When it comes to the despicable characters in The Twilight Zone, few are as selfish and cruel as the protagonist in Self Improvement Salvador Ross. A story about the dangers of selfishness, greed and heartlessness, in which Don Gordon plays Ross, a lovesick thug who wants to win back the love of social worker Leah Maitland (Gale Cobey). He’s willing to go to great lengths to make it happen, but in The Twilight Zone, his efforts go way beyond flowers and gifts.
After a confrontation with Leah’s irate father, Ross encounters a sick old man and, after a sarcastic desire, finds he can trade the man’s cough for a healed hand. With this newly discovered power, Ross makes deals with everyone he meets in an attempt to win Leah’s love – he trades years of his life with an elderly tycoon in exchange for vast wealth and reclaims his youth by making a deal with a young messenger. But whatever he gets, it’s still not enough to get Leah back.
In the end, he realizes that the only thing he needs to gain is her father’s kindness. Unfortunately, the price Ross has to pay for this is an ironic twist of fate. Like The Long Morning, this episode shows the power of love, but this time we see what happens when a less than noble person wields it.