Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Shelter
One of the most memorable episodes of the Twilight Zone was a third season episode called the Shelter in which the impending threat of nuclear Armageddon drove a family into the fall out shelter they have prepared for such an eventuality.
This episode plays very much on cold war fears of nuclear war and being broadcast 1961 it pre-dates the Cuba Missile crisis by one year and as such proved itself to be a little prophetic.
However the horror of the episode is not just from the threat of the hypothetical nuclear bomb but the ugly side of society under threat. While the central protagonist has built a bomb shelter, the other people on the street have not and the street descends into social chaos with everyone turning on one another and the hypocrisy the mob shows itself up. They want to use the shelter but have desire to allow people from the next street to use it. The one who uses reason is shot down and racial prejudices come forth…
Though the nuclear threat is proved to be false, the real enemy is the nature humanity itself. The solutions to the revelations found is “let’s have a party and sweep this under the carpet” and shows that the street community isn’t really a community at all.
As Rod Sterling’s closing monologue states “in order to Civilization to survive, it must remain civilised.”
The episode opens with a birthday celebration but what is born realisation of themselves but the episode offers no resolve to this, bridges aren’t offered to be built.
Now while the threat of nuclear war is not so prominent, the truth of the episode is. The air of paranoia and suspicion today is a modern day McCathyism and is being fuelled by our press controlled by the monetary greed of Moguls who want a mob mentality. The reason, mobs don’t have a brain.
The Shelter maybe have been made in 1961, but it could have been written today.