The Twilight Zone

Season 2 Episode 8

The Lateness of the Hour

1
Aired Unknown Dec 02, 1960 on CBS

Episode Recap

In the middle of a rain storm, Jana Loren and her parents live in an expensive manor where everything is designed for maximum efficiently and the staff are perfectly obedient. Jana is bored with their perfection, and goes through the family photo album looking at old pictures. Mrs. Loren receives a neck massage from the maid, Nelda, until Jana grows irritated and suggests they eat a little earlier than 6 p.m. when they always eat. She suggests they go out but Dr. Loren is disgusted by the very idea. Jana grows furious when her mother insists on receiving more of a massage, then confronts the staff and condemns them for contributing to her family's atrophy. When a maid notes she sounds jealous, Jana shoves her down the stairs but the "woman" is unharmed. Dr. Loren notes that Jana can't harm the staff: they are robots that he created.

Later, Dr. Loren insists on discussing the matter, noting that he long ago insulated them from the outside world. He's kept Jana from having to face prejudice and war, or deal with disease or harm. Jana insists that she's being turned into a vegetable then confronts the maid as she pours a drink. Jana takes the glass and breaks it and the staff efficiently clean it up. She believes that they're all becoming independent on the staff and her father should dismantle the robots. Jana doesn't accept that and wants more out of life than mindless perfection. Finally she tells her father to get rid of the robots or she'll leave. Mrs. Loren notes that she has nowhere to go but Jana would rather be with normal people with normal lives. As she leaves the room, the staff ask that she apologize to her father but she refuses,and notes that while her father's creations are indestructible, he isn't.

Later, Dr. Loren goes to see Jana in her room and beg her to stay. When she refuses, he finally agrees to dismantle the robot staff as long as she stays. He summons the staff and tells them to wait in his basement workshop. The staff wonder why they''re no longer permitted to work but Dr. Loren insists they follow orders and they depart. Dr. Loren comes back upstairs to inform them the robots are gone and Jana says they can now have a normal life. She wants to meet a man and have children, and her mother draws back in shock. Dr. Loren tries to claim the idea comes as a shock but Jana realizes that something is wrong. She goes through the photo album and points out there are no photos of her as a young girl. Finally Jana realizes that she's a robot. She slams her arm into the stairway banister, realizing she doesn't feel pain or love. She breaks down into hysterics and Dr. Loren realizes there's only one thing they can do.

Later, Mrs. Loren is receiving a neck massage while Dr. Loren reads a book. Jana has been programmed as Nelda... the maid.
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