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"I Shot an Arrow into the Air" is the 15th episode of The Twilight Zone, first broadcast in January of 1960. It starred Dewey Martin, Edward Binns and Harry Bartell.

This episode, like the first episode "Where is Everybody?", is set in the (then) near future, and deals with the space program. In this episode, a manned rocket with eight astronauts aboard has taken off into space, but has hit some sort of storm and disappeared from tracking. We then meet the astronauts lost on the surface of an asteroid. Half of them are dead, and one more is dying. One of them, Officer Corey, objects to water being given to a dying man. Over the course of the episode, his callousness turns to active cruelty and betrayal of his fellow astronauts, an attitude that turns out to be even worse when the twist ending is revealed.

Although I respect all of the work and innovation that went into the Twilight Zone, I have to say this episode doesn't work, because it lacks realism. Not in scientific terms, although that is also a problem, but in terms of its portrayal of its characters. Officer Corey, the cynical astronaut that turns to insubordination, is apparently one of the most elite astronauts in the nation and is making a flight on an experimental rocket into space. He is presumably a military officer of some experience. And in this story, as soon as things go wrong, he quickly turns to insubordination, cowardice and deceit. Although as a statement on human nature, it makes sense, the story never explains why an elite military officer who has signed up for a dangerous challenge turns into a sniveling coward. This is, perhaps, something I wasn't supposed to think about, but I did, and the more I think about it, the more it undermines the story.

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