The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 2 – The Arrival

A DC-3 airliner lands in Buffalo NY and when the runway crew arrives at the plane, they find out there’s no one aboard.  No crew and no passengers.  The FAA sends Grant Sheckly their top investigator to solve the mystery.

Sheckly interrogates the airport staff and management and they can find nothing to explain the mystery plane.  But once they start describing the details of the plane inconsistencies start cropping up.  One man says the plane’s seats are blue another brown.  And even with all of the group standing next to the plane they can’t even agree on what number is painted on the tail of the plane.  But Sheckly thinks he knows what’s going on.

His theory is that there is no plane but that mass hypnosis has them convinced that they’re seeing one.  Sheckly says he can prove his theory by sticking his hand into the running propeller.  Enlisting the help of the group, they start the engines and he indeed walks into the propeller.  And just as he thought he is unharmed and the illusion of the plane disappears.  And after the plane disappears the group of people he has been questioning disappear too.

Now Sheckly goes running into the management offices of the airport and there he finds that the people in charge don’t know anything about an empty landing plane.  In fact, the flight he’s interested Flight 107 landed without incident earlier in the day and there was proof because a movie star was aboard and it made the newspaper.

Bu now the airport manager remembers Sheckly and that fifteen years earlier there was a Flight 107 that disappeared while on route to Buffalo and Sheckly had been the investigator.  It was the only case he was never able to solve.  After hearing this Sheckly leaves and walks out onto the tarmac and starts talking to the air asking what happened to Flight 107.  The end.

This episode sucks.  I guess it’s psychological.  But it’s heavy on the psycho and light on the logical.  You know how I feel about episodes where someone is shouting at no one.  Well here’s another exhibit.  Damn it Serling, come on.  Do some work and write an actual story.  D

2 thoughts on “The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 2 – The Arrival

  • March 20, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    While I realize you’re likely kidding I’d still like to point the following out: Serling probably did more work in the first two seasons of “The Twilight Zone” than most writers do in a lifetime. Of the 65 episodes of the first 2 seasons he wrote 48 of them. And a lot of those were damn good pieces of media.

    I like this one. It’s reminiscent of the equally psychological “King Nine Will Not Return.” Both about people unable to let something go. Except in “King”‘s case it’s rooted in survivor’s guilt while “Arrival” is more about Sheckly’s ego precluding him from giving up. Sheckly’s desperately wants to solve a mystery that has haunted him going on nearly twenty years. At this point, he will resort to the craziest theories to do so. And as we follow Sheckly on his journey to solve Flight 107’s disappearance the more inscrutable and illogical events become; yet Sheckly presses on because his ginormous ego will not accept failure.

    I think Serling’s writing is strong in this one — so strong, in fact, that I feel I have a deeper understanding of Sheckly, despite spending only twenty-four minutes with him, than some characters I’ve spent seasons with.

    • March 21, 2019 at 7:52 am

      I’m glad you your opinion on this differs from mine. I wish more folks who read here would chime in. I fully admit that my tastes don’t embrace the full spectrum of Serling’s story repertoire. And I do get a little sarcastic about the ones for which my sympathy is limited. But that’s okay. I could as easily call this blog “One Dope’s Opinion.” My taste runs more to the comical and inspirational tales. The really negative psychological ones don’t resonate with me unless there’s some redeeming factor. Guess I just like the ending to be hopeful.
      And I’ll fully admit that writing thirty teleplay’s a year is unheard of today. He must have never slept.
      And thank’s for the comment.


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