The Twilight Zone

Season 4 Episode 16

On Thursday We Leave For Home

4
Aired Unknown May 02, 1963 on CBS
8.8
out of 10
User Rating
138 votes
5

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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A man named Benteen leads a colony of Americans stranded on a desert planet for 30 years.

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  • One of the better episodes, if you can ignore the bad astronomy.

    9.5
    Season four, the only season to feature hour-long episodes, is generally regarded as the lowest-rated for The Twilight Zone, but this episode stands out as one of the best.



    Thirty years earlier a colony from Earth went exploring through space and became marooned on a hot, desert planet with two suns, "perpatually shining." Survival is a struggle, and suicide is commonplace, but the intrepid "Captain" Benteen (Whitmore) keeps everyone together with his positive attitude, and acts as a father figure, really caring for the other members. When rescue comes, he is unwilling to let go.



    This is a fine character study , as the "Captain", who plans on keeping the colony together with him as leader after they return to Earth, seems to take it personally when the others express plans of their own.



    The opening monologue states that the planet is approximately one billion miles from Earth, but that would put it well within our own solar system, somewhere between Saturn and Uranus, so where did the other Sun come from? Never mind. This is a study in psychology, not astronomy.moreless
  • The captain of a stranded space colony instills hopes that rescue is eminent, even after 30 years. Help arrives. Distraught that the colonists prefer to live separately on earth, the leader refuses the return voyage. He then realizes his heart's desire.moreless

    8.7
    This was an excellent episode from beginning to end. Superb acting, wonderful script, and early 1960's special effects that makes me love sci-fi shows from this time period. For me, this episode seemed to be a commentary on cults: how a leader can garner psychological control over his followers under depriving conditions, hold members with charismatic speaking skills, member suicides when escape is no option, and the eventual abandonment by the cult members when they finally see the leader was nothing more than a control hungry, self-appointed god.



    When the captain chose to stay alone on the planet when his followers abandond him, it seemed a lot like a parallel of how cult leaders choose death rather than live in a world they cannot control. And I believe that is exactly the torment the captain is expressing when he chases after the departing spaceship. He realizes that he will have NO chance for his heart's desire: controlling the masses.moreless
  • A man is in charge of running a community that lives on an asteroid far from earth. They have been living there for 30 years, and the land is dry and barren. The people are beginning to go crazy when the hope of returning to earth comes.moreless

    8.9
    This is really a great episode. Many of the season 4 episodes tend to drag on, but this one holds your attention the whole time. The main character is the guy who played Brooks in "The Shawshank Redemption." He delivers a powerful performance as the leader of the colonists, who realizes when the chance to return to earth comes that his desire to be in power is too strong for him to handle. This plot is really great, and the delivery is excellent. It really makes you look at man's desire for power and its control over him. Reminds me of the episode "The Little People." Excellent episode.moreless
  • Fantastic fourth season episode

    10
    I finally got around to taping this episode during the Fourth of July marathon and it was worth it. Benteen is a captain who leads a colony of 187 people on a barren asteroid for 30 years. When a spaceship arrives to take them home, Benteen is at first excited, but soon starts having second thoughts. He wants to stay with his people, and will say/do anything to keep it this way. When the colonists refuse to stay with him, he decides to stay on the asteroid. Only when it's too late does Benteen realize he should have gone, too.



    Rod Serling called this episode the "most effective" of the 18 episodes that made up the ill-received hour-per-episode Season four. And he was right. The sets are convincing (although the double suns look like a picture) and the acting is top-notch. James Broderick (who plays Sheldon in the movie Dog Day Afternoon) co-stars and James Whitmore is more than convincing as the desperate Benteen. Even if you're not a fan of the hour-long The Twilight Zones, give this one a try anyway.moreless
  • A colony of human on a remote planet finds it almost inhabitable. They find a way to survive for thirty years in this god forsaken place led by a man who although not the eldest of the colony, he seems to be the only one who can remeber the Earth.moreless

    10
    Everyone say it with me........Together, Together

    Great show , the best of the hourlong Twilights.

    James Whitmore's Character is very convincing as the insane Cap'n Benteen. I don't think anyone else could have played that snivelling part any better than that. If you do not know of which I speak, Watch this episode, you will enjoy it.

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Trivia: The rescue ship comes for them in the year 2021.

    • Trivia: The emblem of the Galaxy 6 crew, a downward shaped comet in the shape of a six surrounded by an asteroid ring, was worn by the crew of the spaceship E-89 in 1997 in the episode "Death Ship." The ship and uniform designs are similar as well, although the Galaxy 6 ship must have been bigger to pick up a colony, as the E-89 ship was only made for a crew of three.

    • In the first scene after the opening narration, with Captain Benteen and George in front of the electrical panel, the boom microphone continually moves in and out of frame in the lower right-hand corner.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • (Opening Narration)
      Narrator: This is William Benteen, who officiates on a disintegrating outpost in space. The people are a remnant society who left the Earth looking for a Millennium, a place without war, without jeopardy, without fear--and what they found was a lonely, barren place whose only industry was survival. And this is what they've done for three decades: survive; until the memory of the Earth they came from has become and indistinct and shadowed recollection of another time and another place. One month ago a signal from Earth announced that a ship would be coming to pick them up and take them home. In just a moment we'll hear more of that ship, more of that home, and what it takes out of mind and body to reach it. This is the Twilight Zone.

    • (Closing Narration)
      Narrator: William Benteen, who had prerogatives: he could lead, he could direct, dictate, judge, legislate. It became a habit, then a pattern and finally a necessity. William Benteen, once a god--now a population of one.

  • NOTES (3)

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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