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Recap / The Twilight Zone 2019 S 1 E 10 Blurryman

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"If you're worried about anything, you should be worried about the fact that you are apparently in an episode of The Twilight Zone right now."

Jordan Peele: Witness Adam Wegman, a writer who, up until tonight, has never paid much mind to the idea of an artist's social responsibility. He's about to learn that there's more to art than entertainment. He's about to— You know what? I think we can beat this. Um, is Sophie here?

Jordan Peele: Picture, if you will, a storyteller finally getting to tell the story of a lifetime, except the story is one of inexplicable terror and the lifetime is her own. Her name is Sophie Gelson. She has little patience for childish diversions or daydreams. But she won't be able to tune out or turn away from what lurks, blurry, in the background of her own show. She is about to learn that when blurry comes to focus, there can be no escape from the fate laid out for her... in the Twilight Zone.

A writer is haunted by a mysterious figure.


Tropes for this episode include:

  • An Aesop:
  • Anvilicious: Invoked; Jordan Peele criticises Sophie's script as being a bit too ham-fistedly on-the-nose about how pointless and unnecessary science fiction and fantasy is.
  • As Himself: Jordan Peele, Seth Rogen, Betty Gabriel and Jason Priestley.
  • Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Sophie confesses that when she watched the original Twilight Zone episodes as a child, she was always waiting for the show to "get" to the titular Twilight Zone.
  • Advertisement:
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: This episode of The Twilight Zone is about various characters who are making an episode of The Twilight Zone.
  • Call-Back: To every previous episode of The Twilight Zone (2019).
    • Sophie runs past the office of "Not All Men".
    • At one point, Sophie takes refuge in the supermarket from "Point of Origin".
    • She finds a book with an animated Blurryman in the bar from "The Wunderkind".
    • A bank of monitors shows stills from other episodes, with Blurryman in the background of each.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: Sophie prepares for one of these when she realizes she's near the end of the episode.
    "I get it. This is the end. The end of the episode. Some cruel twist. The ironic fate. It doesn't matter what I do. None of it's enough."
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The Blurryman (in his suited form) appeared in the background of all of the pervious episodes in the season.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Some viewers have interpreted "Rod Serling" to be the Twilight Zone itself, using this trope to appear to Sophie in a way she can comprehend.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Sophie lost her childhood sense of wonder and fun when she grew up.
  • Homage: The episode sets up the final act of "Blurryman," in which Peele and company pay homage to The Twilight Zone’s beginnings and its ability to blend various genres to deliver a message:
  • Implacable Man: Blurryman relentlessly follows Sophie no matter what.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Blurryman's first words after stepping out to reveal his true form to Sophie (and the audience).
    Rod Serling: I take it I have your attention.
  • Meta Casting: Betty Gabriel is best known for Peele's directorial debut Get Out and in this episode, when Jordan Peele plays himself, she returns as Betty Gabriel and tells Jordan Peele and tells him that he's changed.
  • Monochrome to Color: Inverted; the color of the real world fade to black and white when Sophie begins to enter the Twilight Zone.
  • Rewriting Reality: The initial premise of the episode is a writer has the ability to change his world just by altering his plot outline.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Young Sophie is fascinated by the classic Twilight Zone episode "Time Enough At Last". Adult Sophie ends up returning to the library, passing by Henry Bemis' broken eyeglasses along the way.
    • The episode being filmed involves an invasion of Mechanical Abominations called Reapers.
  • Season Finale: The last episode of season 1 of The Twilight Zone.
  • Shown Their Work: In Real Life television sets, "lunch" occurs six hours after call time, whenever it is.note  This is why Sophie finds herself on a blacked-out and empty soundstage soon after "lunch" is called.
  • Something Completely Different: The final episode serves as a meta-textual look at The Twilight Zone itself rather than just a sci-fi parable like the previous episodes of the season.
  • Starting a New Life: Sophie's fate is to finally enter the Twilight Zone and discover its myriad wonders.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: This is easily the happiest ending compared to the other episodes in Jordan Peele's The Twilight Zone. Rather than be punished by a Cruel Twist Ending, Sophie gets exactly what she wants — to enter the real Twilight Zone and contribute meaning to it — with no catch or strings attached.
  • Take That, Critics!: The episode vocally rejects the notion that art should be purely for entertainment rather than trying to have a meaningful message, a rebuttal of some complaints that have been aimed at the show. That said, it also rejects the idea that entertaining genre work is not art.
  • Tears of Joy: Sophie starts shedding these when she learns the Blurryman is Rod Serling, and he's inviting her to do work in the real Twilight Zone. She also smiles as he leads the way into the unknown.
  • Thin Dimensional Barrier: How Sophie reaches the Twilight Zone.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Sophie is an overworked screenwriter who wants to infuse meaning into the work that she loved as a kid, but is worried that she has lost her joy. Rod Serling took notice, started following her, and invited her into the real Twilight Zone. Sophie happily joins him.
  • Trapped in TV Land: Sophie ends up in the world of "Time Enough At Last".
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Jordan Peele reaches for bags of popcorn whenever he appears.
  • Wham Shot: Sophie is confronted by the Blurryman near the end of the episode, who steps out of the shadows to be revealed as none other than Rod Serling.
  • Writer on Board: Sophie's original premise for the episode is about how true art should have meaning and popular entertainment is pablum.
    Sophie: "I guess I just thought the whole point was sort of, like, the slippery slope from superhero movies or stupid sci-fi crap to Idiocracy."
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Rod Serling tells Sophie this and outlines it as such in the closing monologue. She's worried that she is a soulless writer who has lost the joy she had as a child and that being punished by the Twilight Zone is some sort of Karmic Twist Ending. Instead, Serling reassures her that she hasn't lost that joy at all and can rediscover it in the real Twilight Zone. He says it's never too late to find your sense of wonder no matter how much we grow up.

Rod Serling: "What do we do when our world is turned upside down? When everything we thought to be true is ripped away and are forced to face a new reality. Sophie Gelson has just awoken to the fact when we put away childish things we may be closing our eyes instead of opening them. And that perhaps our only hope is to face all reality, a multitude of truths, not shrinking from that vital, arrogant, fatal, dominant 'X' beyond imagination, but to embrace it, to open ourselves to the unknown. Not the end of the story but a new beginning... for the Twilight Zone."

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