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This page covers tropes found in The Twilight Zone (1959). Tropes beginning with letters A-H can be found at Tropes A to H and tropes beginning with letters I-P can be found at Tropes I to P.


The Twilight Zone (1959) provides examples of:

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     Q-R 
  • The Radio Dies First: In "The Fear", the radio of Robert Franklin's police car is rendered inoperable after the aliens turn the car over.
  • Raised by Robots:
    • Inverted in "The Lateness of the Hour". Jana Loren is a robot who was "raised" by humans, namely her creator Dr. William Loren and his wife. As they were unable to have children of their own, they programmed memories of a fictional childhood into her. She eventually discovers the truth when she realizes that the family album contains no photographs of her.
    • In "I Sing the Body Electric", Mr. Rogers purchases a robotic grandmother from Facsimile Ltd. to raise his children Tom, Karen and Anne after the death of his wife.
  • Ray Gun: In "Two", the soldiers from both armies were equipped with laser weapons, judging by the discarded rifles that the man and woman find.
  • Real Award, Fictional Character:
    • In "Showdown with Rance McGrew", the title character tells Jesse James that he has been nominated for two Emmys. The unimpressed James thinks that McGrew did not deserve to be nominated.
    • In "The Changing of the Guard", Artie Beechcroft received the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for his heroism during the Battle of Iwo Jima.
  • Reality Warper:
    • In "The Mind and the Matter", Archibald Beechcroft develops the ability to manipulate reality after reading the occult book The Mind and the Matter. He uses his newfound powers to make everyone disappear as he is an misanthrope who hates people. After he gets bored on his own, he causes an earthquake and then creates an electrical storm. He then fills the world with copies of himself but that doesn't satisfy him either.
    • In "It's a Good Life", Anthony Fremont has seemingly unlimited mental powers. His Telepathy allows him to ensure that everyone in Peaksville thinks nice thoughts about him. If they don't, Anthony uses his powers to punish them. He typically does so by sending them to the cornfield but he also set Teddy Reynolds on fire and turned Dan Hollis into a jack-in-the-box. Anthony can also kill with his mind, which he does to a three-headed gopher that he created. The largest scale demonstration of his power was when he made the world outside of Peaksville disappear. The townspeople were never sure whether the world had been destroyed or whether Peaksville had been transported somewhere else.
  • Really 700 Years Old:
    • In "Long Live Walter Jameson", the title character is more than 2,000 years old. He tells his close friend Professor Samuel Kittridge that he is old enough to have known Plato personally.
    • In "The Fugitive", Ben ruled his planet for more than 1,000 years before coming to Earth. He will live for at least another 4,000 years.
    • In "Queen of the Nile", Jordan Herrick learns from Viola Draper that her mother Pamela Morris has not aged in at least 70 years. Just before she steals his Life Energy, Pamela herself tells him that she was once Queen of the Nile, making her more than 2,000 years old.
  • Real Time: "A World of His Own" takes place in real time as there are no discernible time skips in the narrative.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • The unpleasant family in "The Masks" receive one from Jason Foster, just before he finally dies.
    • Fitzgerald Fortune is on the receiving end of several of these in "A Piano in the House" but he shrugs them off, largely because he's using a magical player piano to force people to reveal their hidden secrets. At the end of the episode, though, one of the piano's songs prompts Fortune to give a Reason You Suck Speech to himself.
    • Feathersmith gets one too in "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville".
    • In "The Parallel", Paul Driscoll delivers a particularly devastating one to the warmongering Hanford when he is asked if he is some kind of pacifist:
    Paul: No, I'm some kind of sick idiot who's seen too many young men die because of too many old men like you who fight their battles at dining room tables.
    Guest: Oh, my goodness.
    Hanford: I take offense at that remark, Mr. Driscoll.
    Paul: And I take offense at armchair warriors who don't know what a shrapnel wound feels like or what death smells like after three days in the sun or the look in a man's eyes when he's minus a leg and his blood is seeping out. Mr. Hanford, you have a great enthusiasm for planting the flag deep but you don't have a nodding acquaintance with what it's like to bury men in the same soil.
    Hanford: I'll not sit here and take talk like that.
    Paul: No, no, you'll go back to your bank and it'll be business as usual until dinnertime when you'll give us another vacuous speech about a country growing strong by filling its graveyards. Well, you're in for some gratifying times, Mr. Hanford. Believe me, there'll be a lot of graveyards for you to fill in Cuba and in France, then all over Europe and all over the Pacific. You can sit on the sidelines and wave your pennants because, according to your definition, this country's going to get virile as the Devil. From San Juan to Inchon, we'll show how red our blood is because we'll spill it. There are two unfortunate aspects of this. One is, that you won't have to spill any. And the other is, you won't live long enough to know I'm right.
    • In "The Last Night of a Jockey", after the now ten foot tall Michael Grady wishes to be small again so that he can ride, his alter ego tells him that he is already:
    You are small, Mr. Grady. You see, every time you won an honest race, that's when you were a giant. But right now, they just don't come any smaller.
  • Recurring Dreams:
    • In "Twenty-Two", Liz Powell experiences a recurring dream in which she follows a strange nurse to the hospital morgue, Room 22. It turns out to be a prophetic dream warning her not to board Flight 22 to Miami Beach. She doesn't and the plane explodes immediately after take off.
    • In "Shadow Play", Adam Grant suffers a recurring nightmare in which he is convicted of murder and sent to the electric chair every night.
  • Redemption Equals Death: In "In Praise of Pip", the alcoholic bookie Max Phillips intends to turn his life around but ends up sacrificing it in order to save his son Pip.
  • Referenced By: William Shakespeare:
    • Three of the episode titles are "Perchance to Dream", "The Purple Testament" and "A Quality of Mercy"; Rod Serling even quotes Portia's words to Shylock at the end of the latter episode ("The quality of mercy is not strained, / It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven / Upon the place beneath: it is thrice blessed, / It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes"; The Merchant of Venice, IV.i).
    • A running joke in "The Bard" (in which the hack would be TV writer Julius Moomer brings Shakespeare to life and puts him to work writing for television) has Shakespeare quoting his plays, title and verse. At one point the Bard says, "To be or not to be - that is...." looks confused, and then exits.
    • The closing narration of "The Last Flight" is "Dialogue from a play, Hamlet to Horatio: 'There are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.' Dialogue from a play written long before men took to the sky: There are more things in heaven and earth and in the sky than perhaps can be dreamt of. And somewhere in between Heaven, the sky and the Earth lies the Twilight Zone."
    • In the final scene of "The Passersby", Abraham Lincoln quotes the following line from Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene II: "Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, it seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come."
    • In "The Masks", Paula Harper says that her mother Emily has done nothing but complain ever since they arrived in New Orleans. Emily replies "He jests at scars that never felt a wound." This is a line from Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene II.
  • Reminiscing About Your Victims: In "Deaths-Head Revisited", the former SS officer Gunter Lütze returns to Dachau after 17 years in South America to reminisce about all the suffering that he caused there.
  • Replacement Scrappy: In-Universe example with "I Sing The Body Electric". A widowed husband gets a robot granny to help raise his children, but the oldest child rejects her for not being her deceased mother.
  • Repressed Memories: In "Nightmare as a Child", Helen Foley repressed the memory of witnessing Peter Selden murder her mother in her bedroom when she was ten years old.
  • Ret Gone: In "And When the Sky Was Opened", the astronauts Colonel Ed Harrington, Colonel Clegg Forbes and Major William Gart are erased from existence one by one shortly after their return to Earth. The same fate befalls their spacecraft, the X-20.
  • Rewriting Reality:
    • In "A World of His Own", the playwright Gregory West discovered that he had the ability to rewrite reality using his dictaphone when Philip Wainwright, a character from his play Fury in the Night, came alive. He subsequently created his perfect, regal wife Victoria and his sweet, affectionate lover Mary, who caters to his every whim.
    • In "Printer's Devil", Mr. Smith, who is in actuality the Devil, modifies the linotype machine of The Dansburg Courier so that everything written on it comes true. The stories that he creates include the local high school principal Harold J. Swanson being revealed to a bigamist and the building of the rival newspaper The Dansburg Gazette burning down. After Jackie Benson slaps him, he writes a story in which she is badly injured in a car accident. Douglas Winter realizes that he can use the linotype machine just as easily and uses it to both save Jackie's life and render the contract for his immortal soul that he signed with Mr. Smith null and void.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots:
    • In "The Lonely", Captain Allenby gives James A. Corry, who is serving in solitary confinement on an asteroid, a Robot Girl named Alicia in order to combat his loneliness. At first, Corry rejects her as Just a Machine who was sent to mock him but realizes that Androids Are People, Too when Alicia begins to cry, indicating that she is capable of the same feelings as any human.
    • In "Elegy", Jeremy Wickwire, the robot caretaker of the cemetery asteroid Happy Glades, has the appearance and manner of a kindly, grandfatherly old man. Captain James Webber, Professor Kurt Meyers and Peter Kirby don't suspect that he is anything other than human until he tells them that he is a robot.
    • In "The Lateness of the Hour", Dr. William Loren created five robots to perform various domestic duties around the house for himself and his wife. Their daughter Jana objects to their presence as she feels that her parents have become increasingly dependent on them for everything. The robots are completely human in appearance and possess emotions. They even appear to have the will to survive as the robot butler Robert initially objects to Dr. Loren's plan to dismantle them. It turns out that Jana herself is a robot who was programmed to believe that she was the Lorens' daughter.
    • In "I Sing the Body Electric", the robot grandmother that Mr. Rogers bought for his children Tom, Karen and Anne has a great capacity for warmth, compassion and empathy. When the time comes for her to leave, she is saddened but says that the children brought her great joy.
    • Invoked in "In His Image". The miserable genius Walter Ryder, Jr. creates the android lookalike Alan Talbot specifically as an improved version of himself, with a nervous system that will function just like a human one. The chief glitch is Talbot's uncontrollable urge to kill.
