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Recap / The Twilight Zone S 3 E 93 The Little People

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Fletcher beholds the Little People's statue of Craig.

Rod Serling: The time is the space age, the place is a barren landscape of a rock-walled canyon that lies millions of miles from the planet Earth. The cast of characters? You've met them: William Fletcher, commander of the spaceship; his co-pilot, Peter Craig. The other characters who inhabit this place you may never see, but they're there, as these two gentlemen will soon find out. Because they're about to partake in a little exploration into that gray, shaded area in space and time that's known as the Twilight Zone.
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Air date: March 30, 1962

Astronauts William Fletcher (Claude Akins) and Peter Craig (Joe Maross), each of whom happens to be the chief thorn in the other's side, set down in a canyon on another planet to repair their ship. While scouting around, Craig finds a city populated by people no bigger than ants.

He begins terrorizing the population by crushing three of their buildings (Fletcher interferes with his destruction), proclaiming himself a god; although Fletcher said that the people are no different than we are, Craig believes that they've "been created in his image", even going so far as forcing them to build a life-size statue of him. Fletcher comes to inform him the repairs are done and they can depart, but Craig pulls a gun on him and orders Fletcher to leave him alone; there's no room for two gods.

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Fletcher leaves disgustedly and, immediately, another ship lands. Two spacemen, big as mountains, emerge (they're repairing their ship). One of them picks Craig up and accidentally crushes him. The Little People rejoice at the death of their bullying "god", pulling the statue of Craig down, on top of his lifeless body.

Rod Serling: The case of navigator Peter Craig, a victim of a delusion. In this case, the dream dies a little harder than the man. A small exercise in space psychology that you can try on for size in the Twilight Zone.

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The Little Tropes:

