The Toys of Caliban

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"The Toys of Caliban"
The New Twilight Zone episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 29
Directed by Thomas J. Wright
Written by Terry Matz
George R. R. Martin
Original air date December 4, 1986
Guest appearance(s)

Richard Mulligan: Ernest Ross
Anne Haney: Mary Ross
David Greenlee: Toby Ross
Alexandra Borrie: Miss Kemp
Earl Bullock: Minister
Richard Biggs: Doctor

Episode chronology
← Previous
"The World Next Door"
Next →
"The Convict's Piano"
List of The Twilight Zone (1985 TV series) episodes

"The Toys of Caliban" is the twenty-ninth episode and the fifth episode of the second season (1986–87) of the television series The Twilight Zone. The title refers to the character Caliban from the William Shakespeare play The Tempest.


An elderly husband and wife, Ernest and Mary Ross, are thrilled when their son, Toby, is born. Unfortunately, their infant, who at first appears mentally impaired, develops the ability to summon things he has seen (by looking at the picture and saying the word "Bring!")—at one point, he even becomes sick from eating too much summoned food. As Ernest and Mary have to place more and more restrictions on what Toby can see and read, they realise they will have to keep Toby out of school. This course of action attracts the attention of Miss Kemp, a social worker, who doesn't know of the boy's power and is shocked at the parents' odd treatment.

Toby accidentally kills Mary when he sees a picture of a heart and summons it. Ernest remains determined to look after his son without outside interference. When the social worker comes calling and threatens to take Toby away, Ernest persuades Toby to demonstrate his ability to her, by summoning items from a picture book. Miss Kemp still believes Toby needs professional help, but Ernest insists that if psychologists and scientists found out what he could do, he would be abused. The social worker eventually leaves, but makes it clear that Ernest has not heard the last from her. Upset by these events, Toby uses an old photograph to summon his mother from the grave—Mary's corpse then appears in the armchair.

While burying Mary's body in the back yard, Ernest talks to his wife, saying that it's finally time. Ernest then sits with his son, and presents him with one more picture—a picture of fire.

By the time Ms. Kemp returns, the house is ablaze.

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