As I continue my examinations of episodes from The Twilight Zone Marathon on Syfy I have chosen another episode from season one, “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.” This episode is set in a small neighborhood in a seemingly normal middle class suburban town, but when strange things begin happening fear begins to take over.
Maple Street is having a seemingly perfectly normal day, when the power suddenly goes off. Now typically a blackout wouldn’t be cause for alarm, but all mechanical devices stop working, including cars and radios. Some men are sent out to see if other neighborhoods are experiencing these same strange occurrences. Randomly lights in certain houses come back on and a random car begins running with no one inside of it. The neighbors begin to turn on each other, especially when one of the young boys mentions that these events remind him of a comic book he read. As he explains that in the comic aliens infiltrated a normal American town, everyone suddenly seems suspicious. As fear continues to rise and accusations fly one of the men returns from his fact finding mission and things get deadly.
One of the men accidentally shoots him, thinking that he’s an invader. While it would seem initially that everything that has happened was really just a combination of fear and a freak power outage this is The Twilight Zone. The audience is pulled away from Maple Street and we learn that aliens were really behind the events that happened. They have been choosing normal neighborhoods to test human reactions to unexplained events. I have seen this episode so many times and the evolution of the story is just so well done. Even though I know the aliens will appear at the end, the plot could still entirely make sense if it were just a random blackout. The people of Maple Street are trying to find a way to explain what is happening around them and the unexpected death just makes it all the more real.
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