The Twilight Zone premiere recap: Unraveling the episodes

"The Comedian" -- Pictured: Diarra Kilpatrick as Didi Scott; Kumail Nanjiani as Samir Wassan of of the CBS All Access series THE TWILIGHT ZONE available to stream on Monday, April 1st. Photo Cr: Robert Falconer/CBS © 2018 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.
"The Comedian" -- Pictured: Diarra Kilpatrick as Didi Scott; Kumail Nanjiani as Samir Wassan of of the CBS All Access series THE TWILIGHT ZONE available to stream on Monday, April 1st. Photo Cr: Robert Falconer/CBS © 2018 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved. /
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The Twilight Zone
“The Comedian” — Pictured (l-r): Tracy Morgan as JC Wheeler; Kumail Nanjiani as Samir Wassan of THE TWILIGHT ZONE — Photo Cr: Robert Falconer/CBS © 2018 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved. /

Kumail Nanjiani and Adam Scott break in Jordan Peele’s reboot of The Twilight Zone with a double episode premiere. Let’s recap the debut of Peele’s re-imagining.

The Twilight Zone reboot by CBS All Access has headlined many “Most Anticipated of 2019” lists ever since the show was conceived. Once Jordan Peele and Monkeypaw Productions signed on to run the new series, it picked up even more steam, particularly after the phenomenal follow-up to Get Out debuted this past March. With Us still breaking records at the box office and Peele continuing his hot streak, now is the perfect time for the CBS All Access show to launch.

Kumail Nanjiani stars in the premiere episode titled, “The Comedian”, about a struggling comedian who unknowingly brokers a deal for the fame and success he’s been chasing his entire life – for a steep price.

Consumption by the masses

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The pathway to Samir’s success is one that demands sacrifice in the form of everyone who has ever touched his life in a meaningful way, for better or for worse. We’ve seen stories about making deals with the Devil told across all storytelling mediums and that’s exactly what this episode is about. Samir meets a mysterious, renowned comedian named JC Wheeler (Tracy Morgan). Wheeler tells Samir he has to make his comedy personal to get through to the audience.

He begins by incorporating jokes about his dog into his routine and then his dog disappears from existence. The pattern continues with his nephew, then a high school bully, his girlfriend’s mentor, and so on.

An underlying message is prevalent in this episode. It’s the idea of the ravenous general public, of selling out to make yourself consumable to the masses. Samir’s jokes about politics weren’t working so he had to sell parts of his life story and experiences to appease the crowd until the only thing he had left to give was himself.

The Twilight Zone
“The Comedian” — Pictured (l-r): Amara Karan as Rena; Kumail Nanjiani as Samir Wassan of of the CBS All Access series THE TWILIGHT ZONE — Photo Cr: Robert Falconer/CBS © 2018 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved. /

The photograph

By episode’s end, Samir has devolved into the worst version of himself, a selfish man willing to use everyone in his life as fodder to fuel his career. He ultimately decides that he must tell jokes about him as a person to remove himself out of existence and restore order to the universe.

Once he does, all the people who disappeared from his comedy routines return, except Samir who is seen in a photographic mural in the back of Eddies comedy club. This is a clear reference to Stephen King’s The Shining, where Jack appeared in a similar photograph.

Does Samir continue to exist in another dimension? Is the photograph where all the others disappeared to throughout the hour? We’ll never know, but we do know JC Wheeler will continue on scamming those around him with his sights set on Didi next.