If you’re a Twilight Zone fan, then you have to admire Rod Serling’s writing. Best known for his twist endings, Serling could lead you down a path to believe one thing and then in the last scene come up with a reveal that made you understand something else. It was often the difference between a good story and a great one.
One of the best Twilight Zone twist endings takes place in Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?. Serling’s tale unfolds as a typical sci-fi story with a potential crashed alien space craft and a group of travelers stuck in a remote dinner during a bad snowstorm. Serling ups the ante by dropping clues that one of the passengers is the alien!
To ratchet the tension Serling makes a case for each passenger being the alien. Then like all really good scary stories, Serling makes us think all is well and – BAM! – he drops the twist ending on us… except in Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?, Serling follows the twist with a second twist that turns the episode into a classic.
Would you be surprised to know that wasn’t the ending that Serling had originally written? Over at Shadow & Substance they have the lowdown on the way the story was supposed to end (it still would have been good, but without the classic double twist). Click over and you can read Sterling’s original ending and learn more about the episode.