Episode #15 - I Shot an Arrow into the Air

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Episode #15 - I Shot an Arrow into the Air

Post  BoG on Thu Dec 30, 2010 11:04 pm

Air Date: 1/15/60  Arrow  written by Rod Serling and Madelon Champion  Arrow  Directed by Stuart Rosenberg

There's a key story point here about the sun's position after 3 astronauts land on an asteroid, unsure of where they are. The point about the view of the sun is probably the worst flaw - this was a TZ / circa 1960 perspective of our solar system, in that there might be Earth-like asteroids in our system very close to Earth. More to the point, the astronauts should have realized
they WERE on Earth itself when they looked at the sun,
 but the whole punchline of the episode would then be gone. What other way could this have been done? All the astronauts blinded after the crash? Maybe - but that would have been an entirely different kind of episode, and no way to end it the way it did.

I was also not too keen on the way Corey (Dewey Martin) was portrayed. These astronauts were supposed to be the best-of-the-best; OK, they are still human and prone to panic, but Corey was a first-grade a-hole from second one and then a full-blown psychopathic sociopath. Talk about slipping through the cracks of the space program here.  I guess vetting and testing and training of astronauts in this 'alternate reality' was a bit different from ours. I think the story would have still worked if Corey was less an outright villain, maybe a little more subtle & shaded. The other 2 surviving astronauts were almost too decent and Corey was too much a vile scum. The contrast was too glaring.
Finally, I noted a dramatic dialog technique Serling used here and other episodes like People Are Alike All Over: at the end, as Corey sees where he actually is, he calls back to "Pierson!" - one of the men he killed. Roddy McDowall does the same thing at the end of the other episode. This is a character calling out to the dead; I always found these bits as amusing & off-kilter; my first thought always is 'doesn't he remember that this person is dead?'  BoG's Score: 7 out of 10

You can also view the episode on-line at CBS.com: I SHOT AN ARROW INTO THE AIR @CBS.COM
Trivia From the Zone:
This was the one story that Serling purchased off the cuff from someone who pitched it at a party - 'what if 3 guys landed on
what they thought was an asteroid and it turned out to be outside of Las Vegas?'
- according to Marc Scott Zicree's Twilight Zone Companion. Serling paid the lady $500 on the spot - the only time he did something like this. Maybe all the faults of the episode can be traced to the way this story was acquired. The site Buzzfeed didn't like this one, ranking it 18th worst episode of the series.
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