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"Blurryman" is the finale of the first season of the 2019 version of The Twilight Zone.

Synopsis

In this metafictional episode, a struggling writer (Zazie Beetz) working on the script for an upcoming episode of The Twilight Zone starring Seth Rogen and Betty Gabriel finds herself stalked by a mysterious figure who is there one minute and not there the next.

Opening Narration

"Picture if you will a storyteller finally getting to tell the story of a lifetime except the story is one of inexplicable terror and the lifetime is her own. Her name is Sophie Gelson. She has little patience for childish diversions or daydreams, but she won't be able to tune out or turn away from what works blurry in the background of her own show. She is about to learn that when blurry comes to focus, there can be no escape for the fate laid out for her... by the Twilight Zone."

Plot

Act I

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“It’s just a story....”

Writer Adam Wegman is at his home struggling with a new story revolving around the end of the world. He wants to scrap an idea about a mushroom cloud despite it being a focal point — but after looking it over, he’s struck with the perfect idea to finish his story. His wife comes in with a concerned look on her face, but he’s busy announcing his accomplishment. He opens the window shades to find the neighborhood in shambles; she tells him they need to get to a shelter before the Reapers come for them. A horrified Adam recognizes this as his story.

The Narrator comes on-screen and says:

Witness Adam Wegman, a writer who up until tonight has never paid much mind to the idea of an artist’s social responsibility. He’s about to learn that there’s more to art than entertainment. He’s about to....”

He suddenly breaks the fourth wall. The Narrator, aka Jordan Peele, says this narration can be better and calls for his writer Sophie Gelson. The previous plot is revealed to be an in-production episode of The Twilight Zone starring Seth Rogen and Betty Gabriel. Jordan brings Sophie backstage — taking the time to snack on popcorn — and tells her the narration is portraying a message they’re not trying to send. They discuss art vs entertainment, and how the show has set a standard for more than just “monsters on a plane”. Sophie, a true fan of the original, tells Jordan, “If there’s nothing being said of importance, it’s just campfire stories”. She talks about growing up wondering when the show would ever get to the actual twilight zone and theorizes Rod Serling was in every episode to portray a particular message. Jordan thinks she’s overanalyzing the message and tells her to rewrite the narration.

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”Seriously, what’s going on!?”

Sophie struggles with the rewrite as time runs short. Her sister Anna tries to Skype her, but Sophie tells her it’s not a good time. Anna is frustrated with her sister constantly flaking on her for the show’s needs. Sophie hangs up as a production manager named Amy tells her the narration needs to be written on cue cards. Filming commences and Jordan reads the new Opening Narration (see above). After Seth states that the new narration would make a good episode, Jordan wants to know what’s going on.

Act II

When production goes on break, Sophie swears to Jordan she had nothing to do with the cue cards; he tells her it’s ok and assumes it was a gag for a blooper reel. Sophie can’t make sense out of why anybody would do that, but Jordan jokingly tells her the only thing to worry about is if she‘s in an episode of The Twilight Zone at this moment.

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Jordan with Sophie

Amy confronts Sophie, accusing her of the cue card stunt and having something to do with a blurry figure in the background of a library shot. Sophie insists she didn’t write it but picks up on the “blurry” references in the narration. When production continues, she visits her editor friend Julie who shows her a blurry figure in the back of the library shot. Nobody — especially the director — remembered him being there the day of shooting. Julie pulls up previous episodes and shows Sophie other shots that Blurryman snuck into. Both women are amazed that this went unnoticed and now they can’t unsee it.

Production breaks for lunch later on. Sophie is told Jordan hasn’t been seen for a while but is somewhere on set. She goes looking for him on the library set. A noise startles her; she turns around and sees the cue card reading “Sophie is about to learn....” on the ground. The lights go off, freaking her out and getting her to leave. She calls Anna, who recommends her exhausted sister leaves the set and sleep. The call begins to cut out as a light flickers and Sophie briefly sees Blurryman nearby. Panicked, she runs to a supermarket set (from "Point of Origin") and hides. When she eventually faces him, he telepathically knocks down the aisles. She flees to a bar set (from "The Comedian") and finds a book she previously saw at the library titled Blurry Man. She opens it and is disturbed by a shaded figure sketched on various pages throughout the book — at one point he appears to be jumping off the page.

