When Englishman, Lt. Terrance Decker lands on an American air base, his world takes a strange, sharp turn. This isn’t 1914, and it isn’t 1918, and it isn’t any day in between, despite his insistence that it’s March of 1917. The year is 1959, and some outlandish possibilities are about to seemingly become quite real.
Initially, American officers are unbelieving of the entire scenario, but Decker knows a few details that a complete stranger couldn’t possibly know. And there’s a man en route to see Decker, who once flew with him… in World War One.
How does it all come together?
This is one of the single most overlooked episodes in Twilight Zone history, and it’s a damn shame. It’s actually a genius piece, and while we saw more than a single time travel-related episode from the series, this is one of my absolute favorites. It might even be a top 10 overall episode for me. It’s just pitch-perfect, and it’s an episode I wish – every time I watch it – that it didn’t end so damn fast, and that we don’t get to see the reunion the episode teases.
The Last Flight is, on the surface, about military and time travel. Beneath the surface it’s about self-examination, courage and selflessness. And those facts don’t go unnoticed. There’s an emotional undercurrent that parallels the episode beyond the first two minutes up until the final seconds, and when the reveal is eventually made, and the final dialogue is spilled before the camera, we viewers truly do feel it.
There’s a sadness to be found in the story, but there’s the sense of legitimate perseverance, as well. And those two very different sensations storm the body to create a unique emotional mixture that comes greatly appreciated.
Above all other strengths of this piece, is the powerful reminder that sometimes we look too deep into the details of a story in order to create something wildly intricate, but we don’t always need to. There’s beauty, entertainment, genuine enjoyment, to be found in the basic but powerful narratives. The Last Flight isn’t complex in the least, it’s just good old fashioned, valuable food for the imagination.