Original Air Date: September 15, 1961
Writer: Montgomery Pittman
Director: Montgomery Pittman
“There’s no longer a reason for us to fight. There are no longer any armies. Only rags of various colors that were once uniforms…”
“This is a jungle, a monument built by nature honoring disuse, commemorating a few years of nature being left to its own devices. But it’s another kind of jungle, the kind that comes in the aftermath of man’s battles against himself. Hardly an important battle, not a Gettysburg, or a Marne, or an Iwo Jima; more like one insignificant corner patch in the crazy quilt of combat. But it was enough to end the existence of this little city. It’s been five years since a human being walked these streets. This is the first day of the sixth year, as man used to measure time. The time: perhaps 100 years from now, or sooner—or perhaps it already happened 2 million years ago. The place: the signposts are in English so that we may read them more easily, but the place is the Twilight Zone.”
The episode opens slowly and we are dropped into an empty, deserted city. It appears to have been bombed and hollowed out. The hustle and hum of machinery has long since vanished and the streets lay strewn with refuse, largely forgotten after an apparent nuclear war. A beautiful young woman (played by Elizabeth Montgomery best known for her lead role in Bewitched) strolls through the city. She has unkempt hair and dons military fatigues. She admires the few remaining shop windows. The cinematography is long and steady, giving us (the audience) the sensation of stillness.
The woman wanders into a restaurant in search of food where she encounters a lone man (played by the great Hollywood actor Charles Bronson). He was her enemy in the war. He wears differently colored military fatigues than her. The two get into a fight and she is knocked unconscious. When she awakens he tries to communicate with her despite the fact that they speak different languages. He tells her that the fighting is over and humanity has mostly destroyed itself. He is tired of fighting. They strike up a rapport. They walk through the city together admiring the artwork, architecture, and movie posters outside an old theater. The man gives a wedding dress to her as a sign of affection, however when she stops by an abandoned recruiting station she sees a propaganda poster on the wall. It triggers something in her psyche and she is reminded of the true enemy.
She quickly grabs her rifle and rushes outside to shoot the man but the bullet misses. He simply stares at her and turns his back to walk away. Moments later they reconcile -she in her wedding dress and he in a suit. They walk together hand-in-hand through the wreckage of the old world.
“This has been … a love story, about two lonely people who found each other… in the Twilight Zone.”
“Two” is a delightful and sentimental season opener for the third season of The Twilight Zone. It continues the same theme of total isolation as in “Where Is Everybody?” and “King Nine Will Not Return” (the first episodes to air in seasons 1 and 2 respectively). The difference is that “Two” offers a measure of hope to the audience rather than a dark psychological twist. I might even call it a science fiction fairy-tale.
The Twilight Zone Trivia:
- This was the first time in the show’s history that the producers selected a script not written by Rod Serling to open the season.
- Montgomery Pittman is the only writer to direct his own episodes, which he did a total of three times. He also directed two additional episodes written by others.
- This episode was shot at Hal Roach Studios in Culver City, CA where many influential comedy films were shot during the silent era, including those of Laurel and Hardy and Harold Lloyd. Part of the studio backlot was in disrepair and was about to be demolished. The idea was that the decaying scenery would be fitting for the episode. It allowed for simple production because there were only two actors and the set was already prepared. The studio was torn down shortly after filming this episode.
- At the time this episode was produced, Elizabeth Montgomery was married to actor Gig Young, who had previously starred in the amazing first season episode, “Walking Distance.” The two later divorced in 1963.
- Charles Bronson starred in The Magnificent Seven only about a year before this episode was released.
- The blaster sound in this episode was taken from the show Forbidden Planet, where Robby the Robot exclaims that an Earthman’s weapon was “a simple blaster.”
- “Prekrasny”, the only word Elizabeth Montgomery’s character says in the episode, is Russian for “pretty.”
- In an effort to make the world seem futuristic to a 1961 viewer, there is a sign in a barbershop window showing a haircut costing $5.00.
- The design of Charles Bronson’s character’s outfit is largely based on Confederate garb from the American Civil War.
- The derelict cinema features several posters for a fictional film entitled ‘Furlough Romance!’ The female actress depicted in the posters appears to be Shirley Temple as a young woman.