"Quarantine" is the second segment of the seventeenth episode from the first season (1985–86) of the television series The Twilight Zone.

The Twilight Zone (1985 series) episode
Quarantine TZ.jpg
Scene from Quarantine
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 17b
Directed byMartha Coolidge
Written byAlan Brennert
Production code49
Original air dateFebruary 7, 1986
Guest appearance(s)

Scott Wilson: Matthew Forman
Tess Harper: Sarah
Larry Riley: Joshua
D.W. Brown: John
Jeanne Mori: Irene

Episode chronology
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"Welcome to Winfield"
Next →
List of The Twilight Zone (1985 TV series) episodes



Matthew awakens from a long sleep and his caretaker Sarah confirms that he was put in cryogenic sleep in June 2023. Then she reveals he has been asleep for more than 300 years as it is the year 2347. Sarah brings Matthew outside to see a small farm town, and he is confused as to why he was not brought to a city. She claims there are no more cities, freeways or factories.

Sarah takes him into what she calls the surgery area where surgery is performed without need of anesthetic or instruments. She and two others use psychic abilities to take out the cause of the incurable disease that required him to be put into the cryogenic sleep. Matthew is overwhelmed when he sees that the villagers can reach into his body and pull out the cancerous tissue painlessly.

Although they are no longer technologically advanced, humans have made progress in 300 years. Theirs is a world in which technology is replaced by advances in human awareness and spiritual growth, where the organic replaces the mechanical, where they live in balance and harmony with all life on the planet in what Sarah refers to as a "biological gestalt."

Matthew begins learning more and more about the agrarian post-apocalyptic community in which Sarah lives. Every need in this society is met through genetic engineering, psionics, or super-science that exists in harmony with nature. However, Matthew becomes confused as to why they brought him because he has no way of serving their completely agrarian society.

They explain to him that a meteor, which is sufficient enough to alter the entire ecosystem of Earth, is about to crash into the Indian subcontinent. His work with a satellite defense system from the past can help destroy the meteor. He becomes angry, however, when they say that if it had not been for this problem, they would not have brought him out and cured him. They show Matthew what happened after he was put in sleep: In 2043, a nuclear exchange wiped out eighty percent of the human population. The survivors, who only amount 200,000, have sworn to never trust machines again.

Matthew becomes despondent and believes that because he does not share the gifts of the others in the village he will never belong to their community. Sarah tries to comfort him and tells him that they can perform surgery on his brain and give him the same abilities that they have. However, the meteor must be handled first.

Matthew operates an old, salvaged personal computer that was used by the commune in an attempt to interface with the old satellite laser network. When the meteor makes a course correction upon reaching orbit, Matthew discovers that it is not a meteor, but a United States spacecraft. Sarah reveals that she had used her psychic powers to fool Matthew, and explains that her community is threatened by the instigators of the war who are returning to Earth. The spacecraft left Earth during the war they started to save their own lives to perpetuate their power.

The survivors cannot defend themselves, however, as violence and murder is not in their nature. She claims that they did not want to trick him but they knew he would not want to destroy the spaceship despite the fact that the ship has weapons and would likely start the whole destructive war over again. Because of the "time dilation effect" time slowed down for the ship’s crew and only five or ten years have passed for them.

Matthew does not believe Sarah and he attempts to stop the weapon. Sarah thwarts his efforts by removing a piece of equipment from the computer. After the ship is destroyed, Matthew discovers that there were indeed weapons aboard. However, he still feels like an outsider and does not know what value he has to the community, especially since they tricked him into destroying the ship. Sarah claims he is one of them now, and he is later shown how to begin his psychic journey.

Closing narrationEdit

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