Many, Many Monkeys
|"Many, Many Monkeys"|
|The New Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3|
|Directed by||Ryszard Bugajski|
|Written by||William Froug|
|Original air date||March 18, 1989|
"Many, Many Monkeys" is an episode of the television series The Twilight Zone, first broadcast in 1989. The episode was written in 1964 for the final season of the show's original black-and-white run by producer William Froug, but though CBS bought the script, they chose not to use it. Froug believed that they found it "too grotesque." It remained shelved for more than twenty years until it was made as an episode in the third and final season of the 1980s Twilight Zone revival.
A city hospital, 8 P.M. An unexpected visitor has just arrived, bearing unwelcome tidings, a disease so new the textbooks haven't recorded it. This then is its first case history, documented from the medical files...of the Twilight Zone.
A woman bursts into a hospital emergency room and demands to see a doctor. Nurse Claire Hendricks attempts to help her but the woman is rude and insistent on only seeing the doctor. Before long, the doctor arrives, but it is too late—the woman is now blind from cataracts. In another instance, an elderly man is desperately trying to get Claire to help his wife but she claims that hospital policy forces her to be unhelpful; however, it's clear she is an uncaring person. The blind woman, Mrs. Reed, wants Claire to come visit her, but Claire is apprehensive and negative. Mrs. Reed admits that she's beginning to realize what's happening and that she "sees" a lot of herself in Claire. She apparently wanted to warn her of something but Claire dismisses her and leaves.
Mr. Reed shows up at the hospital blind as well. It is discovered that Mrs. Reed, in her own selfishness, knew she was going blind and abandoned him to get help for herself. Suddenly, more and more people show up blind from spontaneous cataract development. An epidemic ensues from coast to coast, and Claire, despite her incredible workload now, visits with Mrs. Reed again. Mr. Reed talks about how much they are alike and he also claims the blindness is happening because humans have become monkeys—see no evil, speak no evil, etc. Humans have become such an uncaring society, he says, and since we have turned a blind eye to suffering - nature has turned a blind eye to us. Soon, a report surfaces that an explosion at a bio-weapons facility may be responsible for the blindness but Claire starts to realize that Mrs. Reed might be right. Claire soon succumbs to blindness.
News arrives about a surgery that will cure the blind and Mrs. Reed visits with Claire and they discuss the surgery. Mrs. Reed and others will get their sight back, but when she asks Claire when her surgery will take place Claire says she will not undergo it. She believes in what Mrs. Reed said and thinks that no surgery will ever help her. The doctor says Claire will see again but it will take her a little longer, as Claire's eyes are clear and her blindness is psychosomatic.
Enigma, draped in hospital sheets and self-imposed darkness with the added sobering thought that Claire Hendricks is perfectly correct in her own diagnosis. Take it as a warning, a cry for humanity or a simple plea for responsibility from the dark places of the Twilight Zone.
- Quoted in Marc Scott Zicree, The Twilight Zone Companion, Second Edition p. 388.