  • Ring of Power: In "Ring-A-Ding Girl", Bunny Blake receives a ring from her fan club in her home town of Howardsville. As soon as she puts it on, she experiences a premonition telling her that it is urgent that she come home at once. Bunny is then able to astrally project herself so that she can prevent as many of the townspeople as possible from being killed when the plane on which is traveling crashes into Howardsville. When she disappears, her sister Hildy and nephew Bud find the charred and damaged ring on the floor of their living room.
  • Ripped from the Headlines:
    • "King Nine Will Not Return" was inspired by the story of the Lady Be Good, a World War II bomber which crashed in the Libyan desert on April 4, 1943, but was rediscovered in 1958, only two years before this episode aired. The missing crew likewise refers to the missing crew of the Lady Be Good, who were later discovered to have perished trekking across the desert under the mistaken belief they were near the Mediterranean Sea, instead of over 400 miles inland. Finally, the date on Sgt. William F. Kline's grave is April 5, 1943, the day after that the Lady Be Good vanished.
    • Rod Serling wrote "The Shelter" in direct response to the social discourse and anxieties during the ongoing Berlin Crisis.
    • "Deaths-Head Revisited" was inspired by the capture and ongoing trial of Adolf Eichmann, one of the main architects of The Holocaust.
    • "The Parallel" was inspired by John Glenn becoming the first American to orbit Earth aboard the Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962.
    • "The Bewitchin' Pool" was inspired by Earl Hamner, Jr. reading about the increasing divorce rate for married couples and its effects on children in the San Fernando Valley of California.
  • Ripple Effect Indicator:
    • In "And When the Sky Was Opened", The Daily Chronicle initially features the headline "Three Spacemen Return from Crash; All Alive" and a photograph of Colonel Ed Harrington, Colonel Clegg Forbes and Major William Gart. After Harrington ceases to exist, the headline changes to "Two Spacemen Return from Crash in Desert" and only Forbes and Gart are pictured. When Forbes likewise ceases to exist, the headline reads "Lone Spaceman Completes Journey; Lands in Desert" and only Gart appears in the accompanying photo.
    • In "Person or Persons Unknown", although there's no confirmation that the plot is time travel induced, David Gurney finds a picture of himself with his wife Wilma taken before he vanished but she vanishes from the picture before he can show it to Dr. Koslenko to prove that he does know her.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory:
    • In "And When the Sky Was Opened", Colonel Clegg Forbes is the only person to remember that Colonel Ed Harrington ever existed after he fades from existence. Similarly, Major William Gart is the only one to remember Forbes after he disappears.
    • In "The Big Tall Wish", Bolie Jackson is the only one to remember the timeline in which he defeated Joey Consiglio in the ring after Henry Temple's wish is undone.
    • In "Mr. Bevis", the Guardian Angel J. Hardy Hempstead changes Mr. James B.W. Bevis' life so that he is a normal, straitlaced and successful person. The two of them are the only ones to remember the ways things used to be.
    • In "Back There", when Peter Corrigan returns to his own time after his failed attempt to prevent the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, he discovers that the Potomac Club attendant William has become a millionaire and a prominent member of the club. He is the only one to realize that history has been altered.
    • In "Cavender is Coming", the Guardian Angel Harmon Cavender changes Agnes Grep's life so that she is wealthy and successful. They are the only ones to remember the previous version of her life in which she was extremely clumsy and unable to hold down a job.
    • In "Come Wander With Me", Mary Rachel is seemingly the only one who realizes that the events surrounding Billy Rayford's death are repeating themselves.
  • The Roaring '20s: In "The Trouble with Templeton", Booth Templeton continually hearkens back to the 1920s when he was young and his beloved wife Laura and his best friend Barney Flueger were still alive to the point that he no longer lives in the present.
  • Robot Athlete:
    • In "The Mighty Casey", the robot Casey becomes the pitcher for the Hoboken Zephyrs. After he has a heart installed and can't bring himself to strike out the members of the opposing team, Mouth has Stillman create a series of robot pitchers to help the Zephyrs win championships.
    • In "Steel", human boxers were replaced by robots in 1968.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Rod Serling said that when he first called for scripts, "I got 15,000 manuscripts in the first five days. Of those 15,000, I and members of my staff read about 140. And 137 of those 140 were wasted paper; hand-scrawled, laboriously written, therapeutic unholy grotesqueries from sick, troubled, deeply disturbed people." The other three were well-written, but unsuitable for the show.
  • Rule of Three: In "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?", said Martian has three arms. The Venusian has three eyes.
  • Running Gag:
    • In "The Bard", William Shakespeare frequently quotes lines from his plays and then cites the title, act and scene that they come from. This is accompanied by the sound of a trumpet.
    • In "From Agnes - With Love", James Elwood gives items to a passing secretary three times. On the first occasion, he gives her the box of chocolates that Millie turned down because of her diet. On the second, he gives her the bouquet of roses to which Millie was allergic. On the third, he gives her his nameplate.

     S 
  • Same Language Dub: In "The Bewitchin' Pool", it happened to Mary Badham, whose lines and voice in the outdoor scenes were so unintelligible, the directors had to have June Foray dub her lines.
  • Sarcastic Confession: In "Black Leather Jackets", Scott and Steve tell Stuart Tillman that they are monsters from outer space in a sarcastic tone when he asks them if they are ham radio operators.
  • Satan: Popular character. Played by Julie Newmar (in "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville") and Burgess Meredith (in "Printer's Devil") among others.
  • Scarab Power: In "Queen of the Nile", Pamela Morris uses a scarab beetle from Ancient Egypt to drain the Life Energy of young men in order to maintain her eternal youth.
  • Scifi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale: Several No Sense of Distance examples.
    • In "On Thursday We Leave For Home" an Earth colony is stranded on a hellish planet orbiting two suns. The planet is described as being two billion miles from Earth, which would make it closer to the Sun than Neptune.
    • "Third From the Sun". Aliens living on an Earth-like planet say they're going to Earth, which is 11 million miles away. Since it would be impossible for another Earth-like planet to be that close without us knowing about it, the writers must have thought that a planet 11 million miles away could be in another solar system.note 
    • "Elegy". The episode says that the astronauts are "lost amongst the stars" in a "a far corner of the universe" and they end up on an asteroid in a solar system with two suns, which shows that they're outside Earth's solar system. However, they say (twice!) that they're 655 million miles from Earth, which shows that not only are they not lost but they're actually inside the Earth's solar system between the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn!
    • In "Probe 7, Over and Out", Colonel Cook says that he has crashlanded on a planet (which turns out to be Earth) 4.3 light years from his home planet, presumably in the Alpha Centauri system. In the narration Rod Serling says that he's "several million miles" from his launching point, which would put said point somewhere in the Solar System, not the Alpha Centauri system.
    • In "To Serve Man", prior to boarding an alien spaceship, a woman says that the aliens' planet is "billions" of miles from Earth. The nearest it could possibly be is in the Alpha Centauri system, around 4.3 light years (more than 25 trillion miles) away. By comparison, Pluto is on average 3.67 billion miles from the Sun.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: In "The Fear", tiny aliens use a balloon of a 500 foot alien, magnetism and fabricated giant footprints to fool Charlotte Scott and Robert Franklin into believing that Earth is being invaded by giants. Their ultimate goal is to trick humanity into surrendering.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: In the final scene of "The Jungle", the lion leaps towards Alan Richards. His screams are heard as the episode ends.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: In "The Masks", Jason Foster, though this is both a subversion and a Justified Trope. Jason's cranky and crotchety because he knows he's going to die soon and he's surrounded by Jerkass family members waiting for him to die like vultures. However, while certainly cranky, he never comes off as needlessly cruel to his doctor or his servants and shares a sort-of rapport with them. They're also quite understanding of why he's cranky, and share his contempt for his so-called "family".
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: In "The Howling Man", Brother Jerome tells David Ellington that the Brotherhood of Truth has had the Devil imprisoned in Wolfring Castle for the last five years and the world has therefore been spared his evil. Ellington does not believe Brother Jerome and releases the prisoner. Unfortunately, it turns out that he was telling the truth. Ellington spends more than 30 years attempting to atone for his mistake and recapture the Devil. He is eventually successful but a maid, who does not believe his claims, releases him.
    Rod Serling: Ancient folk saying - you can catch the Devil, but you can't hold him long.
  • Second Place Is for Winners: Invoked in the ending of "A Game of Pool", alongside Be Careful What You Wish For. Yeah, Jesse Cardiff defeated the legendary Fats Brown and is the best pool player ever. What prize does he get? Spending eternity defending his pool title until he loses.
  • Secret Test: In "Valley of the Shadow", a newspaper reporter named Philip Redfield learns too much and is taken prisoner by the inhabitants of Peaceful Valley, New Mexico. An attractive woman named Ellen Marshall sets him free and he takes advantage of this to steal their secrets, killing several of them in the process. After Philip escapes with Ellen, she turns on him, revealing that the whole set-up was a test of his worthiness to know the information. He failed.
  • Secret Test of Character: In "The Hunt", Hyder Simpson and his dog Rip both drown. They then find themselves walking down a path. At one point, they meet a gatekeeper who says that they've reached Heaven, but dogs aren't allowed. Hyder says any Heaven that doesn't allow his dog can count him out. Further down the road, he found it was a test, as an actual angel tells him the gatekeeper was a demon and the place he wanted Hyder to enter was Hell. The angel warmly invites Hyder and Rip into the real Heaven.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy:
    • In "A Most Unusual Camera", when Chester Diedrich and Woodward begin fighting over the camera that can predict the future, Chester accidentally takes a photograph. It shows Paula, Chester's wife and Woodward's sister, screaming. Chester and Woodward each conclude that Paula is screaming because the other tried to kill him. The two of them fall out the window to their deaths while fighting, causing Paula to scream. When the crooked waiter Pierre comes up to their hotel suite to blackmail Paula, he notices that the photograph has more than two bodies. Paula rushes over to the window to see and trips on the carpet, falling to her death. Pierre then notices that there is a fourth body in the photograph and falls out the window himself.
