With “The Blue Scorpion,” CBS All Acess’ Twilight Zone is finally good again.
From Lizzie director Craig William Macneill and Lore writer Glen Morgan, the new Twilight Zone episode finally finds something that this season has been missing — subtlety.
Jeff Stork (Cloverfield Paradox’s Chris O’Dowd) is going through a bit of a rough patch. His job as an anthropology professor really isn’t going anywhere and, more significantly, his wife (Amy Landecker) is in the process of leaving him.
Things go from bad to worse when Jeff walks into his father’s house one evening to find him lying on the bed, dead from a gun wound.
The cops come and rule the scene a suicide. Jeff, however, just can’t quite shake that something is wrong here. For starters, his father was a life-long hippie who never would have even dreamed of owning a gun — especially not one that’s as unique as the gun found out the crime scene. There’s also a note left on the scene which simply reads, “I love him more than you,” which Jeff can’t make heads or tails or.
The gun, which has a distinguished blue scorpion on the side of it, eventually makes it’s way back to Jeff once the police have finished their investigation.
That’s when things start to get real weird as we spiral into the twilight zone.
For whatever reason, Jeff finds himself pulled towards this gun in some sort of way. Maybe it’s the fact that the single bullet that came with the gun happens to have Jeff’s name imprinted on the side of it or maybe it’s because the gun dealer that Jeff initially tries to sell it to says it’s worth up to $30,000, but there’s just something.
Something that grows stronger and stronger. While he wanted nothing to do with this weapon at first (I mean, who would want to carry the gun that their father supposedly committed suicide with around) and tried to lock it in the back of his closet, he simply can’t resist the urge to bring it to a firing range and try it out.
Around him, Jeff’s life continues to spiral. His wife hires an attorney so she can file for divorce, only after admitting to her husband that she’s in love with somebody else — a man who also just so happens to be named Jeff.
Come to think of it, Jeff begins to notice that he’s run into a lot of “Jeffs” ever since he picked that gun up. Whether it’s the employee at the gun range or just someone who he bumped into by the street, they seem to be everywhere.
Almost as if that bullet is meant for a specific person.
Jeff’s mental state worsens as he begins carrying the gun with him everywhere he goes. There’s a couple of pretty great fake-outs (come to think it, the overall direction and intensity of this Twilight Zone episode is really top-notch) where he reaches inside his backpack during an intense conversation with the attorney or something, making us think he’s going to grab it, only to take out a pad of paper instead.
Eventually, though, the gun’s calling is just too strong. He heads over to Jeff’s house — that being, the new Jeff who his wife is now living with — with what appears to be an intention to kill.
He does kill alright, but not who you’re expecting.
As Jeff is sitting outside, a man walks up to the side of his car and breaks his window. That then begins a scuffle which ends with Jeff using the blue scorpion is this unknown criminal.
The police arrive and, after poking around a little bit, discover this stranger was a wanted suspect who’s been breaking into houses over the past week. His name? Jeff.
In one of the more expected moments from this season of Twilight Zone, Jeff’s— our Jeff, that is — life begins to improve (I mean, we were all expecting this to end in tragedy, right?). He receives a promotion at work, strikes a deal with the attorney and ends things with his wife on good terms. Alls well that ends well, right?
The moment we’re expecting to come does eventually come when the blue scorpion returns in Jeff’s mailbox just a few days later. This time, though, he’s determined not to be bothered by it. He promptly takes it out to the lake and throws it into the water.
Fast forward a couple of days and we see two kids — yes, CHILDREN — fishing around that area when the gun washes to shore. They excitedly run over and find that it comes with a bullet that says “Kyle,” this time, which is followed by a “Hey, that’s my name” from one of them.
We pull out to see the two kids playing with the gun (there’s a heart-stopping moment where the other kid briefly points it at Kyle, only to then turn it back to the water) with Jordan Peele’s narration taking us out to warn us about the dangers related to firearms despite how easy they are to obtain.
It’s smart, it’s really well acted and it might just top “A Traveler” and “The Comedian” as the best Twilight Zone episode of the season (I’ll do a full list ranking each episode following next week’s finale).
Tune in to CBS All Access tonight to catch the season finale of the Twilight Zone and check out some of our other Twilight Zone recaps by clicking here!