Monday, March 25, 2019

The Twilight Zone (1959) -- Season 2 Episode 1 (King Nine Will Not Return)

Isolation was a theme that came up often in The Twilight Zone.  It was used in the very first episode, in fact.  When the second season started, Rod Serling apparently decided to return to a solitary person trapped in an otherwise vacant area.

Capt. James Embry finds himself next to the wreckage of his plane.  He knows that it’s his plane and that his crew should be nearby.  However, Embry also finds himself alone with no help and no way of communicating with anyone else.  He spends the next half hour wandering about, wondering why he’s there and what he can do about it.

As with many Twilight Zone episodes, one character carries the bulk of the episode.  Many of the better episodes had just enough of the supernatural that you could almost buy it.  There’s also that twist ending that makes us wonder how much of it was real.  Here, not so much.  I mean, we know that it has to be a delusion or a dream.  Right?  People don’t just magically find themselves in the middle of the desert.  And there is a plausible, realistic explanation for it all, except that one hint that maybe it isn’t.

It occurred to me that having the series be an anthology might have been a blessing.  For starters, a viewer could easily pick up in the middle of a season.  Marathons could be aired out of order with little consequence.  Also, could you imagine one character having to go through all of these problems?  This would have to be the unluckiest person in the world.  Then again, there’s no real hook.  We never find out what becomes of Capt. Embry.  I suppose whatever issues he had would be worked out eventually.  He’d get over whatever put him in the Twilight Zone and move on.

It’s a good episode, even if it is similar to the first one.  There is a certain amount of predictability, but the series is still bale to pull it off.

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