Written by George R. R. Martin
Story by Terry Matz
Directed by Thomas J. Wright
Original Airdate - December 4, 1986
Richard Mulligan - Ernie Ross
Anne Haney - Mary Ross
David Greenlee - Toby Ross
Alexandria Borrie - Mandy Kemp
Earl Houston Bullock - Minister
Richard Biggs - Dr. Tomson



An older couple are the sole caregivers of a "special" adult son, Toby, who can create anything he can see.



Finally, the second season has a breakout episode that reminds us all why we loved the series so much. "The Toys of Caliban" is based on a story by Terry Matz and adapted for the new Twilight Zone by George R. R. Martin. It's one of the best of the entire series, and is uncompromising in the emotional toll it takes on the viewers. It spares nothing in telling the story, and is 25 minutes of mounting horror.

The meaning of the title is based on William Shakespeare's play, "The Tempest," written about 1610. Caliban was a sort of crazy wild man whom Prospero found on the island, and subjugated. Caliban tried to break out of his subjugation, which in a lot of ways does parallel this NTZ episode.

Richard Mulligan plays Ernie Ross, the elderly father of Toby. Mulligan's performance is magnificent, and it should have been nominated for an Emmy. There is a world of weariness in the lines of his face, and eternal watchfulness in his eyes. He can't rest for a moment because if he does Toby may do something terrible; Toby looks like he's in his late 20's or early 30's, so imagine the years of stress on his parents. Anne Haney plays Toby's mother, another haunted soul who has seen her son innocently create horrors, yet can't stop thinking of him as a little boy.

David Greenlee plays Toby as a young child in the body of a man. He's unaware of anything beyond what his parents permit him to see, and with good reason. When he sees new things he can immediately summon them using his mind. While this doesn't seem bad, as the story goes on we see just how terrible this gift is. We also wonder just how many bodies are buried in the Ross's backyard. Greenlee does a miraculous job at showing Toby's inquisitiveness, and also the furtive slyness a person like this would have if they knew they could bring any kind of object to themselves, but weren't supposed to. We know he's not right, and has no idea what he's doing, but really, what can a parent do with a child like this except isolate him, or as a last resort, kill him. It's not a decision most parents could make.

The social worker further complicates the situation by arriving to do what she's paid to do, but she can't stop herself from meddling. The way Mulligan caresses Toby's head, just before he opens that final magazine, which contains a picture of fire, is heart-rending. He does love the boy, but has obviously been prepared for something like this for a long time. With the social worker coming back to remove Toby, his father realizes they have no choice. Toby could be a terrible weapon in someone else's hands, and he takes the only way out that he can. As I said, it's an episode that takes no prisoners. It's absolutely recommended.