Bottles suddenly fly off the counters toward Sophie. She runs off the set and dashes onto a street set, where she trips over some equipment and hurts her leg. A group of TVs flicker on and off, showing her images of Blurry Man from the previous episodes. She is then shown Blurryman approaching her on the library set. The TVs turn off and she sees Blurryman down the street. She approaches him under the belief Jordan put him up to this. She calls it all bullshit, but when Blurryman walks toward her, she falls down and takes back what she said.. She screams as he looms over her.

Act III

When Sophie comes to, she finds Blurryman has vanished. She gets up and begins to hear her inner voice talking to her, convincing her that she is going crazy. She limps from set to set trying to convince herself she‘s having a psychotic break and needs to sleep. She comes across a charred ashy version of the library set and the Blurryman waiting for her. She yells at him “this isn’t fucking real!” He touches a wall and books go flying off the shelves. He chases her back onto the show set. She tries getting Seth and Betty‘s attention, but nobody appears to see her. She furiously limps off The Twilight Zone set and onto another TV show set. Blurryman still follows her, telepathically flipping a craft table in the process.

Sophie’s inner voice tells her this isn’t a campfire story she can outrun. Sophie finally stops and tells Blurryman she’s “ready to see”. He fills Sophie’s world with smoke and takes her back to a moment when she was a little girl. She watches the classic episode "Time Enough at Last" while her father nudges her to go play outside. He wants her to have real connections, but her mother pushes her to keep both the real and “make-believe stories” close to her.

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Still hearing the voices.

Sophie wakes up in the middle of the episode’s set. Seeing everything back to normal, she gives Jordan her new narration. He greatly approves of it and gets ready for filming. As Sophie steps back from the set, her inner voice asks her if she really thought this was the end. She’s told “there’s more to see” as the set slowly empties out and turns to black and white — like a classic episode. She walks outside to the street set now in an apocalyptic state and heads toward the library. She heads inside and finds Blurryman once again waiting for her. She asks him if this is the end of the episode and is despondent knowing that a cruel twist is near.

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Blurry Man unmasked as Rod Serling.

Blurry Man steps toward her and reveals himself as Rod Serling. He says “I take it I have your attention now. Good, there‘s a lot to explain.” Amazed, Sophie asks him where they are; he assures her it’s “where she’s always belonged”. He informs her she has much work to do. She follows him through a door leading to another dimension as Serling reads off the Closing Narration followed by the original logo for The Twilight Zone appearing.

Closing Narration

"What do we do when our world is turned upside down? When everything we thought to be true is ripped away and we're forced to face a new reality? Sophie Gelson has just awoken to the fact that when we put away childish things, we may be closing our eyes instead of opening them and that perhaps our only hope is to face our reality. A multitude of truths not shrinking from that vital, arrogant, fatal, dominant beyond imagination, but to embrace it. To open ourselves to the unknown. Not the end of the story, but a new beginning... for the Twilight Zone."

Cast

  • Zazie Beetz as Sophie Gelson
  • Betty Gabriel as Mrs. Wegman/Herself
  • Zibby Allen as Julie
  • Caitlin Stryker as Anna
  • Seth Rogen as Adam Wegman/Himself
  • Jason Priestley as Himself
  • Mark Silverman as Rod Serling (voice)
  • Jefferson Black as Rod Serling (motion capture)
  • Ryan Hesp as Rod Serling (facial performance)
  • Camille Hollett-French as Amy
  • Byron Noble as Owen
  • Al McFoster as 1st AD
  • Deni DeLory as Librarian
  • Carlena Britch as Charlie
  • Takaya White as Young Sophie
  • Matthew Mandzij as Father
  • Romy Cutler-Lengyel as Mother
  • Vanessa Zwez Lindgren as Sitcom Cast #6

Notes

  • Mark Silverman reprises his Rod Serling impersonation from The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride.
  • There are many references to "Time Enough At Last" with the biggest one being the street set Sophie spends a good deal on. Its apocalyptic setting at the end resembles the classic plot, and Sophie even walks past a pair of broken glasses.
  • In similar fashion to the episode A World of His Own, Rod Serling appears in full form by the end of the episode, with both main characters from both episodes being made aware of his presence. Both episodes notably act as season finales for the first season in their respective iterations.
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