The Twilight Zone

Season 5 Episode 24

What's in the Box

Aired Unknown Mar 13, 1964 on CBS

Episode Recap

Cabbie Joe Britt comes home for dinner and complains to his wife Phyllis about his day at work, but she thinks he's seeing another woman. The TV repairman is working on their TV and Joe is waiting for him to fix it so he can watch wrestling. Phyllis continues to accuse him of seeing another woman and Joe goes into the living room. When Joe complains about how the repairman is trying to rip him off, the TV repairman says that he's finished and leaves, saying it's on him. Joe shrugs off the odd behavior and turns on his TV. A hazy signal comes in of a woman complaining to her lover and Joe calls Phyllis in, saying they're finally getting Channel 10. However, the picture clears and Joe realizes it's showing him with his mistress as she demands that he marry her.

Joe quickly changes the channel to wrestling and two wrestlers Joe doesn't recognize go at it. He switches the TV back to Channel 10 and sees him complaining to his wife over dinner a few minutes earlier. He faints dead way and Phyllis hears him hit the floor. She comes in to check on him and gets him up onto the couch, and she notices the TV channel, now showing static. She suggests she call a doctor for him but Joe asks if she's ever seen the TV repairman before. He tells her that he saw the two of them on TV. She doesn't believe it and tells her to call the repairman to have him undo whatever he set up with her. She goes to the kitchen but calls the doctor and asks him to come over.

Meanwhile, Joe turns the TV back on to Channel 10 and sees himself chasing Phyllis around the apartment, threatening to kill her. He finally punches her and knocks her out the window where she falls to her death. As the real Joe falls to this knees in front of the TV, Phyllis returns but doesn't see anything but static on the TV.

Dr. Saltman checks on Joe and gives him a sedative, then tells Phyllis she should see a psychiatrist about Joe. He thinks that Joe is having delusions due to an overmechanized culture, brought on by over-exposure to TV. Dr. Saltman explains what Joe has been seeing and tells Phyllis to make sure Joe gets a good night's sleep. Phyllis goes in and says that Dr. Saltman told her about Joe seeing himself murder her. Joe asks her to sit down and promises they won't fight. He blames himself for their fighting and then explains that after his long lonely hours in the cab, someone came along and called him "Mister." She doesn't get it and he says the shock of seeing her dead on the TV made him realize he finally loves her. She doesn't take it well, saying it took 27 years for him to figure it out. They start to fight again and she accuses him of blowing their money on his mistress.

As Phyllis starts to pack in the living room, Joe hears a judge on the TV talking about him being sane when he committed the murder. Joe calls out to Phyllis and runs out to see himself on the TV being sentenced to death for murder. He can't understand how Phyllis can't see what's on the TV. She says it's his conscience and turns on the TV, laughing at him. He shoves her away and looks on the TV, which shows him being strapped into the electric chair. As she laughs at him, Joe smashes the TV in and attacks her. After a struggle, just like the one he saw earlier on the TV, he knocks her out the window to her death. As the police take him away, the TV repairman returns and ask if he'll recommend his service to future customers.