Twilight Zone (2002)

Season 1 Episode 11

The Lineman

1
Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Oct 23, 2002 on UPN

Episode Recap

Linemen Tyler Andrew Ward and his partner Buddy are out checking a downed line during a storm, with their foreman Shannon going along with them. Buddy reminds Tyler of how attractive Shannon is, but Tyler figures that Shannon is way out of his league. Shannon tells them to go up and fix the break, even though Tyler reminds her that the manual says to wait a half-hour after a storm. When Shannon says that the radar shows clear, Tyler goes up to impress her. As he goes to work, a bolt of reddish lightning forms in the sky and hits Tyler and the pole, and Tyler goes into convulsions as he's electrocuted.

The EMTs are called in and rush Tyler to the ER. The ER chief works on Tyler, telling his team of interns that lighting can induce comas and has been documented to improve eyesight in sheep. They finally manage to revive Tyler after three hours. Tyler is taken to a room and the ER chief and the interns check on him. The lineman is suffering from short-term memory loss but otherwise appears fine other than the burns on his chest. However, when a nurse checks on Tyler, he sees a blue glow around her head that seems to jump at him. Tyler hears the nurse mumble something but when he asks what she said, the nurse says that she didn't say anything.

Tyler is released eventually and buddy picks him up. As they drive to Tyler's apartment, Buddy gives his friend the newspaper about the incident and Tyler discovers that he can read it without his glasses. When they arrive at Tyler's apartment, a neighbor woman greets him and says that she was praying for him. Tyler kneels to say hello to the woman's baby girl, Miriam, and he sees the same blue glow from her head as the baby breaks into tears.

Up at Tyler's apartment, Buddy notices all of the photos that Tyler has cut out of magazines, and suggests that he go out to meet some people. They throw a party for their co-workers and Shannon comes over as well. She has flowers for Tyler and apologizes for sending him up the pole. He says that he doesn't remember what happened because of the lightning strike, and Shannon soon leaves. Buddy, watching, tells his friend that he might finally have a chance with their boss. As they talk, Tyler sees the blue flashes again from his co-workers and starts hearing noises again.

After Tyler tells Buddy what he's going through, Buddy takes his friend to a sleazy lawyer  who figures that they can sue the phone company. Tyler doesn't want to because it could get Shannon in trouble. He hears the lawyer thinking that Shannon deserves it and walks out, furious. Buddy goes after him and they stop outside a cemetery as Tyler explains that he could sense what the lawyer was thinking. When Buddy doesn't believe him, Tyler has him think of something and tells him what it is.

Later back at his apartment, Tyler does a Google search on lightning strikes and finds a reference to "sprites": microwave-charged lightning bolts that can form out of a clear sky and build up an electrical charge in anything they strike. There's a storm outside and the power goes out, and Tyler uses his measuring equipment to confirm that he has an electrical charge in his body.

Tyler goes back to the hospital and tells the ER chief about the sprites, but the doctor tells him that no such thing exists. As they talk, the doctor's secretary Angela and Tyler hears her thinking as well. He tells the doctor that Angela is thinking about their affair and the fact that she's pregnant but hasn't told him.

When Tyler gets back to his apartment, he calls Buddy and explains that his telepathy is getting stronger. However, when he's higher, it tends to drown out the voices. Buddy suggests that they make some money and they go to a pool hall and buy into a game of poker. Tyler doesn't know much about poker, but he manages to use his power to read his opponent's minds and tell when they're bluffing. After making $1,500, the two men leave and Tyler realizes that he can use his power to change his life.

The next day, Shannon finds Tyler as he's jogging. He can read her mind and knows that she's coming up behind him, and stops to wait for her. Shannon admits that she screwed up sending up the pole, but Tyler assures her that it was nothing. He offers to take her out for dinner but Shannon says that she doesn't date on the job. Tyler points out that he's still on medical leave and Shannon agrees to make him dinner.

Later, Tyler calls to tell Buddy about the dinner date and Buddy tells him to go for it. As they talk, Tyler checks himself with his equipment and realizes that the electrical charge is higher than the last time he checked.

