The Twilight Zone: "A Traveler" Ending Explained

The Twilight Zone season 1, episode 4, "A Traveler", stars Steven Yeun as a traveler and ends with quite the twist. Here's what it all means.

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The Twilight Zone episode 4, "A Traveler", had quite the ending twist, with aliens appearing to take over the town of Iglaak, Alaska. Some form of invasion seemed inevitable as the story of "A Traveler" unfolded, but the alien invasion twist was not only set up early on but its implications and inherent ramifications were as well. Taking place in a small Alaskan town, which has its economy is bolstered by a local Air Force base, "A Traveler" sees the townspeople crumble when their secrets are let out.

On Christmas Eve, a man from California named A. Traveler shows up in a suit with a technologically advanced phone and reveals the apparent secrets everyone in the town is hiding. He ultimately sets his sights on Yuka and Pendleton. By revealing Pendleton's supposed betrayal and corruption, that the police captain sold secrets to the Russians, A. Traveler attempts to dethrone Pendleton and give Yuka what she's always wanted: Pendleton's job. But was it all a lie?

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In the end, nothing the traveler said mattered to Yuka or Pendleton; as "A Traveler" reveals throughout the episode, it's all about what you believe - or, more accurately, what you want to believe. Furthermore, the reasoning behind Yuka and Jack's willingness to accept A. Traveler's "lies" is because it provides them with a level of comfort that they're okay with. Yuka can become the police captain and run the station how she sees fit, while Jack gets to see this new world toppled so that his people can rise again. It's a tale as old as time: colonization begets colonization. At least, it did.

One of the many subversive themes of The Twilight Zone's "A Traveler" episode is the idea of colonization. Yuka's brother, Jack, drives that mentality home by highlighting the fact that the Inuit and other indigenous people to the region that is now Alaska have lost their culture over the years, primarily because their land was taken over by the Russians and later the Americans (something that Pendleton also brings up when Alaska became the 49th state of the United States).

Jack even tells the alien that perhaps things will be better with them in charge. By removing Pendleton, Yuka gets what she wants for Christmas and Jack gets no more Christmas. As with most Twilight Zone episodes, it's the fundamental theme that drives the story, not the explicit events. The Air Force base, the Russian invasion, and the disputes between the people of Iglaak are merely red herrings.

Next: Twilight Zone: Nightmare At 30,000 Feet Ending Explained

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