The Twilight Zone: “Six Degrees of Freedom”

The Twilight Zone launches one of its stronger episodes, and one that wouldn’t be out of place (and time and space) in a revival of The Outer Limits….

…a series which gets referenced this week, with “they are controlling the audio.”

Title: “Six Degrees of Freedom”

Cast and Crew

Director: Jakob Verbruggen
Writers: Heather Anne Campbell and Glen Morgan

DeWanda Wise as Alexa Brandt
Jefferson White as Jerry
Jonathan Whitesell as Casey Donlin
Zabryna Guevara as crewmember
Jessica Williams as Rei Tanaka
Karin Konoval as Aidia
Lucinda Dryzek as Katherine Langford
James Bannon as Launch Control
Jordan Peele as our host


As a ship heads to Mars, a nuclear strike occurs on Earth, leaving the crew to ponder the possible consequences. One crew member grows increasingly unhinged, as he begins to question the reality of their situation.

High Points

This show features a credible spaceship and a fascinating couple of dilemmas. More cannot be said without spoiler-ing the episode.

Low Point

Once again, we have a shorter episode padded out with such things as old NASA footage and a reprise of a musical number. It didn’t need to happen. The episode could have used the time to better-acquaint us with the characters; their stresses and losses could have meant so much more.

Oddest Internal Reference

A crew member plays with a model of the plane from Nightmare at 30,000 Feet, an episode which includes a Mars mission poster in the background of one scene.

The episode whipples out a few internal series references.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 This episode recalls a lot of older SF, and even the twist is the one used in a recent episode, with altered intentions.

Effects: 6/6 Most of this episode takes place on a plausible-feeling near-future spaceship, with some vistas of Mars, and other bodies in space.

Acting: 5/6 The acting is fine, though this is, psychologically speaking, an unusual lot for a group of astronauts. I suppose we have to allow for the fact that they have reason to fear they’re the last people alive.

Story: 5/6 The story works, but the padding and stretching and adding doesn’t serve the story and, as I’ve already said, they had better uses for the running-time.

Production: 6/6

Emotional Response: 5/6

Overall: 5/6

In total, “Six Degrees of Freedom” receives 34/42

Lingering Thoughts