Previously on my review of The Twilight Zone, Black Lives Matter! Unless you’re in the Zone, then I guess you can flip it and reverse it on racism.
Tonally, this episode of The Twilight Zone feels like a classic episode. A lot of trademark nods to the Serling era but ultimately I feel like relying on that crutch weighed the whole story down. It’s a tale that’s been done many times before but this one includes some present-day topics that can be… collusionary. Yes. I made up a word.
Get cozy and stay for a bit as I review episode 4 of The Twilight Zone, “A Traveler”.
A Bridge to Nowhere
On a cold Christmas Eve in a small jail in Alaska, the local police captain (Greg Kinnear) is getting ready for his favorite yearly tradition: pardoning a prisoner. On this most magical of nights, a mysterious man (Steven Yeun) appears in one of the prison cells, causing a little mayhem in his innocuous design. All the while, a young indigenous policewoman, Yuka (Marika Sila), questions her allegiances as secrets start spilling out of the traveler’s mouth.
So hey, spoiler alert, the traveler is totally an alien.
I wish it was more subtle than that but literally, the episode opens up on a shot of a toy alien ship.
With that out of the way, the whole story plays out like a 2019 rehash of the classic episode “Monsters are Due on Maple Street”. Using paranoia and fear as ways to control and intimidate is a tactic as old as time, and “A Traveler’s” narrative hones in on that in a SUPER EFFECTIVE way.
A White Russian
In “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” Rod Serling explored ways fear could be harnessed and exploited as a way to disrupt and destroy society. He showcased through a blackout on a small suburban street how quickly people can descend into chaos as neighbors begin suspecting each other and eventually tear themselves apart.
It’s later revealed that an alien spaceship was controlling the blackout, and how easy humans can drive themselves wild with paranoia and fear, and how easy it will be for them to exploit this to take over the world.
This theme was echoed a lot in this iteration of the tale but with Russia added in.
Eventually, the paranoia of Russians invading American soil, because one Asian guy said so, in Alaska of all places, prompts the captain to rush out into the alien’s trap.
Then the episode ends.
With an alien invasion that got me asking…
What was the moral of the story here? At least with “Monster…” there was a lesson to be learned. Here, it just feels like
collusion a happy ending the end no more writing thank you reading comrade.
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