episode #64 - Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?

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episode #64 - Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?

Post  BoG on Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:39 pm

Air Date: 5/26/61  Arrow  written by Rod Serling  Arrow  Directed by Montgomery Pittman

A favorite of many TZ fans, this combines sci-fi with mystery, seasons it with a slightly whimsical tone in places, capping it with one of those great climactic twists. Nearly the entire episode takes place inside a diner. Two state troopers have determined that an alien ship has crashed nearby; tracks lead to the diner. In the diner are the driver and passengers of a bus that has stopped there, as well as the diner's counter man (Barney Phillips). There should only be six passengers; but, there are seven. Obviously, one of them is not what they seem to be. The troopers begin to ask questions and odd things begin to happen, like the jukebox switching on by itself. Each of the passengers begins to get suspicious of the others, even the couples, while one bigshot (John Hoyt) sneers at the whole situation. We do find out who the actual Martian is by the end, but is that the whole story..?  alien

This is a lively episode, mostly due to the varied characters which populate the diner, including Jack Elam playing  a goofy older guy who thinks most of the situation is some big joke. There's a great moment when he causes the bus driver to erupt in laughter, but his next remark brings a chill to the proceedings. Thanks to the direction, this has a great tempo and all the scenes are pitch perfect; the acting is uniformly very well done. It's also a great combo of paranoia, suspense, dark humor, sci-fi thrills and surprises. Serling, of course, took the already-old concept of alien infiltrators (Martians being a popular choice of aliens back then) and ran with it to its best potential. This even touches on the fear of communism (again, infiltration) and global colonialism. BoG's Score: 9 out of 10
Star Trek TOS actor alert: John Hoyt played the doctor in the first pilot of TOS, The Cage (and in The Menagerie flashbacks).
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