An Earth exploration team explores an empty Martian city. The buildings are in pristine condition, but there are no inhabitants. They find black leaf-like particles on the ground and soon realize the particles are ash: the remains of the Martians. One of the explorers, archaeologist Spender, explains that one of the previous Earth missions made it to Mars and infected the Martians with chicken pox. The resulting fever burned them up. Spender takes offense, insisting that they should have been more careful. When Captain Wilder objects, Spender tells him to report back that they wiped out a civilization, and they can be proud of what they've accomplished...Read the full recap
Based on the short story "And The Moon Be Still As Bright" by Ray Bradbury. This story was first published in Thrilling Wonder Stories (June 1948).
Filming location: Lougheed Mansion, Calgary, Alberta
Spender: I smell death, Captain.
Captain Wilder: What makes you so sure, Spender?
Spender: Just the wind. Only the wind.
Cheroke: A whole people wiped out. Insane.
Spender: Right, Cheroke. Insane. Like saying that mumps killed the Greeks. Or that the noble Romans died of athlete's foot. An entire race, dies. Not with dignity and majesty, but from a child's dose of chicken pox. A little gift from Earth.
Captain Wilder: Spender, this, this expedition isn't going to ruin Mars. I'll make sure of that.
Spender: Well, we humans have a talent for ruining big, beautiful things. The only reason we didn't put a hot dog stand on the Moon was because it's a little out of the way. Make a good commercial proposition.
Spender: I talked to the Martian.
Cheroke: You understood him?
Spender: I told you, I learned their language.
Cheroke: What did he say?
Spender: He said, "Give me your boots." So I gave him my boots. And he said, "Give me your uniform." I gave him my uniform. "Give me your gun," he said. I gave him my gun. And then he said, "Come with me. See what happens." And I followed him back to camp. He's here. Now.
Cramer: I don't see any Martian.
Spender: Sorry. (shoots him)
Spender: And you won't let me stay here without trouble, neither, will you?
Captain Wilder: No.
Spender: Then I'll have to kill you all.
Captain Wilder: You're an optimist. We've got you surrounded.
Spender: But I have a reason to fight. That makes me a better killer.
Changes from the short story:
* Spender wears a Martian mask in the episode that he doesn't in the story. It both symbolizes his acceptance of Martian culture, and is passed on to Wilder when he's killed, making the ending less ambiguous.
* In the story, the ending takes places in the hills, while in the episode, it takes place in the Martian library.
* Wilder himself deliberately shoots Spender in the story when the archaeologist refuses to flee. In the episode, Parkhill shoots Spender.
* The story ends much more ambiguously, with Spender simply attacking Parkhill for destroying some Martian property. In the episode, Wilder prepares to don the mask that Spender wore.