The Twilight Zone

Season 1 Episode 14

Third From the Sun

8
Aired Unknown Jan 08, 1960 on CBS
8.6
out of 10
User Rating
188 votes
3

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Episode Summary

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With all-out nuclear war about to ignite, a scientist and his pilot friend plot to escape on an experimental spaceship.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Kitschy Yet Clever

    8.0
    The special effects were awful, even for 1960. And the struggle-for-the-gun scene was atrociously amateurish. the story kept me in suspense and I liked the ending. Honestly, I thought it was going to end differently.
  • Good performance by Fritz Weaver...otherwise nothing special.

    6.0
    This one makes absolutely no sense when you actually think about it, but the unsettling paranoia of it keeps the show going - to a point. If, for example, so many people in the government know about the impending disaster, why is it that only the small group of families is making an effort to escape? Why does their pursuer not try to leave? Why, if Fritz Weaver's character is worried about being spied on when he talks with his colleague in his basement, does he lay out the whole plan to his wife with no regard for surveillance?



    The big reveal of the ending - which is designed to be a "Hmm...that really makes you think" moment is telegraphed ahead. Even if it wasn't, it's a hokey ending and a way out of addressing the paranoia and breakdown of society that accompanies nuclear war. Serling addressed this issue (and in much better fashion) with stories like "The Shelter," "Monsters are Due on Maple Street" and others. Why he shies away from it here is anybody's guess.



    Weaver, a great actor, does a good job as the leader of this bunch, but the rest of the episode is forgettable.moreless
  • Two men who work at a power plant know that the world is about to end in an up-coming nuclear war. They have the idea to take a spaceship and try to leave the planet before it happens.moreless

    8.8
    The episode starts off with two men who work at a power plant, discussing the fate of the world. They know that in about 48 hours, the world will be in a nuclaer war, that will destroy the planet.



    They go home to their families and try to stay calm. The episode only takes us to the one of the men's home, William Sturka. There he tells his wife and daughter that they only have 48 hours.



    What comes to a surprise is that William and his friend from the power plant have known about this for months and have a plan of their own. They have been testing a spaceship and have begun to look for life out side thier own planet. Amazingly, they have found life on a near by planet and hope to escape to it, when the war strikes.



    I find it odd, however that later on in the episode the two men and their wives are sitting around playing cards. Like they have nothing better to do. Suddenly, an old freind drops by from the place where they work. He drops very big hints that he knows about the other two men's attempt to leave the planet.



    Once he leaves, everyone springs into action and leaves in a hurry to get to the spaceship. It's hard for them to get on, due to secruity. When hey get on, and everything goes smoothly.



    Then there is the shocker: the planet that they are headed is called Earth! The whole time, you automatically expect that the planet in the nuclear war is Earth. In this episode Earth is the planet of hope.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (2)

    • (Opening Narration)
      Narrator: Quitting time at the plant. Time for supper now. Time for families. Time for a cool drink on a porch. Time for the quiet rustle of leaf-laden trees that screen out the moon. And underneath it all, behind the eyes of the men, hanging invisible over the summer night, is a horror without words. For this is the stillness before storm. This is the eve of the end.

    • (Closing Narration)
      Narrator: Behind a tiny ship heading into space is a doomed planet on the verge of suicide. Ahead lies a place called Earth, the third planet from the sun. And for William Sturka and the men and women with him, it's the eve of the beginning in the Twilight Zone.

  • NOTES (2)

    • The spaceship prop was the same one used in the classic 1956 film Forbidden Planet. Footage from the film was also used to depict the ship in space.

    • This episode is based on the short story "Third From the Sun" by Richard Matheson. This story was first published in Galaxy (October, 1950).

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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