“It’s death that gives this world its point.” So asserts Walter Jameson, and he should know. Somehow, thousands of years ago, he achieved the ability to not age. He’s not a superman. He could succumb to an accident or possibly an illness. But he hasn’t. He’s been lucky. But the gift of longevity is problematic. One must become tired of living. The shortness of life makes it precious and worth holding on to. Nor does longevity provide wisdom. “You just go on living, that’s all.”
This episode overlaps thematically with “Escape Clause,” and like that episode, relates to Bernard Williams’ “The Makropolous Case: Reflections on the Tedium of Immortality.” But what this episode adds is an observation about the problem of immortality in the context of humans as social beings. Walter Jameson outlives other people, but his condition also leads him to treat others differently than he might otherwise.
It’s odd that it toke a few thousand years for a jilted former wife to get majorly annoyed at Walter’s behavior, but when it happens it shows that our greatest challenges are found in our relationships with others. Walter is immune from aging, but not from the consequences of the way he treats his fellow humans.