A Traveler is the fourth episode of season 1 of the new The Twilight Zone series.
A mysterious man (Steve Yeun) shows up in a jail one night and no one knows how he got there, so it's up to one police officer (Marika Sila) to find out.
"Meet Sergeant Yuka Mongoyak: a woman with a knack for detecting the most subtle of mistruths. On this night - a night of the most powerful myths - that skill will be tested like never before. She’s about to learn that truth can take many different forms pending on how you look at it. Because tonight, Sargeant Yuka’s vantage point is at the very heart.....of The Twilight Zone.”
It is Christmas Eve in Iglaak, Alaska — a small town 10 miles from an Air Force base and 1475 miles from the North Pole. Police Sergeant Yuka Mongoyak drives with her brother Jack in custody after he was arrested for being drunk in public. He complains about Christmas — everything about it from the music (which plays on the police radio) and bizarre tales that come with the holiday. Yuka cheers him up by revealing the police captain pardons one person every Christmas Eve and Jack will most likely be the one this year (due to a lack of other inmates). They pull up to the station and Yuka handcuffs her brother. He takes notice of a particularly big star in the sky, claiming it is too bright to be a northern light. As Yuka escorts him inside, the star quickly moves across the sky.
Inside the station, Captain Lane Pendleton has a great time hosting the party and being his jolly self around many of the townspeople. Yuka temporarily locks Jack in a cell before joining the party; Lane is giving a speech about being honored to host this party and to provide protection to the nearby Air Force base (their power needs are the cause of many seconds-long blackouts the station deals with). He also talks about his annual pardon and gives a sappy story about the decency of being kind to strangers, which annoys Yuka. She goes to get Jack, but finds him sleeping off the alcohol. She is shocked, however, to find a suit-wearing man in the cell next to him; when she asks how he got in there, the man happily says ”I want to be pardoned. Just like you.”
Lane joins Yuka in the holding cells and is also perplexed by the man’s appearance in his jail. The man jokingly says he just “flew over” after visiting the North Pole (and didn’t find Santa’s workshop) but Yuka notices his shoes have no snow on them. He continues on, claiming he is an extreme tourist and that he had his name legally changed to A. Traveler to support his YouTube channel The Agro Travelers Bucket List. He insists Captain Lane’s annual Christmas parties are well known and getting pardoned at one is on many travelers‘ bucket lists. Flattered, Lane starts to let his guard down and allows A. Traveler to film him as he’s being pardoned. Yuka, who remains suspicious, asks A. Traveler where he got his oddly high-tech phone from; he claims it‘s a “Russian design”, uneasing Lane. Regardless, he asks Yuka to give his phone back and release him from custody; Yuka checks his ID (which confirms his legal name change) and declares she‘ll be running a warrant search on him before letting him out.
The three rejoin the party. Lane introduces A. Traveler to everyone, who all immediately take a liking to him after learning he’s a celebrity. He relates a bizarre story about people he met while riding the TransSiberian Railway who spoke highly of Lane — even going so far as to say if North Korea ever attacked the country, they would have to get around Lane and the town of Iglaak first. As he records videos and integrates himself into the party, Yuka is hard at work trying to figure out who he is. She finds no warrants on him and learns he’s not staying at any nearby hotels. He approaches her, aware that she doesn’t believe him. He asks if she wants to open up a Christmas gift he brought for her, but she insists she doesn’t believe in Christmas. He says, “You believe in what you believe; isn’t that what Christmas is all about?”
Yuka brings a plate of food to Jack, who’s upset for still being locked up and not getting a piece of pie. She asks him what he thinks she wants for Christmas; he replies, ”To be one of them”, referencing her Inuit heritage and her need to break away from that to fit in elsewhere.
A. Traveler continues to delight the party, now singing karaoke to “The Man With a Bag”. A blackout causes the song to stop short; tensions briefly rise as blame is put on Mayor Matheson, who has done little to break Iglaak away from the Air Force base’s massive power needs. Yuka pulls Lane aside and asks when they can release Jack. He agrees to let him out, although he acts like a savior for pardoning two people on one night. As he announces Jack’s pardon to the party, A. Traveler insist they NOT let him out — instead claiming Jack stole $1000 worth of snow machine tools. Despite Yuka‘s insistence Jack has never stolen anything, Lane sends an officer to check Jack‘s car. A. Traveler insists he knows many other things — like how one partygoer is bailing on child support payments and that Mayor Matheson made a high bid for a sought-out air strip with plans on selling it to the Russians. Many people are enraged; a drunk partygoer attacks Matheson’s wife. Lane declares the party over and sends everyone on their way home. He and Yuka are left wondering about A Traveler, who casually sits down as another blackout occurs.
