Oh I haven’t done one of these in a while!
So for anyone who isn’t new, Retro Rundown is a series I do on here where I rewatch episodes (mostly tv shows) of horror shows and just give a review of them in the mindset of more maturity, adult life instead of like… half watching or seeing this show as a kid, how different I would perceive it now as an adult! And sci-fi, thriller, fantasy can also be included under the umbrella of horror.
If you’ve missed the past few ones, I’ve done AYAOTD (Are You Afraid of the Dark), Goosebumps, Disney’s So Weird and Tales from the Darkside. I hope to also do Tales from the Crypt, Monsters, Masters of Horror, maybe Eerie, Indiana and more from today’s feature: The Twilight Zone.
Let’s talk about the 54th episode of The Twilight Zone: The Odyssey of Flight 33.
I love the little tidbit at the beginning of each episode where it shows the original broadcast date and this one was February 24, 1961, which was a couple of weeks ago and the episode is now 62 years old. Wow.
So this episode deals with time travel but not in the more traditional way of like it’s purposeful, there’s a machine that takes into time traveling or an invention, something like that but no, this episode starts out with the idea that something unbelievable and unpredictable happens randomly to a handful of people on a plane traveling from London to New York.
We’re following the crew of Flight 33 and the passengers (we don’t know them well, we focus on one woman chit chatting but they aren’t the focus) as they are trying to make it under the time of coming from London to New York. I like our main characters, they seem to all be on similar pages and support each other which would make sense because they are in this predicament together!
What I like is that we visually see the distraught in their eyes as they experience the “light” and “turbulence” but it’s more like a shock wave. I also liked that the lead pilot, who also gives off Rod Serling energy, was very much feeling that something wasn’t right, the intuition kicking in. If you know that feeling, you know that feeling of something’s up but you don’t know what it is just yet.
The plane goes through this feeling of not turbulence and seeing light, harsh winds that don’t affect the wings but they look out the window to see that Manhattan is empty. There are no skyscrapers, no buildings, missing 8 million people (in the episode mentioned) but there are dinosaurs. DINOSAURS. DINO-SAURS. Do you know what I’d do if I saw that? I’d scream cos I love dinosaurs but also, the visuals they used made me laugh. It looks like clay animation or something, this is around the mid to late 50s into the 60s so what movies are around this time?
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), The Thing from Another World (1951), Forbidden Planet (1956), THEM! (1954), The War of the Worlds (1953), Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959), Flight that Disappeared (1961), The Phantom Planet (1961) and others that puts us into where we are on a then-current landscape. There’s a lot of creature features and science fiction exploring time travel, space, new territory so this episode (show in general) fits right into what’s booming!
After dinosaurs, the crew and main pilot decide to try again, turn around, hopefully hit that same “pocket” to go back to where they came. They are successful in finding the pocket and travel through but unfortunately, they reach the World’s Fair in 1939, to the dismay and bleakness of the episode ending.
It simply ends with them not knowing if they’ll ever get back to home and it’s an inclusive ending but that’s the Twilight Zone for you!
I also appreciated how they let the passengers know what was going on as well. Just a nice note.
The Twilight Zone is available on Paramount+ (I have some dvd and vhs sets) and this episode is in season 2. It is the 18th episode of season 2, the 54 episode from the entire series and the episode is based upon the Flying Ductchman myth. Written by Rod Serling, directed by Justus Addiss and stars John Anderson, Paul Comi, Sandy Kenyon, Harp McGuire, Beverly Brown, Wayne Heffley and Betty Garde.