Welcome back to my Twilight Zone Marathon! Today’s episode, much like yesterday’s, involves a bit of mystery and paranoia. Will it deliver on both? Let’s find out as we watch “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?”
Two police officers are investigating a sighting of a crashed UFO when they find footsteps leading to a nearby diner. There are passengers waiting for a bridge to be safety checked so their bus can take them forward. The only problem is that there is now one more passenger than before, and the police suspect one of them is the martian. Who could it be, and will they be found out before the bus can leave?
This is another episode where I knew the twist ending, so I was excited to see the build-up to it. Having seen it in full, I can’t help but feel let down. While the majority of the episode is arguments over who the martian might be, it doesn’t feel fully realized as a mystery. Weird stuff happens over the course of it to make them all jumpy, but I never felt like the paranoia was as believable as it was in the Maple Street episode.
The characters are also easy to separate into stereotypes rather than by name. You have the older couple, the younger couple, the bus driver, police officers, the cranky businessman, the crazy old man, the diner owner and an exotic dancer. The acting is a bit all over the place for these people, as I felt some did well (the officers, driver, businessman and diner owner), while others either had hardly any on-screen presence (the dancer and the couples) or were way too over the top (the old man). It made it easy to narrow down the possible martian based on these characters, so I feel like I wouldn’t have been surprised even if I didn’t know the twist.
Speaking of which, I did enjoy the twist ending despite the kinda weak plot leading up to. It basically has a twist within a twist which comes out of left field but is kinda awesome that way. I felt that it almost saved the episode because of how random and clever it was.
Overall, while I didn’t outright hate this one as it kept my interest, it just didn’t come together as well as I’d hoped. People may disagree with me on that, but I felt it was merely an okay episode. If you like martian stories, I would still recommend trying “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?” if only for the weird twist ending.