A bittersweet episode of thrilling drama, ‘The Commuter’.
The third out of ten, in the sci-fi anthology by Phillip K. Dick has aired and was a brilliant addition to the odd scope of Electric Dreams.
Set in a modern day railway station and town in England, ‘The Commuter’ is a brilliant episode and throws a spanner in the works as a result of the odd, modern day setting. .
A hardworking father whose son suffers from psychosis discovers a land of liberty and expression where he escapes from reality. Working at a railway station and helping commuters daily, the considerate character of Ed (Timothy Spall) is exemplary of the middle-class mediocre lifestyle.
Unfortunately, Ed must deal with his son’s mental illness and his family situation. A character in dire need of liberty is enlightened by the odd character of Linda Anne who appears and disappears in the blink of an eye after various enquiries of a mystery town.
When intrigued by her story, Ed begins searching for this mystery town and discovers it in the middle of a field. Commuters begin to jump off the train into a field and enter the mystery town, Ed following in utter disbelief.
Entering the town for the first time, Ed is greeted and welcomed in a pleasant cafe. He then encounters an engaged couple and questions his place in the utopian environment of the mystery town. Returning from the bliss of the moment to his home, the character’s son is not present and his wife is represented as weak without the support of Ed.
Oddly enough, the second time he visits the town the same events take place, underlining an even stranger tone of unreality.
When looking into the history of the supposed town, Ed discovers the concepts for the utopian society and meets the theorist who had planned it out. This theorist explains that a woman called Linda Anne had designed the original town, the same woman evading Ed at the beginning of the episode.
The third and final time Ed enters the town he recognises everything is distorted and non-existent with Ed searching for Linda restlessly. The fact that Ed’s son has been removed from existence shows the repurcussions of tampering with one’s mental capacity in confining oneself to a utopian society.
The railway resembles the constant passage of time and people and reflects the inner struggles of Ed and his family problems. It is a reminder for him and the audience that reality is inescapable.
I would rate this episode a solid….