The Jeopardy Room
|"The Jeopardy Room"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 5
|Directed by||Richard Donner|
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Original air date||April 17, 1964|
"The Jeopardy Room" is episode 149 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone, which originally aired on April 17, 1964 on CBS. It was the second of only two Twilight Zone episodes (the other being season two's The Silence) to feature a story without any supernatural or science fiction elements. It does, however, contain one of the series' signature twist endings.
Trying to defect, former KGB Major Ivan Kuchenko (Martin Landau) is trapped inside a hotel room. Commissar Vassiloff (John van Dreelen), a hitman; and Boris (Robert Kelljan), his assistant, are watching him from a room across the street. Vassiloff is a sadistic killer who has tricked Kuchenko into drinking a sleeping drug in the hotel room after pretending to surrender to Kuchenko. Kuchenko wakens to learn that Vassiloff has planted a bomb in the room: Ivan must find it within three hours, or he will be shot by Vassiloff and Boris, who have a gun trained on him at all times. Vassiloff has hidden the bomb in the room's telephone, where it will be triggered by picking up an incoming call. Ivan manages to escape and avoid being shot by exiting when the assassins were off-guard (when they tried to call him a second time). Later, Vassiloff and Boris enter the room and try to figure out what went wrong. The phone rings, and Boris—without thinking—picks it up; Vassiloff, realizing what is happening, yells at Boris, but the telephone bomb quickly goes off. On the other end of the phone line is Ivan Kuchenko at the airport. When the operator notifies him of the bad connection, he reassures her that the message was indeed delivered and as the loudspeaker announces that his plane is about to depart he walks to his freedom. The scene cuts to Vassiloff and Boris's charred corpses.
|“||The cast of characters—a cat and a mouse, this is the latter. The intended victim who may or may not know that he is to die, be it by butchery or ballet. His name is Major Ivan Kuchenko. He has, if events go according to certain plans, perhaps three or four more hours of living. But an ignorance shared by both himself and his executioner, is that both of them have taken the first step into the Twilight Zone.||”|
|“||Major Ivan Kuchenko, on his way West. On his way to freedom: a freedom bought and paid for by a most stunning ingenuity. And exit one Commissar Vassiloff, who forgot that there are two sides to an argument - and two parties on the line. This has been, the Twilight Zone.||”|
- 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
- Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)