|Season 1, Episode 18|
|Air date||January 27, 1964|
|Written by||Meyer Dolinsky|
|Directed by||John Brahm|
Don't Open Till Doomsday
ZZZZZ is the 18th episode of the original The Outer Limits television show. It aired on January 27, 1964, during the first season.
An entomologist is developing a machine to communicate with bees. Unknown to him, a queen bee has taken on human form in order to mate with him to advance her species.
Human life strives ceaselessly to perfect itself, to gain ascendancy. But what of the lower forms of life? Is it not possible that they, too, are conducting experiments and are at this moment on the threshold of deadly success?
Ben Fields, married to Francesca Fields, is an entomologist seeking a lab assistant. Regina, a giant mutant queen bee in human form, who is searching for a human mate to evolve her species, takes the job. Regina is accepted into their household after fabricating a story of accused infidelity by her 'former' employer's spouse, whom she chose to keep anonymous to prevent anyone from knowing about the alleged affair. When the subject of drones comes up, Regina is oddly enthusiastic about the beauty of the bee's mating ritual and the willingness of the drones to die in the process. Suspicious of her background, while being treated with disrespect and contempt, Francesca discovers Regina has lied; as well as seeing her abruptly morphing into a giant bee while apparently drawing nectar from a flower in their garden. At one point, due to the metabolic changes while in human form, Regina experiences spasms of pain, and is examined and treated by the Fields' personal physician, who reveals to them his belief that Regina may not be who she appears to be. Later, with her knowledge of Regina's attempts to seduce her husband, Francesca confronts her, whereupon Regina unleashes the bees of her hive kept in Ben's laboratory, attacking and then stinging Francesca to death. Ben, grief-stricken, accuses Regina of murdering his wife. Now understanding and horrified by her true identity and purpose, he forcefully rejects her advances, and gives her his view of the human mating ritual, in contrast to her earlier statements. In an ensuing struggle, she falls from his bedroom's second story balcony to the ground below. She is not killed, but transforms back into a queen bee and then flies off.
When the yearning to gain ascendancy takes the form of a soulless, loveless struggle, the contest must end in unlovely defeat. For without love, drones can never be men, and men can only be drones.
- Philip Abbott – Ben Fields
- Joanna Frank – Regina
- Marsha Hunt – Francesca Fields
- Booth Colman – Doctor Warren
- John Elizalde – voice of Bees (uncredited)
- Robert Johnson – as voice of Mr. Lund (uncredited)
Cinematographer - Conrad Hall