The Cold Equations (The Twilight Zone)

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"The Cold Equations"
The New Twilight Zone episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 51
Directed by Martin Lavut
Written by Alan Brennert
Tom Godwin
Original air date January 7, 1989
Guest actors

Terence Knox : Thomas Barton
Christianne Hirt : Marilyn Cross
Michael J. Reynolds : Commander
Barclay Hope : Gerry Cross

Episode chronology
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"Appointment on Route 17"
Next →
"Stranger in Possum Meadows"
List of The Twilight Zone (1985 TV series) episodes

The Cold Equations is the fifty-first episode (the sixteenth episode of the third season (1988–89) of the television series The New Twilight Zone.

Opening narration[edit]

Plot[edit]

Thomas Barton is an astronaut who must deliver a vital cargo of vaccine to a plague-stricken colony world. However, a young girl, Marilyn, has stowed away on his vessel with hopes of reuniting with her brother once the vessel reaches the colony world. Now the entire mission is in jeopardy, as her presence on board was not calculated into the flight plan and there will be no way for the pilot to compensate for her added weight.

While she is overwrought about the fact that she cannot make it to see her brother and the ship they are on will crash because of her added weight, they attempt to compensate by jettisoning all possible extra weight. They discover, however, that the extra weight jettisoned is only half of what they need.

Barton suggests that the girl try to contact her brother so they could at least talk before the impending doom. She does finally contact him in time, but only to talk about the fact they cannot meet in person. Barton considers sacrificing himself so the girl can survive, but finds this is impossible since she would not be able to pilot the ship herself. Resigned to her fate, Marilyn enters the airlock and allows herself to be jettisoned into space, leaving Barton to grieve in silence.

Closing narration[edit]

Note[edit]

Based on the original short story by Tom Godwin, this was made into a longer feature for the SciFi channel starring Billy Campbell and Poppy Montgomery. It was also made into an episode of the X Minus One radio program in 1955.

See also[edit]