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Mars is Heaven - Recap

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Mars Mission 1 approaches the surface of Mars and gets permission from Mission Control to land. Captain Black brings the ship down and goes out onto the surface with Hinkston and Henley. They confirm that the atmosphere is breathable and remove their helmets. They hear a rooster crowing in the distance and look toward the noise. They can see trees in the distance and notice that they're standing on grass. They move toward the forest and find birds, and then hear the sound of a lawnmower. Continuing on, they find a small midwestern town that Hinkston identifies as Green Town, Illinois. Henley suggests that they somehow circled around but Black insists that they confirmed their course every inch of the way. Hinkston wonders if they hit a time warp and returned to Earth, but Black points out that they know they were in orbit above Mars before landing. Black contacts Larson aboard the ship and tells him not to let anyone leave the ship.

The three men continue to explore and are unable to come up with a theory that can account for what they're seeing. Hinkston discovers a tennis racket on a porch that is identical to the one he had as a child, right down to his initials. He hears someone laughing and runs off, ignoring Black and Henley. He goes around a corner and disappears, and Henley turns to see his grandfather standing across the way. Henley goes to him and they embrace, and he confirms for Black that his grandfather died. His grandfather assures Henley it will be all right and takes him to his grandmother. Black follows after them but they round a corner and disappear.

Black finds himself alone on the street. He hears the sound of baseball players and a man runs into sight: Black's younger brother Skip. Skip tells him that his parents are back at the house and they've got pie and lemonade waiting. He grabs Black's helmet and starts to run back home, and Black hesitantly goes with him. They go to the Black house that the captain recognizes from his childhood. His mother, long dead, is inside playing the piano. Black goes to her and embraces her and she assures him that they're together again and that's all that matters.

Later, Hinkston's and Henley's families arrive and they have dinner and share a toast. Black admits he doesn't understand how all their dead loved ones can be there, and wonders if Mars is Heaven. Their families say that it's simply a place where they get a second chance, but they don't know why. A band starts up outside and Mrs. Black informs the captain that his friends are being welcomed. They look outside and see the other members of the expedition. Larson apologizes and admits that everyone else abandoned their stations. When he sees the townspeople, he backs up nervously and requests permission to go back to the ship. Larson grants him permission and the officer leaves. Inside, Black speculates to his mother that Larson simply doesn't have anyone there because he's an orphan. The captain begins to wonder, and his mother invites him to the band concert and the fireworks in the crew's honor.

Later, Black relaxes in his home and admits that it is like Heaven. He says he needs time to think and his mother and Skip suggest he go to bed and get some rest. Skip takes the captain up to his old room, which hasn't changed since his high school days. Black notes that the house burned down and nothing survived, and Skip was killed in the fire. Skip tells him not to spoil it by analyzing it and prepares for bed. he asks Black what's wrong. Black speculates that the Martians have telepathic abilities and would have fought back against the "invaders" by hypnotically convincing the crew that they were their friends and families. Skip wonders what that makes him, and Black points out he would also be a Martian. His brother makes light of the whole thing and tells him to come to bed, and Black starts to lie down. He then gets up and says he's going to get some water, but Skip says he's not thirsty. As Black reaches for the door, an alien hand touches his shoulder...

Later, the Martians give the crew a decent burial while Mars Mission 2 is unable to receive any response. They prepare to land on the planet.

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Warning: The Ray Bradbury Theater season 5 episode 1 guide may contain spoilers
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