The Twilight Zone 1.09 recap: The Blue Scorpion
Following last week’s episode of the series starring Ginnifer Goodwin, CBS All Access‘ penultimate episode of the first season of The Twilight Zone stars Chris O’Dowd (Get Shorty), Amy Landecker (Sneaky Pete), and Adam Korson (Imposters). In the latest episode, the emergence of the elusive Blue Scorpion leads anthropology professor Jeff Storck (O’Dowd) to his most personal research project yet.
The episode introduces anthropology professor Jeff Storck as he talks on the phone about seeing a couples therapist as it’s cheaper than going the divorce route. The call is cut short as he discovers his father dead in his room, having shot himself. As Jeff calls 911, a bullet appears on the ground with his father’s name, Otis, embedded on the metal before the word disappears.
Lt. Bludworth (Darcy Laurie) asks if the gun belonged to his father and if it was registered to him. The handle features a blue scorpion. Jeff says no, his father hated guns. He becomes frustrated with the questions by the police, not wanting to deal with the investigation so soon after his father’s death. Bludworth says they found a note left by his father, and Jeff is stunned when he reads: “I love him more than you.”
Jordan Peele introduces the episode, saying Professor Jeffery Mingus Storck holds a doctorate in anthropology but possesses little true knowledge of himself. Jeff is surrounded by artifacts that shaped his father’s life, as well as the one unknown object that ended it. Discovering the truth will become Jeff’s darkest research project yet.
Jeff shares stories of his father during his funeral and how he had a pretty interesting life, including how he was a musician from Ireland. Jeff says that his father never went unloved and is confused as to why it all wasn’t enough for his dad to want to stay alive. He’s also wondering what the note his dad left meant. While going through his father’s things, Jeff finds a heart-shaped box. Inside is a bullet with his name. Rattled, Jeff puts the box away.
The next day, Jeff notices his name appearing everywhere, including people’s shirts, the name of their dogs, and so on. Later that night, Jeff goes to his estranged wife’s place to get the mail. Anne (Landecker) comes out with a gun, scared, thinking he’s an intruder. Once things settle, Anne reveals that she’s gotten a lawyer and that she’s fallen in love with another man named Jeff. So, couple’s therapy is off the table.
Jeff opens up a box sent to him by the police, his dad’s gun inside and returned as they’ve finished processing it for evidence. Jeff inspects the gun closely before moving onto the note. Reading over the words, “I love him more than you,” Jeff wonders if he’s “him” or if he’s “you” in this scenario.
The Blue Scorpion
Jeff calls a gun store to get rid of the gun. After offering the serial number, the gun store owner reveals it’s a Blue Scorpion, which he thought was a myth. The gun dates back to 1952 and is from Cuba. He shares that Che Guevara was looking for the gun, which was made by Eulogio Cienfuegos, and there’s a legend attached to the weapon: You don’t find it, it finds you. The man tells Jeff they can get him $25,000-$50,000 for the gun.
Jeff is more interested in getting the gun out of his life. After saying those words, the Blue Scorpion suddenly goes off. The guy on the phone asks if Jeff is okay and Jeff says he is. The gun store owner tells him to send photos and the information for the gun and tells him how to ship the weapon, including putting a hole in the box to allow light in. The Blue Scorpion, as the legend goes, is afraid of the dark. Jeff is even more rattled with the man reveals his name is Bob Jeff.
Jeff puts the gun back in the box and attempts to put it in a safe, but the safe won’t completely close. The next day, Jeff talks to a student who requests to change the subject of her project about animism, which is the attribution of a soul to plants, inanimate objects, and natural phenomena. The student’s project obviously hits close to home for Jeff and he allows her to change to a different subject. After she leaves, Anne’s lawyer comes to talk, and, of course, his name is Jeff Dolin (Korson). Jeff kicks the lawyer out of his office.
Afraid of the Dark
Bob Jeff continues contacting Jeff, saying that he has buyers lined up for the rare Blue Scorpion willing to pay $100,000 for the weapon. Jeff says he’ll let him know when he’s ready to be rid of it. Later that night, a stoned Jeff jams out on his dad’s old bass guitar while listening to Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit.” He eventually makes his way to the safe and pulls the gun out from the heart-shaped box. After inspecting it again, Jeff ends up hallucinating the gunmaker, Eulogio Cienfuegos, who tells him the Blue Scorpion loves him more than anyone, it just asks for light in return as the gun is afraid of the dark.
Jeff goes to a local gun shop asking about how to get rid of the gun but needing to be able to shoot it just once. He begins to sound a bit off his rocker as he tells the employees that he needs to destroy one bullet, the one with his name that only he can see, and begins to rant about how he keeps running into Jeffs everywhere and how it’s “not right.” He learns that, of course, one of the employees is named Jeff.
Jeff goes to the shooting range with the gun and fires multiple rounds at the paper target. He then starts playing around, shooting the target from different angles and firing until the gun clicks empty. When he removes the cartridge, the Jeff bullet is still sitting at the top, unfired. Jeff whispers, “you’d never hurt me.” At his office, Jeff places a blue cloth in his drawer and carefully sets the Blue Scorpion down on top of it with a flashlight turned on inside.
When Jeff attends a meeting with Anne and her lawyer, he is playing with the bullet and has a backpack on the table, the gun inside. Jeff tells them that he has a friend who’s gonna make all of his troubles disappear. He reaches into the backpack and pulls out a notepad. The divorce negotiations go to hell when he learns that they’re trying to take his father’s bass. After he’s removed by security, Jeff yells at Anne down the hall that he loves him more than he ever loved her.
Death of a Jeff
Jeff tells Bob Jeff to stop calling him about the gun, that he’s never going to get rid of the Blue Scorpion, saying, “I will never sell him.” At his house, Jeff walks around aiming at things and pulling the trigger on the empty gun, clicking away. He imagines shooting his neighbor who’s rummaging in the trash outside, as well as himself in the mirror.
Jeff later sits outside of Anne’s house with the gun, saying to himself, “you’ll never know real love.” Suddenly, a man breaks Jeff’s window and attacks him. They struggle, and the gun eventually goes off on its own, shooting the robber. The police show up, demanding Jeff drop the gun. The police say the man Jeff shot, whose ID says Jeff Barrett, matches the description of the serial burglar who had been in the news for multiple home invasions. The name Jeff disappears on the bullet, as a Jeff has now been killed by the gun.
The newspapers are calling Jeff a local hero for stopping the burglar. Jeff signs his divorce papers with Anne. Anne’s lawyer says that Anne is grateful Jeff protected her that night, and all of her concessions in the negotiations are a reflection of her gratitude. Anne and Jeff hug, parting on good terms. At work, he is given the chair of the department of anthropology.
Later, the police return the Blue Scorpion to Jeff. Jeff takes the gun to a nearby lake and tosses it into the water. After he leaves, two kids are walking along the beach with their fishing poles. One of the kids spots the Blue Scorpion washed ashore while the other discovers a bullet with his name, Kyle. The two begin playing with the gun as Jordan Peele closes out the episode, saying: “Human beings have a funny way of treating things like people. But today, they’ll learn that as long as objects are valued more than lives, tragedy will forever be manufactured.”
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