Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Twilight Zone -- Season 1 Episode 15 (I Shot an Arrow into the Air)

WARNING: I’m going to give away the ending to the episode.  If you haven’t seen it and want to be surprised, you might want to hold off on reading this review.


It seems like space exploration was a popular theme for television back in the 1960s.  This was especially true of The Twilight Zone, which seems to have had its fair share of episodes about leaving Earth.  I Shot an Arrow into the Air is about eight men sent into outer space only to be lost very quickly.  (Ground control doesn’t know what happened to them, not that they have communications anyway.)

Four of the men survive the crash, although one dies quickly.  This leaves Col. Bob Donlin, Pierson and Corey to figure out what happened to the failed flight.  They assume that they’ve landed on an asteroid, although the atmosphere is breathable and the intensity of the sun is about what they’d find on Earth.

Either way, it’s hot and they don’t have much water.  Donlin, being the commanding officer, insists on maintaining order.  The big question, of course, is how to survive.  It took over four years to build the ship, so rescue might not come for at least that long, assuming anyone figures out where they are.  He sends Pierson and Corey out to have a look at the surrounding area, hoping to find something along the lines of shelter or food.

This episode, like many others, comes with a twist ending.  I’m conflicted about revealing it.  On the one hand, isn’t’ that why you watch the show?  Everyone wants to be surprised by the ending.  On the other hand, we’ve become a little more savvy about things like science.  It’s kind of hard not to question certain things.

That being said, you’ve been warned.  I’m going to divulge the ending:  They landed on Earth.  Corey kills the other two survivors for their water only to find out that he’s not too far from Reno.  It’s odd that several trained professionals sent into space would miss this rather obvious possibility.  For starters, they couldn’t have flown that far.  Space is vast.  The Apollo missions took several days to get to the moon.  I’m not sure where they thought this asteroid was.

Speaking of which, The Twilight Zone is either misuses the term asteroid or is  severely overestimating an asteroid’s gravity.  Anything that small shouldn’t have anything resembling strong gravity or an atmosphere, let alone mountains.  (I’ve noticed this in at least one other episode.)  An asteroid shouldn’t be that big.

My big issue was Corey.  He was kind of a jerk, constantly whining about not having water.  He even wants to refuse water to a dying man because the rest of them need it.  I’d normally say that it’s a fair point, but you don’t deny a dying man something like that.  How did Corey make it through training?  Don’t they do some sort of psychological evaluation or something?

It’s a good episode, but it’s not a great episode.  It’s one of those episodes I’ll watch if it comes on a marathon, but I don’t know that I’d pay rent it.  If you can watch it streaming on Netflix, go for it.



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