In Space, No One Can Hear You Question Your Reality
To say Jordan Peele’s Twilight Zone reboot has been a bit of a mixed bag would be an understatement. Some of the episodes have been among the worst released in an anthology series for quite some time while others have sufficiently managed to scratch that old Twilight Zone-sized itch. Back for another episode, The Twilight Zone returns, plagued by the same issues holding the rest of the episodes back but somehow managing to deliver something that absolutely nails the Twilight Zone vibes of old.
The premise this time around is very simple – taking place on board one human-manned ship headed for Mars. With days to kill and paranoia slowly creeping in, uneasy tensions begin rising between the various crew members. Trying to keep everyone in check is Flight Commander Alexa Brant who remains strong in the face of a bleak future whilst Mission Specialist Jerry Pierson acts as the catalyst for sowing seeds of doubt in the others’ minds over whether what they’re experiencing is real or not. As the episode progresses and Jerry becomes increasingly erratic, this conflict of interest blows over in the climactic third act where the truth is revealed and things left suitably open going forward.
What’s particularly interesting here is the general direction and cinematography of the episode. The close-up shots of the profusely sweating crew members and various artistic shots really helps drive home the claustrophobic feel to this one and the overarching idea that things aren’t quite right. There’s something particularly uneasy about the way this one’s presented too, and whether it be the angled camera shots, the minimalist score or the slick camera work, Six Degrees Of Freedom does a really impressive job, at least from a technical perspective.
Of course, with big topics around climate change and morality discussed throughout, Jordan Peele keeps up his trend of adding these themes heavily throughout the story, sometimes to the detriment of free-flowing dialogue. Still, there’s enough here to make for some interesting topics going forward although the twist ending is likely to be a talking point for many people.
It’s not perfect, and the episode does feel overlong and drawn out at times. I’ve said it before but with a reduced run-time and more of the fat cut out of it, The Twilight Zone reboot could be a really impressive series. As it stands though, it’s currently a hit and miss collection of episodes – some more absorbing and interesting than others. Quite what sort of episode we’re likely to get next week is still up for debate but let’s hope this one acts as a catalyst for a collection of enjoyable episodes to follow.