When we meet Eve Martin (Gennifer Goodwin) at the top of this Twilight Zone episode, we find her floating through a life evoking 50’s era American privilege: a beautiful house with perfectly decorated interiors in a snowy, picturesque neighborhood. She is guiding event planners through the particulars of the “new parents” dinner she’s hosting for her daughter’s elite school. Her twins have been cared for by Anna (Zabryna Guevara), the family’s Guatemalan nanny. Eve is clearly a woman who has been accustomed to a life of ease and no hard work. She seems to have stepped out of a “Leave It To Beaver” style television program from a bygone era.
Before Anna leaves for the evening, she asks Eve for a favor: to use Eve’s address so that her grandson can go to a prestigious charter school, because her daughter doesn’t live in the district. Anna offers to do anything, even work overtime without pay, so that her grandson can have this opportunity. Eve, after exclaiming surprise at Anna’s having a grandson, agrees to the favor and proclaims that Anna is family.
Anna answers a knock at the door, and is immediately arrested by black clad agents of some kind, much to Eve’s dismay. She has a sit-down with the neighborhood wives, and the discussion is rife with words and phrases straight from today’s headlines: the fact that these women and their families employ people who are “other” and that doing so could bring difficulties down on their heads. One of the women remarks that when another person is hired in place of the arrested one, they’ll have “the same problems.” 
American wealth and the privilege it purchases are on full display here, but the story takes a turn when Eve takes her daughters on a trip to the grocery store, and we realize through her interaction with the children that she has not been raising them. When Eve takes up two parking spots, the children remark that Anna hates people who do that, and  makes the point by rattling off a curse word in Spanish. The children recognize the homeless guitar player in the parking garage, asking for a dollar to give him, as Eve always does. When Eve is paying for the groceries and is asked for a store value membership card, she doesn’t know the number. The children recite it instantly to the cashier. Eve doesn’t know how to use the card reader. When both of her cards are declined and she leaves the store in a huff, her car is blocked in by black vehicles in the parking garage and she and her daughters are taken to what appears to be a holding facility.
What follows is clearly aimed straight at the current state of American Immigration reform and the travesties that have taken place since Trump took office and enacted his “build a wall” protocols. Eve and her family are held without being told why they’ve been detained. Eventually the girls and their father are allowed to leave, but Eve is kept for “further evaluation”. Eve runs into Anna in the holding area, and is surprised to find her there since she thought she was “deported back to Mexico”. Anna explains that it was always easy to ignore the things going on in the world as long as Eve could just turn the channel. Anna is from Guatemala. She has raised Eve’s daughters since they were infants, and they speak Spanish while their mother does not. Anna shames her when she points out that claiming Anna as “family” is moot when she didn’t even know the names of Anna’s children.
Anna claims to know why Eve has been detained, and leads her to a secret room where other inmates reveal that Eve is one of a group of “pilgrims” from a neighboring dimension whose world was harsh and desolate. These “pilgrims” found a way to cross into this world and did so, blending in with the natives. Now, the government is attempting to find these “pilgrims” and send them back “where they belong”.
The rest of the episode plays out in a somber fashion: after being evaluated and found lacking, Eve is placed in a cell. She is eventually secretly approached and offered freedom since she is wealthy and can pay for it (perhaps a jab at our corrupt bonding system), and she agrees but insists that Anna must come along. There are given an escape plan and follow it perfectly, but when the getaway vehicle shows up, Anna doesn’t trust things and runs into the woods. Eve is driven home.
She enters the house to find her husband and children there, but is given a chilly reception: he’s been told of her “otherness” and tearfully rejects her. Eve is immediately collected by the black clad agents and perp walked in front of her neighbors, back to an uncertain but gloomy fate.
“Point Of Origin” is a thinly veiled examination on how we view privilege, money, power, and safety in this country. Eve is a woman who enjoys all the power and perks that come with wealth, and the  feelings of safety and superiority that come along with them. Her concern for Anna’s detainment is based purely on the idea that Anna presence has made her life easy. She isn’t raising her children, and doesn’t know anything about Anna’s personal life despite employing her for eleven years.
Eve’s own detainment and her feelings about it first flow from uncertainty and frustration to attempting to solve the “misunderstanding” with money, and finally with panic and terror and she discovers that she is not native to this place, but nonetheless is horrified to be torn from what she identifies as home. 
The usage of the word “pilgrim” as a stand in for immigrant is intriguing here, given its prominent and positive connection to the mythology of America’s founding. The Pilgrims who “bravely” left their homes to avoid “religious prosecution” then came to the New World and helped create a new nation built for people like them. Despite what the country’s brochure says, the Pilgrims led the way for death, destruction, genocide, the murder of this land’s natives and the organized enslavement of millions from Africa’s shores. The entire concept of America as a “Land Of Opportunity” is built upon the privilege of the white men who founded the nation, but cemented on the work of “others” they deemed, and still deem, unworthy of the freedoms America espouses. 
America’s treatment and vilification of immigrants and various forms of “otherness” are appalling, and the episode asks a question but doesn’t provide an easy answer: what would any of us do if our privilege and safety, which we often flaunt and simultaneously take for granted, was taken away and “we” became “them”? How quickly would our eyes be opened to the plight of fear and suffering happening every day on our television screens if it was suddenly happening to us?

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply