Welcome back to my Twilight Zone Marathon! Many people have been known for their strong survival instincts in the face of disaster. Today’s episode focuses on what would happen if you were stranded somewhere and the various ways to cope with it. Let’s take a look at the sci-fi adventure “I Shot An Arrow Into the Air.”
The crewmen on board the Arrow 1, the first rocket into space, end up crash landing on a barren asteroid. Only three survive, and they must try to figure out what to do. But one crew member may not play by the rules. Will the men ever find their way home, or are they stuck on the asteroid forever?
I’ve always enjoyed survival stories, and despite knowing the twist for this one, I liked how it played out. The surviving crew, Colonel Donlin, Officer Corey and Pierson, were all distinct enough that I cared for their plight and hoped they’d survive. Well, except for one of them, but I’ll get into that in a minute.
The episode sets the tone by having NASA lose contact with the ship, and there’s almost a Star Trek feel to it when the Colonel is jotting down what happened in the crash. They suspect they could be on an asteroid, but it could’ve easily passed as a desert planet as well. The setting was pretty nice as it has both desert and mountain ranges to show how desolate the place was.
As far as characters, the Colonel was my favorite. Like any good leader, he tries to stay rational and keep his men from fighting long enough to focus on surviving. He doesn’t have an overly distinct personality aside from being colonel, but I always like the voice of reason in any survival story and he fits the bill.
Pierson was also a good character, though we don’t get much of him. He’s also rational, but he has a bit of a temper. He’s also the one to give a hint toward the twist ending, which of course I won’t spoil.
I didn’t like Officer Corey for several reasons. The main one would be what he does in the ending, not including the eventual twist where he seems to try to redeem himself. The man is angry and not afraid to leave people behind. He’s basically the definition of “survival of the fittest,” which, while common in these scenarios, made it easy to dislike him. He also constantly hogs their water as the asteroid they’re on has a hot atmosphere. He’s just not a likable character, but I suppose that was ultimately the point.
The twist ending really brings this episode home, though with a bit of deduction you could probably figure it out beforehand. Still, I thought it flowed with the rest of the episode, and it also serves as a bit of karma for Officer Corey. I also liked the narration Serling does leading up to the moment just to hammer it in.
Overall, “I Shot An Arrow Into the Air” was a fun if disheartening survival story. It’s one of the better sci-fi stories I’ve seen in general because of the survival element. The characters are pretty good (minus Corey) and the twist may or may not surprise you. If you like space travel or survival stories, I’d definitely recommend this one.