That night, Shannon cooks steaks out on Tyler's balcony and complains that everyone at the company knows she's making dinner for him. Tyler admits that he told Buddy and Buddy told everyone else. He goes to the refrigerator to get some beers but then grabs his hand when Shannon burns her hand on the grill. He runs out to check on her and she realizes that he knew what happened to her. Tyler shows her that he can read her mind by picks up the fact that she's thinking about her ex-husband. Shannon admits that her ex punished her when she left him, and tells Tyler that she doesn't want to get involved with someone again and get hurt. She tells Tyler that he's a sweet man and gives him a kiss, and they end up in bed together.

The next morning, Shannon traces the scars on Tyler's chest, and he assures her that he's okay. He talks about how his grandfather had Alzheimer's and ended up in a state institution because his parents couldn't afford a better place. He figures that his luck has finally turned around, but Shannon tells him that they can't see each other once Tyler comes back to work.

Later after Shannon leaves, Buddy comes by and finds Tyler standing on the edge of his apartment roof. Furious, Tyler insists that he's not going to be broke anymore and asks Buddy to come with him to a bar next to a stock brokerage. Once they're inside, Tyler uses his telepathy to pick up stock tips from the customers and then goes out and buys stocks.

Tyler is soon rich, and buys Shannon a new car and delivers it to her. He tells her that there's no strings attached and then takes her to his new penthouse apartment. Waiters have brought in food and they serve the couple, and Tyler takes a heavy drink. He explains that alcohol helps to dull the voices along with the height. Despite that, he demonstrates his heightened powers by making the waiters think that their noses and chins itch. Once Tyler dismisses the waiters, Shannon asks him how he's coping and Tyler says that when he's just with one person and they're calm, he can cope. He has her concentrate and picks up that she's thinking about her Irish bear, that she considers a good-luck charm because she had it when she got through a bad case of meningitis. He also reads that Shannon is thinking that they should just be friends, and he agrees.

Later, a storm comes up and Tyler meets Buddy at a restaurant. Tyler complains that the lightning storms seem to be following him and the thoughts of the diners start overwhelming him. His nose starts bleeding and Buddy says that they should leave, but Tyler insists that they'll only go when he says they go.

Sometime later, Tyler starts stalking Shannon, following her to the park where she is a Big Sister for a girl. He starts painting and drinks some more, but ends up tearing the paintings up in anger. Tyler finally passes out from drinking, and Buddy visits him to make sure that he's okay. When Tyler continues to ignore him, Buddy goes to see Shannon and tells her that his friend is out of control, and it's because he's doing everything for Shannon.

Back at the brokerage bar, Buddy meets Tyler and watch a newscast about how Tyler's efforts have bankrupted a company. Buddy suggests that they should get out of the stock business, but Tyler refuses and insists that he's learning how to play the game. Back at the penthouse, Shannon is waiting for Tyler. Buddy leaves and Shannon suggests that Tyler could use his powers to help people, getting through to people in comas. Tyler figures that revealing his powers would get him captured and analyzed for his secrets. As he rants and raves, Shannon admits that she's scared for Tyler and asks what he's going to do. He offers to buy an island where they can go each other, and dismisses ruining lives as part of the game.

Consumed with his power, Tyler says that he can do anything, but Shannon says that she doesn't want to see him again and walks out. When Tyler goes to the window, he sees Shannon meet a waiting Buddy on the street and watches them share a gentle kiss. Furious, the lineman overrides the safety on his microwave and sticks his head in, boosting his powers. He then goes after Shannon and finds her at the park. Tyler tells her that he knows she's seeing Buddy behind his back, and uses his heightened telepathy to blast her mind. He begs her to love him but Shannon screams at him to stop and Tyler finally gets control of himself enough to walk away.

After drinking some more, Tyler goes to Buddy's garage and tells him that he knows he and Shannon are seeing each other. He telepathically blasts Buddy until his friend says that they just kissed out of friendship and that he was trying to get Shannon and Tyler back together. Furious, he tells Tyler that he's ruined any chance he had with Shannon and throws the money Tyler has been sharing with him into his face. As Tyler stares at him in shock, Buddy tells him to get out of his life. Tyler staggers out onto the streets and sees a nearby church. He goes into the cemetery and begs God to give him peace, but the leftover thoughts of the corpses start pouring into his mind. Overwhelmed, Tyler climbs up a nearby telephone pole and lightning strikes it, electrocuting him again.

When Tyler wakes up, it's three hours later and he's at the ER. The same doctor is reviving him and at first Tyler thinks that he's saved and his power is gone. However, the thoughts of the staff start pouring into his mind again and he realizes that there's no escape.

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