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 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, brown mid-20th Century Eastern European military uniform, stumbles into the town. She looks into some of the shop windows, pausing briefly to wistfully eye a slightly ratty, faded evening dress on a mannequin. She spies what was a restaurant across the street and enters in search of food. She finds a can of chicken in the kitchen, but before she can open it, a man (Charles Bronson) wearing a worse for wear gray, shield-front uniform tunic with U.S. Civil War Confederate-style officer's sleeve insignia walks in. Recognizing his uniform as that of the enemy, she immediately attacks him. After attempting to subdue her without hurting 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 bikini sunsuit. He then turns to look back at his opponent.
He leaves the restaurant and goes to a newsstand near the store with the gown on the mannequin, which has a pile of newspapers, the last edition of the local paper. The headline reads, "Evacuate City." He considers, and returns to the kitchen where he had left his enemy.
He wakes the woman up by splashing her face with a pot of water. 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 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. They find the skeletal remains of soldiers at the theater entrance and 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 broken display 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 the steps up 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 an armed forces recruiting office. As she prepares to change into the dress, she notices the jingoistic enlistment posters on the wall. The last one depicts enemy soldiers from the woman's country being held at gunpoint by forces from the man's country. Instead of changing into the dress, she grabs her rifle, 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 returns to the barber shop to sleep in the barber's chair, staring at the dress that she brought with her.
The next morning opens on the second-floor porch of a tenement in which the man apparently spent the night. He has changed out of his uniform into a makeshift tuxedo and has found two jars of home-canned peaches. He sees the woman waiting, peeking at him from behind a truck in the street below. He yells at her to leave and 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, tosses one of the jars to her and calls her, "Pryekrasnyy." We see her smile for the first time. He walks away, but soon realizes that she is following him. He stops, turns, and waits for her. They face each other for a moment, smile, and walk off as a couple.
In his closing narration, Rod Serling says simply, "This has been a love story about two lonely people who found each other ... in the Twilight Zone."
This episode was 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 create the illusion of an abandoned city. If you look carefully at the second story windows in the opening shots of the episode and the credits, you can see the interior bracing that holds up the facades.
- 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