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Recap / The Twilight Zone 2019 S 1 E 9 The Blue Scorpion

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"The legend is, you don't find it — it finds you."

Jordan Peele: Here sits Professor Jeffery Mingus Storck, a man who holds a doctorate in anthropology, but possesses little true knowledge of himself. Today, Professor Storck is surrounded by the many familiar artifacts that shaped his father's life, and the one unknown object that ended it. As a scientist, he's about to embark on his darkest research project yet. His conclusion will lie somewhere between the barrel of a gun and the outer regions of The Twilight Zone.

Following the death of his father, an anthropology professor finds a gun called the Blue Scorpion, which is about to become his most personal research project.

Tropes for this episode include:

  • Adult Fear: The two boys playing with the gun at the lake.
  • Arc Number: The Blue Scorpion's serial number is 1015-59.
  • Artifact of Attraction: Over time, the Blue Scorpion makes its owner love it above everything else.
    Storck: "Listen, no one will love the Blue Scorpion more than me."
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Played with; gun discipline is discussed and some basic safety precautions are followed, but a number of blatantly egregious moments still occur:
    • Jeff's wife Anne would never have been allowed to purchase a gun without demonstrating that she knew how to use it.
    • The police would never deliver a loaded gun through the mail.
    • It is unlikely the shooting range would allow Jeff to use their facilities after he starts showboating. It is questionable if they would even let him in after his incoherent talk at the counter, especially since "I only need to fire it once" sounds a lot like someone planning suicide.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • In a meeting with Anna and her lawyer to discuss the divorce, Storck says he doesn't need his own lawyer because he has "a friend" who will help "make all of [his] troubles disappear." He reaches into his backpack (where the Blue Scorpion is) and pulls out... his laptop.
    • The resolution of Jeff's Marked Bullet also counts.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: The Blue Scorpion is a gold-plated gun with intricate carvings and a pearl-white handle decorated with a blue scorpion silhouette.
  • Companion Cube: The Blue Scorpion eventually becomes this to its owners.
    Storck: "Never call me again, understand?"
    Bob: "Sir, I'm begging you, please don't hang up—"
    Storck: "Because I will never sell him."
  • Contrived Coincidence: Invoked; after he discovers the Blue Scorpion and its Marked Bullet, nearly everyone Storck meets is named "Jeff" — including various students on campus, his wife's divorce lawyer, the man at the shooting range, and a dog running across a field.
    • The gun dealer Storck talks to about selling the Blue Scorpion is named "Bob Jeff".
  • Curse Is Foiled Again: After the Blue Scorpion kills a man named Jeff, Jeffrey Storck's life suddenly gets better — he is hailed as a hero, his divorce is settled amicably, he becomes the chair of the university's Anthropology department, and he moves into a new apartment.
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  • Dead Man Writing: Otis left behind a cryptic note — "I love him more than you."
  • Divorce Assets Conflict: Jeff and Anne run into this when Anne's lawyer raises the possibility of selling the Fender electric bass owned by Jeff's father.
    Storck: "No! No! You don't get to take my dad's bass! Are you fuck— How can you even try?"
    Lawyer: "We're not 'taking' it. New York is an equitable distribution state. It's unfair that you prevent such a valuable item from liquidation, for sentimental causes."
  • Empathic Weapon: The Blue Scorpion. It supposedly loves its owner and only asks to be kept in light, and it becomes very upset when Jeff talks about selling it. Its owner eventually becomes obsessed with the gun, and its grip on the owner is only broken when the Marked Bullet kills someone with its name.
    "The Blue Scorpion loves you more than anyone. It only asks one thing in return: Light."
  • Evil Weapon: Played with. The Blue Scorpion grows into an obsession for Storck, and there are times where he points it at people he dislikes, but it is unclear if the temptation to fire it is from the weapon or the stress of Storck's personal problems.
  • Exposition: One of Storck's students ask about changing her research topic, leading to an exchange about Animism and Anthropomorphism.
  • Grail in the Garbage: The Blue Scorpion — a near-mythical (and very valuable) handgun sought after by Che Guevara — is in the belongings of an anonymous old hippie in a small upstate New York town.
  • Gun Struggle: One takes place in Jeff's car when he is attacked by a burglar. Jeff and the burglar struggle briefly, but then the Blue Scorpion is knocked across the dash, out of the reach of both men. Not that it matters to the Scorpion...
  • Higher Understanding Through Drugs: After a stressful day, Storck relaxes with some weed and gets a vision where he is visited by Eulogio Cienfuegos, the gun's creator. Eulogio explains the Blue Scorpion simply wants to "help end [his] troubles." It's even lampshaded by Jeff who realizes it's a hallucination.
    'Storck: "Oh, man, I'm so fucking high... Yeah, okay. You're not really here. You're not, you're not there. You're a hallucination. That name I heard that name from the gun dealer guy."
  • Hippie Parents: Jeff's father, Otis, who jammed with The Grateful Dead, went to Canada to evade the draft, toured Cuba with Billy Joel, and marched to Montgomery.
  • MacGuffin Title: The gun is named "The Blue Scorpion", after a picture of the scorpion on its pearl grip.
  • Marked Bullet: The Blue Scorpion is accompanied by a bullet that is etched with a name of its next victim. The gun jams if an attempt is made to fire the bullet at a target with the wrong name.
    • Invisible to Normals: The name on the bullet can only be seen by the owner of the Blue Scorpion. Everyone else sees a regular 9mm bullet.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: The two boys playing with the gun at the end.
  • Planet of Steves: Once professor Storck discovers the Marked Bullet with "Jeff" on it, nearly everyone he meets is named Jeff.
  • Spirit Advisor: Eulogio Cienfuegos, the maker of the Blue Scorpion, who explains (via a hallucination) the gun's purpose.
  • The End... Or Is It?: After Jeffery is free from the gun's influence, he throws it in the lake hoping no one can use it again. Unbeknownst to him, two boys who are just fishing soon find it washed ashore.

Jordan Peele: Human beings have a funny way of treating things like people. But today, they'll learn that as long as objects are valued more than lives, tragedy will forever be manufactured here in The Twilight Zone.

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