The Twilight Zone season 1 premiere recap: The Comedian

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“The Comedian” — Pictured: Tracy Morgan as JC Wheeler; of the CBS All Access series THE TWILIGHT ZONE available to stream on Monday, April 1st. Photo Cr: Robert Falconer/CBS © 2018 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

On stage, Samir starts with his Second Amendment joke. He gets nothing. He moves on to talking about Deven. He still gets nothing. He tries to talk about the president, but it still doesn’t work.

Samir sees Joe standing at the entrance laughing at him. So Samir starts talking about Joe and viciously joking about how Joe killed people by drunk driving and got away with it. The material kills and has the audience (and Joe) laughing. As usual, Samir asks the audience to give it up for “Joe Donner.”

Samir looks back to where Joe was and Joe is gone.

After the set, Samir rushes outside and sees that the previously destroyed bus stop is now perfectly fine. He realizes that it’s because Joe doesn’t exist, so he never crashed into it. In his mind, Samir just saved two lives with his jokes.

That night, Samir sits up on his computer researching people from his high school and college past. There’s a montage of Samir writing names of people who were (and are) jerks in his notebook and then talking about them on stage (and getting tons of laughs in the process). He’s become a sort of comedian overlord, ridding the world of all of the bad people he knows.

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Time has passed and Samir is massively popular, even Rena has started coming to see his sets (which she hadn’t been earlier). His success has clearly helped make his relationship even stronger.

One night, Samir tells Rena that he feels like his comedy can really make a difference. Samir tries to get Rena to tell him about a man she defended who, after the fact, she found out actually did do all of the horrible things he was accused of. Rena refuses to tell Samir the guy’s name, citing advice David had given her. Even the mention of David’s name makes Samir roll his eyes.

They start to argue, with Rena calling Samir a jealous prick and Samir saying that David just wants to sleep with his attractive student. Angry, Rena leaves.

Later, on stage, Samir tries to tell the audience about a “murderer” he met on the bus, but the jokes don’t seem to be landing. He’s not getting any laughs, even when he tries to bring up the man’s name. Samir realizes he might have been given a fake name.

During this, Rena has walked in. During a dead silence, she gets a text on her phone and Samir notices. This triggers all of his feelings about David. He starts going in on “creepy” David and the audience is immediately back on his side and laughing. Even Rena is finding it hilarious. He hits the punchline of his joke by yelling David’s full name.

In the bar afterward, Didi comes up to Samir and compliments him on being named a top comedian to follow by the New Yorker. Samir, finally feeling a bit of power over his friend/comedic rival, brushes her off.

Samir goes up to Rena and asks what David would have thought of his set. Rena doesn’t know what he’s talking about, which Samir takes joy in. That is, until Rena starts to pack up, saying she has to get to her shift. Samir thinks she may just be mad, so he runs after her.

It turns out, without David, Rena never became a lawyer, so she’s working in a diner. This also means the two of them never had the money to take a trip to Paris. It was on that trip that they were able to patch up their relationship. Despite Samir’s begging and pleading to get his relationship back, by removing David, he’s effectively decimated his relationship.

Rena tells Samir off, telling him they’re done and saying he’s selfish.

Samir is left to go back to his (now very empty and barren) apartment alone. Angry at himself, he throws his notebook full of names across the room.

The next night, Samir sits at the club bar, sadly drinking. Didi teases him about Rena breaking up with him, but tones it down after seeing how hurt Samir is. Samir says that Rena was everything to him.

Just then, Pete comes up to the two of them and tells them that Candy Gower from The Gower Hour is coming to the club later that night to see the two of them. They need a new cast member and she is going to pick one of them on The Twilight Zone.

Samir is called up to do his early set. Again, Samir tries to start with his Second Amendment joke. But he quickly moves on. Before he can bring up anyone new, he starts getting heckled by someone in the audience. A rich guy and his two friends try to flaunt how funny and rich they are in an attempt to embarrass Samir.

Samir asks the guy and his friend for their names and other information about them. Samir starts using the information they gave him, he weaponizes his power to get the audience laughing and making the two guys disappear.

After, in the green room, Samir and Didi talk. There’s only one spot and Didi says the spot should have gone to her. After all, she’s been having great sets for a long time.

Samir, who is clearly hating what he’s become, tries to say that he isn’t going on stage and is taking himself out of the running for The Gower Hour. Didi won’t let him. She says that if he gets the job, she’ll be happy for him. She’s intent to win this fair.

Didi is called to the stage for her set.

Alone in the green room, Samir says the “no apostrophes” sign and remembers what Deven said. Samir rips up the sign in anger.

Pete comes in and tells Samir he’s next after Didi. This is his chance.

Pete leaves and Wheeler appears in the room out of nowhere. Samir argues that he wanted to make people laugh, not disappear. He didn’t want to murder people. Wheeler says that it’s not murder, the people never existed and Samir is incorrect when he thinks he remembers them.

Wheeler then tells him to finish the job and weaponize his power. This is his chance to have it all.

One stage, Didi has the audience in hysterics as Samir watches from backstage. She leaves the stage and Samir walks out. He compliments her set and stops short when he realizes he was about to tell the audience to give it up for Didi, thus saying his friend and, at this moment, his competition’s name.

He stops and starts, struggling with the moral implications of what saying her name will do. But backstage, Didi gives him a thumbs up, encouraging him to be strong.

Finally, Samir tells the audience to give it up for Didi Scott. The Twilight Zone cuts briefly to the empty space previously occupied by Didi before going black.

Back on Samir’s set, he’s clearly snapped. He’s yelling, rattling off name after name after name, much to the enjoyment of the audience. But after a bit, Samir hears one person loudly booing him. It’s Rena who has found his notebook full of names and has come to confront him about it.

She berates him for having an act that is just him being superior to other people. She brashly says to use her for fuel for his act. The audience looks expectantly, waiting for him to go in on her.

Finally, Samir stats talking about someone he’s known for a long time. He starts talking about himself. The audience, and Rena, start laughing. Emotional, Samir talks about his career and how awful he’s become. He builds steam and peaks his set by saying he’s a bully, a country with one export.

He ends his set as many comedians do: “Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve been Samir Wassan.”

The camera cuts to a microphone dropping to the ground as the audience erupts into a standing ovation.

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Later, we see Deven come out of the club and meet up with Rena. Then we see Didi. Everyone is back where they were, just without Samir.

Didi goes over to the bar and notices a strange man next to her. It’s JC Wheeler and he saw her set. This episode of The Twilight Zone ends with Didi asking for notes.

What did you think of the first episode of The Twilight Zone? Did it live up to expectations? Let us know your thoughts on this season of The Twilight Zone in the comments.