In the third episode of The Twilight Zone, we’re off to an intense start as we start our true dive into Jordan Peele’s Zone and the weird reality that lives there. The Zone hasn’t really changed, it’s just expanded and broadened its horizon.
Nina Harrison is taking her son, Dorian, to college. It’s a proud moment that she wants to capture entirely on film, so she uses an old camcorder to make sure she gets every moment she can. Including when Dorian accidentally squirts ketchup onto his white shirt. Embarrassed he demands that rewind the tape and record over that moment, and Nina does chuckling at him as she presses down on the rewind button. As the tape starts to turn back, so does everything else around Nina. The clock turns back, milk un-pours itself and Dorian’s ketchup stain jumps back into the bottle.
Confused but brushing it off as Deja Vu, Nina lets Dorian drive as they continue their road trip to his freshman orientation. But when a racist cop pulls them over things quickly go south. And in a frantic effort to save Dorian, Nina ends up relying on her camcorder to turn back time as they take different routes attempting to him avoid the officer.
After rewinding the camcorder several times, Nina is forced to accept the fact that something is keeping her here in the part of town. So in a last ditch effort, she takes Dorian to see her brother that she hasn’t seen in years and hopes that he can help them escape the Twilight Zone.
To me, the Twilight Zone is about finding balance. There’s a space where weird stories that still have roots, in reality, are allowed to exist. No matter the situations or the circumstances, odd things happen all the time. However, in the Zone, they’re allowed to happen freely and Jordan Peele takes advantage of that as he gives commentary on social issues around us.
The reality is that police officers do in fact shoot Black people, especially Black Men, in alarming numbers. And for no reason, other than they can. In “Replay” Jordan gives example after example of how racism isn’t an accident. It’s a premeditated action. And no matter what we as Black people do, it’s not something that we can easily find our way out of. Nina and Dorian did everything they could to avoid the officer, they took different routes, they stayed off the road at night, Nina even paid for his pie and casually explained that she was taking her son to college. Yet still, the officer ended up being racist and using it as an excuse to hurt them. Something that we are all too used to.
The best part of Peele’s Twilight Zone is that he doesn’t hold back in what he’s trying to say. Racism is alive and well in our reality, so it’s alive and well in The Twilight Zone. Which makes sense, the Zone has always seemed a direct alternate reality to our own. A reflection of how some things never change no matter what.
Aside from a slightly awkward face off with the officer at the end, I really enjoyed the third episode of the Twilight Zone. And it makes me excited to think Mr. Peele is just getting started with the issues he’s going to be shining a light on.