Replay is the third episode of season 1 in The Twilight Zone (2019) series.
An independent mother (Sanaa Lathan) learns she can rewind time using an old camcorder and attempts to save her son (Damson Idris) from a terrifying incident.
“Presenting Nina Harrison. A woman who left her past behind to provide a better future for her son. Today, however, she will have no choice but to revisit history again and again, on a fateful drive through the perilous highways of The Twilight Zone."
Single mom Nina Harrison eats at the Busy Bee Diner with her son Dorian. She is driving him across the country to college and using an old camcorder — the same one that filmed his first baby steps long ago — to film his first steps into college. They play around with it, with Nina predicting Dorian will grow up to be the next Ryan Cogler and will name his first-born daughter Trinity. They also briefly talk about Uncle Neil, whom Nina has a distant relationship with due to their father‘s past mistakes.
Meanwhile, Officer Christopher Lasky walks in and orders a chicken fried steak. As he sits down at the counter, he takes notice of Nina and Dorian when the latter accidentally squirts ketchup on his shirt. Realizing his mom was filming, he asks her to record over it. She presses REWIND — suddenly, time rewinds back until she stops it right at the moment before Dorian squirts ketchup on himself. A confused Nina stops him and wonders if she’s experiencing deja vu.
The mother and son get back on the road. Along the way, Dorian attempts to make a pit stop at Uncle Neil’s house, but Nina demands he keep driving. Dorian wants to know his family better, but Nina insists she‘s done a lot to escape her family drama. While driving, he picks up the camera and films her while he sarcastically asks if not knowing his family affected how he (a black man in America) grew up. A police siren is heard behind them; Dorian tosses the camera down as the cop pulls him over. Nina briefly instructs her son to be respectful before Officer Lasky taps on the window. The racist cop asks if there are any weapons in the car and if Dorian is going to “the black school” after Nina explains their college road trip. Lasky notices the camcorder and panics when he realizes it’s recording; he tries to grabs it but Dorian holds him back. Nina grabs for the camcorder and inadvertently presses REWIND.
Time reverses to moments earlier when Dorian has the camcorder. A dazed Nina asks where the cop is, then tells Dorian to pull over. As he does, Lasky pulls up right behind him. Dorian tells him to call an ambulance for his mom, but the cop instead chastises him for not properly pulling over. Frustrated, Dorian slowly approaches Lasky, causing him to get his taser out and point it at him. Before Lasky can shoot, Nina presses REWIND once more.
Finding herself back in the diner, Nina looks over and sees Lasky halfway through his country fried steak. She insists they leave despite Dorian not being done with his meal. Nina tries taking another route that Lasky won’t be on, but Dorian points out they’re driving away from the campus. Sensing her panic, he tells her she’s his inspiration and insists she’s “the strongest person I know”. Nina suggests they spend one last night resting in a hotel, which Dorian agrees to.
The two are at a hotel later watching the lottery when Nina secretly decides to record the numbers being drawn. She comments on how foolish the lottery is, but Dorian feels it’s not all completely random. He believes in predestination and things that should happen will happen, saying “particles unfold the way they’re destined to”. She presses REWIND but only goes back to before the lottery numbers are called; she accurately calls the numbers, amazing Dorian. Their good time is cut short, however, when Officer Lasky shows up at their door. He rudely asks Dorian’s relationship to Nina then asks for their ID’s. Dorian wants to know why they need to show ID if they haven’t done anything; Lasky claims there was a noise complain, but Dorian calls it “bullshit”. Nina starts recording, which Lasky notices. He orders her to put it down, which causes Dorian to approach him. Lasky slams him into the wall and prepares to taser him.
Nina quickly presses REWIND again and stops it back at the diner. Exhausted but still motivated, she boldly approaches Lasky while he eats his country fried steak and introduces herself. She buys him a piece of pie for his ”service”; while he does accept her kindness, he insists he does not know her -- claiming “I know everyone like you.” She tells him where she’s going and that she grew up nearby the town. She stresses how important her son is to the cop; he looks over at him and calls him a ”good looking boy”. She asks him about his family; he weakens when talking about his wife, saying “life sometimes goes like you don’t expect it to.” Nina offers her condolences; an appreciative Lasky thanks her for the pie and gets up. Before leaving, however, Lasky asks where she got her nice car — she asserts she‘s a hard worker and does what she can to provide for Dorian.
Outside, Nina and Dorian are ready to leave when Lasky approaches them. He demands to see proof of ownership for the car; Nina lashes out and insists it his hers. Lasky notices her recording and tells her to put the camcorder down. She yells at him as Dorian pulls out his phone to find a photo of ownership on his phone. Lasky thinks he has a gun and shoots Dorian dead without hesitation.
A devastated Nina is brought to the hospital to ID her son’s corpse, but she wastes no time asknig for her camcorder back. She pleads, “take me back”, and presses REWIND once more. She finds herself back in the diner and cries tears of joy upon seeing her son again. They get up to leave — only to exit right when Lasky enters. He holds the door open for a terrified Nina and Dorian, who thanks the cop.
While on the road, she breaks down and confesses to her son what is happening with the camcorder and Lasky. After taking it all in, Dorian suggest they deviate from the path by going to Uncle Neil‘s house. Nina drives them back to her old neighborhood, where she tells Dorian how her older brothers were shot dead here and she’s haunted by the memories. They’re greeted by Neil, who is happy to see her sister but upset that she didn’t come to her father’s funeral. She also tells him about the camcorder — Neil, a loyal brother and strong supporter of movements like Black Lives Matter, instantly believes her. He agrees that they can figure this out together and claims their father —who previously owned the camcorder — always told stories of magic like this.
Using personal blueprints of the town he‘s made, Neil plans out a shortcut route for Dorian to make it to the school unnoticed. The underground path leads them right up to the school’s main entrance; however, Lasky is waiting for them there. He questions what they were doing in the secret passage, then draws his gun when the three refuse to stop. Neil and Nina stand in front of him as several more squad cars drive to support Lasky. Nina holds up her camcorder and films. Several nearby students also pull their phones out and film. Lasky laughs at the idea of being intimidated by a camcorder. Nina tells him he has crossed the line — ”harassing us, abusing authority, you’ve been profiling us, targeting us, following us, shooting us, killing us....nah ah. Not anymore! Now we cross the line! My son will cross that gate!” Nina is firm in holding her ground; eventually the cops stand down. Nina tells Lasky he’s the one who’s afraid — she tells Dorian to go to college as Lasky finally walks away.
Ten years later, an older Nina films adult Dorian with his young daughter Trinity. She still uses the same camcorder, which disturbs Dorian. While playing around with it, Trinity accidentally drops it on the ground and destroys it. A devastated Nina rushes to the pieces, but Dorian calmly tells her to let it go. She agrees to, but deep down ponders what life will be like without the ability to change events as easy as she could.
Once the scene fades to black, police sirens are heard.
"Nina Harrison found that only by embracing her past could she protect her son's future. And it was love, not magic, that kept evil at bay. But for some evils, there are no magical, permanent solutions, and the future remains uncertain even here in The Twilight Zone."
- Sanaa Lathan as Nina Harrison
- Damson Idris as Dorian Harrison
- Steve Harris as Neil Harrison
- Glenn Fleshler as Officer Christopher Lasky
- Candus Churchill as Mabel
- Zari Diango as Trinity
- Keon Boateng as Dream Son
- Henry Mah as Medical Examiner
- Samantha Spatari as Morgue Assistant
- Jocelyn Panton as Lottery Announcer
- Blake Stadel as Police Officer