Original Story by Joe Gannon
Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace
Original Airdate - October 4, 1985
Meg Foster - Jenny
David Hayward - Paul
Vincent Guastaferro - Dream Technician
Lee Anthony - Rescue Technician
Kristin Purdy - Twin #1
Deanna Purdy - Twin #2



A woman is on a picnic with her husband and twin daughters, and everyone appears to be having a lovely time. But then, things begin to come apart around her. Her husband repeats everything multiple times, and scenes replay constantly. It gets worse and worse till she feels physically ill, and she begins to scream from the pain. Suddenly she is pulled back to her reality, and we find out that she is a nameless worker in a vast, grubby, futuristic world, where the only relief they get from their depressing existence is virtual reality machines that fulfill their fantasies. The virtual reality she was in is called "Picnic in the Country." They are allowed only a short time on the machine before they have to go back to their dreary jobs. The woman seems confused when she awakens, but a man who fixes the machines comes over, gives a few circuits a tweak, and tells her that she has six minutes left before she has to go back to her job. She tries to tell him that this must wrong, that she was with her family and shouldn't be here, but he ignores her and turns on the machine again. She goes back to the dream routine and rejoins her family at the picnic, but after a few seconds the machine short circuits and apparently kills the woman (or does it??). She doesn't seem to realize that she's gone into the virtual reality scene (or her actual reality?) and will stay there - forever.



This is a neatly put-together episode that only runs for about 9 minutes; clever and inventive, it was the first stand-out episode of the series. Meg Foster does a superior bit of acting as the main character in this episode. She's vague and dreamy, and doesn't seem to be plugged into any kind of reality, so there's an undefined feeling of uneasiness as the story begins. The husband and kids are suitably bland, but when we figure out that they are apparently part of a computer routine, we understand why they act that way. Or are they a part of the computer? This could be her reality, and the totalitarian world the dream. You're not sure either way. An extremely good entry in the series and eminently worthy of the Twilight Zone name.