Welcome back to my Twilight Zone Marathon! What would you do in a time of crisis? Would you investigate, or would you place blame on something or someone for causing it? Would you be curious, scared, paranoid? This next episode examines that, only the crisis involves monsters. This is “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.”
On the quiet Maple Street, the neighborhood is distracted by an apparent meteor racing across the sky. Not long after, all the power stops working, including their vehicles. A boy named Tommy describes a similar situation that happened in a comic he read, where aliens had sent down human-like people before their initial landing. The neighbors soon all grow suspicious of oddball Les Goodman and even each other. Is it all just paranoia, or could there be some truth to the story?
I can’t really say for sure if this one had a twist ending, but the subject matter is definitely a downer. The idea that people can get so paranoid and blame others isn’t new, but it’s also got a lot of truth to it. I found the paranoia and idea of finding disguised alien people is what kept me invested, since the majority of it is contained on Maple Street.
This had a larger cast of characters, which for me made it harder to be invested in them. I did like main guy Steve and his attempts to keep order amongst the neighbors. I also liked Les, because we got to know the most about him, and he had the kind of performance that made you wonder if he was telling the truth. The rest were mostly stereotypical, judgmental people aside from Tommy, who basically served as the one to kick off the plot in a way. But, to be fair, this episode wasn’t about just one character but humans in general, so in that way it was pulled off pretty well.
The meat of this episode was the interactions between the characters as their paranoia spreads. Accusations fly left and right, and you’re never quite sure near the end if they’ll find what they’ve been looking for or confront the fact that it doesn’t exist. It also has one of the most serious, truthful ending narrations that I’ve heard from Serling yet, which really cements the episode.
Overall, there’s not much else to say. “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” runs on paranoia, so you might not get much out of it if you hate paranoia stories. However, it’s also a story about humans reacting in a crisis, and it keeps you on your toes until the very end. It wasn’t my favorite, but it’s definitely a great Twilight Zone episode.