The Twilight Zone Season 2 Premiere Recap: Meet in the Middle
In the series premiere of Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone, lonely bachelor Phil (Jimmi Simpson) finds meaningful human connection when he discovers a telepathic link to a stranger named Annie (Gillian Jacobs). Their connection quickly sparks a romance, but not everything is as it seems in this seemingly idyllic fantasy.
During an unsuccessful date, including Phil pointing out that his date’s hair was curly and not straight like her profile photo (oof), Phil suddenly hears the voice of Annie in his head who is panicking over them being able to communicate through thought. Phil excuses himself to the bathroom as he and Annie argue in their heads over who to blame for the confusing situation. They then yell at each other to stop speaking — or thinking — at one another.
Jordan Peele officially introduces the episode as the host, saying: “A voice in your head can mean a few different things. A conscience, divine inspiration… or madness. But what if, instead, it were a case of crossed wires, one made through the tangled, enigmatic switchboards, of the Twilight Zone?”
A Different Kind of Romance
Phil speaks to his therapist about it, who wants to discuss the possibility the voice belonged to Phil and not someone else, that it might be a coping mechanism he subconsciously used to help him get out of the uncomfortable date. When the doctor brings up dissociative identity disorder, Annie suddenly pops back up in Phil’s head, saying she’s bored. The two eventually agree that their therapists suck and think they are just crazy, and Phil decides (with Annie’s help) that he doesn’t have to stay and listen to what his therapist is telling him. With that, Phil walks out of his session.
Phil goes to a cafe, asking Annie through their telepathic link if she is able to see what he is seeing or what he is feeling (wanting to make sure she didn’t notice that he was ogling the barista). Annie says she can only hear what thoughts are directed at her. She then encourages Phil to go ask the barista out, and he almost does but backs off and says she gives terrible advice. The two continue to chat through their minds, each ordering some pizza to have a long-distance, telepathic date.
After some joking around, Annie admits she was jealous of the barista. The couple then shares their full names and locations, realizing they are hundreds of miles away from each other. Annie makes Phil promise he won’t look her up because she thinks knowing more will ruin what makes their connection uniquely romantic. Phil doesn’t keep his promise for long and a little later looks her up, seeing a photo of her before he starts chatting with her again.
Getting to Know You
After spending a few days talking via their minds and essentially dating, Phil suggests they meet in person. Annie clams up, saying it’s complicated and cuts off their conversation to go to bed. Phil looks her up online, discovering that she’s married and he immediately confronts Annie, who admits it. She says she hasn’t been happy for years and feels trapped, calling her husband “not a great guy.” Annie has never known someone who gets her like Phil does.
In bed later that night, Phil and Annie discover that as long as they direct their thoughts at each other, they can hear each other if they speak out loud, not just when they’re thinking. Phil ends up having an existential crisis about his purpose on earth, and Annie says that she believes there has to be a reason for everything. Annie believes one day they will see they were following their path, and promises Phil he does have a purpose and asks him to be with her.
The next morning, Phil tells Annie he needs to meet her, but Annie says she never meant for it to get too far and then says it’s too dangerous and she can’t do this anymore. Phil yells her name, but she “disappears” leaving Phil alone with his own thoughts.
Phil is heartbroken, lashing out in anger at Annie the more she continues to ignore him. He searches for her address online but can’t find it. He begs her to say something to him, let him know this is real, but she continues to remain silent. Phil attempts to get back into the dating game, taking the barista out for dinner but the evening goes horribly. During the date, Annie suddenly reappears in Phil’s mind, saying she needs him and agrees to meet him. While Phil makes a scene at the restaurant, yelling in excitement and pacing, Annie tells him to meet her in Pilson Bay. Phil packs his bags and jumps onto the train.
While on the train, Annie tells him that a strange guy is making her uncomfortable on her train. She tries to get away from him, with Phil in her head telling her to run, but she eventually starts screaming and goes silent. Four hours later, Phil arrives at the station Annie had stopped at before they lost connection, searching desperately for her. He discovers her broken glasses, but she is nowhere to be found.
As he cries, Annie begins to speak, saying she thinks she’s in the woods and can hear an owl. Phil listens until he can hear owls in the distance and runs in that direction. Eventually, Phil comes across a house and bangs on the door. He asks the man who answers if there are any other houses in the area; the guy says no. Phil demands to know if he’s hiding anything in his home and if he’s seen a woman in the area. Annie telepathically tells Phil that the man who took her had a beard and a plaid shirt, matching the guy’s description. Phil beats the man to death, demanding to know where Annie is.
When Phil realizes that he killed the man, he apologizes, hitting him over the head with a candlestick to make sure he’s done the deed. He hears a little girl call for her daddy, turning around to see a young child standing in the doorway. Suddenly, Annie, not in Phil’s head but in person, walks up to get her daughter to bed. Phil, covered in blood, holds out his arms in happiness when he sees her, saying, “Annie, it’s me.”
Annie begins to panic, asking who Phil is and trying to protect her daughter. She sees her dead husband and screams, backing away from Phil. Shoving her daughter into a room, Annie grabs a meat cleaver and warns Phil to say away from her. Phil starts to yell that he just saved her life. The police arrive and arrest Phil as he begs Annie to tell them the truth, but she denies knowing him, saying he broke into her house and attacked her husband.
In the back of the police car, Phil realizes that his therapist was right. He hears voices and traveled halfway across the country for nobody because it was just him all along and now he’s killed some random guy. Then, Annie reenters Phil’s mind and explains that she’s been waiting for this for a long time, that a future without her husband is better for her and her daughter. She explains that Phil was her escape hatch and he saved them; her new life can begin because of him. Phil says she lied to him. Annie replies that she just told Phil what he wanted to hear and that she told him he had a purpose before saying goodbye as Phil is taken away.
Peele closes out the episode: “What kind of compromise goes into connecting with another human being? Is it meeting in the middle? Or going all the way to the end of the line? Philip Hayes found connection but only with the darkest part of his soul. A region of self that he’ll inhabit for the rest of his life. Here, in The Twilight Zone.”
What did you think of the Season 2 premiere of The Twilight Zone? Let us know in the comments below!