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
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The colony is said to be on a planet in a binary star system a billion miles from Earth, however a billion miles away would still place them within our solar system, somewhere between the orbits of Saturn (746 million miles away) and Uranus (1.2 billion miles away). See more »
Isn't living tough enough here we shouldn't have to go by the book? Isn't it hot enough and miserable enough there shouldn't be rules? We shouldn't have to suffer by the numbers? Will somebody please make the simple comment there's more happiness going into that grave? More peace of mind than all the mourners put together. Nothing but anguish here. Captain Benteen, let us live with it our own way. Or let us die from it - in our own way!
[addressing the crowd]
Young Mr. Baines would have us lie ...
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Captain Benteen is a leader. He has led this group of "pioneers" leading a hard scrabble existence on a lonely, barren rock of a planet for 30 years, and tomorrow, a space ship is coming to take the forlorn group back to earth. All he has ever known is to be the leader of this group of 187. And when the ship comes, and everyone goes home and gets to live in freedom, what will happen to him then? This is the primary question brought up by this episode. How will Benteen deal with the loss of his authority and power? Will he be eager to lose his position as the leader of these people? Well, maybe this episode is a warning about what happens when power becomes ingrained.
This is one of the most effective and memorable Twilight Zone episodes. It still resonates with power and meaning today.
If this episode isn't an allegory for the dangers of totalitarianism, socialism or just those who think they know what's best for the rest of us, it ought to be.
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