The Twilight Zone

Season 1 Episode 37

A Small Talent for War

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Jan 24, 1986 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
33 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

A Small Talent for War
When an alien visitor tells delegates at the United Nations that humanity will be exterminated because it has "a small talent for war," the countries of the world struggle to forge a disarmament treaty before the visitor's deadline.

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  • Once again human race can't understand alien races.

    Another well crafted episode of the Twilight Zone, well except for the very poor special effects (Pay attention to the alien spaceships in the final scene) which looks made out of cardboard and painted by a 5 year old.

    An alien race comes to earth to end with the human race because we are not good enough. The UN begs for an opportunity to show that we are "good" and it is given 24 hours while other spaceships arrive.

    The panic the UN delegates go through must have been incredibly big. If i was one of those leaders I would have begged for total annihilation for the human race is scum.moreless
  • A good example of a short segment

    One thing I like about the 1985 version of TZ is that it wasn't limited to 30 (or 60) minute episodes. Those old episodes sometimes felt like they were heavily padded just to fill out the time slot. With the later show's mix of short and long segments, thin concepts that were equivalent to short stories could finally make it to the screen without needing to be stretched out. This was one such concept. Passingly similar to the classic episode, "To Serve Man," it has an extraterrestrial emissary visiting the United Nations. And again, we misunderstand the true motivations of the ET, also recalling episodes like "A Nice Place to Visit" (1960), where a small-time hood mistakes Hell for Heaven. Like any true short story, it all hinges on that one quick twist at the end but doesn't need a long build-up.

    If there's one bad thing about this segment, it's that the fashions date it more than most other TZ-85 segments. It was the height of fashion around 1985, but John Glover as the alien looks silly today with his tall, moussed hair, eye shadow and gigantic shoulder pads.moreless
John Glover

John Glover

Alien Ambassador

Guest Star

Peter Michael Goetz

Peter Michael Goetz

Mr. Fraser/American Diplomat

Guest Star

Stefan Gierasch

Stefan Gierasch

Russian Diplomat

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Mr. Fraser: Mr. Ambassador, surely you don't mean to condemn our race to death without giving us a chance to speak in our own defense. Surely, that's not fair.
      Alien Ambassador: The universe, Mr. Fraser, is not fair.

    • Alien Ambassador: I think you have misunderstood me. Your savagery is an issue. That's true. But, you see, on the thousands of planets under our control, we breed warriors, gentleman. Warriors to fight for us across the galaxy! In your case, your savagery has not bred true. You are woefully backwards in the act of war. you fight erratically and clumsily. Your weapons are shockingly crude. And worst of all, in your hearts you long for peace. A small talent for war. Too small. Too small to be of any use to us.

    • Alien Ambassador: But I thank you for a most amusing day. You people have a delightful sense of the absurd. You might take some comfort in that. After all, as one of your fine Earth actors, Edmund Wynn, once said, "Dying is easy, comedy is hard."

    • (Closing Narration)
      Narrator: If we are pawns of dark powers, then our own high aspirations become a grim joke. But if not, then no one will goad us toward world peace or take it away once we have achieved it. Doubters please note, you have just seen it achieved once, however briefly, in The Twilight Zone.

  • NOTES (2)


    • Delegate: Halley's Comet - it's gone!
      The episode's air date occurred just prior to Comet Halley's February 1986 perihelion, making the reference quite timely.