Space colonists from Pilgrim I, Earth's first spaceship to colonize the outer regions, have spent 30 years in their new home. It's a lonely barren place and they are waiting for a ship from to arrive to transport them home. Some of the colonists are at their wits end and another one, the 9th in six months, commits suicide. They are led by William Benteen, who they call Captain, a tough no-nonsense type who does his best to keep them together. They rejoice when the ship arrives and are given three days to prepare for their departure. As the day approaches however, Benteen assumes the community will stay together on Earth. When he realizes that most in the community will go their own way once they get home, he decides they should stay. When the group decides otherwise, Benteen is left with only one option. Written by
When Benteen and George are first at the electric panel, the mike keeps entering and exiting the picture's lower right-hand corner. See more »
William Benteen, who had prerogatives: he could lead, he could direct, dictate, judge, legislate. It became a habit, then a pattern, and finally a necessity. William Benteen, once a god - now a population of one.
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Brian Jones founded the Rolling Stones. Once Mick Jagger and Keith Richards outshone him, he lost the will to live. At least that's how the story goes. James Whitmore's Captain Benteen is truly a saint. He has taken a group of misfit pilgrims on a fated voyage from earth and inspired them to stay alive. He uses strength and compassion or whatever it takes to allow them to survive. He also invokes his religion. His greatest ally, however, is the continuing promise of their returning to earth ("a spaceship is on its way"). He even leads them in chants that gird their courage. Then one day, the promised ship actually appears with a group of impressive astronauts who have come to take them back. Unfortunately for Benteen, he is quickly replaced in the adoration of his "subjects" by these young men. Of course, what happens next is obvious. The Captain begins to see himself as an actual messiah. There is a pathetic scene where he begins to pound at one of the standards of the space ship (actually a flying saucer) with a piece of petal. We see him sweating and grimacing as his kingdom comes undone. In addition to the obvious moral implications at work here, the greatest asset of this episode is the acting of James Whitmore. He never quite got his due as an actor, but almost every time he was on screen he did an admirable job. This is one of the more memorable of the Zone offerings.
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