Top 3 Episodes: The Twilight Zone

“You are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!”

Looking back at my Medium profile, I was a wise existentialist that wrote quite often. Well, honestly I am nothing but a very tired entry level worker now. But, even so, there is a part of me that miss writing here. Unfortunately, I cannot force myself to be ~philosophical~ all of a sudden. So, I am going to start by writing about one of many things that I appreciate in life, that requires no emotional depth, and that is The Twilight Zone.

I was only a bored highschooler the first time I discovered The Twilight Zone. I was changing channels on my TV until I came across Syfy channel and there was this black & white TV series playing. I always had a huge interest in life in the 1960s and I also love something creepy. Obviously, The TZ have both of them, so it’s not a surprise that I was instantly hooked. I don’t really remember the first episode I watched, but I am going to list my top 5 episodes, ever since then:

  1. A Stop at Willoughby (S01E30)
source: https://twilightzone.fandom.com/wiki/A_Stop_at_Willoughby

The story is about Gart Williams who is just tired with his life (aren’t we all??). His boss is constantly pressuring him and his wife only consider him as her own personal money tree. She even told Gart that she made a tragic mistake by marrying a man whose big dream is to be Huckleberry Finn, ouch. His life is miserable until he fell asleep and woke up in a place called Willoughby. A place where the kids doesn’t wear sandals and the adults can just chill, because it’s July 1888 there. A place where Gart feels like he actually belong to. As a miserable man he is, he asks the conductor where in the world Willoughby is, and of course the conductor tells him there’s no Willoughby on the line.

The next week, Gart find himself in Willoughby again after he fell asleep on the train. He wanted to get off the train, but it’s too late. He is riding to the present again. But, Gart determines to get off at Willoughby the next time.

After a major breakdown at his office, and being abandoned by his wife at the most crucial time,once again, Gart falls asleep on his way home and returns to Willoughby. This time he finally get the chance to get off the train and leaving his briefcase at the train. The inhabitants greet him warmly and Gart tell them that he is planning to move to Willoughby. As a naive teenager back then, I thought Gart finally had his happy ending, but no. Gart is actually dead. The reality is, he jumps off the train while shouting something about Willoughby and instantly killed. As his body is loaded to the hearse, we get the look of the name of the funeral home: Willoughby & Son. Goddamn masterpiece.

2. To Serve Man (S03E24)

At first, this episode felt like any other American alien-we-come-in-peace tale. An alien species called the Kanamits land on earth at the time when international crises arise. In a United Nation conference, they say they come to help humanity with their advanced technology. After answering questions at the conference, the Kanamit walks out without saying nothing and leave a text book in the Kanamit language.

This leads Michael Chambers, a US Government cryptographer in duty to translate what is in the book. As the US cryptographer team do their work, the Kanamits puts an end to world hunger, energy shortages, and the arms race with their advanced technology. Their benevolence doesn’t seem suspicious at all, plus the fact that the title of their book that finally Patty, one of Michael’s staff decodes, is To Serve Man.

Human and their ego and pride of course assume right away that the word serve on the title means to perform duty or services for mankind. Long story short, since all humanity problem is solved by the Kanamits, the cryptographer doesn’t really have any work to do anymore. But, Patty is still trying to work out about what’s really in the book. Until one moment when Michael was just about to join the Kanamits spaceship to fly to the Kanamit’s planet, Patty cries:

“ Mr. Chambers, don’t get on that ship! The rest of the book To Serve Man, it’s…it’s a cookbook!”

Iconic.

3. The Monsters are Due on Maple Street (S01E22)

Have you ever watched sci-fi movies that makes you think “Damn, mankind really are the stupidest!” ?

Well, this episode of Twilight Zone really gives that vibes. Maple Street is a peaceful neighborhood full of children playing and adults socializing. Until, suddenly a flash of light appears and the neighborhood assume it was only a meteor. But then, strange things happened, all the electricity went off. Even the stoves, lawn mower, cars, and phones. Pete Van Horn as a good resident he is, volunteered to check to the next street whether they experienced the same thing as Maple Street or not.

source: https://25yearslatersite.com/2019/08/16/the-twilight-zone-the-monsters-are-due-on-maple-street/

Another residents, Steve and Charlie decide to go to the town to check. However, Tommy, an alien obsessed teenager forbid them to go. He says that the alien wouldn’t want the residents to go and actually the alien is the reason behind the power outage. He also adds that the alien is between them, acting and looking just like human. As expected, the adults don’t believe in Tommy and assure him that the power outage is most likely caused by the sunspots which earlier happened.

Les Goodman, another concerned residents tries to start his car, but failed. As he walks to join the other residents, suddenly the cars starts by itself. The neighbors start to suspect him as he did not join the neighbors right away when the power outage happened. All the residents begin to accuse Les based on the slightest odd thing that Les usually do, and the situation is getting out of control. Long story short, the situation is very chaotic now, everyone accusing everyone that they are alien that caused this.

The tension reach its peak, when a shadow of man coming to the Maple Street. Charlie already prepared his shotgun, even though Steve insists that no one is shooting anybody tonight. As the shadow gets closer, Charlie gets panic and shot the person. Apparently, the man in the shadow is Pete, which just come back from Floral Street and now he’s dead. Surely, Charlie defends his act and suddenly the power in his house is on. Everybody starts saying that Charlie shot Pete because Pete already knew Charlie is an alien. Steve try to defuse the tension, but the situation is too tense and no one listens to him anymore. While, the accusation is still happening, the lights goes on and off, the car engine starts on and off with no reason. The mob became hysterical and the situation quickly turned into a riot.

The ending scene shows a spaceship where its crew watching the riot that’s still happening in Maple Street while using a manipulative device to manipulate the neighborhood’s power. They comment on how simple it is to lead people into paranoia and panic, and this thing can be exploited for them to take conquer the earth, one neighborhood at a time.

Well, If I were an alien that wants to conquer the earth, I’d definitely use the same strategy as well, because we must admit that sometimes human are so fragile and small-minded. Bear in mind that this episode airs in 1960, but nothing really changes and this is actually really frightening.

OK, now to sum up, The Twilight Zone is definitely the best TV series ever, and each episodes will make you think and I think it’s nice to think about life once in a while. So, if you haven’t watched The Twilight Zone or might want to try to watch it, please watch these 3 episodes first and I can guarantee these episodes won’t disappoint you.

I think about what to write more often than actually write.