She’s just like a science fiction, that’s what she is! A reg’lar Ray Bradbury! Six humans and one monster from outer space. You wouldn’t happen to have an eye in the back of your head, would you?
So yes, yes yes. I have finally gotten around to review a Twilight Zone episode. This has to be one of my favorite TV shows of all time, one of the biggest part of my childhood.
So for those of you who have never seen it, The Twilight Zone was a TV series that ran from 1959-1964. Every episode was its unique story and they all had to do with the supernatural unusual, strange, alien, etc. It was a great show.
At the beginning of every episode, Rod Serling would do an introduction, and at the end wrap it up with a concluding thoughts or moral.
It was a fantastic show, and Rod Serling actually wrote most of seasons 1-3, leveling off on seasons 4-5.
So while this isn’t the spookiest, creepiest, or most traumatizing episode in the series, it is my absolute favorite, so I decided to review it.
We open on two state troopers. They are out in the snow looking for a UFO.
Yes, they were called by a woman who said she heard, something overhead. When they went out to look, they find that something crashed into the nearby pond.
And footprints coming out of the ice and ship, leading to a nearby diner. A diner that has a bus parked in front of it.
Enter Rod Serling:
Wintry February night, the present. Order of events: a phone call from a frightened woman notating the arrival of an unidentified flying object, then the checkout you’ve just witnessed, with two state troopers verifying the event – but with nothing more enlightening to add beyond evidence of some tracks leading across the highway to a diner. You’ve heard of trying to find a needle in a haystack?
So in the next scene we have the troopers heading into the cute little diner.
When they get inside everyone looks normal.
Who is the Alien????
The troopers tell everyone they have to remain in the cafe. The bridge to go on has been declared unfit for the time being, as the ice storm has weakened it. And they need to find an alien.
They ask Olmstead the bus driver about a passenger manifest, but he says he doesn’t have one. The bus is old, business is bad, and they don’t care about names they just want what little money they can eke out.
The head trooper, Dan Padgett, asks Olmstead how many passengers were there on the bus? Olmstead tells him six.
There are seven people, not counting the bus driver and the cafe owner. SEVEN!
Now Ross, one of the passengers on a hurry to reach Boston, thinks the bus driver is just mistaken. The troopers ask, but no. Olmstead is 100% sure, he counted before they left. There is an extra person in the cafe.
The troops want to be sure that they aren’t overacting, so they ask Haley if anyone was in here before. But Haley and Olmstead confirm there wasn’t anyone here until they came. Someone must have sneaked in with the group.
Now the easy thing to do in order to figure out who the alien is, is pick out which of the seven the passengers and bus driver don’t recognize.
The snow was coming down so hard, everyone bordered the bus as quickly as possible. The bus driver counted, and then they headed for Boston. They decided to stop at the diner, and with the snow still falling down like crazy, no one really remembers seeing anyone.
So now we have a perfect setup for an amazing episode. Like Night of the Living Dead, tensions start rising and everyone begins turning on each other.
So which one could it be? Which of the seven passengers is not human?
1. Ethel McConnell
Ethel McConnell is a dancer going to Boston. When asked for ID, she says she doesn’t have it. It was sent on ahead. Now the bus driver says she was the only one he noticed, as she is hot, but is he just saying that because he thinks speaking up for her might win her over?
She does point out one interesting fact. The best thing to do is cross off the couples. As they were together most of the, they are less likely the alien.
Is it Her?
2 & 3. George and Connie Price
George and Connie are newlyweds heading to Boston. George says that they are in the clear as they are a couple, but it’s too late. Tensions are starting to rise and doubt is creeping in.
[Connie looking at George intently, studying his face]
George: What are you doing.
Connie: I…I thought you had a mole on your chin.
George: I’ve never had a mole.
Is it One of Them?
4 & 5. Rose and Peter Kramer
They are a married couple, and also believe they should be exonerated. But they too are suffering from doubt and fear.
Peter Kramer: We’re all going to get so panicky that everyone and his brother will start picking up invisible clues from everybody else.
Rose Kramer: It’s completely ridiculous for a husband and wife to question whether the husband is really the husband and the wife is really…[starts staring intently at her husband Peter]
Peter Kramer: I think twenty-three years is long enough for a wife to know who her husband is.
Is it One of Them?
Now Avery just looks crazy and inhuman. Every time he speaks he either is joking or pointing fingers as to who could be the alien. In fact the troopers suspect him more than anyone else. They interrogate him, asking about baseball, of which he knows everything.
Avery: Didn’t figure us Martians would know nothin’ about the great American pastime, did ya?
Is it Him?
Ross is in a hurry to get to Boston for business. He is grumpy, rude, and trying to get the show on the road. The whole time he has been pushing and pushing to get out of the cafe and away from the area, saying that the hunt for an alien is stupid.
Is it Him?
While they are questioning the passangers, all of a sudden the jukebox starts playing, even though no one is over there.
And then the lights start flickering.
They are all freaked out when the phone rings.
The trooper listens, and when it is over he tells everyone that it was the county engineer, the bridge has been cleared. They don’t want to release the group without figuring which was the alien, but have no real way of being able to keep them.
Olmstead doesn’t want to go, as he feels the bridge is unsafe, but what the heck. Let’s go. So they all settle their accounts and everyone leaves with us not knowing who the alien is.
Not too long after, someone comes back into the cafe.
It is the passenger, Ross.
What is he doing back here? Haley starts questioning what happened, when Ross tells him everyone died. The bridge wasn’t safe at all. It was all an illusion; like the jukebox, lights, and phone.
Ross is the alien!
Yes Ross is a Martian and he has been sent ahead to check out the area. In fact, his friends should be there soon to start the colony. Haley is surprised, to say the least.
That’s not all,
What a twist, what an ending!
Narrator: Incident on a small island, to be believed or disbelieved. However, if a sour-faced dandy named Ross or a big, good-natured counterman who handles a spatula as if he’d been born with one in his mouth, – if either of these two entities walk onto your premises, you’d better hold their hands – all three of them – or check the color of their eyes – all three of them. The gentlemen in question might try to pull you into – The Twilight Zone.
To start Horrorfest IV from the beginning, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It Has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)
For the previous post, go to Monster Mash
For more on The Twilight Zone, go to A Trip to the Mall Turns Into the Twilight Zone
For more on aliens, go to Its Mrs. Archer. She’s on a Rampage!: Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)