In my reviews of Twilight Zone episodes, there are many details of the actual process of watching that I don't mention. Sometimes, even during a good episode, I will get up and go to the kitchen to get myself some tea. Sometimes during a slower or less interesting episode, I will do the usual round of tabbing over and e-Mail checking that are part of modern internetting. But for this one, I pretty much was glued to my monitor for the whole 50 minutes.

My first reaction to watching this episode was that it was hard science-fiction, meaning that it had a spaceship in the first shot. This is some vintage space exploration fiction, three men in a flying saucer, out in space. In general, the Twilight Zone's science-fiction has not aged as well as its magical realism or horror. The special effects are laughable, and the plots are only slightly less dated. But this one was fascinating. Three astronauts on an exploration mission land on a planet, and find...their own spaceship, with their own bodies inside. That is just the set-up to the episode, and it takes more twists and turns from there. The three astronauts, consisting of the firm-willed captain, Ross (Jack Klugman) and his two lieutenants. Ross is iron willed and wants to find out the reason for this seeming impossibility, and his two lieutenants respond with more emotion. This reminded me of a recent episode, The Thirty-Fathom Grave, which also seemed to have the same dynamic of a "rational" captain trying to control a subordinate who represented the emotional reaction to the fact of death. And for some of the episode, I thought this episode was a counter-point to that: here, Captain Ross looks like he is trying to rescue his men from the irrational prison of their fears, through his clear thinking. But this story is not exactly that: this is one of the first Twilight Zone stories in a while to use the Twist Ending, and it uses it very effectively.

Also, it was strangely topical, as the idea of an authority figure's inability to accept unhappy facts and to chase alternative explanations is very pertinent on the current date.

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