The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling
Episode directed by Patrick Norris
Welcome back to yet another episode of The Twilight Drone! Not one of those flying things, I mean in terms of just… droning on. Yeah, I’m just gonna be upfront with you; this is one of the bad ones in that it’s REALLY boringly made and has a message that… well you’ll see soon enough. Oh well! I’m sure we’ll get to something more interesting next time like aliens, or time travel or whatever, so let’s just burn through this one and try to make a few jokes along the way! Let’s get started!!
Scott (Rob Estes) is a hot shot sports agent who’s having a rather tough start to his day as he got a flat on his tire and is about to lose one of his biggest players if he doesn’t stop him from singing with someone else. While waiting for a tow truck to get there, he wanders off into the nearby woods to pee on a tree (as you do), and ends up getting lost; finding not his car but a beautiful home in the middle of nowhere. Inside he finds a woman named Marisa (Elizabeth Berkley, yes THAT Elizabeth Berkley) who similarly has to be somewhere soon but wandered into the forest for whatever reason (perhaps the SAME reason) and ended up here. This place by the way has bad reception even by 2002 standards and their watches have stopped working as well. The house has no light switches, no electricity, no clocks, and no cars. Now to ME this sounds like an unbearable hell to live in whether or not there’s a good view and pretty throw pillows, but I don’t want to get TOO ahead of myself here, and it also turns out that Marisa is familiar with the area and KNOWS that no idyllic looking mountain ranges or sparkling clear ponds are anywhere close to where the two of them got lost, so they’re kinda stuck as far as finding their way back; wherever “back” even is at this point.
Resigned to spending the night in this house in the middle of nowhere, we learn that both are workaholics juggling quite a few big projects right now and that neither can really afford to stop for even this short of a break, but since they’re lost in… let’s go with ANOTHER DIMENSION for now, they have to make the most of their provincial existence; scanning the mountain ranges, eating delicious vegetables, and enjoying the absurdly large heated swimming pool which I wouldn’t think would be a THING considering there’s no electricity, but there I go getting ahead of myself again so let’s just keep the plot train moving. We montage over a few days, maybe even weeks, and both Scott and Marisa are sitting in front of a roaring fire wearing silk robes and drinking wine. Marisa has been much more accepting of this new status quo than Scott and she proposes that both of them throw whatever possessions they had from their past lives into the fire. Their wallets, their IDs, their cell phones, whatever! Just feed it to the fire!!
Surprisingly Scott goes for it as well (albeit more hesitantly) and they continue to leave as they had before… until a woman stumbles out of the woods and into their flower garden. Her name is Rikki (Nicki Aycox) and her story is that she hit an oil slick on her motorcycle, FLEW through the air into the woods, and wound up wandering for hours until she found the house. A bit odd that she has no visible bruises or broken bones considering how horrific the accident must have been, but that’s probably just a budgetary thing. No, the thing we SHOULD be finding odd is that she whips out her flip phone and it actually gets a signal where she calls someone to pick up tomorrow. Wait, the outside world still exists!? This isn’t some sort of pocket dimension that they fell into with unlimited resources and mild to sunny weather!? Well Scott seems to be thrilled at this notion, but Marisa is much less so and seems to have read the script already because she doesn’t want Scott to use Rikki’s phone. Why? Because if he does… they’ll lose everything? I mean that’s what she SAYS that everything they have here will be lost, but that’s a bit too specific of a conclusion to come to given the fact that one person has a phone.
It turns out to be right by the way, as the rest of the episode is Rikki going to Marisa and Scott offering to lend them her phone and trying to get inside their heads about what they’re missing in the real world. All the while, creatures seem to be invading their home and its abundant gardens, including a wasp, a scorpion, AND A SNAKE! There is a SNAKE in the GARDEN while Rikki is telling Scott how much she LOVES the player he represents. Well, at least he USED to represent him! I mean Scott’s been gone so long that he’s probably moved onto someone else, right? Maybe Scott should just… check and see? Yeah, Scott eventually breaks down and calls his star player to find out what’s going on with him, and then THE METAPHOR comes crashing in like a bad CGI effect. Thirty seconds into the call, the skies INSTANTLY turn black as thunder and lightning start to crash just outside their home. Rikki takes over her jacket to reveal… wait for it… A SNAKE, when she starts ranting about how technology makes her job SO MUCH EASIER and how mortals can never be happy with what they have, they always want MORE, like… communication with others, being a part of a society, and having a daily routine that leaves you fulfilled. You know, “trivial” stuff like that.
Anyway, the screen goes dark and comes back to Scott stumbling his way out of the forest; mere minutes after he had entered it at the beginning of the episode. Seemingly to only have the faintest of memories of his time in the garden, he knocks on a window asking for a cell phone to be met face to face with Marisa; neither recognizing the other but feeling a sense of Déjà vu before she drives off and he’s left at the side of the road with his flat tire. Forest Whitaker? If you wouldn’t mind.
“Most of us dream of paradise at one time or another. Scott Turner actually found his. Unfortunately, he was unable to hold onto it and found himself back in the game of modern life.”
Seriously, what is with this guy forgetting to say IN THE TWILIGHT ZONE at the end!? You’ve GOT to say that! Alright, I held my tongue for most of this recap, but now it’s time to start ranting and raving. WHAT KIND OF THIRD GRADE NONSENSICAL MORALIZING CRAP IS THIS!? The idea of just checking out of modern life to live on some self-sustained farmland is just about the height of privileged wish fulfillment which is a pretty terrible thing to want AND for a show to admonish its characters for not abiding by. What might be the biggest nail in the coffin to this episode is that Rod Serling ALREADY DID THIS with HIS version of the show and explained why it wouldn’t be a true paradise. The episode A Nice Place to Visit is about a crook who dies and believes himself to be in heaven because he has everything he could possibly desire, but eventually realizes that an eternity without risk, growth, change, or setbacks is one that LACKS FULFILLMENT and is therefore utter torture. Gee, it’s almost as if the implication of that title, A Good Place to Visit, is that YOU WOULD WANT TO STAY THERE! I mean look, the original episode is certainly one of my favorites but it’s not above reproach and is shallow in its own regard; a life as bland as his would still be preferable to one filled with poverty, trauma, hate, etc. That said, I just find it pretty gross to imply that people would be happier if they had no responsibilities and could just live in their own independent fiefdom’s while there’s still so much to fix in the world right now. But hey, if there’s ONE positive thing I can say about their paradise, I’m at least sure I won’t find this episode in the garden’s enchanted DVD shelf, so there’s that at least.
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