    • In "No Time Like the Past", after traveling back in time to Homeville, Indiana on July 3, 1881, Paul Driscoll recalls that the schoolhouse is going to burn down as a result of a kerosene lantern falling off a passing wagon and twelve children will be badly injured. He vows not to make any efforts to change history as previous attempts to Set Right What Once Went Wrong all ended in failure. However, when the time comes, he tries to unhitch the horses from the wagon carrying the kerosene lantern. In the process, he frightens the horses, causing the kerosene to fall off the wagon and start the fire that burns down the schoolhouse.
    • In "What's in the Box", Joe Britt, who has a tempestuous relationship with his wife Phyllis, begins to see his past, present and future on his recently repaired television. A vision of the future shows Joe killing Phyllis in a fight. When Joe attempts to reconcile with Phyllis, she spurns him. Angered by this and another vision of the future showing him being sent to the electric chair, Joe kills Phyllis, just as he saw himself do on television. He is then arrested by the police.
  • Semantic Superpower: In "The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross", the title character discovers that he can obtain another person's characteristics such as age, social status, education or compassion but only if the other person agrees to make the trade.
  • Serial Spouse: In "Number 12 Looks Just Like You", marriages are extremely short-lived in Marilyn Cuberle's society. Her mother Lana has had ten husbands, nine of them in the last five years, while Val's mother has had eleven.
  • Shapeshifter Swan Song: In "The Four of Us Are Dying", Arch Hammer's face changes to those of Johnny Foster, Virgil Sterig and Andy Marshak after he is shot by Marshak's father.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man:
  • Shattering the Illusion: In "The Arrival", Grant Sheckly's theory that Flight 107, which arrived without any crew or passengers, is nothing more than an illusion is proven when he puts his arm in the spinning propeller and the plane vanishes. His fellow investigators Bengston and Paul Malloy disappear as well.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: In "Two", after washing her face and putting on the dress from the department store window, the woman looks beautiful. The man is clearly smitten.
  • The Sheriff: In "Dust", Sheriff Koch is sympathetic to Luís Gallegos, who was sentenced to be hanged for running over the Canfield girl in his wagon while drunk. He chastises Sykes for taunting him and protects his father from the angry crowd. Koch is depressed by the thought of Gallegos being hanged and clearly believes that he does not deserve to be hanged but still performs his duty as laid down by the law.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog:
    • Especially heartbreaking in "The Time Element" because Peter Jenson not only is unable to prevent the death of a young couple (oh, and prevent the mass death and disaster at Pearl Harbor), he also gets himself killed and part of his life erased from existence as well. This episode not only shot the shaggy dog, it skinned and made it into a floor rug.
    • Nonlethal version in "The Big Tall Wish".
    • "It's a Good Life". No, it isn't!
  • Shout-Out:
    • In "Cavender is Coming", the title character, like Clarence Oddbody in It's a Wonderful Life, is assigned to help someone so that he can earn his angel wings.
    • In "In His Image", Alan Talbot is named after Lawrence Talbot, the title character of The Wolf Man (1941), who also discovered that he wasn't human and had intense homicidal urges.
    • In "The Bard", Julius Moomer describes Jeremy, the protagonist of the rewritten version of The Tragic Cycle, as "kind of a Dr. Kildare, Dr. Casey type." He tells William Shakespeare that doctor shows are very big this season.
    • In "A Short Drink from a Certain Fountain", Flora Gordon refers to her brother-in-law Raymond, whom she hates and vice versa, as "the poor man's Kildare" and later says "I ask for Vince Edwards and look what they send me."
    • In "Ring-A-Ding Girl", when Bunny Blake sees her teenage nephew Bud Powell for the first time in several years, she asks if this is Rock or Cary.
    • In "Black Leather Jackets", Stuart and Martha Tillman are watching the game show To Tell the Truth when the signal cuts out due to the aliens' transmissions next door.
    • In the opening narration of "What's in the Box", Rod Serling says that Joe Britt is in for a really big show, pronouncing "show" as "shew." This is a reference to Ed Sullivan's Catchphrase and his distinctive pronunciation of "show" on his long-running variety show. Like The Twilight Zone, The Ed Sullivan Show aired on CBS. The phrase "really big shew" is also used by Caesar in "Caesar and Me".
    • In "Caesar and Me", Caesar's name is a reference to Caesar Enrico "Rico" Bandello, the gangster titular character of Little Caesar. He also has a prominent scar on the right side of his face, as is the case with the Scarface (1932) title character Antonio "Tony" Camonte.
  • Show Within a Show:
  • The Shut-In:
    • In "Nothing in the Dark", having once seen Mr. Death kill an old woman on the bus, Wanda Dunn has not left her apartment in many years out of fear that she will be next. Death has to resort to tricking her by pretending that he is an injured police officer named Harold Beldon who needs her help.
    • In "Night Call", Miss Elva Keene spends most of her life in bed or in her wheelchair, trying to pass the time and waiting for something out of the ordinary to happen. Her only regular visitor is her nurse Margaret Phillips and, outside of bills and advertisements, the only mail that she receives is an occasional letter from her sister. She is desperately lonely and feels as if no one cares about her.
  • Significant Anagram: In "Probe 7, Over and Out", Norda offers Colonel Cook a piece of fruit which she calls a "seppla." This is an anagram of "apples." Cook and Norda are seemingly Adam and Eve and the Forbidden Fruit is often represented as an apple.
  • Silence Is Golden:
  • Silver Has Mystic Powers: In "Jess-Belle", silver can be used to kill witches.
  • Single-Biome Planet: In "On Thursday We Leave for Home", V9-Gamma is a desert planet due to the fact that its two suns shine perpetually.
  • Sleazy Politician: In "The Whole Truth", Harvey Hunnicut tries to sell the Model A Ford to a local politician named Honest Luther Grimbley in order to escape its effects. However, his inability to lie means that he is forced to reveal the fact that it is haunted. Grimbley refuses to buy it on the grounds that he would not be able to deliver a single speech if he could not tell a lie.
  • Sleeping Single:
    • In "Third from the Sun", William and Eve Sturka's bedroom has two single beds.
    • In "The Fever", Franklin and Flora Gibbs sleep in separate beds in their Las Vegas hotel room.
    • In "Living Doll", Erich and Annabelle Streator sleep in single beds.
  • Slept Through the Apocalypse:
    • In "Time Enough at Last", Henry Bemis goes into the bank vault to have his lunch and read, which protects him from the nuclear blast that kills everyone else. He is knocked out by the force and eventually awakens to find the world destroyed.
    • Subverted in "One More Pallbearer". In the final scene, Paul Radin discovers that a nuclear war has devastated the world while he was in his bomb shelter attempting to fool Mrs. Langsford, Reverend Hughes and Colonel Hawthorne that such a war was beginning. However, it turns out that this is nothing but Radin's fantasy, his mind having been broken.
  • Sliding Scale of Beauty:
    • The show plays with this in the famous episode "Eye of the Beholder", where Janet Tyler undergoes plastic surgery to become beautiful because she falls into the Most Horrible Ever category (there's a village made just for ugly people so nobody would be forced to look at them). Of course being The Twilight Zone there's a twist: it's reversed. Being ugly is beautiful and vice versa.
    • Also played with in "Number 12 Looks Just Like You", in which a young Common Beauty is described by others as "hideous" because she hasn't traded her original appearance in for a carbon-copy World Class Beauty body.
  • Sliding Scale of Continuity: Level 0 (Non-Linear Installments).
  • Slipping a Mickey: In "Queen of the Nile", Pamela Morris drugs Jordan Herrick's coffee so that she can use her scarab beetle on him and steal his Life Energy.
  • Society-on-Edge Episode: "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street" concerns neighbors on a street who become paranoid when the power goes out and odd things start happening, putting the blame on aliens and then turning on one another due to suspicion.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Lieutenant Katell in "A Quality of Mercy" wants to be one, wanting to prove himself and completely destroy the enemy (in this case, the Japanese during World War II). The Karmic Twist Ending forces him to the other side, where a gung-ho Japanese soldier does the same thing he was about to do to some wounded Americans hiding in the very same cave. He doesn't like it.
  • Softspoken Sadist: In "What's in the Box", the softspoken TV repairman altered the television so that Joe Britt would see visions of his past and future when it was turned to Channel 10. This ultimately led to Joe killing his wife Phyllis, for which he will be executed. The repairman's smirk at the end of the episode implies that he did it for his own amusement.
  • Sole Survivor:
    • In "The Thirty-Fathom Grave", Chief Bell was the only survivor of the sinking of the submarine 714.
    • In "The Old Man in the Cave", Mr. Goldsmith is the only survivor of the Village after the other residents, Major French and his men all eat the canned food that the Old Man warned them was contaminated with Strontium-90.
  • Something Completely Different:
    • "Cavender is Coming", a Poorly Disguised Pilot for a prospective comedy series starring Jesse White as the title character, an apprentice Guardian Angel who assists a klutzy mortal named Agnes Grep played by Carol Burnett.
    • Also, the comedy episodes, such as 'Mr. Bevis', 'A Penny For Your Thoughts' and 'Once Upon A Time'. The most sitcom-like one of all (complete with Here We Go Again! ending, even) is probably "The Bard", which, as mentioned above, is one giant Author Tract about the pitfalls of network television.
    • For "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge", Rod Serling ditches his usual method of introduction and says, apparently out of character, that tonight they're going to do something very special that they've never yet done in the five years they've been running the show and show you a French film made by somebody else.
    • For Season 2, six episodes were recorded on videotape using four video cameras on a studio soundstage at CBS Television City, as a cost-cutting measure mandated by CBS programming head James T. Aubrey. However, videotape was a relatively primitive medium in the early 1960s, thus the editing of tape was next to impossible. Even worse, the requisite multicamera setup of the videotape experiment made location shooting difficult, severely limiting the potential scope of the storylines, so the crew had to abandon the videotaping project. The six "videotape episodes" are "The Lateness of the Hour", "The Night of the Meek", "The Whole Truth", "Twenty-Two", "Static" and "Long Distance Call".
    • The entire fourth season which CBS expanded into an hour, creating scripts that were for the most part overly padded, and signaled to many the Zone Jump the Shark moment.
  • Space Madness: Discussed in "Where Is Everybody?" The town the protagonist is in is just a hallucination. He's really in an isolation chamber, and he's part of an experiment the government is running to see how humans would handle a solo mission to the Moon. He does make it through the experiment though and seems optimistic about mankind's chances of actually reaching the Moon despite his mental breakdown.
  • Space Whale Aesop: "Stopover In a Quiet Town": Don't drink and drive, or you'll wake up in a toy town owned by a gigantic extraterrestrial little girl after having been abducted.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In "The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross", Mr. Maitland is wheelchair bound but is otherwise in good health. In the short story by Henry Slesar, he recently had a severe stroke and is expected to only live another few months, possibly weeks.
  • Speculative Fiction: The Sci-Fi elements and stories.
  • Spooky Silent Library: "Time Enough at Last" ends with a lone man, an empty library, and a broken pair of glasses. Possibly better known by now through parodies than through the original.
  • Stable Time Loop:
    • In "The Last Flight", the terrified World War I Flight Lieutenant William Terrance Decker abandons his friend and flying partner Alexander Mackaye, whose plane is surrounded by seven German ones, on March 5, 1917. He flies through a strange white cloud and travels forward in time to March 5, 1959. When he lands at Lafayette Airbase in Reims, France, Decker learns that Mackaye survived the dogfight and went on to save hundreds of lives during the Blitz. He then realizes that he must return to his own time and save Mackaye to ensure that the course of history is preserved. Decker does so at the cost of his own life.
    • In "A Hundred Yards over the Rim", Chris Horn's eight-year-old son Christian is dying of pneumonia in 1847. When he is sent forward in time to September 1961, Chris finds an encyclopedia which states that Dr. Christian Horn, Jr. was a pioneer in vaccine research for childhood diseases in California who died in 1914. After returning to his own time, Chris tells his wife Martha to give Christian a dose of penicillin that he obtained in 1961, which cures his pneumonia.
    • In "The 7th is Made Up of Phantoms", Sgt. William Connors, Private Michael McCluskey and Corporal Richard Langsford travel back in time to the Battle of Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876 and are killed by the Sioux. Captain Dennet and Lt. Woodard later find their names engraved on the Custer Battlefield National Memorial, though Woodard believes that it is merely a coincidence. Dennet regrets that they couldn't bring their tank back with them.
  • Staircase Tumble:
    • In "Living Doll", Erich Streator falls to his death when he trips over Talky Tina on one of the steps when walking down the stairs.
    • In "Uncle Simon", Barbara Polk pushes her uncle Simon back when he raises his cane to hit her. He falls down the stairs, breaks his back and soon dies. She later attempts to destroy the robot by pushing him down the stairs but it survives with only a damaged leg.
  • Stealth Insult: In "Jess-Belle", the title character finds Elly Glover gathering flowers after she has won Billy-Ben Turner's love using Granny Hart's Love Potion. She tells her that she saw a patch of old maid's fern up on the mountain. Elly replies that she has noticed a lot of vixen wort around.
  • Stock Footage:
    • The countdown and launch footage from "I Shot an Arrow into the Air" was reused in "People Are Alike All Over".
    • Footage of the C-57-D from Forbidden Planet appears in some episodes. At the end of "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street" the footage is disguised by being shown upside down and backwards - this was achieved by simply turning the clip upside down before splicing it in. In "To Serve Man", however, although the full-size C-57-D landing ramp is used, the Kanamit spaceship's takeoff is represented by one of the titular spacecraft from Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, animated by Ray Harryhausen.
    • In "Judgement Night", footage of the titular ship from the 1959 film The Wreck of the Mary Deare is used to depict the S.S. Queen of Glasgow.
    • In "The Mighty Casey", footage of crowd scenes from the Polo Grounds and Fenway Park is shown during the montage of the Hoboken Zephyrs' winning streak.
    • The final scene of "The Odyssey of Flight 33" features stock footage of the 1939 New York World's Fair, specifically the Trylon and the Perisphere.
    • In "To Serve Man", the arrival of the Kanamit ambassador's ship is taken from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). Later, a clip from Earth vs. the Flying Saucers is used to represent a departing Kanamit ship. Furthermore, footage of a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly is used when the Kanamit ambassador's polygraph test is shown to that body.
    • "The Little People" uses footage from a Mercury Program launch to represent William Fletcher departing.
    • In "No Time Like the Past", footage of Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring attending a Nazi rally is shown during the scene in which Paul Driscoll attempts to assassinate Hitler.
    • In "The Parallel", footage of a space capsule being launched is used to represent Major Robert Gaines departing aboard the Phoebus 10.
    • In "The Long Morrow", footage of a Mercury launch is used to represent the launch of Commander Douglas Stansfield.
  • Stopped Clock: In "Where is Everybody?", Mike Ferris accidentally breaks a clock when he is in the diner's kitchen. While it is later revealed that this is a delusion being experienced by Ferris after more than two weeks of isolation, he broke a clock in the isolation chamber as part of his torment.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: In "The Trouble with Templeton", Booth Templeton is sent back to 1927 and meets his beloved wife Laura and his best friend Barney Flueger, both long dead, in a speakeasy. They soon shun and insult him. Laura even slaps him and says, "Go back where you came from! We don't want you here!" As Laura had a script entitled What to Do When Booth Comes Back, Booth realizes that it was merely a performance to shake him out of his obsession with the past and convince him to live his own life.
  • Stripped to the Bone: In "The Rip Van Winkle Caper", Farwell, DeCruz and Brooks discover that their fellow criminal Erbie has been reduced to a skeleton as a rock broke his suspended animation chamber years earlier. This provides proof that their plan was successful and it is now 2061.
  • Subspace Ansible: In "Probe 7, Over and Out", Colonel Cook is able to communicate with his home base 4.3 light years away in real time.
  • Subtext: "The Fugitive" might also seem creepy to modern eyes. Especially when it's revealed that the elderly man eventually marries the little girl. Of course, he's a shapeshifting alien who's actually handsome and can take on a younger form and he waited until she got older before marrying her, but it still sounds a bit squicky.
  • Superior Species: In "To Serve Man", the Kanamits are far more advanced than humans. Michael Chambers estimates that they are 500 times more intelligent than humans and 1,000 times more complex.
  • Supernaturally Young Parent: In "Queen of the Nile", the immortal Pamela Morris lives with the elderly Mrs. Viola Draper, whom she introduces to Jordan Herrick as her mother. She is actually her daughter.
  • Superpowers For A Day: In "A Penny for Your Thoughts", Hector B. Poole gains the ability to read minds after he pays for his newspaper and the coin lands on its edge. When he returns to the newsstand and buys the late afternoon edition, he tosses another coin and knocks over the first one. As a result, his power disappears as quickly as it came.
  • Surgical Impersonation: In "Number 12 Looks Just Like You", everyone undergoes a process called the Transformation when they turn 19. It involves altering their bodies into one of a set of pre-existing, physically attractive body patterns. They are at least 17 models to choose from. Lana Cuberle describes Number 12, which she chose, as "everybody's favorite."
  • Survival Mantra: In "On Thursday We Leave for Home", Captain William Benteen instructs "his" people to chant "There's a ship coming!" in order to maintain a spirit of hope after Al Baines raises doubts in their minds.
  • Survivor Guilt:
    • In "King Nine Will Not Return", the B-25 Mitchell bomber King Nine crashed in a desert in Africa in April 1943. As he was ill, Captain James Embry was unable to participate in its final mission and suffers from severe survivor's guilt for many years afterwards as a result.
    • In "The Thirty-Fathom Grave", Bell was one of the signalmen on the submarine 714 when it was attacked by a Japanese ship during the First Battle of the Solomon Sea on August 7, 1942. He was knocked overboard by the shelling and was later found in the water by an American destroyer. As he was the Sole Survivor of the sinking, Bell felt enormous guilt and blamed himself. When the 714 is discovered in April 1963, he is Driven to Suicide as he believes, perhaps accurately, that the ghosts of his crew mates are beckoning to him.
  • Suspect Existence Failure: In "Shadow Play", Adam Grant is on Death Row trying to convince people that the world is a nightmare he keeps having, night after night, over and over again. The district attorney Henry Ritchie is finally convinced that he may be telling the truth and calls the Governor to ask for a stay. The stay comes too late, the electric chair is fired up, and we find he was right: everyone else dies and his nightmare starts all over again.
  • Symbol Swearing: In "Once Upon a Time", when Officer Flannagan chastises Woodrow Mulligan for walking in the street and nearly being hit by a horse and carriage, the first word in the intertitle is represented by a star, an exclamation mark, an asterisk and a lightning bolt.

     T 
  • Take Me to Your Leader:
    • In "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?", Avery says this to the Hi-Way Café jukebox that had spontaneously started playing music while police officers are searching for an alien.
    • In "Black Leather Jackets", Fred, who is an alien in disguise, asks Stuart Tillman to take him, Scott and Steve to his leader.
  • Take That!:
    • The entirety of "Showdown with Rance McGrew" against the TV westerns of the time. It also serves as a deconstruction of sorts. Serling hated the Westerns of the time, deeming them too unrealistic and predictable, and later went on to make a Western series (The Loner) himself. Furthermore, Rance McGrew is a parody of arrogant, conceited and temperamental actors in general.
    • In "Printer's Devil", Mr. Smith, who is really the Devil, tells Douglas Winter that he is not the first editor that he has helped. The writer Charles Beaumont intended this as a reference to William Randolph Hearst.
    • The hour long episode "The Bard" features a hack writer who, while researching a book of black magic, inadvertently brings William Shakespeare back from the dead, and uses him as a literal ghost writer. Serling uses this setup to parody everything about television at the time including sponsors making inane changes, and the concept of taking a half hour show and making an hour show of it, such as CBS did to Zone that season, much to Serling's dismay.
  • Taking the Fight Outside: In "The Bewitchin' Pool", Sport and Jeb Sharewood enter the titular pool at the behest of a boy named Whitt, who appeared there suddenly while their parents were arguing. They descend to a place for unloved children and meet Aunt T, an elderly, loving matriarch. Wit makes a comment that upsets Sport and she resolves to fight him. Aunt T calmly hands them each a pair of boxing gloves and tells them to go outside, fight fair and to avoid hitting below the belt. She then turns to Jeb and asks for help frosting the cake she's made. Sport asks to help too only for Aunt T to reply "But I thought you two were gonna beat each other up." Whitt and Sport inform her that they'd rather frost the cake instead.
  • Talking to Themself: "Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room" features a small-time gangster holding a conversation with his reflection in the mirror, with the latter determined that he, or rather they, should stop being so cowardly and actually make something of themselves.
  • Talking with Signs: In "Cavender is Coming", there is a variation. Harmon Cavender writes "Guardian Angel" in the air to prove to Agnes Grep that he is telling the truth about his identity.
  • Tall Tale: In "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby", Somerset Frisby continually tells tall tales. During the episode he's abducted by aliens (ironically, because they believe all his stories) and escapes, but when he tells his friends, they believe he is just Crying Wolf. (Of course, the whole episode could be a tall tale... from Rod Serling's point of view.)
  • Taxman Takes the Winnings: In "The Man in the Bottle", the Castles' second wish is for a million dollars in cash. After they give away some of the money, an IRS agent shows up and gives them a bill for the taxes (Federal and state) they owe on it. This leaves them with only five dollars.
  • Tears from a Stone: In the final scene of "Five Characters in Search of an Exit", having been revealed to be dolls, the ballet dancer cries as she moves her hand towards the major.
  • Technology Uplift: In "To Serve Man", the Kanamits arrive on Earth and provide technology that ends war by nullifying all weaponry, cures to all known diseases and provides other remarkable benefits.
  • Technopath: In "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?", the Martian Ross was the ability to control technology, turning both the jukebox and the lights in the Hi-Way Café off and on. He describes it as a parlor trick.
  • Technophobia: In "A Thing About Machines", Bartlett Finchley despises all machines, even more than he hates people, and destroys his appliances if he can't get them to work. For instance, he kicked in the screen of his television and threw his radio down the stairs.
  • Telepathy:
    • In "To Serve Man", the Kanamits' means of communication is mental rather than verbal. As such, the voice that humans hear when speaking with Kanamits is "totally mechanical."
    • This is the main conceit of "Mute". Humanity communicated concepts this way before language came about, rather than with miscellaneous mundane sounds and gestures. Speech largely overwrites it, but with severe training, telepathy can be learned like any other language or talent. Interestingly, the talent also provides the ability to see things remotely, such as when Ilse remotely scans the wreckage of her home.
  • This Isn't Heaven: When petty crook Rocky Valentine goes to the afterlife in "A Nice Place to Visit", he finds his every desire fulfilled with minimal effort, and assumes he has gone to Heaven. Before long, getting everything so easily starts to drive him insane, and he begs to go to "the other place"... only to be told he's already there.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare:
    • In "The Shelter", Dr. Bill Stockton exhibits one after he emerges from the shelter, having seen and heard everything going on with the people that he considered friends for twenty years.
    • In "A Quality of Mercy", Lt. Katell has one when he returns to August 6, 1945 as he has seen World War II from another perspective and has come to realize that killing a weakened enemy is not as black and white as he initially believed.
    • In the final scene of "One More Pallbearer", Paul Radin exhibits one as he believes that the world has been destroyed by a nuclear war and he may be the Sole Survivor. The nuclear devastation is in fact a hallucination that he is experiencing.
    • In "Death Ship", Lt. Mike Carter has one after he, Captain Paul Ross and Lt. Ted Mason discover their own bodies in a crashed duplicate of the E-89 on the thirteenth planet of Star System 51.
    • In "Uncle Simon", Barbara Polk has one when her uncle Simon's lawyer Mr. Schwimmer turns up to inspect the premises and ensure that she is abiding by the terms of his will.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: A number of episodes leave open the question of how much of what the audience sees is real. Most overtly explored in the episode "The Arrival", which ends with Rod Serling outright asking the audience to decide whether we've been watching the main character's mental breakdown or his encounter with the supernatural, and "The Mirror" is much the same.
  • Time-Freeze Trolling Spree: In "A Kind of a Stopwatch", after being fired from Cooper Corporation, Patrick Thomas McNulty returns to his former workplace with the stopwatch and uses it to pull pranks such as placing flowers in his former boss Mr. Cooper's shirt and breast pocket. He later uses it in Joe Palucci's bar to mess up Charlie's hair and finish off several patrons' beers. McNulty finally realizes that the stopwatch can make him extremely rich and robs the United Fidelity Bank. However, as he is leaving the bank, he accidentally drops the watch, breaking it and leaving him trapped in the frozen time forever.
  • Time Skip:
    • The prologue of "Mute" takes place in 1953 while the remainder of the episode takes place in 1963.
    • In "Jess-Belle", a year passes between the third and fourth acts.
    • In "The Long Morrow", the second act ends on May 31, 1988 and the third begins in 2027.
    • The first half of "Spur of the Moment" takes place on June 13, 1939 while the second half takes place in 1964.
  • Time Stands Still:
    • Discussed in "Elegy". Professor Kurt Meyers speculates that the motionless people that he, Captain James Webber and Peter Kirby encounter on the asteroid are frozen in time. However, he admits that he does not really believe it himself.
    • In "Still Valley", the warlock Teague uses Black Magic to freeze numerous Union soldiers in time.
    • In "The Fugitive", Ben's pursuers freeze Mrs. Gann and the doctor in time so that they can leave with Ben without them noticing.
    • In "A Kind of a Stopwatch", Patrick Thomas McNulty is given a watch with the power to freeze time by a drunken man named Potts.
  • Time-Travel Episode:
    • In "The Time Element", Peter Jenson, a time traveler from 1958, is sent back in time to Hawai'i on December 6, 1941 and tries to warn people about the impending Japanese attack.
    • In "Walking Distance", Martin Sloan, an unhappy 36-year-old advertising executive from 1959 who regards the summers of his childhood as the best times of his life, is transported back in time to his home town of Homewood in the summer of 1934.
    • In "The Last Flight", on March 5, 1917, Flight Lieutenant William Terrance Decker of the Royal Flying Corps travels exactly 42 years forward in time and lands his plane in an American airbase in Reims, France.
    • In "Execution", Professor Manion transports Joe Caswell, who is about to be hanged on November 14, 1880, forward in time to 1960 using his experimental Time Machine.
    • In "Back There", Peter Corrigan is sent back in time to April 14, 1865 and tries to prevent the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
    • In "The Odyssey of Flight 33", Global Airlines Flight 33 is sent millions of years back in time to before the extinction of the dinosaurs. The flight crew then attempts to return the plane to its native time of 1961. However, they do not come back far enough, arriving during the 1939 New York World's Fair.
    • In "Static", a cantankerous old bachelor named Ed Lindsay hates television so he brings his old radio up from the basement of the boarding house where he lives. He begins to hear radio broadcasts from radio's heyday of the 1930s and 1940s such as Tommy Dorsey singing "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You", the Major Bowes Amateur Hour and The Fred Allen Show. However, no one else can hear that his ex-fiancée Vinnie Brown and Professor Ackerman are concerned that he is suffering from delusions. Ed is eventually sent back in time to 1940. He intends to do things right the second time around and marry Vinnie.
    • In "A Hundred Yards over the Rim", Chris Horn, the leader of a wagon train headed to California in 1847, is transported forward in time to September 1961. He learns that his son Christian will grow up to become an expert in childhood diseases in California. He returns to 1847 with penicillin to cure Christian's pneumonia and the knowledge that the wagon train will reach its destination.
    • In "Once Upon a Time", on March 10, 1890, a janitor named Woodrow Mulligan travels forward in time to 1962 using a time helmet invented by Professor Gilbert.
    • In "A Quality of Mercy", Second Lieutenant Katell, an American soldier fighting in the Philippines on August 6, 1945, is transported back in time to May 4, 1942. He finds that he has become an Imperial Japanese Army officer named Lt. Yamuri.
    • In "Showdown with Rance McGrew", the title character, an actor who stars in a Western TV series, is transported back in time and gets to experience The Wild West firsthand.
    • In "No Time Like the Past", Paul Driscoll tries to Set Right What Once Went Wrong by warning the authorities in Hiroshima of the upcoming atomic bombing on August 6, 1945, assassinating Adolf Hitler in August 1939 and preventing the sinking of the RMS Lusitania on May 7, 1915. After all of his efforts fail, he decides to settle in the town of Homeville, Indiana on July 1, 1881.
    • In "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville", William J. Feathersmith makes a Deal with the Devil in 1963 and is transported back in time to his home town of Cliffordville, Indiana in 1910.
    • In "The Incredible World of Horace Ford", the title character, who constantly reminisces about his supposedly idyllic childhood, is transported back in time to June 1935 and discovers that the past was not as pleasant as he remembers it being.
    • In "The 7th is Made Up of Phantoms", Sgt. William Connors, Corporal Richard Langsford and Private Michael McCluskey are sent back in time to June 25, 1876 and end up fighting in and dying in the Battle of Little Bighorn.
    • In "Spur of the Moment", the 18-year-old Anne Henderson is chased by a screaming woman while riding a horse around her family's property on June 13, 1939. It turns out that the screaming woman was Anne's future self from 1964 who was trying to warn her against running away with her ex-fiancé David Mitchell and ruining her life.
  • Titled After the Song:
    • "I Dream of Genie" refers to the line "I dream of Jeanie with the light brown hair" from the 1854 song "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair" by Stephen Foster.
    • "Ninety Years Without Slumbering" refers to the first line of the chorus of the 1876 song "My Grandfather's Clock" by Henry Clay Work. Sam Forstmann sings the song during the episode. An instrumental version of the song is also heard on two occasions.
  • Title Drop:
    • With the exception of "Jess-Belle", which skipped the closing narration, every episode opens and closes with a narration from Rod Serling. In many of the opening narrations, and in almost every closing one, the narration ends with "The Twilight Zone." After setting the premise for the episode, the opening narration often states the character(s) is/are about to enter The Twilight Zone. The closing ones summarizes the events of the episode in an eerie and cryptic manner, and a moral or message about what happened is either hinted at or outright stated; but it always ends in the phrase "The Twilight Zone." The exceptions are "The Four of Us Are Dying", "He's Alive", "Long Live Walter Jameson", "Deaths-Head Revisited" and "On Thursday We Leave For Home".
    • In the original broadcast of "Night of the Meek", Serling expresses a holiday greeting after the "...in the Twilight Zone" statement, which was generally edited out in syndication.
    • Almost every episode will feature a character saying the episode title. If they don't you can expect the narrator to chime in.
  • Title Sequence Replacement: The first season opening is often pasted over by the second season opening in syndicated reruns.
  • Tomato in the Mirror:
    • In "The After Hours", after seemingly been harassed by Murderous Mannequins around the department store, Marsha White remembers that she is a mannequin who left the store to live among humans for a month. The other mannequins were not trying to harm her but to help her remember her true nature.
    • In "A World of His Own", Victoria is one of Gregory West's fictional characters brought to life. After throwing the envelope containing the tape that he used to create her into the fire, Victoria realizes that he was telling the truth about her being fictional at the last moment before she disappears.
    • In "The Lateness of the Hour", Jana Loren is disturbed by the five Ridiculously Human Robots whom her parents use as servants. She eventually realizes that she is a robot herself, albeit a much more sophisticated one, and that all of her memories of her earlier life by programmed into her by her "father" Dr. William Loren.
  • Tomato Surprise:
    • In "Third from the Sun", the Sturkas and Ridens steal an experimental ship and travel to another planet 11 million miles away in order to escape a nuclear war that is likely to begin within 48 hours. Having picked up radio signals from the planet, Jerry Riden learns that the natives call it "Earth."
    • In "Eye of the Beholder", Janet Tyler, a woman with a horribly misshapen shape, is undergoing her eleventh reconstructive surgery to make her appear normal. When her bandages are removed, the doctors discover that the surgery was unsuccessful. It is revealed that, from the audience's perspective, Janet is a beautiful woman and the doctors and nurses are hideously ugly.
    • In "The Invaders", an aging farm woman is attacked by tiny creatures from another planet in her cabin. The woman discovers the supposed aliens' spacecraft on her roof. Its markings read "U.S. Air Force Space Probe No. 1." It is revealed that the woman belongs to a race of giants and the "aliens" are astronauts from Earth.
    • In "Five Characters in Search of an Exit", an army major, a ballet dancer, a clown, a hobo and a bagpiper find themselves trapped in a large cylinder with no memory of who they are or how they got there. The final scene reveals that the five of them are dolls in a donation barrel for a girls' orphanage.
    • In "The Midnight Sun", Earth is moving closer and closer towards The Sun and society is breaking down as people are dying of heat stroke. The final scene reveals that it was All Just a Dream of the protagonist Norma. The world is in fact moving further away from the Sun and the world's population is rapidly freezing to death.
    • In "Probe 7, Over and Out", an astronaut named Colonel Cook crashlands on a planet 4.3 lightyears from his home system. After contacting his planet, he learns that a nuclear war has begun and a rescue ship will therefore not be sent for him. Shortly afterwards, Cook meets an alien woman. Although they do not speak each other's languages, the woman manages to communicate to him that her name is Norda and that she is the Sole Survivor of her planet, which left its orbit. Cook tells her that his first name is Adam and learns that hers is Eve. They settle in beautiful garden containing fruit that Eve calls "seppla." Eve decides to call the planet "Earth."
    • In "Stopover in a Quiet Town", a married couple named Bob and Millie Frazier wake up in a strange house, hungover after a party the previous night. They discover that almost everything in the house and the surrounding neighborhood is fake such as a prop phone, a stuffed squirrel in a tree and papier-mâché grass. In the final scene, the Fraziers see a giant girl and realize that they are in her model village. The girl is a member of a race of giants whose father traveled to Earth and brought the two of them back for her to play with.
  • Too Good to Be True: In "Printer's Devil", Douglas Winter, the editor of the failing newspaper The Dansburg Courier, hires a new star reporter and linotype operator Mr. Smith, who manages to turn the paper's fortunes around in two weeks. It turns out that Mr. Smith is the Devil who wants his immortal soul.
  • To Serve Man: Trope Namer are in the titular episode, where an alien race called the Kanamits come to Earth and establish diplomacy. It's only at the very end when the humans decipher their handbook, To Serve Man, to be a cookbook, and not in time to save the life of Michael Chambers.
  • Touched by Vorlons: In "Mr. Dingle, the Strong", the two-headed Martian gives Luther Dingle the strength of 300 men. He quickly becomes a celebrity and is hailed as a modern day Hercules or Samson. However, the Martian is disappointed that Dingle is using his strength to show off and settle scores and it is removed. Two Venusian scientists then arrive and, on the recommendation of the two-headed Martian, bestow Super Intelligence on Dingle as part of an experiment.
  • Transformation Sequence: In "The Howling Man", after being released by David Ellington, the prisoner transforms into a traditional depiction of the Devil with every step that he takes.
  • Translator Microbes: In "People Are Alike All Over", Sam 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.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: In "The Arrival", Grant Sheckly was so traumatized by his failure to solve the mystery of Flight 107's disappearance that he repressed his memory of it. It eventually returned in the form of an illusion.
  • Traveling Salesman: In "Mr. Dingle, the Strong", Luther Dingle is a dismally unsuccessful door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman.
  • Trial of the Mystical Jury: In "Deaths-Head Revisited", Gunter Lütze is put on trial by the ghosts of his victims at Dachau. He is found guilty and sentenced to a lifetime of insanity.
  • Troll: In "Four O'Clock", did Oliver Crangle shrink because what he was trying to do went wrong, was the whole thing a hallucination...or did every single evil person on Earth actually shrink, including him because he was evil?! The last possibility would have had very interesting results.
  • Tuckerization:
    • In "Walking Distance", a sign says that Ralph N. Nelson is the proprietor of the service station where Martin Sloan stops. He is named after the series' production manager Ralph W. Nelson.
    • In "What You Need", the jockeys riding in the race on which Fred Renard bets include Serling, Houghton, Clemens, Denault and Butler. They are named after Rod Serling, the producer Buck Houghton, the director of photography George T. Clemens, the assistant director Edward Denault and the set decorator Rudy Butler.
    • In "Third from the Sun", Jody Sturka and Ann Riden are named after Rod Serling's daughters Jodi and Ann.
    • In "The Hitch-Hiker", Nan Adams was also named after Ann Serling, whose nickname was Nan. The same is true of the minor character Nan in "A Passage for Trumpet".
    • In "The Purple Testament", one of the soldiers in Lt. Fitzgerald's company is named Denault. He was also named after Edward Denault.
    • In "A World of Difference", Arthur Curtis' daughter Tina is named after Richard Matheson's daughter.
    • In "Nightmare as a Child", Helen Foley is named after Rod Serling's favorite teacher.
    • In "A Stop at Willoughby", Gart Williams' advertising company is handling the Bradbury account. This is a reference to Ray Bradbury, who later wrote "I Sing the Body Electric".
    • In "A Passage for Trumpet", the Houghton & Co Truck Company is named after the producer Buck Houghton.
    • In "Mr. Bevis", Mr. James B.W. Bevis' ancestors include Magellan Bevis, a 16th Century explorer, and Parnell Bevis, a member of the British Parliament who fought for Home Rule for Ireland.
    • In "The Night of the Meek", Henry Corwin is named after the writer Norman Corwin.
    • In "The Prime Mover", Big Phil Nolan is named after the writer William F. Nolan, a friend of the screenwriter Charles Beaumont.
    • In "Showdown with Rance McGrew", the Old West funeral parlor is run by C. Nyby, a reference to this episode's director Christian Nyby.
    • In "The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank", one of the mailboxes has the name M. Pittman on it, a reference to this episode's writer and director Montgomery Pittman.
    • In "Little Girl Lost", Ruth and Bettina "Tina" Miller are named after Richard Matheson's wife and daughter. The former also served as the namesake of Lt. Ted Mason's late wife in "Death Ship".
    • In "On Thursday We Leave for Home", the protagonist Captain William Benteen is named after Captain Frederick William Benteen, who fought in the Battle of Little Bighorn. The real Benteen is mentioned several times in "The 7th is Made Up of Phantoms".
    • In "Black Leather Jackets", the alien bikers Scott, Steve and Fred are named after Earl Hamner, Jr.'s son Scott and two of his friends.
    • In "Stopover in a Quiet Town", a sign outside the church in the apparent deserted town of Centerville states that the reverend is Kogh Gleason. This is a reference to F. Keogh Gleason, a regular MGM set decorator who worked on the series during its first three seasons.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future:
    • In "Elegy", Professor Kurt Meyers tells Jeremy Wickwire that Earth was devastated by a nuclear war in 1985 and it has taken 200 years for humanity to rebuild. It is also mentioned that the cemetery asteroid Happy Glades was established in 1973.
    • In "Death Ship", the spaceship E-89 lands on the thirteenth planet of Star System 51 to investigate the feasibility of establishing a colony in 1997.
    • In "On Thursday We Leave for Home", the Earth ship Pilgrim I containing 113 people landed on the planet V9-Gamma in August 1991. A rescue ship, the Galaxy 6, arrives to bring the impoverished survivors back to Earth in 2021.
    • In "Steel", it is mentioned that boxing matches between human fighters were banned in 1968 and that the sport came to be dominated by robots. The episode takes place on August 2, 1974.
    • In "The Old Man in the Cave", a nuclear war devastated Earth in 1964. Millions of people were killed and the world is contaminated with radiation. The episode takes place ten years After the End in 1974.
    • In "The Long Morrow", the astronaut Commander Douglas Stansfield embarks on a 40 year round trip mission to a solar system 141 lightyears from Earth on December 31, 1987.
    • In "Number 12 Looks Just Like You", the opening narration gives the date as 2000 "for want of a better estimate." It takes place in a world where people undergo a surgery called the Transformation at 19 years old to make them look like everyone else.
    • In "The Brain Center at Whipple's", Wallace V. Whipple replaces the workers at his factory with an automatic assembly machine called the X109B14 in 1967.
  • Twist Ending: Became infamous for this sort of thing.
  • Two of Your Earth Minutes:
    • A weird and somewhat baffling variation occurs in "To Serve Man", when Michael Chambers, onboard a flying saucer in transit asks his Kanamit captors what time it is, only to be told there isn't one, because there's no way to measure time in space, to which Chambers responds "What time is it on Earth?
    • In "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby", after Somerset Frisby is lured into a Flying Saucer, the aliens' leader tells him that they will be taking off in "fourteen minutes, by your measure of time."

     U-V 
  • Urban Ruins:
    • "Time Enough at Last" ends in this setting, since the world was destroyed by nuclear war.
    • In "Two", the man and woman are the first people to set foot in the ruined city since the war that devastated the world five years earlier. They discover the skeletal remains of several people and even two birds that someone kept as pets.
  • Vampiric Draining: In "Queen of the Nile", a seemingly 38-year-old actress named Pamela Morris is actually thousands of years old - she maintains her youth by draining the Life Energy of young men.
  • Video Inside, Film Outside: The six Season 2 "videotape episodes"; see Something Completely Different.
  • Video Phone: In "The Trade-Ins", the New Life Corporation receptionist tells Mr. Vance that there is a call for him on the video phone.
  • Villain Protagonist: Several episodes feature them, and they usually end up badly.
    • "The Four of Us Are Dying" is about a petty crook who uses his Voluntary Shapeshifting power to defraud people.
    • The main characters of "A Most Unusual Camera" are a trio of not so bright thieves.
    • "The Rip Van Winkle Caper" also focuses on a gang of thieves.
    • The aforementioned Nazi Protagonists of "Death's Head Revisited", "He's Alive" and "Judgment Night".
    • The disguised alien invaders in "Black Leather Jackets".
    • In "Mr. Garrity and the Graves", the titular character is a Con Artist.
  • The Voiceless: In "Two", "pryekrasnyy," the Russian word for beautiful, is the only word that the woman says the entire episode.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting:
    • In "The Four of Us Are Dying", the con man Arch Hammer has the ability to alter his face so that he can imitate anyone that he chooses.
    • In "The Fugitive", Ben can change his shape into anything that he can imagine. Aside from the old man shape that he has been using since he met Jenny, he turns into a Martian, a mouse, a fly and Jenny herself. His true form is that of a handsome young man who looks completely human.

     W 
  • Wait Here: In "Still Valley", a Confederate scout named Sgt. Joseph Paradine gives orders to his partner Dauger:
    Paradine: Now you stay here. If you hear a shot, you get back to the lieutenant at a fast gallop...If you haven't heard from me in 15 minutes, you get back there anyway.
  • The Wall Around the World: In "To Serve Man", the Kanamits provide every country on Earth with the technology to project a forcefield around their borders, ending the possibility of any nation attacking another.
  • War Is Hell:
    • In "Two", this is the man's opinion on the conflict that devastated the world five years earlier. He no longer has any urge or any reason to fight.
    • In "The Passersby", when Lavinia Godwin tells the sergeant that she plans to shoot the next Union soldier that she sees out of revenge for the death of her husband Jud, he says that he does not want to hear any more talk of butchery or bloodshed due to the thousands of men and boys killed in the war.
    • In "Still Valley", Dauger says that he went to war as if he were playing a children's game but the experience of fighting has shown him the realities of war. His only desire is to remain alive and he even suggests surrendering to the Union troops. Sgt. Joseph Paradine slaps him across the face in response.
    • In "A Quality of Mercy", the battle-hardened marines have been fighting the Japanese for two years, which has made them war-weary. Andrew J. Watkins tells the gung-ho Lt. Katell that they have seen enough dead man to last the rest of their lives and that they aren't going to stand up and cheer at the opportunity to kill more. Sgt. Causarano later says that the platoon consists of "dirty, tired men who have their craw full of this war."
  • Was It All a Lie?: In "Valley of the Shadow", Philip Redfield asks Ellen Marshall if she was merely pretending to be in love with him as part of the Secret Test to determine whether he was worthy of gaining access to the equations used by the townspeople to create their Applied Phlebotinum. She reveals to him that her feelings for him were genuine.
  • Wasteland Elder: In "On Thursday We Leave for Home", Captain William Benteen has done all he can to keep the V9-Gamma colonists together and keep their hope for rescue alive, but it's Subverted when Colonel Sloane arrives and provides an escape from the wasteland and Benteen is less than willing to give up his role as a leader. He'd rather keep them on the desert planet, barely scraping out an existence and forever looking to him for guidance, than go back to Earth where they won't need him.
  • Water Source Tampering: In "Black Leather Jackets", the aliens plan to exterminate humanity by contaminating water reservoirs all over the world with deadly bacteria. Thousands of advance troops have been sent to Earth for that purpose. Steve reports to their leader that every living thing in the state will be dead within 48 hours.
  • Water Wake Up: In "Two", the man revives the woman by throwing a bucket of water over her after knocking her out.
  • We Come In Peace: In "The Gift", Williams tells the mob that he has come to Earth in peace shortly before they kill him. Similarly, the document that he gave to Pedro says, "We come as friends and in peace."
  • We Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill:
    • Type 1: In "The Gift", Williams is a peaceful alien who came to Earth to give humans the Cure for Cancer. However, he is killed by a suspicious mob and the document that he carries is damaged by fire, destroying the cure formula.
    • Type 2: In "To Serve Man", an alien race called the Kanamits come to Earth and provide humanity with the technology to eliminate all of its societal problems. They did so in order to pacify Earth so that it will be easier for them to fulfil their true goal: to use humanity as a food source.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: According to Bill Mumy (who played him), Anthony Fremont from "It's a Good Life" is honestly trying to make the world a better place, he simply doesn't grasp that what makes him happy isn't best for everyone. In short, his immaturity prevents him from taking other's views into consideration. This is explored further in the short story on which the episode is based. A notable example excluded from the episode is his reanimating a man's corpse after hearing his widow mourn his death, much to her (and everybody else's) horror. The town folk mostly try to avoid any negative thoughts at all after that, because Anthony might make things so much worse by trying to make them better.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: In "Stopover in a Quiet Town", Bob and Millie Frazier wake up in a strange house with no memory of how they got there, only that they had far too much to drink the previous night and tried to drive home anyway, only for a large shadow to pass over their car.
  • Wham Line: A memorable one in "The Man in The Bottle": "Well?? What about it, Fuehrer?!" Paired with a shot of Arthur: he wished to be a the leader of a modern and powerful country in which he cannot be voted out of office: he's now Adolf Hitler, moments before his suicide in the bunker.
  • Wham Shot: In the final scene of "The Invaders", after the woman destroys the seemingly tiny aliens' spacecraft, the camera pans to reveal the words "U.S. Air Force Space Probe No. 1" on the opposite side, indicating that the invaders were in fact humans and the woman is a giant alien.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: In "The Lonely", Corry initially rejects Alicia, calling her a lie and something to mock him. However, when he sees that she's capable of feeling the same things as him and can even cry, he changes his mindset and sees her as a person. When Allenby's crew returns, Corry can't part with her so Allenby shoots her in the face, exposing the machinery underneath. He assures Corry that all he's leaving behind is loneliness.
  • What You Are in the Dark: In "Still Valley", out of all the Confederates, Sgt. Joseph Paradine is the only one to realize that it's better to go off to war and lose than win by Black Magic that would tarnish their souls. He believes that if is the Confederacy is going to be buried, it should be in hallowed ground.
  • When She Smiles: In the final scene of "Two", the woman smiles when the man says that her dress is "pryekrasnyy," meaning "beautiful."
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve:
    • In "Shadow Play", Adam Grant is a convicted murderer sentenced to be executed at midnight, who claims that the whole situation is a dream he's having. Prosecutor Henry Ritchie talks with newspaper editor Paul Carson about it:
      Carson: That's another thing. Why does this always happen around midnight?
      Ritchie: Because that's when it happens!
      Carson: Yeah, but why?
      Ritchie: You tell me why!
      Carson: According to Grant, he doesn't know anything about these matters except what he sees in the movies. In the movies it always happens at midnight.
      Ritchie: Because movies are technically accurate!
      Carson: Yeah, that's strange too when you come to think of it.
    • In "One for the Angels", a sidewalk pitchman named Lou Bookman is scheduled to die at midnight. When he tricks Death into not taking him, a young girl, Maggie Polonski, is scheduled to die in his place at that time. He must make his best pitch ever to distract Death from taking her.
    • In "The Obsolete Man", when the prosecutor asks Mr. Wordsworth when he wants to be executed, Wordsworth picks the traditional time: midnight.
