Jeffery Mingus Storck (Chris O’Dowd) makes a shocking discovery when he visits his father Otis one day. After having been called by Jeffery, the police conclude his father died of suicide. A detective retrieves a gun—and a bullet with “Otis” printed on it—from the premises and asks the son if the pistol belonged to his father. Jeffery is adamant that it is not as he explains his father was a “lifelong hippie” who hated guns. Since Jeffery can’t confirm the gun was his father’s, the police confiscate and send it to ballistics for testing. In addition to the weapon, the cops find a note that reads, “I love him more than you.” This vague message is one that Professor Storck, a man of science, cannot solve so readily. So in his quest to understand why his father did what he did, Jeffery will leave all logic behind and search for answers in The Twilight Zone.
Following the funeral, Jeffery cleans out his father’s house. He stumbles upon a small vault in the closet that conceals a heart-shaped box. And inside said box is a clip with a bullet labeled “Jeff.” Jeffery panics and puts the box away. The next day on campus, Jeffery encounters an unusual amount of other people—and one dog—named “Jeff.” He thinks it’s a series of coincidences and goes on with his day. Later that night, he comes home to his wife Anne (Amy Landecker) pointing a gun at him. She thinks he’s the culprit behind two nearby and recent home invasions. As we picked up earlier from Jeffery‘s call to his wife, the Storcks are having marital problems. What Jeffery thought could be solved with couples therapy is essentially over seeing as Anne has fallen in love with another man. A man also named “Jeff.”
The police mail back the gun and note to Jeffery, who then decides to sell it. The dealer he speaks to identifies the gun as the Blue Scorpion, a mythical and elusive collector’s item that could easily get Jeffery at least $25,000. Though when Jeffery agrees to sell it, the gun goes off all by itself. The dealer finally shares some curious advice he’s picked up over the years—be sure the Blue Scorpion has access to light if sealed up in a box. Legend states the gun is “afraid of the dark.” Before parting ways, the dealer provides his information, including his name of “Bob Jeff.”
In his office, Professor Storck speaks to a student wishing to change the subject of her project. She’s obsessed with the idea that her personal items like her toothbrush and hat are her “friends” which she must care for. Jeffery corrects her theory that this isn’t animism—a religious belief that everything from animals to places have a spiritual essence—but more of a case of anthropomorphism, the act of assigning human characteristics to inanimate objects. As soon as the professor agrees to the student’s request, he receives an unwelcome visitor. Anne has filed for divorce and this man, Jeff Dolin, is her lawyer.
Bob Jeff continues to hound Jeffery about selling the Blue Scorpion, a Cuban pistol which has only had six other owners to date. Buyers are willing to pay $100,000 for it, but Jeffery isn’t interested. In the meantime, he stays at his father’s house, getting high and listening to Otis‘ records. When Jeffery sees an hallucination of the Blue Scorpion’s creator, Eulogio Cienfuegos, he’s told the gun will love him more than anyone else. All the pistol asks for in return is light.
Jeffery visits a gun range in hopes of destroying the “Jeff” bullet. To no avail, the bullet won’t leave the clip when fired. Jeffery mutters, “You’d never hurt me,” and begins to carry the Blue Scorpion on his person at all times. He even places a small source of light in his backpack to quell the gun’s fear of the dark.
At the divorce negotiations, Jeffery has an outburst that ends with him shouting at his soon-to-be ex, “I love him more than I ever loved you.” By now, Jeffery is totally obsessed with how elated the Blue Scorpion makes him feel. This virtual inebriation leads him to go to visit Anne and Jeff, with the intention of shooting his wife’s new beau. While still in his parked car outside his and Anne‘s house, Jeffery is attacked by an unknown assailant. Of its own accord, the Blue Scorpion fires and kills the attacker. The police ascertain that the dead man is in fact the home invader, and his name is “Jeff Barrett.” The gun is collected by the police, and the fated name on the fired round disappears.
Anne shows her gratitude for Jeffery‘s heroism by making concessions in their divorce. At work, he’s assigned the chair of the anthropology department. All seems to be going well in Jeffery‘s life now that the Blue Scorpion is gone. That is until an officer shows up at his door and gives him back the seized evidence. With careful contemplation, Jeffery ultimately casts the gun into a lake. This isn’t the last we see of the Blue Scorpion, though. Two young boys going fishing at the same lake spot the infamous pistol on the shore. And along with it is a bullet marked with one of the boys’ names.
The inherent messages in “The Blue Scorpion“—the ongoing war at home concerning our right to bear arms on top of people valuing guns more than lives—are astoundingly subtle by the show’s standards. Executive producer Glen Morgan’s script is an impartial assessment of the issues, too, as he presents the employees at the gun range as calm and reasonable. They’re notably concerned by Jeffery‘s behavior and probably think he’s looking to kill someone.
From Craig William Macneill’s (Channel Zero: Candle Cove) beautiful presentation to the overall stout storytelling, this episode is a victory for the first season. Viewers can derive painless enjoyment as well as appreciate the topical commentary without that ever becoming overbearing. All in all, “The Blue Scorpion” may be the most ideal entry so far in Jordan Peele‘s The Twilight Zone.
I didn’t spot a lot of easter eggs in “The Blue Scorpion” as I did with last week’s episode, but here they are!
- The prominent body of water seen throughout the episode is Lake Cayuga, which is what Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone production company was named after. Serling’s family had a summer home at Lake Cayuga.
- At the gun range, the classic 1960 episode “A Most Unusual Camera” is being played on the television.
- The story occurs in Rochester, New York. This is the city where Rod Serling passed away in 1975.
- The Blue Scorpion’s serial number is 1015-59 and the Storck‘s address is 1015 Floral Street. The number “1015” has appeared in past episodes (i.e., the flight number in “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet” is 1015, and Officer Lasky‘s license plate number in “Replay” is 1015). Its relevance isn’t known at the moment. The number “59” could be a reference to the year 1959, which is when the first season of the original Twilight Zone series started