Zazie Beetz and Seth Rogen star in the season one finale episode of The Twilight Zone titled “Blurryman.” It’s the season’s strongest hour.
Jordan Peele’s Twilight Zone reboot has been a little touch-and-go from the start. Some episodes have been especially well-rendered while a few others fell flat. Overall, I did enjoy this season quite a bit but the finale episode was easily my favorite of the bunch.
It begins with Seth Rogen’s character writing a story (and his woes about feeling like a terrible writer are all too realistic) and then he is interrupted by Betty Gabriel’s character. She calls Seth’s attention to the window where he notices that everything he has written about the world falling into turmoil has come true.
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But just when we get attached to the idea of Seth Rogen playing a Stranger Than Fiction type character where everything he writes comes true, Jordan Peele steps out of the shadows and someone yells cut! Yes, the finale episode blasts through the fourth wall with spectacular aplomb!
From the moment we realize we’re in a story-within-a-story and privy to a fictionalized making-of episode, Zazie Beetz takes over as the episode’s true protagonist, a writer named Sophie.
The Twilight Zone is Sophie’s dream job. She works, sleeps, and breathes her job because she has been fascinated by the series since she was a young girl. This episode is her episode, both in-universe and out.
Peele isn’t happy with Sophie’s narration so she has to rewrite it. They argue about the separation of art and entertainment. In Sophie’s mind, if The Twilight Zone doesn’t deliver a moral of some kind then it’s nothing more than a “campfire story.” This is something it took her a while to learn when she was younger because she was always waiting for the show to take her into this alternate dimension but it never did because it was more about the lesson instilled by the characters.
When they finally get back to filming Sophie’s new narration, something strange happens. There is a blurry man in the background of every shot, as pointed out to Sophie by a PA. We are even shown a clip from the first episode of the season, “The Comedian,” where the man was also present (and I went back and watched the moment, there is indeed a man in the shot in question although he isn’t blurry).
Sophie is stalked by this creepy blurry man. She tries desperately to escape by running through all the different soundstages (see how many references to other episodes you can find!).
Eventually, Sophie emerges into a new reality, a black and white version of her former world. She comes face-to-face with the blurry man. Who is he? None other than the original Twilight Zone narrator, Rod Serling!
It’s an impressive feat for the CBS All Access series to pull off. Apparently, it took multiple stand-ins to produce the effect and it makes for an awesome ending.
Sophie literally becomes a character in The Twilight Zone. Every interpretation of that sentence works! Then Serling finally takes her to the place she’s always wanted to go, the Twilight Zone, the other dimension.
She follows him into that familiar starry sky with the transcendental portal in the middle and despite not knowing where she ends up, it might be the happiest ending a character has gotten on this season.
The Twilight Zone will return for a second season on CBS All Access.