    • In "The Masks", the dying Jason Foster forces his evil relatives to wear their masks until midnight, on pain of losing their inheritance. Foster dies at the stroke of midnight, but when the relatives remove their masks they discover that something unusual has occurred.
    • In "Mr. Garrity and the Graves", Mr. Garrity tells the people of Happiness, Arizona that he will resurrect the people buried in Boot Hill Cemetery at midnight.
    • In "The Grave", Johnny-Rob makes a bet with Conny Miller that he won't go to Pinto Sykes' grave at midnight.
    • In "Jess-Belle", the title character turns into a leopard every night at twelve o'clock.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue:
    • In the closing narration of "The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank", Rod Serling notes that the title character and Comfort Gatewood are still alive and their only son, a United States senator, is regarded as "an uncommonly shrewd politician."
    • In the final scene of "I Sing the Body Electric", Anne, Tom and Karen Rogers have grown up and are ready to attend college. As they no longer need her, their robotic grandmother sadly leaves the house. Before she does so, however, she tells her former charges that they have brought her great joy over the years.
  • Whole Plot Reference: "The Gift" is a sci-fi version of the story of Jesus. Williams is an alien visitor who has arrived on Earth with a gift for humanity, a Cure for Cancer, but he is killed and the gift is destroyed. The parallel is made clear when the doctor says that the bartender Manolo, who has told the Mexican Army of Williams' presence, should have been christened "Judas."
  • Wife Husbandry: In "The Fugitive", Rod Serling says in his closing narration that Jenny will grow to be "an honest-to-goodness queen," suggesting that she will one day marry Ben.
  • Wishing for More Wishes: In "The Man in the Bottle", the genie explicitly forbids this. He tells Arthur Castle that he dreads to think of the consequences of making such a wish.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: In "The Howling Man", David Ellington tells a maid the story of his visit to Wolfring Castle and releasing the Devil from his confinement in the 1920s.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?:
    • In "Escape Clause", Walter Bedeker makes a Deal with the Devil for immortality. He uses his new situation to commit a series of insurance fraud scams by jumping in front of buses and under trains but the thrill of cheating death over and over again eventually fades. After his wife Ethel falls to her death while trying to prevent him from jumping off the roof of their apartment building, Walter confesses to having murdering her. He is looking forward to the experience of being sent to the electric chair. However, he is instead sentenced to life imprisonment. In order to avoid the unimaginable boredom of being confined for millennia, Walter exercises his escape clause and has the Devil end his life.
    • In "Long Live Walter Jameson", the title character is an immortal who has lived for more than 2,000 years. He admits to his close friend Professor Samuel Kittridge that he has grown tired of his eternal life but he does not have the courage to bring it to an end. He sits with a revolver in his hands every night and hopes that this will be the night that he will force myself to pull the trigger. Laurette Bowen, one of the many wives that Walter deserted as they grew old, finally puts him out of his misery and shoots him. He is quickly reduced to dust.
  • The Wild West:
    • In "Mr. Denton on Doomsday", Al Denton was once the Fastest Gun in the West but he became a severe alcoholic when the latest man to challenge him turned out to be a sixteen-year-old boy. Like all of the others, he killed him. Denton gets a second change from a peddler named Henry J. Fate.
    • In "Execution", as he is about to be hanged for murder on November 14, 1880, Joe Caswell is transported forward in time to 1960 by Professor Manion.
    • In "Dust", in a Wild West village "built of crumbling clay and rotting wood," a man named Luis Gallegos, who got drunk, went out in his wagon and struck and killed a little girl, is about to be hanged. A peddler named Sykes arrives in town and tells Gallegos' father that he can save his son by spreading special dust, which will cause the crowd to have a change of heart.
    • In "A Hundred Yards over the Rim", while searching for a source of food and water for his wagon train in 1847, Chris Horn is transported forward in time to New Mexico in September 1961.
    • In "The Grave", the hired gunman Conny Miller arrives in a western town to discover that his rival Pinto Sykes, a notorious outlaw, has been killed by the townsfolk. Conny learns that Pinto make a vow to reach up from his grave and grab Conny if he ever came close to it.
    • In "Showdown with Rance McGrew", the title character, a conceited actor who plays a hero named after himself in a Western TV series featuring Jesse James, is transported back in time to the Wild West and meets the real Jesse James.
    • In "The 7th is Made Up of Phantoms", Sgt. William Connors, Corporal Richard Langsford and Private Michael McCluskey, three US Army soldiers from 1964, are transported back in time to the Battle of Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876.
    • In "Mr. Garrity and the Graves", the peddler Jared Garrity arrives in the small town of Happiness, Arizona in 1890. He claims that he can bring the dead back to life.
  • The World Is Not Ready: In "Valley of the Shadow", the alien scientist who provided the people of Peaceful Valley, New Mexico with the equations to create Applied Phlebotinum in 1859 instructed them not to share their technology with the outside world until mankind learns the ways of peace.
  • World of Symbolism: Some of the more esoteric reveals involve this.
  • World War III:
    • In "Time Enough at Last", a nuclear war breaks out. Henry Bemis survived as he was reading in the bank vault when the H-Bomb that destroyed his city was detonated.
    • In "Elegy", Professor Kurt Meyers tells Jeremy Wickwire that Earth was devastated by a nuclear war in 1985 and it has taken 200 years for humanity to rebuild.
    • Played with in "Two". The man and woman appear to be American and Soviet soldiers respectively who are still alive five years after the war devastated the world but Rod Serling's opening narration leaves the time period vague, even stating that the story could have taken place two million years ago.
    • In "The Old Man in the Cave", a nuclear war devastated Earth in 1964. Millions of people were killed and the world is contaminated with radiation.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks:
    • In "The Rip Van Winkle Caper", Farwell is the last survivor of the four criminals who stole $1 million in gold bars and placed themselves in suspended animation for 100 years. Dying of dehydration in Death Valley, he offers all of his gold to a passing motorist named George in exchange for water. He dies before George can do anything to help him. George is surprised that he offered him gold as if it were really worth something since a way to manufacture it was developed decades earlier. As he and his wife drive away, he throws the worthless bar of gold to the ground.
    • In "Two", the man finds money in a cash register in the ruined city but discards it since it is worthless in the aftermath of the war that destroyed his civilization.
  • Would Hit a Girl: In "Two", the man gets into a fistfight with an enemy soldier, who is a woman, and knocks her out.
  • Writer on Board: Serling was an outspoken liberal, even for his day, and many of the show's recurring themes of corporate oppression, racism, censorship, isolationism, and the horrors of war were not simply ideas he liked to discuss, but the very reason he created the series was to use as a sounding board for such taboos.
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     X-Z 
  • You All Meet in a Cell: The premise of "Five Characters in Search of an Exit": an Army major wakes up to find himself trapped inside in a large metal cylinder, along with a hobo, a ballet dancer, a bagpiper, and a clown. None of them have any memory of who they are or how they got there.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: In "The Changing of the Guard", Professor Ellis Fowler may not have saved any lives directly but his teachings inspired others to save many lives.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: In "What's in the Box", Joe Britt attempts to avert the future that he saw on television in which he killed his wife Phyllis but his efforts lead directly to the brutal physical attack on her that resulted in her death. It happens exactly as he had seen on TV.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: A common occurrence in the series, but especially in "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby" when Somerset Frisby, who has a penchant for tall tales, tries and fails to convince his friends that he was abducted by aliens.
  • You Make Me Sic: The English language title of La Riviere du hibou was originally An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge. The re-edited Twilight Zone version correctly spelled it "occurrence."
  • You Never Asked: In "A Nice Place to Visit", Rocky Valentine automatically assumed he was in Heaven and Pip was an angel. Pip chuckles, essentially, "Whatever gave you that idea?"
  • You Wake Up in a Room:
    • In "Five Characters in Search of an Exit", a man dressed in the uniform of a US Army major wakes up a strange metal cylinder with no memory of who he is or how he got there. He discovers that four others, a clown, a ballet dancer, a hobo and a bagpiper, are in the same boat. It turns out that they are dolls in a Christmas collection barrel for a girls' orphanage.
    • In "Stopover in a Quiet Town", Bob and Millie Frazier wake up in a strange house. They are hungover from a party the night before and have no idea how they got there. It turns out that that they were abducted by a giant alien, who brought them back to his planet for his daughter to play with. They have been in a model village all this time.
  • Younger Than They Look: In "In His Image", Walter Ryder, Jr. reveals to Alan Talbot that he is an eight-day-old android.
  • Your Cheating Heart: In "What's in the Box", Joe Britt confesses to his wife Phyllis, with whom he has a tempestuous relationship, that he has been having an affair for some time but that he is ready to return to her. She sarcastically tells him that she is touched to hear that her husband of 27 years loves her.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: In "Still Valley", Teague can sense that he is going to die when The Sun goes down and gives his book of black magic to Sgt. Joseph Paradine to use against the Union.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real:
    • In "Perchance to Dream", Edward Hall, who has a rheumatic heart, dreams in chapters like an old Film Serial. He has been dreaming about a strange woman named Maya at a carnival who has been trying to scare him to death by bringing him to a funhouse and for a ride on a roller coaster. As a result, Edward believes that he will die the next time that he goes to sleep. It turns out that he is right.
    • In "Shadow Play", Adam Grant doesn't die from his dreams of being executed but the fear and pain that come along with the whole thing feel very real to him, no matter how many times they happen.
  • Zeerust: A lot of outer space-themed episodes take place in the year 2000 or the late 90's.
    • "Steel", in which human fighters have been replaced by boxing robots, takes place in the far off year of 1974.
    • "Third from the Sun" showcased a sleek white phone that gave off soft, elevator-like tones when it rang. In fact, the rotary dial was on the bottom!
    • "Elegy" starts with the landing of a rocket that in many ways works like how we imagine a UFO. They open the hatch, and down comes a ladder on a hinge.
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