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"What You Need" is the 12th episode of The Twilight Zone, and was first broadcast on Christmas Day of 1959 (and is, tangentially, a Christmas story). It stars Steve Cochran as two-bit hood Fred Renard and Ernest Treux as peddler Pedott.

Renard is hanging out in a bar when Pedott comes in and sells two items to other customers, which coincidentally lead to employment and love inside of 5 minutes. Seeing this and putting two and two together, Renard harasses Pedott into giving him something: Pedott gives him a pair of scissors, which Renard uses to cut his scarf when it gets trapped in the doors of an elevator. Renard pursues more help, and though Pedott tries to stave him off, he eventually is forced to take drastic measures.

The episodes conclusion is somewhat foregone: a thug trying to outwit a man who can read the future is an easy battle to guess the result of. The establishing of Pedott's abilities is also done without subtly: every time he makes a reading he stares off into space while chimes play. We have also seen the idea of a magical peddler before on The Twilight Zone---twice.

What is most interesting about this episode for me, from my 21st century standpoint, is whether it might have been broadcast, in part, to round out The Twilight Zone's demographics. I don't know if television was quite as calculating in this regard in 1959, but from a modern standpoint, it seems curious that this episode, as well as the one before and the one after, show prominent scenes in bars. It seems likely that The Twilight Zone wanted to round out its appeal by mixing some noir elements of hoodlums and violence into its more philosophical and conceptual stories.

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