Paranoia takes full effect at the station. Lane learns nothing was found at Jack’s car, confirming that A Traveler lied. However, the stranger relays more rumors regarding a rivalry between Matheson and another partygoer who bid on the air strip — something he couldn’t have possibly known about. When pressed, he now tells them he’s an FBI agent sent to investigate corruption within the town but doesn’t say who he’s investigating. Lane decides to put him back in the cell until they can determine who he is — but not before A. Traveler secretly tells Yuka they would work well together once Lane is removed as Captain.
The two cops call the FBI station in Anchorage, but it is closed for the holiday. They return to the cells and quickly draw their guns after briefly seeing A. Traveler take off his hat to reveal two snail-like antennas coming out of his head. He calmly tells the cops to reconsider their hostilities as he shows them no antennas on his head. He then reveals an extensive knowledge about the Air Force Base and that its power source is camouflaged as a shed outside of town. As his voice becomes distorted, he insists that if a hostile force were to invade from the north, all they would have to do is destroy the shed. Lane guards the secret by claiming the shed‘s location to be classified, but A. Traveler says with a smile, “Classified is actually the most lucrative form of information.” He then accuses Lane of selling this information to the Russians, citing a “lack of impact” from being an Alaska State Troooper for 20 years as his motivation. A. Traveler now claims he’s an agent from the National Reconnaissance Office sent to get a confession out of Lane, but Lane insists he’s lying. A. Traveler tells them he was sent to warn the troops stationed at the base about a Russian attack and that “his people” will soon find the shed. Lane rushes off to intercept them.
Now alone with Yuka and Jack, A. Traveler telepathically opens his cell door and reveals his Christmas gift to Yuka: Lane removed so she can “give the orders”. He claims to be much like Yuka — calling them both worker ants — and promises to give her control provided she “works under us”. He telepathically turns the lights back on and reveals his peoples‘ invasion plan centered around an attack on Christmas Eve — a day the station would be most vulnerable on. He also confirms that Lane is indirectly showing them where the shed is so it can be eliminated. He taunts Yuka, claiming that while she was the only one who disbelieved him, she did nothing to stop him.
Yuka runs out after Lane and tries to warn him not to go to the shed, but he turns his radio off. She passes by some police officers breaking up a fight between two ladies from the party. She follows Lane’s car to the shed and holds him at gunpoint, threatening to arrest him. She believes he really is contacting the Russians, but he insists, “it’s only a lie if we choose to believe it.” At that moment, several alien spaceships fly over their heads.
Back at the station, A. Traveler telepathically opens Jack’s cell door and reveals his true alien form. Jack goes upstairs, cuts two pieces of pie, and brings them back to the cells. He eats pie with the humongous alien, claiming it was well worth the wait.
”The most dangerous lies come in the form of beautifully wrapped gifts. On this evening, Sargeant Yuka discovered that there’s no difference between myth and mistruth. She unwrapped her fateful present far too late in this dark and silent night...in The Twilight Zone.”
- Steven Yeun as A. Traveler
- Marika Sila as Sgt. Yuka Mongoyak
- Patrick Gallagher as Jack Mongoyak
- Eric Keenleyside as Mayor Matheson
- Andrew Kavadas as Buzz Colchack
- Gail Maurice as Rita Colchack
- Greg Kinnear as Captain Lane Pendleton
- Jill Teed as Dotty Matteson
- Babak A. Motamed as Jacques Tourneur
- Adam Stafford as Arch Houghton
- Tanja Dixon-Warren as Ida Lupino
- June B. Wilde as Trooper #1
- Trevor Lerner as Trooper #2
- The glowing extraterrestrial-looking green skies in the beginning and end are a common feature in Alaska known as “northern lights”.
- The gremlin from “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” and Talking Tina from “Living Doll” are featured as ornaments in the Christmas tree. A present wrapped in paper themed from “The Dummy“ is also seen under the tree.
- The number 1015 appears again in this episode. Here, it's the code to get into the police station's jail cells.