Two (The Twilight Zone)
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||Montgomery Pittman|
|Written by||Montgomery Pittman|
|Featured music||Nathan Van Cleave|
|Original air date||September 15, 1961|
"This is a jungle, a monument built by nature honoring disuse, commemorating a few years of nature being left to its own devices. But it's another kind of jungle, the kind that comes in the aftermath of man's battles against himself. Hardly an important battle, not a Gettysburg or a Marne or an Iwo Jima. More like one insignificant corner patch in the crazy quilt of combat. But it was enough to end the existence of this little city. It's been five years since a human being walked these streets. This is the first day of the sixth year, as man used to measure time. The time, perhaps 100 years from now or sooner; or perhaps it's already happened 2 million years ago. The place, the signposts are in English so that we may read them more easily, but the place is the Twilight Zone."
The setting is a small, deserted city that has not seen a human being since the end of an apocalyptic war five years before. Serling's narration suggests the time could be a hundred years in the future, perhaps even sooner, or millions of years in the past. A female soldier (Elizabeth Montgomery), wearing what looks like a tattered, mid-twentieth-century eastern European army uniform, stumbles into town. She looks into some of the shop windows, pausing briefly to wistfully look at a somewhat-tattered evening dress on a mannequin. She then spies what was a restaurant across the street and enters in search of food. She finds a can of chicken, but before she can open it, a man (Charles Bronson) wearing what looks like a worse-for-wear U.S. Civil War-era style military uniform walks in. Recognizing his uniform as that of the enemy, she immediately attacks him. After attempting to subdue her without injuring her, the man knocks her out and begins to ravenously eat the chicken. The man notices a dove, which flies away. He examines a wall calendar which displays a photo of an attractive woman in a swimsuit. He then turns to look back at his opponent.
He wakes the woman up by splashing her face with liquid. Speaking in English, he announces that there is no reason to fight anymore and gives her the remaining food as he leaves. The woman is wary, but eats the chicken. She then follows him into a barber shop and watches as he shaves. He tosses a bar of soap to her, then a towel, which she uses to wash her dirty face. After this, they then wander down the street, coming to a movie theater. He stares at a poster for a wartime romance film and turns to smile at her. Then they spy the skeletal remains of soldiers at the theater entrance, and they snatch nearby rifles, simultaneously aiming at each other.
After a tense moment, the man turns and walks away, slinging his gun over his shoulder. The woman follows him, and the two walk along the city street. They stop in front of the store with the dress in the window and she mutters pryekrasnyy (прекрасный), the Russian word for "beautiful". He takes the dress off the dummy and, after tossing it to her, indicates a doorway to a shop and tells her to go and put on the dress while he sits on the curb across the street. She enters the building, which turns out to be a military recruiting office. As she prepares to change into the dress, she stops when she notices the jingoistic enlistment posters on the wall. The last one depicts enemy soldiers being held at gunpoint by forces from the man's country. Instead of changing into the dress, she exits the office and angrily shoots at him twice, but misses. The man gets up looks at her incredulously and walks away, not understanding why she has suddenly become the enemy again. As night falls and it rains, she has returned to the barber shop to sleep in the barber's chair.
The next morning opens on the scene of a second-floor porch of a building the man apparently spent the night in. He is finishing changing out of his uniform into a makeshift tuxedo and has found two canned jars of fruit. He sees the woman waiting and peeking at him from behind a truck in the street below. He yells at her to leave and to take her war somewhere else. To his surprise, she emerges from behind the truck wearing the dress, and he realizes she has changed her attitude. He descends the stairs to the street and tosses one of the jars to her and calls her pryekrasnyy and we see her smile for the first time. He then walks away, but soon realizes that she is following behind him. He stops, turns, and waits for her. They face each other for a moment, smile, then walk off together as a couple. In his closing narrative, Rod Serling states, "This has been a love story about two lonely people who found each other...in the Twilight Zone."
This episode was actually filmed on the backlot of Hal Roach Studios in Culver City, California, which was literally falling apart, due to mismanagement and disuse. (The facilities were finally torn down in 1963.) Very little set decoration was needed to embellish an "abandoned city" here.
- 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