In 1997, the spaceship E81 arrives at the 13th planet in star system 51. Their mission is to collect plant samples to take back to an overpopulated Earth so it can be determined if the planet could be colonized. What they find however is a crashed spaceship of Earth design. Inside the ship they three dead crew members - but the dead are their duplicates and the crashed vessel is the E81. The captain refuses to accept that they might be dead and explores several possibilities to explain what has happened including the theory that they may have time-traveled. The two crewmen hallucinate and come to believe they are already dead but the captain refuses to accept that and intends to prove that they are very much alive. Written by
The introduction to the show says that it is 1997 and the earth is over crowded. But when the crew members go back to their previous lives, the setting are all rather "normal" not over crowded. See more »
Picture of a man who will not see anything he does not choose to see - including his own death. A man of such indomitable will that even the two men beneath his command are not allowed to see the truth; which truth is, that they are no longer among the living, that the movements they make and the words they speak have all been made and spoken countless times before - and will be made and spoken countless times again, perhaps even unto eternity. Picture of a latter-day Flying ...
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This is a very familiar episode. It was written by Richard Matheson who always raised the Twilight Zone to a higher level. In it, a group of space travelers (using the same tired flying saucer that has appeared numerous time in Serling's offerings) land on a planet with a friendly atmosphere. There is tremendous tension among the three, Jack Klugman's Captain an ornery, inflexible autocrat. They are on an exploratory mission and it is natural for them to do this. Upon looking out on the landscape, they see a crashed saucer, an exact copy of the one they are on. Since it is safe for them to do so, they enter the ship, and are aghast to find exact duplicates of themselves, in various poses, all of them dead. Klugman refuses to listen to anything the others say. They are in shock and believe that they have actually died. The two shipmates actually experience a kind of out-of-body experience where they find themselves meeting people who have died in the past. They have also experienced evidence of their own deaths: a newspaper clipping and a funeral bulletin. They are shocked into returning to the ship. Suddenly, the prospect of remaining on the planet becomes unacceptable and this leads to action.
This is a nicely done episode. Jack Klugman's Captain is insufferable. It makes one wonder how these three haven't killed each other long before this. He sees the others as weak and whimpering.
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