The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 4 Episode 10 – The Parallel

Astronaut Robert Gaines is in an orbiting space capsule when communication is lost with the ground.  He blacks out and when he comes to, he’s in a hospital bed.  His superior officers and comrades tell him that somehow, inexplicably his capsule was found landed not far from the launch site.  Gaines can’t explain how he got back to Earth and his team is mystified about the whole thing.  But Gaines is allowed to go home to his wife and daughter for the weekend.

When he arrives home the first thing, he notices is that the house is surrounded by a fence that wasn’t there when he left.  But his wife Helen assures him the fence was there when they bought the house years ago.  Later he sees that he has on the insignia of a colonel whereas he knows he is a major.  And finally, when his wife kisses him and his daughter hugs him, they each feel that he is not the man they know.

Now Gaines talks to his NASA colleagues and he tells them that he has gone through his encyclopedia at home and finds that many of the things he knows about the world are changed.  Even the President of the United States is someone different than John Kennedy.  And the builder of the space capsule tells Gaines that it isn’t the same one that he built.  He asks Gaines to examine the ship and say whether it was the one he remembered.  But when he goes near the ship, he starts hearing the voices of mission control and suddenly Gaines finds himself back in the capsule during the mission.

Gaines lands normally and this time John Kennedy is the president and there is no fence around Gaines’ house.  Later when Gaines talks to mission control they tell him that they picked up a second capsule on telemetry and they received a radio message from a Colonel Gaines.

So, this is an inexplicable parallel universe switcheroo with the happy ending unswitcheroo.  Now this could have gone very wrong with Gaines running around yelling at the sky, ground and bystanders.  Luckily it didn’t.  I’m so grateful that I’m going to give it a B+.


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