Twilight Zone: Nightmare At 30,000 Feet Ending Explained

Adam Scott in The Twilight Zone

As a reimagining of an iconic episode, The Twilight Zone's "Nightmare at 30,000 Feet" stars Adam Scott as investigative journalist Justin Sanderson, who desperately wants to avert a disaster by taking matters into his own hands. But given that this is The Twilight Zone, Justin ended up becoming the impetus for such a disaster, and everything else leading up to Flight 1015's crash and disappearance can be considered red herrings.

When it comes to The Twilight Zone, one of the most famous stories ever told in the franchise is "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", which was directed by a then-up-and-comer Richard Donner and starred William Shatner in the title role. The 1963 episode has been parodied numerous times over the years, but perhaps its most fruitful adaptation was in 1982. George Miller remade the story in a segment for The Twilight Zone: The Movie, with John Lithgow starring in Shatner's place.

Related: Twilight Zone Review: The Latest TV Revival Doesn’t Quite Live Up To Expectations

And now, to kick off CBS All Access' The Twilight Zone TV reboot, Peele commissioned writers Glen Morgan (X-Files) and Marco Ramirez (Daredevil) to pen a vastly different version of the story, one that removes the gremlin from the plane - though still adds the doll in the end as an Easter egg - and this time places an emphasis on making one's own fate. Because of all that, The Twilight Zone's "Nightmare at 30,000 Feet" ending leaves quite a bit open to interpretation.

What Happened In Nightmare At 30,000 Feet

Throughout "Nightmare at 30,000 Feet", Justin Sanderson listens to an episode of the Enigmatique podcast, which chronicles the disappearance of Northern Gold Star Flight 1015 - a flight that he's a passenger on. Because of this, Justin becomes increasingly nervous, agitated, and unhinged as he tries to uncover the mystery of why Flight 1015 crashed. And the more he listens, the more clues the podcast reveals. But none of those clues sheds any light as to the disappearance of Flight 1015.

First, it's a bird that strikes the engine (possibly as a reference to the gremlin from "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet"). Second, it's a pair of Sikh men watching a sports broadcast on the plane's WiFi, something that Justin believes could be causing a disturbance with communications. Third, it's a potential attack against a man named Igor Orlov, who is flying to Tel Aviv to testify against the Russian mafia. Everything revealed on the podcast are merely details of a much larger puzzle in Flight 1015's crash, one that Justin continually, though perhaps unknowingly, attempts to make a reality.

No matter what Justin tries to do or who he tries to tell, nobody believes him - except for Joe Beaumont, a man he met at the start of "Nightmare at 30,000 Feet" and had signed a copy of the Progressive Pointe magazine for. Joe ultimately takes it upon himself to save everyone by infiltrating the cockpit, knocking the pilots unconscious, and crashing the plane into the Atlantic Ocean. Afterward, in the epilogue of "Nightmare at 30,000 Feet", it's revealed that all the passengers not only survive the crash but will eventually end up being rescued. That is, everyone but Justin, who the passengers and crew members killed.

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