The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 2 Episode 28 – Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?

This is, I suppose, a science fiction episode but I always look at it as a comedy.

Two state police officers are investigating a flying saucer sighting somewhere in the snow-covered New England countryside.  They observe a hole in the ice on a small pond and also footprints coming out of the water.  They follow the prints back to a diner where they find that a bus is stopped and its passengers are waiting for a small bridge to be declared safe.  The troopers begin interrogating the diner patrons to determine who was on the bus and who entered separately.  In addition to the cook, there is a bus driver and seven people who claim to be bus passengers.  Unfortunately, the bus driver is absolutely adamant that there were only six passengers.  The alleged passengers include a businessman heading for a Boston business meeting, a blonde exotic dancer, a crazy old man played by character actor Jack Elam and two married couples, one older and one younger.

The Boston businessman and the old coot start accusing each other of being the intruder and even the two couples start looking suspiciously at their mates.  The only one who the driver remembers is the good looking blonde for obvious reasons.  While the interrogation is stalled out with bickering the juke box mysteriously starts on its own and everyone panics thinking the hidden Martian is messing with them.  As the businessman continues to complain about missing his meeting the bus driver warns him that he doesn’t trust that bridge and unless the state inspector gives it the all clear the bus won’t be crossing on it.  Once again, the juke box flares up and then all the sugar dispensers on the tables explode.  Eventually, a call comes in from the inspector certifying that the bridge is safe.  The troopers decide to give the bus an escort over the bridge and all the patrons settle their restaurant bills and depart.

In the next scene, the businessman walks back into the diner and asks the cook for a cup of black coffee.  The cook asks the businessman what happened after he left.  The businessman says that both the bus and police cruiser were on the bridge when it collapsed and no one got out.  The cook said, “no one but you.”  But then he notes, “but you’re not even wet.”  The businessman asks, “What’s wet.”  After they sort that out the businessman explains that his dry appearance is an illusion.  And then he makes the juke box start and the phone ring.  Now we see that the businessman has three arms and he tells the cook with great satisfaction that he’s the Martian and he’s waiting for his fellow colonists to invade Earth.

Well, the cook tells the businessman that there are colonists coming but they’re not Martians but Venusians (or Venerians if you like Latin) who had the same idea a few years earlier and have intercepted the businessman’s friends.  Then the cook takes off his cap and we see he has a third eye.  Now the cook is laughing but the businessman is not.

I love this episode.  Jack Elam is great as a crazy coot and each of the passengers and the cook and the troopers do a great job of providing the atmosphere for this goofy sci-fi tale.  I love how Elam analyzes the mystery and declares, “It’s a regular Ray Bradbury.  That’s what it is!”  A+

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War Pig
War Pig
2 years ago

I liked this one as a lad, too. Jack Elam is always good.

War Pig
War Pig
2 years ago

Just saw where character actor Richard Erdman has died. He was in the Twilight Zone episode “A Kind of a Stopwatch”.