The Twilight Zone

Season 1 Episode 38

A Matter of Minutes

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Jan 24, 1986 on CBS

Episode Recap

Michael and Maureen are awakened one morning by the sounds of home construction. Still sleepy, they check the clock, which says 11:37. But Michael's watch says only 7:05. When they hear the front door opening and closing, they investigate with Michael wielding a baseball bat. They find their living room furniture gone and a crew of workers, garbed in blue from head to toe, bringing in new furniture. Michael yells at them but they pay no attention. When he confronts one directly, he sees that they have no faces on their blue heads. The phone is dead, so they decide to leave. Outside are more workers and a group of trucks painted in the same shade of blue. Nobody else is around. They proceed to a neighbor's home to use the phone. They find the door unlocked and the family room is a white, featureless void.

The couple goes downtown, where more workers are building things that have existed for years. They're also setting up litter and staging a car crash. They hear a voice barking orders to the crew. Running down an alley, they pass a man garbed in yellow before they run into another void. They make their way back into the alley, where the man suggests they go someplace to talk. Michael takes him to his office.

The man explains that they're somewhere, somewhen actually, they're not supposed to be. They're "in" 11:37, having "stepped backstage in time." He launches into a convoluted explanation of how every minute must be "constructed" in advance. When the couple still disbelieves, he "unzips" an opening in mid-air and takes them through into another white void. He takes them though to another crew, who are beginning work on a Christmas Eve to come. They only complete those areas in each section of time where people will be present to use it. The man takes them back to their dining room, where the couple makes plans to tell their friends, including a science writer. The man tells them that's impossible, and in order to keep the secret, he'll keep them out of time. They flee to try to get back, running downtown and hiding in a theater's box office booth.

They stay until 11:36, then go out into the completed setting to await 11:37. The man in yellow spots them, but stops his crew from chasing the couple since actual time is too close. He steps out of time just before the moment hits. People suddenly appear all over the street, engaged in everyday life. The couple waits until 11:38 to make sure they stay in real time, and then decide to head home. Atop a phone booth, they find a blue adjustable wrench, which they take along as proof.