After an anonymous phone call about a spacecraft that crashed in a frozen wood, two police officers find evidence that the event really happened. Apparently one alien had walked away from the spot. They drive to the nearby highway Café and they find a bus with seven passengers waiting for the reopening of a snowed in bridge. However the driver says that he had only six passengers when he parked the bus. While interrogating the travelers, weird things happen in the diner, with the lights switching on and off and the turntable turning on and off. When the passengers are released and the bus follows his travel, one passenger returns to the diner and discloses a plot of the invasion of the Earth. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
After the bus driver realizes that he doesn't know who boarded the bus, Avery (the kooky older man at the diner counter) exclaims "She's just like a science fiction, that's what she is! A regular Ray Bradbury!" Ray Bradbury later wrote the Season 3 episode Twilight Zone: I Sing the Body Electric (1962). See more »
Wintry February night, the present. Order of events: a phone call from a frightened woman notating the arrival of an unidentified flying object, then the checkout you've just witnessed, with two state troopers verifying the event - but with nothing more enlightening to add beyond evidence of some tracks leading across the highway to a diner. You've heard of trying to find a needle in a haystack? Well, stay with us now, and you'll be part of an investigating team whose mission...
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Will the real martian please stand up...? We're gonna have a problem here...
I love the twilight zone episodes that deal with extraterrestrial life and things like time travel and monsters and whatnot, although despite being highly entertaining, this is one of the weaker ones. It's a fun story and it flows smoothly, but is nevertheless rife with problems.
A bus breaks down on a wintry February night, and all of the passengers find themselves stranded in a nearby diner while they wait for the weather to clear up. It seems that the bus driver only picked up six passengers but there are seven people in the diner, which means that one of them was not on the bus.
Yeah, it takes place at night and they all give flimsy reasons for why they weren't paying attention to who was on the bus with them, but are people really that non-observant? A lot of the characters are caricatures, such as the crazy guy, the cute young couple, and the impatient businessman, but not ONE of them can look around and see someone that wasn't on the bus? Not even the driver? Come on...
In his opening monologue, Serling says that finding a Martian in a diner is more difficult than finding a needle in a haystack, but after having seen this episode, I have to say that I doubt that that is actually true, since it gives that all too common feeling that the characters didn't consider the most obvious possibility, at least given the reports of a spaceship landing nearby and the subsequent efforts to figure out who the alien was. There's a clever twist at the end that reminds me of the exact same twist on a preceding episode, Mr. Dingle, The Strong.
Like that episode, this one imagines alien visitors to be humanoids with negligible differences from human beings (more in this episode than that one, I suppose), with no real difference except having three hands or three eyes. Clever episode but not exactly mind-blowing material. Serling has done a lot better, but this is still a high-entertainment episode.
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