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Recap / The Twilight Zone S 2 E 64 Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up

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Rod Serling: "Wintry February night, the present. Order of events: a phone call from a frightened woman notating the arrival of an unidentified flying object, then the checkout you've just witnessed, with two state troopers verifying the event – but with nothing more enlightening to add beyond evidence of some tracks leading across the highway to a diner. You've heard of trying to find a needle in a haystack? Well, stay with us now, and you'll be part of an investigating team whose mission is not to find that proverbial needle, no, their task is even harder. They've got to find a Martian in a diner, and in just a moment you'll search with them, because you've just landed – in the Twilight Zone."
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Air date: May 26, 1961

Two state troopers respond to a call of an alien UFO landing in a remote area in the woods. The trail left by the alien leads them to a nearby diner, where they find a group of bus travellers. Two married couples, Ethel, a professional dancer, a sour-faced businessman named Ross, the bus driver, and one crazy old man named Avery. The mystery begins, as the policemen have to find the alien among the travellers. Suspicion grows among the group as strange things start to happen in the diner.


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Will the Real Tropes Please Stand Up?:

  • Affably Evil: Despite being an alien imperialist from Venus, Haley is shown to be actually quite friendly and cordial with his Earthling guests. He's not so friendly and cordial with the Martian Ross, though.
  • Alien Among Us: The object of the story. A Martian spy is hiding amongst of group of people in a diner, and the two policemen have to find it. The Tomato Surprise ending reveals that there was another alien there the entire time — a Venusian.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: Imperialists, to be precise.
  • Alien Invasion: Ross's real goal, he was sent as an area scout for the Martians to create a Martian colony on the Earth. But the big twist is when Haley reveals himself to be a Venusian. Haley informs Ross that the Venusians have already beaten them to the punch and the Martians have been intercepted. An alien colony is happening on Earth, but it's from Venus.
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  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Ross the businessman who finds the idea of a Martian among the group ridiculous, even when strange things are happening. It turns out Ross is the Martian and he caused the strange happenings to throw away suspicions.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Ross the Martian, has a third arm. Haley is a Venusian, with a third eye.
  • Bottle Episode: Except for two scenes, this episode takes place entirely in the Hi-Way Café.
  • The Butler Did It: A subversion. Ross, one of the people from the bus, was The Mole, but Haley the diner cook the who served them all and remained very much in the background throughout the story was also an enemy alien from a different planet, and was two steps ahead of Ross the whole time.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Avery. He may or may not be the alien, but he's definitely eccentric and stands out among the group.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: This episode was adapted as a graphic novel by Walker Paperback in 2009.
  • Contrived Coincidence: An alien from Mars comes to Earth, and finds himself at a diner owned by an alien from Venus.
  • The Cuckoo Lander Was Right: Avery is the one who hints at the businessman "Ross" as the Martian. He was right.
  • Didn't See That Coming: As the official episode book of the show nicely puts it "The real Martian has stood up...only to have the rug pulled out from under him."
  • Dirty Old Man: Avery hits on Ethel when she mentions she is a professional dancer.
    Avery: How many legs?
    Ethel: I'm gonna belt you, Grandpa.
  • Downer Ending: Humans are being wiped out into extinction by Venusians (and one Martian) who want to take over Earth as their new home world.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Or dropped them off a bridge in this case. After the guests and the state troopers leave the diner, the bridge on the road up ahead collapses, dropping all of them to their doom. Besides Ross, who mysteriously survives to tell the tale.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Avery asks if the bus driver wasn't replaced by an alien. The driver laughs for a bit until he frowns.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Haley vs. Ross. Specifically, Mars vs. Venus (and Venus won).
  • Evil Laugh: Haley breaks out into a sinister laugh once he reveals how he sprung his trap on Ross.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The troopers for not doing a thorough body check on everyone in the diner to ensure they're all human.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Avery points out Ross as the "most suspicious of the bunch" and asks him if he has an eye on the back of his head. Haley turns out to have a third eye, though in the middle of his forehead. He even tells the state troopers to "check under their coats" for wings. Had they done so, they would have discovered Ross' third arm.
    • Olmstead the bus driver expresses concern that the bridge up ahead from the diner is very weak and prone to collapsing.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Ross loves the taste of cigarettes. John Hoyt, the actor who played him, died of lung cancer.
  • He Knows Too Much: Ross has the state troopers and bus passengers killed since they know about the presence of a Martian.
  • Human Aliens: How the Martian is able to blend in with the group. He looks just like the humans, Well, besides his third arm. Haley qualifies as well, being a Venusian with a third eye that he conveniently covers with his hat.
  • Humans Are Morons: The aliens easily succeeded in making the real humans kill themselves like lemmings with misinformation and illusional tricks.
  • Killed Offscreen: The state troopers and the the bus riders are killed later when the bridge collapses, dropping all of them into the freezing river. Ross is the only one who survives.
  • Klingons Love Shakespeare: Ross thinks cigarettes taste wonderful, especially since they don't have anything like them on Mars. It also seems Martians and Venusians both enjoy human music.
  • Master of Illusion: Ross boasts to Haley that the weird goings on in the diner was his doing, he also created the fake phone call that ultimately allowed him to make his escape from under the eyes of the troopers.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: As a Martian, Ross has three arms, and he's responsible for the deaths of the state troopers and everyone on the bus.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Ethel McConnell. She's a professional dancer.
  • Oh, Crap!: Ross's expression after Haley tells him his friends aren't coming and lifts off his cap to reveal his third eye.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Jack Elam as Avery.
  • The Reveal: Two for the price of one! Ross reveals himself to be the Martian, before Haley is revealed to be a Venusian.
  • Ship Tease: The driver and Ethel. Sadly they fall to their deaths before any relationship might develop.
  • Take Me to Your Leader: Avery says this to the Hi-Way Cafe jukebox that had spontaneously started playing music while police officers are searching for an alien.
  • Technopath: The Martian Ross has the ability to control technology, turning both the jukebox and the lights in the Hi-Way Cafe off and on. He describes it as a parlor trick.
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: A group of bus travellers gather at a diner. One of them is an alien. Subverted later as there actually was a mole, but there was another enemy alien, who was onto the mole the whole time.
  • Tomato Surprise: When Ross returns from the bus accident to reveal himself as the Martian and gloat about his victory, "Haley" the diner cook springs a surprise on him (and the audience), revealing himself to be a Venusian.
  • Visible Boom Mic: During the discussion between the businessman Ross and the counterman Haley, as Haley says, "And I agree with you about what they call music," a shadow from an overhead boom mike (on Haley's hat) moves slightly.
  • Wham Line: Haley drops this bombshell at the end of the episode:
Haley: I don't mind. I have to do a little waiting myself. You see, Mr. Ross. My name isn't Haley. And I do agree with you that this is an extraordinary place to colonize. We folks on Venus got the same idea.

Rod Serling: "Incident on a small island, to be believed or disbelieved. However, if a sour-faced dandy named Ross or a big, good-natured counterman who handles a spatula as if he'd been born with one in his mouth, – if either of these two entities walk onto your premises, you'd better hold their hands – all three of them – or check the color of their eyes – all three of them. The gentlemen in question might try to pull you in – to the Twilight Zone."
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