The Road Less Traveled (The Twilight Zone)
|"The Road Less Traveled"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||Wes Craven|
|Written by||George R.R. Martin|
|Original air date||December 18, 1986|
"The Road Less Traveled" is the thirty-first episode (the twelfth episode of the second season (1986–87) of the television series The New Twilight Zone.
A young girl, Megan, comes bursting out of her bedroom, running downstairs to her parents, who are watching television. She claims there is a man in her room, so her father, Jeff, playfully carries her back upstairs. They enter her room and it turns out it is a pile of clothes in a chair that frightened her. Jeff tucks her back into bed and he tries to comfort her by telling her a story his dad told him about keeping away monsters. When he gets her back to sleep, he turns off the light. Once the light is off, the room appears to have changed to a jungle setting, helicopters blazing in and out and gunfire in the distance. Jeff stands in shock, but quickly turns on the light. The jungle setting disappears and Megan never roused, but after he turns the light off again, it doesn't return. Later on, Megan tries the secret from keeping away monsters, but a man's hand reaches out and pulls off the cover, scaring her.
Jeff comes home the next day, complaining of guilt feelings over not going to Vietnam. Someone at work questioned him about it, and truthfully says he was in college. When asked what university Jeff graduated from, he sheepishly admitted it was in Canada. Meanwhile, Megan goes upstairs and then comes down later, with her hands filthy. Denise goes upstairs with her, and Megan claims that the man in the wheelchair was up there and talked to her. Denise cleans Megan up, turns around and sees the man herself. She screams for Jeff and the man disappears by rolling his wheelchair in reverse, but Megan comments that he was a nice man. Jeff goes up to see what is going on, walks into the bathroom and turns off the faucet, but he then finds himself in a swamp dressed in army fatigues carrying a machine gun. He looks around and sees two other soldiers, and is surprised to see one of them ask "Jeff, what is wrong"? He freaks out and falls into the water. Before he realizes, Jeff is back in the bathroom with his wife.
Jeff admits he was drafted but he went to Canada instead of going to Vietnam, and now maybe things are catching up with him. Maybe the man is someone who died because Jeff should've been there or something, but the mother says that whatever it is, they will face it together. He turns around to find himself in a jungle building with a Vietnamese girl hugging on him. He runs out, and ends up outside the house, gets in the car and drives off. Later on, Denise gets a call from Jeff at work. He sounds odd and begs her to come home to him. Jeff arrives at Denise's workplace asking for her, discovering that someone sounding like him called and asked her to come home. Jeff goes after her, and discovers Denise with the man in the wheelchair and realizes the man is Jeff, but from a different reality, where he honored his draft and went to Vietnam. But is civilian Jeff dreaming Jeff, the Vet, or vice-versa? Jeff, the Vet, explains that he wanted to get a chance to see what his life would've been like, so they must be the same man from different realities. Both of them touch to experience the memories of the other so that Jeff, the Vet, can experience the good life the other Jeff had. Jeff, the Vet, regains the use of his legs then disappears, leaving the other Jeff with Denise and Megan, but both happy...
|“||We make our choices and, afterwards, wonder what the other road was like. Jeff McDowell found out and paid the toll. A lesson in courage and cartography from the mapmakers...of the Twilight Zone.||”|
This episode is similar to the original series episode Mirror Image, where Vera Miles tries to convince Martin Milner that a duplicate of herself from another dimension is trying to take over her life.
- TV.com - The Twilight Zone (1986) episode: The Road Less Traveled
- Postcards from the Zone episode The Road Less Traveled
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