Her name is the S.S. Queen of Glasgow. Her registry: British. Gross tonnage: Five thousand. Age: Indeterminate. At this moment she's one day out of Liverpool, her destination New York. Duly recorded on this ship's log is the sailing time, course to destination, weather conditions, temperature, longitude and latitude. But what is never recorded in a log is the fear that washes over a deck like fog and ocean spray. Fear like the throbbing strokes of engine pistons, each like a heartbeat, parceling out every hour into breathless minutes of watching, waiting and dreading. For the year is 1942, and this particular ship has lost its convoy. It travels alone like an aged blind thing groping through the unfriendly dark, stalked by unseen periscopes of steel killers. Yes, the Queen of Glasgow is a frightened ship, and she carries with her a premonition of death.
Later, we see Lanser in his cabin on the U-boat, recording that night's kill. When his second-in-command asks Lanser if they might be judged according to the way they attacked the defenseless ship, he replies only that the British will surely judge them. The first mate questions Lanser on whether God might also be judging them, condemning them to relive the final moments of the doomed ship. With this thought left open for debate, we learn that the First Mate's fears are realized: The attacking U-Boat and crew are condemned to sink the freighter over and over, with Lanser being an unwitting passenger among those killed without mercy on the ghost ship. The episode thus recounts Carl Lanser's private hell.
The S.S. Queen of Glasgow, heading for New York, and the time is 1942. For one man, it is always 1942, and this man will ride the ghost of that ship every night for eternity. This is what is meant by paying the fiddler. This is the comeuppance awaiting every man when the ledger of his life is opened and examined, the tally made, and then the reward or the penalty paid. And in the case of Carl Lanser, former Kapitan Leutnant, Navy of the Third Reich, this is the penalty. This is the justice meted out. This is judgment night in the Twilight Zone.
Next week, three men return from a flight into space, only to discover that their nightmare has just begun. Rod Taylor, James Hutton, and Charles Aidman appear in "And When the Sky Was Opened." What happens to these men once they're picked up in the desert - (Serling disappears) Well, that gives you a rough idea. You'll see next week on The Twilight Zone. Thank you and good night.