Trying to find his way home after a dogfight in World War I, Royal Flying Corps Flt. Lt. William Terrance Decker lands at a U.S. Air Force base 42 years into the future. No one believes him when he claims to be from 1917, thinking someone is trying to put one over on them. Decker himself admits that before suddenly leaping into the future he was actually flying away from an serial encounter and leaving his friend in a lurch. He also realizes that he may have an opportunity to rectify that situation. Written by
Writer Richard Matheson explained that the title of this episode and its short story referred to both the protagonist's physical journey as well as his departure from cowardice. See more »
Decker looks out the window of the general's office to see a 1959 jet aircraft pass on the airfield, however other shots in the same office show the window overlooks a parking lot with palm trees and cars. See more »
Witness Flight Lieutenant William Terrance Decker, Royal Flying Corps, returning from a patrol somewhere over France. The year is 1917. The problem is that the Lieutenant is hopelessly lost. Lieutenant Decker will soon discover that a man can be lost not only in terms of maps and miles, but also in time - and time in this case can be measured in eternities.
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It's almost worth the entire episode to watch the WWI biplane land at a 1959 SAC base in France. The hulking cargo planes make the 1917 relic look like a Tonka toy as it taxis under an immense wing. It's also a good graphic illustration of how the destructive power of air weaponry had grown over time-- and that was 50 years ago.
The drama itself is an engrossing exercise in time travel, as a WWI British pilot must travel forward in time and then back so that the future can remain the way it should be. If this sounds confusing, it is, because there's a paradox at it's heart and probably a logical contradiction. But then, that's why TZ remains a cultural landmark -- it was among the first, if not the very first, to use TV to challenge us about our most common-sense beliefs. And it did so in an engrossing way that keeps people as entertained now as it did then. This episode stands as a good example.
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