Twilight Zone Review: Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up?

The Twilight Zone Review marathon rolls on, we’re another day closer to Syfy’s New Year’s Eve Twilight Zone Marathon.  Syfy is apparently doing viewer’s choice this time around, so I’d be shocked if today’s episode didn’t pop up.  It’s called “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?” and here are your links.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

We open with a shot of some idyllic snow covered mountains, and the sound something crashing.  Two police officers soon arrive on the scene, but can’t find any trace of whatever crashed.  They do, however, find a set of footprints leading from a pond to a nearby diner.  As they begin following the tracks, Rod Serling pops up with our introduction.

“Wintry February night, the present.  Order of events:  a phone call from a frightened woman notating the arrival of an unidentified flying object, and the check-out 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 a part of an investigating team whose mission is not to find that proverbial needle, no, their task is even harder.  They’ve got to find a Martian in a diner, and in just a moment you’ll search with them, because you’ve just landed in the Twilight Zone”

The troopers enter the diner, finding it full of people from off a bus, which has made a pit stop.  The officers inform the bus driver that a bridge up ahead has been declared temporarily impassable due to ice.  The bus driver explains that they can’t turn around, because the road they traveled down has been blocked off as well.  The troopers suggest everyone get comfortable, because they’ll likely be stuck at the diner until morning.  One older gentleman is none too pleased with the news.

I imagine he's also displeased with that young couple behind him, because they're lousy beatniks who have no respect for their elders.

The troopers conference for a few moments, and then inquire about how many of people came in on the bus.  The bus driver is of little help, because business is lousy and because he’s a lousy businessman.  The driver claims he picked up six passengers, but one of the officers quickly points out that there are seven people in the diner.  The diner’s cook informs the officers that he hasn’t served anyone since the morning, and he assumed everyone currently in the diner came in on the bus.  The bus driver confirms his theory, mentioning that there was no one in the diner when they came in.

So begins the rampant speculation about who was and wasn’t on the bus.  The crotchety old man insists that everyone in the diner was on the bus, and that if he’s going to be interrogated, he wants a lawyer.  This prompts another, far more disheveled old man to start laughing.  The old men each accuse the other of not being on the bus.  For clarity’s sake, I’ll refer to the second old man as Crazy Eyes.

Because of his winning smile.

After the old man inquires about why it matters who was on the bus, the officers tell everyone that someone called reporting a UFO, and it appears to have crashed nearby.  Slowly, everyone pieces things together.  No one entered the diner until the bus passengers, and there were six passengers on the bus, but there are seven people in the diner, so one of them must have been flying the crashed UFO.  No one is able to recall who was on the bus and who wasn’t, so it appears we’ve got quite the mystery on our hands.  Or, as Crazy Eyes puts it: “She’s just like a science fiction, that’s what she is!  A regular Ray Bradbury!”

After we figure out the mystery of who's really a Martian, let's then figure out the mystery of who didn't give Grandpa his pills.

To narrow down the suspects, one of the passengers suggests eliminating the couples, because they’d know who they came in with.  Seems like a great idea, until you remember it was time of great Soviet paranoia, and quickly just begins doubting everyone else.  Or, as Crazy Eyes puts it: “She don’t know who he is, he don’t know who she is, we don’t know who she is, and this lemonsucker here, he’s the most suspicious of the bunch!”  Insightful.

Crazy Eyes’ behavior warrants further investigation, but after he successfully recalls the last World Series, the officers move on to the next passenger.  A woman is questioned, and she lacks any identification, but the lead is quickly killed by the bus driver, who confirms she was on the bus, because she’s the only one he noticed.

Well gosh who wouldn't notice such a...handsome woman?

The crotchety old man, still perturbed by the entire thing, suggests everyone just show their IDs so they can be done with the silly investigation.  He also suggests that the bus driver was simply mistaken, and there were always seven people on the bus, he just miscounted.  The bus driver claims this is impossible, because he did a head count before they left.  Suddenly, the diner’s juke box turns on by itself, startling everyone.  It turns itself off just as quickly, but then the lights begin to flicker.

Inappropriate time for a rave.

The troopers excuse themselves to discuss the matter outside, leaving the passengers behind to continue pointing fingers.  The officers return, with news that the bridge appears to be in good condition, and they may be able to cross it soon.  The bus driver, however, isn’t so sure he trusts the bridge, which of course draws the ire of the crotchety old man, but what doesn’t at this point?  Before the argument can escalate, the lights again flicker and the jukebox turns on and off by itself once more.  This only serves to feed the paranoia, and everyone once again begins to question everyone else.  The flames are only stoked further, when the lights again flicker and the sugar containers on the tables all explode.

Oh the humanity!

With the tension at its highest, a telephone rings.  One of the officers answers it and receives word that the bridge is now okay to travel on.  Unable to hold the passengers on suspicion of being a Martian, the troopers allow everyone to leave.  The bus driver is still worried about the bridge, but ultimately has no choice but to resume travel.  The officers volunteer to go ahead of them and cross the bridge first, and everyone boards the bus.

Well, good luck delivering an alien, who probably wants destroy the human race, to wherever he's going. I'm sure he'll appreciate the help.

Sometime later, the crotchety old man returns, alone, to the diner.  The cook is of course surprised to see him, as he sits down and orders a coffee.  The old man explains that the bridge wasn’t safe after all, and it collapsed, killing everyone, except him.  When the cook asks why the old man isn’t wet, the old man asks what “wet” is.  The old man explains that his dry clothes are an illusion, like the juke box playing, the phone ringing and lights flickering.  The cook is confused by all of this, and his confusion only grows when he notices the old man has an extra appendage.

I'm sure he's completely armless...I mean harmless.

The old man goes on to explain that he’s an advanced Martian scout.  He also proclaims his love for cigarettes, because hey, it’s the ‘60s.  He lets the cook know that the Martians are beginning to colonize Earth, because it’s such an excellent locale.  The cook agrees, stating that his people on Venus had the same idea years ago.  He goes on to explain that the Martians aren’t coming to Earth, as they’ve been intercepted, and it will be Venus that’s colonizing Earth.  He can see it, clear as day, with all three of his eyes.

“Incident on a small island, to be believed or disbelieved.  However, if a sour-faced dandy named Ross or a big, good-natured counterman who handles a spatula as if he’d been born with one in his mouth, if either of these two entities walks onto your premises, you’d better hold their hands – all three of them – or check the color of their eyes – all three of them.  The gentleman in question might try to pull you into… the Twilight Zone”


One thought on “Twilight Zone Review: Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up?

  1. Pingback: Random Review: Twilight Zone “The Leprechaun Artist” | My Rotting Brain

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