What Are Friends For?

"What Are Friends For?" is the first segment of the twenty-sixth episode (the second episode of the second season (1986–87)) of the television series The Twilight Zone.

"What Are Friends For?"
The New Twilight Zone episode
Episode no.Season 2
Episode 26a
Directed byGus Trikonis
Written byJ. Michael Straczynski
Original air dateOctober 4, 1986
Guest appearance(s)

Tom Skerritt: Alex
Fred Savage: Jeff
Lukas Haas: Mike

Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Saucer of Loneliness"
Next →
"Aqua Vita"
List of The Twilight Zone (1985 TV series) episodes

Opening narrationEdit

Old friends have a way of being there when you need them and sometimes when you don't, as Alex Mattingly and his son Jeff are about to learn, courtesy of a very special friend from the Twilight Zone.


Alex Mattingly and his young son Jeff move to a remote cabin in the woods following Alex's divorce. Jeff is lonely and unhappy because he has no one for companionship.

Jeff awakens in the middle of the night and sees a boy playing in the woods, but the boy disappears before Jeff can speak to him. One day Jeff and the boy Mike meet and they become friends. Mike is upset by the idea that Jeff may have told someone about him but Mike convinces Jeff to follow him into a makeshift fort in the woods. The fort collapses on Jeff and Mike disappears. Alex finds and rescues Jeff.

Some time later, Alex discovers Mike out in the woods and he realizes that Mike was his imaginary childhood friend. Mike says that he has been waiting for a long time for Alex to come back and play with him. Realizing that Mike isn't a normal imaginary friend, Alex instructs Mike to not play with Jeff any more.

During a barbeque, Jeff gets into a fight with other children and runs into the woods to find Mike. Mike tells Jeff that he does not want to be his friend any more. Alex finds the two and tells him about the value of real friends. Mike realizes that he is no longer needed and transforms into a being of light. Alex asks Mike who he really is and Mike tells him that he is a being who has lived on Earth since it was first created. Alex and Mike reminisce about their friendship and then say goodbye. Alex then returns to the cook-out and is glad to see his son making new friends with other children.

Closing narrationEdit

For Alex and Jeff Mattingly there will always be one special friend, one who loved them both enough to vanish when the time was right, but after all, that's what friends are for. Especially a friend from...the Twilight Zone.


External linksEdit