The Twilight Zone

Season 3 Episode 14

Five Characters in Search of an Exit

Aired Unknown Dec 22, 1961 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (7)

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out of 10
186 votes
  • A clown. Why did there have to be a clown?

    An entertaining enough episode, although I can see what the previous reviewer meant when he compared it to "some precious little community college production of an 'original' play". The set-up does have that air of pseudo-intellectual pretension about it which is hardly improved by the story's title.

    Being originally from Glasgow myself, I also couldn't help groaning at the stereotypical portrayal of the Scotsman (and that accent is one that even James Doohan would've been ashamed of). To be fair, though, the plot does attempt to provide a a reason *why* each of the characters is something of a stereotype.

    On another note, why did it take the prisoners so long to come up with the idea of the "human pyramid"? It occurred to me within a couple of minutes. They should also have allowed the piper to always support the bottom of the pyramid, in case he chose to wear his kilt in the traditional manner. xD

    I have to admit that, ballerina aside, the cylinder does look like an awful place to spend eternity. It even has a clown in it (yes, I'm coulrophobic). I suspect that within a relatively short space of time I would've been tempted to discover if murder were possible within its confines. After all, in addition to being a clown, he was also irritating. :P
  • Worst show of the series!


    My pick for the worst Twilight Zone ever. Plays like warmed-over Ionesco (okay, let's make that ricotta Ionesco)'s like watching some precious little community college production of an "original" play (one that maybe would've been original 100 years ago...though every bit as tedious no doubt). Poor William Windom probably got suckered into this thing by the same agent who got him that part in The Angry Breed. At least the payoff in the finale gives you a bit of a smirk...but that's all the entertainment you're ever likely to get out of this one.

  • Five characters, very different; A Clown, Hobo, Bagpipe Player, Ballerina And An Army Major are trapped in a metal cylinder.

    An excellent episode in which five people are trapped in a large metallic cylinder. The first instinct is to assume that these poor souls are in Hell; this is further verified when Major is told there is no thirst nor any hunger. The Clown, Hobo, Bagpiper and Ballerina are contented in the knowledge that they will never leave the cylinder, but the Major has other ideas, who was a recent addition to the cylinder.
    The Major uses various techniques to escape with the help of the others. What is on the other side, beyond the cylinder?
    In 1986, the British series House of Mystery and Suspense had an episode called "Child's Play". A family awakens to find themselves trapped in their own home, all windows and doors sealed by impenetrable walls. Again there is a similar ending.
  • Five diverse, amnesiac characters struggle to find an escape from their cylindrical prison.

    The best Twilight Zone ever? Quite possibly; top three if nothing else. This episode had everything that makes this show great: A solid premise, good characterization, suspense, and a totally unexpected twist ending that does not "cheat" in any way (i.e., it fits in logically with the rest of the episode). Rod Serling hit a home run here, and I would love to read the short story "The Depository" by Martin Petal on which Serling's script was based. The actors all do a great job, and the overall execution was perfect. If you ever need to pick one single TZ episode to show someone as an example of what the enitre series was all about, this has to be on the short list.
  • 5 totally different charachters , for some reason, are trapped in a barrel, for no rhyme or reason,... and no way out!!

    5 distinct characters, all with different personalities, like and dislike, reasons of whats importnat, are trapped in a round cylindar, with no chance of getting out, they all have to use all of the intellect to figure a way out of this predicament, its kind of scary in a way, especially the clown or juggeler type character, afetr trying time and time again to get out, by standing on each others heads, the finally get one to the top, the 4 inside never no what happens, the one that makes it out falls into to the snow, right outside of a christmas good will toys for tots type collection box, the 5 misfits who seem unloved and and having no hope, are all meant for ones who really have that life, underprivileged children, joy to watch
  • Definitely one of the best Twilight Zone episodes ever. Five characters in a round room, none of whom have any idea of how they got there or who they are. When the Major comes along, he is determined to solve the riddle.

    This is definitely one of my favorite episodes ever, and I\'ve seen them all. Five random people are in a round room, and you can\'t tell how they got there or who they are. The ending is so cool. I remember the first time that i watched this one, I had no idea how it would end. I was pleasantly surprised. Definitely one of the best endings I have ever seen. And the clown is my favorite twilight zone character ever. He is just as ignorant as everyone else, yet he is completely comfortable with the situation, and likes to make a joke about everything. It\'s eery and mysterious. Try to guess the ending based on the clues before the end of the episode.
  • A Clown, Hobo, Bagpipe Player, Ballerina And An Army Major Are Trapped In A Cylinder With No Possible Way Out.

    A definite 10, This episode has been my personal favorite for over 20 years. The dialogue between the funny but somewhat annoying Clown & the Major is hysterical at times. You can't help but feel sorry for the Major when the Clown does everything he can to persuade him to just give up like the rest of them have already done plus theres the determined persistense of the Major which finally convinces the Clown to go with the majority & help with the possibilty of escaping the cylinder. A well executed episode with great performances by William Windom & Murray Matheson.