On Thursday We Leave for Home
|"On Thursday We Leave for Home"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4
|Directed by||Buzz Kulik|
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Original air date||May 2, 1963|
James Whitmore: Captain William Benteen
|“||This is William Benteen, who officiates on a disintegrating outpost in space. The people are a remnant society who left the Earth looking for a Millennium, a place without war, without jeopardy, without fear, and what they found was a lonely, barren place whose only industry was survival. And this is what they've done for three decades: survive; until the memory of the Earth they came from has become an indistinct and shadowed recollection of another time and another place. One month ago a signal from Earth announced that a ship would be coming to pick them up and take them home. In just a moment we'll hear more of that ship, more of that home, and what it takes out of mind and body to reach it. This is the Twilight Zone.||”|
Thirty years before, in 1991, an expedition to the hellish desert planet V9-Gamma was stranded, and the 113 colonists had no choice but to begin their small settlement there, under the perpetual daylight of two suns. The group's current leader, Captain Benteen, was 15 when the expedition first landed. He maintains a totalitarian grip upon the group of (now) 187 men, women and children; he believes that his strict discipline prevents them from giving up hope in the harsh, unyielding environment. The children born on V9-Gamma hang on his every word when he tells them about the Earth, "a place of color ... with streams of water ... clouds, white billowy things ... night skies, like endless black velvet (that came out) when the Earth went to sleep ... darkness, that felt like a cool hand..."
When a rescue mission from Earth finally arrives, Benteen is at first as jubilant as the others, but then he quickly begins to raise objections to his loss of control over them. When Benteen tries to run a meeting about weight restrictions and documentation, the colonists are more interested in stories of modern Earth told by the rescue mission's Colonel Sloane. Sloane later tells one of his crew that Benteen is quite a guy, who kept his people alive, but that he "thinks he's a god, that we're bullying him out of his heaven." Benteen tells Sloane that "his" colonists are like children, who will want to stay in a group under his guidance on their return to Earth. He is shocked when they announce their own ideas for when they return, so he tries to persuade them to stay on V9-Gamma as Earth is a place of "violence... hatreds... jealousy... we will DIE". When they still choose to return home, Benteen announces that he will remain behind – alone if he must – despite Sloane's warning that no other ships will return.
On the day the colonists board the ship, Sloane and Benteen's second-in-command, Al Baines, search for Benteen to give him one last chance to change his mind, but he is nowhere to be found. After they give up and leave, he is seen to be hiding inside the cave that had sheltered his people. As the ship takes off, Benteen tells his stories of a garden like Earth to the children—as if they are still sitting with him. Then, remembering the beauty of Earth, he realizes that he wants to go home. He rushes out screaming for the ship to come back, but he is now stranded on V9-Gamma for the rest of his life, completely alone in the barren, lifeless deserts.
|“||William Benteen, who had prerogatives: he could lead, he could direct, dictate, judge, legislate. It became a habit, then a pattern and finally a necessity. William Benteen, once a god, now a population of one.||”|
The rescue crew's ship and uniforms were leftover props from MGM's 1956 film Forbidden Planet.
When you see the captain in the cave near the power panel a few minutes into the episode, you can see a filming mistake where a microphone boom appears on the bottom right of the picture for some time.
A crew member shirt, also used in the episode "Death Ship" was offered at auction in late September 2015 by Profiles in History with an estimated value of US$1,000 to $1,500, with a winning bid of US$1,600.
- Hollywood Auction 74. California: Profiles in History. 2015. p. 358.
Lot 1017. Shirt made for Forbidden Planet and used in Twilight Zone episodes. (CBS TV, 1959-1964) Vintage futuristic shirt consisting of an iridescent gray blue short sleeve shirt with zipper front closure, 2-breast pockets, and soft sculpture bright red fabric crescents attached to shoulders. Ultimately unused in Forbidden Planet, the shirt does appear in two episodes of The Twilight Zone; "Death Ship" and "On Thursday We Leave for Home". With minor fading and discoloration to some areas. In vintage very good to fine. $1,000 – $1,500.(Auction took place September 29, 30, October 1, 2015.)
- 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