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Recap / The Twilight Zone S 1 E 25 People Are Alike All Over

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"Enjoy yourself, Mr. Conrad. Enjoy your house."

Rod Serling: You are looking at a species of flimsy little two-legged animal with extremely small heads whose name is Man. Warren Marcusson, age thirty-five. Samuel A. Conrad, age thirty-one... They're taking a highway into space—Man unshackling himself and sending his tiny, groping fingers up into the unknown. Their destination is Mars, and in just a moment we'll land there with them.
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Air date: March 25, 1960

A rocket piloted by two astronauts heads out on a mission to Mars. One of them, Marcusson (Paul Comi), is a positive thinker who believes that people are alike all over, even on the Red Planet. The other astronaut, Conrad (Roddy McDowall), has a more cynical view of human interplanetary nature. The impact of landing on Mars is so severe that Marcusson dies. Now alone, Conrad is consumed by fear when he hears a rhythmic sound reverberating upon the ship's hull. Expecting some unnameable evil, he finds his apprehension turning to joy when, upon opening the hatch, he sees Martians that indeed appear human, have mind-reading abilities and give the impression of being most amicable, especially the beautiful Teenya, who welcomes and reassures him. The hospitable locals lead their honored guest to his residence—an interior living space furnished in the same manner as one on Earth would have been. Conrad briefly relaxes, but soon discovers that his room is windowless and the doors cannot be opened. Momentarily, a wall slides apart, leading to Conrad's realization that he has become a caged exhibit in a Martian zoo. Conrad picks up a sign that says "Earth Creature in his native habitat" and throws it on the floor. In the episode's closing lines, Conrad yells to the heavens, "Marcusson! Marcusson, you were right! People are alike.... people are alike everywhere."

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Rod Serling: Species of animal brought back alive. Interesting similarity in physical characteristics to human beings in head, trunk, arms, legs, hands, feet. Very tiny undeveloped brain; comes from primitive planet named Earth. Calls himself Samuel Conrad, and he will remain here in his cage with the running water and the electricity and the central heat, as long as he lives. Samuel Conrad has found the Twilight Zone.

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Tropes Are Alike All Over:

  • Adaptation Deviation: In the episode, Sam Conrad is the protagonist and Marcusson is his fellow astronaut who accompanies him to Mars but dies shortly after their arrival. In the short story "Brothers Beyond the Void" by Paul W. Fairman on which the episode is based, Charles Marcusson is the protagonist and the only astronaut to travel to Mars. Sam Conrad is an older friend of his who remains on Earth.
  • Canon Foreigner: Teenya does not appear in the short story "Brothers Beyond the Void".
  • The Collector: The Martians have a zoo and have been looking for an Earthling exhibit for a long time. Conrad is just what they're looking for.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: The aliens lock Conrad into his house as a zoo exhibit.
  • Downer Ending: Samuel Conrad is now an exhibit in the Martian zoo, and will spend the rest of his days there.
  • Foreshadowing: In the first scene, the two astronauts are looking at their ship from behind a wire fence...looking like animals in a cage.
  • Gilded Cage: The house the Martians make Conrad is just as nice as his one back home — but it's an exhibit.
  • Human Aliens: The Martians look exactly like us, and in a way, Conrad and Marcusson are this to the Martians.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Implied. Conrad says the Martians (who are only interested in him for their own purposes) are just like humans.
  • Ironic Echo: The semi-Title Drop.
    Marcusson: Don't be afraid Sam! I've got a hunch... if there's anyone out there, they'll help you... As long as they have hearts and minds, they have souls! That makes them people! And... people are alike... they're bound to be a-like...
    ((later))
    Sam: (inside a Martian zoo) Marcusson! Marcusson, you were right! You were right... People are alike... people are alike everywhere...
  • People Zoo: The Martians put Conrad in a zoo.
  • Telepathic Spacemen: The Martians can read minds, which helps with communication and designing Conrad's quarters.
  • Translator Microbes: Conrad believes that the Martians are speaking English but he is told that he is in fact speaking their language as a result of unconscious transference, a sort of hypnosis.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Marcusson, who optimistically believes that people are alike everywhere, even as he dies. Conrad ends up learning that his beliefs were sorely misplaced when it turns out people are alike everywhere.

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