Need to Know (The Twilight Zone)
|"Need to Know"|
|The Twilight Zone (1985 series) episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Paul Lynch|
|Written by||Sidney Sheldon|
|Original air date||March 21, 1986|
"Need to Know" is the first segment of the twenty-first episode of the first season (1985–86) of the American television series The Twilight Zone. It first aired on March 21, 1986.
|“||Often the most perplexing mysteries have the simplest solutions, the most complex questions, the simplest answers. Sometimes we seek them long and hard only to find the solutions and the answers lie right before us in a reference book, under "T" for the Twilight Zone.||”|
Edward Sayers is a government scientist/agent sent to a small town to help investigate a bizarre outbreak of insanity which is spreading through the town. With the help of a local woman, Amanda Strickland, he methodically goes through the town trying to find an answer. Amanda's father just rambles about his dead wife, and that he had visited Mrs. Hotchkiss earlier that morning. They visit her and find that she appears normal but hysteria overtakes her and she threatens them with a knife. Amanda suggests that it may be a disease, since it is spread from person to person.
He eventually discovers that the source of the problem is not a physical disease, but an idea—a short secret phrase—that is being passed by word of mouth from person to person. The phrase is about the purpose and meaning of existence. It was somehow discovered by the local resident, Jeffrey Potts, during his travels abroad; his brother Andrew was the first victim of the "plague". Jeffrey is compelled by a desire to share this insanity-inducing phrase with others.
Jeffrey will be on the local radio station and able to tell the entire town the secret. Sayers cannot make it to the station to stop the disclosure but he is able to reach Amanda in time to smash her radio. She then points out that she has already been visited by two townspeople, and that she has something very important to tell him. She whispers in his ear, and his eyes widen in dawning comprehension.
The scene shifts to a point outside of Amanda's house, before a sudden howl of madness is heard from inside.
|“||Man is a questioning creature, constantly striving for answers. But there is some knowledge for which he's not yet ready. Secrets once learned overwhelm him. Secrets that for now are best left undisturbed...in the Twilight Zone.||”|