The Long Morrow
|"The Long Morrow"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 5
|Directed by||Robert Florey|
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Original air date||January 10, 1964|
Commander Douglas Stansfield, aged 30 (played by Robert Lansing), an astronaut in the year 1987, is scheduled to be sent on an exploratory mission to a planetary system 141 light-years from Earth. The round trip will take forty years. To save him the ordeal of 40 years of loneliness, he is to be placed in (newly developed) suspended animation for the twenty-year trip to his goal, and again for the twenty-year return trip. During his time in suspended animation, he will not age. Shortly before his mission, he meets and is enchanted by his young colleague, Sandra Horn (played by Mariette Hartley). They declare their love for each other, and lament the fact that when Stansfield returns, Sandra will be an old woman.
Forty years later, Stansfield returns to Earth, a forgotten pioneer. (The discoveries he made on his mission were independently achieved earlier by technology developed after his departure.) Sandra is waiting for him, still young and lovely. She had herself put in suspended animation during Stansfield's mission. Stansfield, however, had voluntarily disabled his suspended-animation system six months into his journey, and is now a man of 70. He has endured forty years of inconceivable loneliness in the hope of being with Sandra when he returned. The heartbroken Stansfield urges Sandra to begin a new life without him.
After Sandra leaves, General Walters offers some small consolation to the aged astronaut: "Stansfield, you're really quite an incredible man. It may be the one distinction of my entire life, that I knew you ... that I knew a man who put such a premium on love."
This episode is referenced in the Gilmore Girls episode Season 7 Episode 1 from 2006 also called "The Long Morrow."
- 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