  • Aliens Speaking English: The giant aliens, although it's possibly a case of Translation Convention.
  • All Take and No Give: The nature of The Little People's relationship with their "God" Craig, they are the "givers" and Craig is the "taker". To clarify, Craig makes them give him all their food and water, uses his size to make them bend to his will, forces them to make a statue of his likeness, etc. When Fletcher asks what Craig gives the Little People in return for all their work, he responds by saying that he gives them his "smiling beneficence" and his promise to NOT trample on their town (unfortunately, Craig doesn't hold up to the second one).
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Peter Craig was a giant to the Little People, then he meets people who are giants to him.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Given how quick Craig was to lord over the Little People (and his Sanity Slippage afterwards) and how he already expressed desire for power, he clearly wasn't alright in the head, even before he discovered them.
    • He also expresses sadistic pleasure in crushing the Little People and forcing them to do as he says, so he at the very least, is a sociopath with a God Complex.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: After their "god" Peter Craig is killed by a giant spaceman, the little people gleefully pull down the statue of Craig that they had been forced to make.
  • Asshole Victim: Peter Craig.
  • Bad Boss: Once again, Peter Craig.
  • Binary Suns: The planet has two suns.
  • The Bully: Again, Peter Craig.
  • Chromosome Casting: All the characters who actually appear on screen are male. It's likely that some of the Little People are female, but we never get to see them.
  • The Devil: What Fletcher accuses Craig of being rather than a god.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": The little people's species is never given a name (or show up on screen, so we don't even know what they look like). Fletcher and Craig just refer to them as "The Little People".
  • Drunk with Power: It doesn't take Craig long to let his newfound power go to his head.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength:
    • The alien who kills Craig crushes him by accident while curiously trying to pick him up. He feels bad for it.
    • Averted with Craig, who knows that he is much stronger than the Little People and takes advantage of it.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Both Fletcher and William's personalities are demonstrated in the first scene: Fletcher is checking on the repairs for the rocket while Craig lazily does nothing but complain. This continues when Craig complains about their location and the freeze dried food they have to eat which he then throws away. Fletcher, infuriated by his actions, then grabs the food and berates Craig, telling him that he should be grateful that they are alive, are in a place with oxygen and they at least have any food and water at all. This shows that Fletcher is the responsible, sensible one of the duo and Craig cares only about himself.
  • Everyone Has Standards: William Fletcher is a rather impatient man but he expresses horror and outrage when he sees that Craig has deliberately crushed some of the Little People's houses and likely killed many of them. He even tries to stop him from crushing anymore of them and begs the small aliens for forgiveness for what Craig did.
  • A God Am I: It doesn't take long before Jerkass Peter Craig sets himself up as the Little People's god. It takes even less time for things to get worse.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Fletcher is easily the morally superior of the two, but he's very stern and short tempered himself. Justified, having Craig as a co-pilot. Though he apologizes to the Little People and plead that they don't hold the human race accountable for Craig's actions.
  • Here We Go Again!: Subverted. After Craig dies, one of the giants wonders if there are other tiny aliens around. However, instead of looking for them, he joins his partner in getting to work repairing their ship.
  • Human Aliens: The giant spacemen.
    • While we never see them, it's possible that the Little People are this too. It's hinted since they seem to have a similar (albeit smaller) civilization comparable to Earths.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: Tiny aliens (smaller than ants) worship Peter Craig, who discovers (and later mistreats) them.
  • Irony:
    • Craig claims that the Little People worship him as their God, but we soon see that the small aliens likely do not hold any reverence for him at all and only do as he says because they fear him.
      • It's revealed that Craig is aware of this fact and still lords over them, using their fear to make them do whatever he wants.
    • The giant spacemen wonder if there's any other "little people" but have no time to look as they're repairing their ship and leave. Also they apparently have a better working relationship than Fletcher and Craig did.
    • Craig compares the Little People creating the statue to the Lilliputians tying up Gulliver. He is later killed by two Brobdingnagian-like aliens.
    • Craig enjoys crushing the little people's houses, likely killing many of them, in order to demonstrate his power over them whereas the giant alien who accidentally kills Craig feels guilty about it.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: After Fletcher rightfully tells Craig that he's out of his gourd, Craig tries to shoot him.
  • Jerkass: Even before discovering (and later abusing) the Little People, Peter Craig was an unpleasant individual who desired power and ego-nourishing.
  • Karmic Death: After spending the majority of the episode tormenting the Little People and crushing them to force them to do as he says, Craig gets killed by a giant alien that shows up in the end.
  • Kick the Dog: After Craig declares himself as the Little People's "God", he then proceeds to stomp on their town, crushing many of them. This is after the Little People helped him find food and water.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Peter Craig is killed by a giant spaceman in the end.
  • Lilliputians: Craig discovers a race of tiny people.
  • Minimalist Cast: Played With. While the story deals with an entire civilization of ant-sized people, we never see them. Most of the episode features just Fletcher and Craig; the only other characters with speaking parts are the giant aliens who appear briefly at the very end.
  • Must Make Amends: Fletcher begging the little people for forgiveness for what Craig did to them, in hopes that they'll forgive the human race as a whole.
  • Sadist: Despite claiming to do it to "discipline" the Little People, it's obvious that Craig takes great pleasure in crushing them and forcing them to be his slaves. He also looked like he was looking forward to "remind them not to make him angry".
  • Only Sane Man: Fletcher is a no-nonsense astronaut who rightly calls Craig out for his actions.
  • Pet the Dog: Despite Craig's horrible actions, including threatening him at gun point, Fletcher still tries to reason with him and get him to return to Earth with him.
  • Sanity Slippage: Craig's sanity deteriorates as soon as he meets the little people, spiraling into a full blown God complex.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: After seeing that Craig has truly lost his mind and after he threatens him to leave by gun point , Fletcher does leave but warns Craig that he will regret this.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Peter Craig exhibits all seven sins throughout the episode:
    • Envy: He expressed Envy at the sight of the giant aliens, as he wanted to be the ONLY giant (and "God") around.
    • Gluttony: He overindulged himself on all the the Little People's food and water, and refused to share with anyone, possibly including the Little People themselves.
    • Greed: He initially didn't want to "share" the Little People with his co-pilot Fletcher and hoarded them, seeing them as nothing more than his property.
    • Lust: Not for sex but for power, as Craig had expressed desires to be in charge even before he discovered the Little People.
    • Pride: Peter Craig is has A LOT of it. He deems himself as "God" to the Little People and even demands to have a statue made in his likeness by them, as a sign of his ego.
    • Sloth: The beginning of the episode shows Peter lazing around while Fletcher does all the work on the rocket. When asked by Fletcher what HE can offer the little people for all the labor he makes them do, Craig replies that he can give them his "smiling beneficence" and NOT trample on their town.
    • Wrath: After Fletcher rightfully calls him out of his cruelty towards the Little People and tells him that it's time to go, Craig threatens him by gun point, telling him to leave or he will kill him.
  • Square-Cube Law: Apparently, the giant aliens have never heard of it.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Craig fires a stray bullet when Fletcher tells him he's really lost it.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Peter Craig is nothing more than a Jerkass spaceman from Earth but as soon as he discovers the Little People, he proclaims himself as their "God" and begins abusing his power over them.
  • Stock Footage: The ship that Fletcher leaves in looks exactly like one of the Mercury rockets.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Fletcher and Craig can't stand each other, but Fletcher at least tries to put that aside so they can both get home.
  • Toppled Statue: The little people topple it on Craig's body, just for further emphasis.
  • The Unreveal: We never get to see what the little aliens actually look like (though they're more than likely Human Aliens).
    • In-Universe example, as Fletcher leaves the alien world just before the giant aliens arrive (and accidentally kill Craig), so as far as he knows, his ex-colleague is destined to waste away from loneliness and madness on an alien world.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Crag dies after a giant alien picked him up, accidentally crushing him. To clarify, the moment the two giant aliens arrive, Craig has a Villainous Breakdown and demands that they leave, as his ego cannot accept that there is someone bigger than him around. Had he remained quiet and tried to hide (instead of yelling and demanding that they leave), they likely would never had noticed him and would have gone away once their own ship was repaired while Craig would still be alive.
  • Two First Names: The protagonists are William Fletcher and Peter Craig.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: What does Craig do after the Little People help him find edible food and drinkable water? He proclaims himself as their "God" and threatens to crush them if they don't bend to his will. He even does crush some of them just to demonstrate the power he has over them.
  • Villainous Breakdown: In his final moments, Craig is left futilely screaming at the giant aliens to go away, that he is the god, not them. Which ends with him screaming in pain as one of them grabs and accidentally kills him.
  • Villain Protagonist: Peter Craig.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Craig has no problem bullying and terrorizing the little people. Fletcher, meanwhile, averts it by denouncing Craig's actions and sincerely apologizing for what's happened.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Although Craig was already an unstable Jerkass, he becomes Drunk with Power as he lords it over the little people.

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