A Small Talent for War
|"A Small Talent for War"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
Scene from A Small Talent for War
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Claudia Weill|
|Written by||Alan Brennert
|Original air date||January 24, 1986|
"A Small Talent for War" is the second segment of the fifteenth episode from the first season (1985–86) of the television series The Twilight Zone. It is widely considered to be one of the very best segments from the entirety of the 1980s series revival.
An ambassador (John Glover) from an alien race arrives, claiming that his race had genetically engineered the people of Earth. He tells the quarrelsome members of the United Nations Security Council that his race is displeased over Earth's "small talent for war", having failed to produce the potential that the aliens had nurtured. When the alien ambassador announces that his fleet will destroy Earth, the Security Council earns a 24 hour reprieve to prove Earth's worth. With survival at stake, the Security Council negotiates, and the General Assembly acclaims, an accord for lasting global peace and presents it to the alien ambassador.
The global peace agreement brings great humour to the emissary. The aliens were, in fact, seeking a greater talent for war, as they had genetically seeded thousands of planets to breed warriors to fight for them across the galaxy. Humanity's "small talent" for war (crude weapons, petty bickering over borders) is not significant enough to be of any use to them, and he laughingly states that – worst of all – the people of Earth long for peace. As the ambassador calls down his fleet to destroy the Earth, he thanks the Security Council for an amusing day and their "delightful sense of the absurd", and his parting comment is "...as one of your fine Earth actors, Edmund Gwenn, once said, Dying is easy, comedy is hard.".
|“||If we are pawns of dark powers, then even our highest aspirations become a grim joke. But if not, then no one will goad us toward world peace or take it away once we have achieved it. Doubters please note, you've just seen it achieved once, however briefly, in The Twilight Zone.||”|
This episode strikes a similar theme to the original series episode "To Serve Man," where mankind also blithely misunderstands the intentions of an alien race that comes to Earth.
- Episode 15 submenu, Main Menu, Disc 4, The New Twilight Zone - Region 4