The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 2 Episode 18 – The Odyssey of Flight 33

The plot of this one is very straightforward.  A jet airliner in route from London to Idlewild (present JFK Airport in NYC) experience s strange turbulence that mysteriously boost its air speed to 3,000 knots.  The pilots and navigators speculate about the jet stream and other natural phenomenon but most troubling they lose all radio contact with the outside world.  The stewardesses attempt to keep the passengers calm but the strong turbulence frightens them.

Finally deciding that risking a mid-air collision with another plane is less dangerous than their depleting fuel level they descend and get below the clouds.  The can make out the shapes of the New York City islands, Manhattan, Long Island and Staten Island but there is no sign of the buildings.  Flying in to get a closer look they discover that the area is a Jurassic landscape complete with jungles, giant fern trees and sauropod dinosaurs.

Shocked by what they saw they decide that somehow, they not only broke the sound barrier but somehow, they also broke the time barrier.  No knowing what else to do they decide to ascend back into the jet stream and push their speed to the maximum in hopes of reversing their situation.  And this is what they do.

When they begin to descend again, they can see the New York skyline and are jubilant.  When they radio the tower, they get LaGuardia airport and ask to be provided a radar vector to land.  When the tower says they don’t know what radar is the pilot said that his jet aircraft was running out of fuel.  The tower tells him they don’t know what a jet is but he is free to try and land.

But as they approach Queens, they see the unmistakable outline of the 1939 World Fair.  They are still over twenty years in the past.  The pilot tells the passengers over the intercom exactly what has happened and that they will make a second attempt to return to 1961 but that they are running low on fuel.  He also asks them to remain calm and pray.

Then Serling says if you hear a plane up there that sounds lost, it may be Flight 33 lost in the Twilight Zone.

This is a straight up time travel story.  No real explanation just facts on the ground (or in this case in the air.).  Not a particularly likely or even clever premise.  But guess what?  I like this story a lot.  The flight crew is very appealing.  The captain and his officers are capable and don’t lose their heads under extremely stressful circumstances.  The two stewardesses are very human and refreshingly feminine.  There is one funny vignette with two of the passengers that is mildly amusing and also very familiar.

And best of all nobody starts screaming at the walls as is sometimes the case in a TZ episode.  All the characters are stereotypes of the time; the brave war tested pilots, the pretty ingratiating stewardesses and the Claymation brontosaurus in the swamp.  No neurotics.  Check, check, check, check.


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Tyler, The Portly Politico

Sounds like a winsome episode. I’m loving the reviews; I often read them just before bed.

War Pig
War Pig
3 years ago

The horror indeed. It will be a politically-correct nightmare. You did hear that a couple of femme congressional candidates want to pass a bill making it a crime to disparage movies with female or LGBT etc leads, didn’t you? They claim bad reviews and low attendance for the new Captain Marvel and the rebooted, LGBT version of Ghostbusters were examples of hetero male dominance and repression, and people must not be allowed to disparage such movies as to do so is hate speech. Apparently they intend to force people to pay to see the movies, too.