A Little Peace and Quiet

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"A Little Peace and Quiet"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 1b
Directed byWes Craven
Written byJames Crocker
Original air dateSeptember 27, 1985
Guest appearance(s)

Melinda Dillon: Penny
Greg Mullavey: Russell
Clare Nono: Newscaster
Joshua Harris: Russell Jr.
Judith Barsi: Bertie

Episode chronology
← Previous
"Shatterday"
Next →
"Wordplay"
List of The Twilight Zone (1985 TV series) episodes

"A Little Peace and Quiet" is the second segment of the first episode of the first season (1985–86) of the television series The Twilight Zone.

Opening narration[edit]

Plot[edit]

Penny is a harried housewife with a dim-witted and hapless husband named Russell. They also have four children: Janet and Susan, who are always fighting; Bertie, who is very clumsy; and Russell Jr., who is always playing pranks. Penny's typical morning consists of preparing breakfast for her family, listening to arguing children, dealing with Russell Jr.'s pranks, cleaning up Bertie's messes, fielding her husband's complaints, etc., which is difficult for Penny to bear.

One day, Penny goes to work in her garden while her neighbor loudly removes tree limbs with a chainsaw. As she digs in her garden she discovers a wooden box containing a beautiful gold pendant in the shape of a sundial. Not thinking anything of it, she takes it inside and puts it around her neck.

At the grocery store, Penny struggles to deal with Bertie and Rusell Jr's annoying behavior and obnoxious customers. While driving home, as Janet and Susan loudly fight, she nearly reaches a nervous breakdown. That night, while she tries to cook dinner, her children pester her again and her husband starts to complain. As the noise level reaches a fever pitch, Penny yells to shut everyone up; suddenly, everyone stops moving—frozen in time. She soon realizes that the pendent she found in the garden is an amulet that can stop time. When she tells her family to resume conversation—time restarts. She is happy as she realizes that she will finally have a little peace and quiet when she needs it, staving off an inevitable nervous breakdown. Later that night, Penny watches a news program about recent arms talks between the United States and the Soviet Union. She becomes annoyed and briefly freezes time. After expressing happiness, she goes to sleep.

The next day, Penny uses her time-stopping power to enjoy a peaceful breakfast with her family, to shop at the grocery store without incident, and to avoid being pestered by two anti-nuclear weapons activists. In fact, she uses her newfound power to drag their frozen bodies into the yard, which — upon resuming time — frightens the protesters away from Penny's home.

Later that evening, Penny enjoys a relaxing bath when air raid sirens suddenly start. She hears her husband calling loudly from the bedroom and when she investigates, the television shows the Emergency Broadcast System. The radio announces that nuclear missiles are heading for the United States from the Soviet Union. When the radio reveals that ICBMs have entered U.S. airspace, Russell and Russell Jr. begin to cry. Just as an explosion is heard in the distance, the terrified Penny freezes time, then leaves her house and walks through town toward the noise. As she reaches a street which houses the local movie theater, she notices terrified people looking skyward and is horrified to see a Soviet nuclear missile frozen a few hundred feet in the air, nose down, and moments from impact.

The episode ends with Penny facing an impossible dilemma: live eternally alone in a silent but safe world, or unfreeze time and have the world be annihilated by nuclear war?

Themes[edit]

This episode is similar in theme to two episodes of the original series: "Time Enough at Last," which involves a man who seeks a refuge from life by reading and gets his wish when the world ends through a nuclear war, and "A Kind of a Stopwatch," which involves a man who gains the power to stop time using a stopwatch.

The ending is also similar to a short story by Arthur C. Clarke titled "All the Time in the World," which concludes with the lead character in possession of a time-stopping device moments before a nuclear bomb ends the world. Clarke's story was adapted for television by Tales of Tomorrow, a forerunner to the original Twilight Zone series.

Background notes[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]