"And When The Sky Was Opened" is the eleventh episode of The Twilight Zone. It was first broadcast in December of 1959. It was based off of a short story by Richard Matheson and starred Rod Taylor as Col. Clegg Forbes, Charles Aidman as Col. Ed Harrington and Jim Hutton as Major William Gart.
The episode takes place sometime in the near-distant future (at least as 1959 saw it), where three astronauts have returned from a flight into space. Col. Forbes visits Major Gart in his hospital bed, and questions him with some distress: what does he remember about yesterday? Who was in the room with them? Gart only remembers the two of them, even when Forbes begs them to remember their mission commander and long time friend, Col. Ed Harrington. Gart remembers no such person, so Forbes tells him in flashback what he remembers happening the day before: Harrington and him leaving the hospital to go to a bar, where Harrington begin feeling strange, like he "didn't belong", and then vanishing, with no one else at the bar remembering he was there. Forbes searches for Harrington in a panic, but no one remembers who Harrington was. Gart also insists that it was a two person mission.
This episode of The Twilight Zone surprisingly doesn't have a twist ending, rather the surprise comes from never having what happened and why it happened fully explained, or really even explained at all behind a few hints. All we know is that our astronauts are slowly disappearing.
There are a few things that made this story not work for me: much like the previous episode, I thought it was overacted in parts. I also had a few questions about the realism of the military procedures: 24 hours after landing a spaceship that mysteriously disappeared from contact, two members of the crew go out drinking. But all of those can be excused because this episode presented to me what I think is the essence of The Twilight Zone: the feeling of being in-between. Col. Harrington suddenly announces that he feels like he "shouldn't be there", as if, all evidence of his factuality and concreteness to the contrary, he is in a place where he doesn't belong, and that he must leave. Stripped of the science fiction storytelling, it explains the feeling of derealization very well: the feeling that even though everything around you appears just as it always did, it is not what it always was. They also talk of coming back to this planet, even though they were perhaps not supposed to: something I have heard from people after using Salvia, as well.
Although it has a few problems in its delivery, the concept of this episode is just so perfectly eerie that it has become (yet another) one of my favorites.