The premiere of Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone was well-received enough. Most fans agree that the show was properly updated for a modern audience but there was room to grow. This episode will likely be as polarizing, if not more. Personally, I enjoyed it throughout, the final metaphor was a bit heavy handed but the story is well constructed and mostly well-acted. There are definitely some people who won’t enjoy this one purely for its political stances. But, enough of my rambling, here’s Def Pen’s recap for this week’s episode of The Twilight Zone.
If you missed the premiere, or just need a refresher, check out our recap for that here.
In this episode, Sanaa Lathan stars as Nina Harrison, a mother with a mysterious past who is taking her son to college. The two sit in a small town diner enjoying a break from their road trip. Nina’s son Dorian asks her about her family but gets only short answers. Before long, a police officer walks in and orders at the bar. He watches the mother and son but seems harmless enough. Dorian will be studying film, obviously influenced by his mother, who seems to bring a camcorder with her everywhere.
Speaking of, the two start passing the camera back and forth, asking each other questions and joking around. Dorian, unfortunately, squirts ketchup on his shirt as his mom records, prompting her to rewind the tape. When she does though, she is flung back in time as the tape rewinds. Completely disoriented, she seems to be the only one affected and after reacclimating, Nina just passes it off as an intense deja vu. Later that day they are back on the road and Dorian is jokingly recording her as he drives.
They are quickly pulled over and Dorian drops the camcorder, still recording, on the center console. The two are questioned by Officer Lasky, the same officer from the diner. He seems decent enough until he notices the camcorder. As Nina fumbles with it, he gets agitated and starts reaching into the car, until she hits rewind. Just like that, they’re back on the road a few miles back and Nina is completely disoriented again.
She starts to worry Dorian so he pulls off on the side of the road. As he is checking on her, Officer Lasky pulls up behind them. Dorian notes his mother’s condition, telling Lasky that she needs a hospital. The officer basically ignores him and asks them to move the car. Dorian is upset by Lasky’s indifference and the two begin arguing. Nina comes around just as Lasky pulls his taser and hits rewind again. This time she takes them all the way back to the diner.
They hit the road again but this time Nina is driving and decides to peel off from the highway. She finds a small hotel for the two to stay at and the two settle in. While in the room, Nina tests the camcorder’s rewind button by going back a few minutes to correctly guess lottery numbers, much to Dorian’s surprise. Shortly after however, Lasky shows up and it becomes clear he is targeting Nina and her son. After citing supposed noise complaints, Lasky asks for their IDs, Nina complies but Dorian doesn’t. This, mixed with Lasky noticing the camcorder, causes the officer to become agitated and begin fighting Dorian.
Nina scrambles for the rewind button again and goes back to the diner. This time, she sits with Lasky and buys him some pie. The two share pleasantries and seem to form some kind of understanding as Lasky goes to leave. Before he exits though, he questions Nina about her car, obviously trying to find something to flag her for. As Nina and Dorian leave a little later, Lasky’s patrol car is visible but he’s nowhere to be found. Until he emerges from behind them demanding license, registration, and proof of ownership from Nina.
She becomes immediately frustrated and begins yelling at Lasky, worrying him and causing him to reach for his taser. Dorian takes the level head this time and goes to get his phone out of the car so he can show Lasky a picture of the pink slip. The officer immediately reaches for his gun as Dorian comes running back though and shoots the boy in the chest. At the hospital, Nina cries over her son and pleads with the camcorder to work again. She presses rewind and cries out in joy when she finds herself back in the diner.
This time she drags Dorian out of the diner before Lasky gets there, though he does open the door for them on the way out. Nina takes Dorian to a secluded area and tells him the truth about the camcorder. After some processing, he believes her and comes up with a plan. To make it out okay, they go to the one place Nina has been avoiding all episode, her childhood home. They meet her brother Neil and ask for his help with Lasky and the camcorder. He believes Nina almost immediately and the three start planning.
Thanks to Neil and Nina’s father, Neil knows some secret ways around the city and they are able to make it the university alright. That is until Lasky shows up again demanding they freeze. When they ignore him, the officer pulls his gun on Neil, drawing the attention of everyone standing outside the school. More police officers show up and Lasky seems to have the upper hand before Nina decides to stand her ground and she starts recording the altercation. Everyone behind her pulls out their phones and also starts recording.
Lasky tries to intimidate everyone but the other officers soon decide it’s not worth it. Triumphantly, Nina tells Dorian to cross the gate to the school and everyone else follows. Years later, Nina is recording Dorian and his daughter Trinity. Dorian convinces her to let Trinity play with it and she drops it almost immediately. Nina starts to anxiously try putting it back to together but ultimately lets it go when Dorian pleads with her. He goes out to get the three of them ice cream and Nina smiles as she watches out the front window. Until red and blue lights start flashing on her face.
With that, the episode cut to black. Next up, Steven Yeun as ‘The Traveller,’ next Thursday.
The Twilight Zone is available exclusively on CBS All-Access.