On Thursday We Leave for Home
|"On Thursday We Leave for Home"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4
|Directed by||Buzz Kulik|
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Original air date||May 2, 1963|
James Whitmore: Captain William Benteen
Mr. Serling's Opening Narration
|“||This is William Benteen, who officiates on a disintegrating outpost in space. The people are a remnant society who left the Earth looking for a Millennium, a place without war, without jeopardy, without fear, and what they found was a lonely, barren place whose only industry was survival. And this is what they've done for three decades: survive; until the memory of the Earth they came from has become an indistinct and shadowed recollection of another time and another place. One month ago a signal from Earth announced that a ship would be coming to pick them up and take them home. In just a moment we'll hear more of that ship, more of that home, and what it takes out of mind and body to reach it. This is the Twilight Zone.||”|
Thirty years before, in 1991, an expedition to the hellish desert planet V9-Gamma was stranded, and the people had no choice but to begin their own small settlement there. The group's leader, Captain Benteen, has maintained a totalitarian grip upon the group; he believes that this strict discipline prevents them from giving up hope in the harsh, unyielding environment. When a rescue mission from Earth finally arrives, Benteen is at first as jubilant as the others, but then he begins to raise objections to his loss of control over them. When he realizes that the colonists do not want to stay in a group on their return to Earth, he tries to persuade them to stay. Everyone else chooses to return home, but Benteen announces that he will remain behind alone if he must.
On the day the people board the ship, the rescue mission's Colonel Sloane and Benteen's second-in-command, Al Baines, search for Benteen to give him one last chance to change his mind, but he is nowhere to be found. After they give up and leave, Benteen emerges from the top of the cave that had sheltered his people. As the ship prepares for takeoff, Benteen talks to his people as if they are still there. Then, remembering the beauty of Earth, he realizes that he is alone and wants to go home. He rushes out screaming for the ship to come back, but it is too late. He is now stranded on V9-Gamma for the rest of his life, completely alone in the barren, lifeless deserts.
Mr. Serling's Closing Narration
|“||William Benteen, who had prerogatives: he could lead, he could direct, dictate, judge, legislate. It became a habit, then a pattern and finally a necessity. William Benteen, once a god, now a population of one.||”|
The rescue crew's ship and uniforms were leftover props from MGM's 1956 film Forbidden Planet.
- Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)
- DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
- Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0