waiting for the same bus. Millicent tells Paul about encountering her double. Paul, attempting to calm Millicent, says it is either a joke or a misunderstanding caused by a look-alike. When the bus arrives and the two of them prepare to board it, Millicent looks in the window and sees the copy of herself, seated already upon the bus. In shock, she runs back into the depot and faints. Millicent lies unconscious on a bench inside the depot while Paul and the cleaning lady attend to her. Paul agrees to wait for the 7:00 bus. While they wait, Millicent, now coming to, insists the strange events are caused by an evil double from a parallel world - a nearby, yet distant alternate plane of existence that comes into convergence with this world by powerful forces, or unnatural, unknown events. When this happens, the malevolent impostors enter this realm. Millicent's doppelgänger, evil in nature, can survive in this world only by eliminating and replacing its good counterpart - Millicent herself. Paul says the explanation is "a little metaphysical" for him, and believes that Millicent's sanity is beginning to unravel. Paul tells Millicent he'll call a friend in Tully who has a car and may be able to drive them to Syracuse. In reality, he calls the police. After Millicent is taken away by two policemen, Paul begins to settle himself. After drinking from a water fountain, Paul notices that his valise is missing. Looking up towards the doors, Paul notices another man running out the door of the bus depot. Pursuing this individual down the street, Paul discovers that he is chasing his own copy, its face a mask of excited, evil delight.
"Obscure metaphysical explanation to cover a phenomenon, reasons dredged out of the shadows to explain away that which cannot be explained. Call it parallel planes or just insanity. Whatever it is, you find it in the Twilight Zone."
Preview for Next Week's Story
"Next week, on The Twilight Zone, we put you on a front porch. Summer evening, tree-lined street, typical small town. And then we pull the rug out from under your feet and we throw a nightmare at you. Claude Akins, Jack Weston, and Barry Atwater are your neighbors just at that moment when "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street". Don't chicken out. See you next week."
- Rod Serling as Narrator (voice only); uncredited
- Vera Miles as Millicent Barnes
- Martin Milner as Paul Grinstead
- Joseph Hamilton as Ticket Agent [Credited as Joe Hamilton]
- Naomi Stevens as Washroom Attendant
- Therese Lyon as Old Woman [Credited as Terese Lyon]
- Ferris Taylor as Passenger
- Edwin Rand as Bus Driver
- Rod Serling (executive producer: Cayuga Productions)
- Buck Houghton (producer)
- George T. Clemens (director of photography)
- Bill Mosher (film editor)
- Millie Gusse (casting; credited: Mildred Gusse)
- George W. Davis (art director)
- William Ferrari (art director)
- Budd Friend (set decorator; credited: Budd S. Friend)
- Henry Grace (set decorator)
- Ralph W. Nelson (production manager)
- Edward O. Denault (assistant director; credited: Edward Denault)
- Franklin Milton (sound; credited: Frank Milton)
- Jean G. Valentino (sound; credited: Jean Valentino)
- Van Allen James (sound effects editor; uncredited)
- Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (1960) (USA) (TV) (original airing)
- United Productions of America (UPA) (animated title)
- In a short film pitching the Twilight Zone series to a Dutch television station, creator Rod Serling claimed to have gotten the idea for "Mirror Image" following an encounter at an airport. Serling noticed a man at the other side of the terminal who wore the same clothes and carried the same suitcase as himself; Serling considered what would happen if the man turned around and was revealed to be a duplicate of himself. However, the man turned out to be younger and "more attractive".
- In the original story, " The Mirror Image", the washroom attendant was actually a woman working at the lunch counter.