The Arrival (The Twilight Zone)
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||Boris Sagal|
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Original air date||September 22, 1961|
|List of Twilight Zone episodes|
After flight 107 from Buffalo lands safely with no crew or passengers on board, the FAA sends Grant Sheckly, an inspector with 22 years of experience and a flawless record of solving cases, to investigate the matter. He is assisted by the airport staff — Vice President Bengston, PR man Malloy, mechanic Robbins, and ramp attendant Cousins — but despite their combined efforts, no one can explain how an empty plane could safely land and taxi to a stop.
The investigation continues to prove fruitless until Robbins remarks about the plane's blue seats, which puzzles Sheckly since he remembers them as being brown when he entered the plane. Bengston says they were red. When they examine the plane's tail and each see different registration numbers, Sheckly comes to a conclusion: the plane is not real but merely an illusion.
To prove his theory, as well as to break the illusion, Sheckly proposes a simple but potentially fatal test: he will put his arm in the path of the plane's running propeller. Despite the objections, he convinces the staff to go along with it, and Robbins starts the plane's engines. After some hesitation, Sheckly places his arm directly into the path of the spinning propeller; just as he predicted, his arm remains completely intact, and the plane vanishes. However, when Sheckly turns to reassure the others, he is met only with silence, as they each disappear just as the plane did.
Calling out for the staff, Sheckly makes his way back to the Operations room and meets up with Bengston and Malloy, only to discover that they have no recollection of the empty plane or Sheckly's investigation. When asked, Bengston states that flight 107 from Buffalo landed safely with full crew and passengers and shows him a newspaper article to prove it, but further questions by Sheckly reveal that the only plane that the airline ever lost was a flight 107 from Buffalo, about 17 or 18 years ago. The case had been investigated by Sheckly but was never solved, the only case he never figured out, closed as "presumed crashed for reasons unknown." Sheckly slowly makes his way out of the Operations room, weakly repeating that he has a perfect record of solving cases. As he wanders through the airfield he calls out, demanding to know where flight 107 is, what happened to it, and why it went down. "Why didn't you ever tell anyone what happened to you?", he asks, then he sags onto the runway as the sound of an aircraft engine is heard above him.
"The show now seems to be feeding off itself. Last Friday's episode, unless it proves to be an exception in the new skein, doesn't augur well for the future of the series. Twilight Zone seems to be running dry of inspiration." —from the Variety review.
- 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
- "The Arrival" at the Internet Movie Database
- TV.com episode page
- Full video of the episode at CBS.com
- Douglas DC-3 - The aircraft used in the episode.