Episode Reviews (2)
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This is an excellent episode notwithstanding the core idea being a central story point recycled from episode 3, "The Architects of Fear."
This is an excellent episode notwithstanding the core idea being a central story point recycled from episode 3, "The Architects of Fear." In that episode, Robert Culp instead of Robert Duval is a soldierly man transformed into an alien as part of a strategic deception. Curiously, the scientist who effects the transformation, in both episodes, is played by the same actor, Douglas Henderson.
There the similarities end as this episode, whose chief writer is the distinguished dramatist, Robert Towne, provides a narrative medium for the recycled idea that is wholly superior to the earlier script. While the first script amounts to a disturbing example of extreme cruelty in service of a preposterous idea, the latter script effectively indicts human fear and the impulse to violence in the face of the unknown.moreless
My rating: 7 - Very Good
"The Chameleon" is a fine story with a terrific performance by Robert Duvall. Duvall plays Louis Mace, a government agent-for-hire, a man detached from the real world who is just realizing his desire to create a new life for himself. I'm not sure what "The Chameleon" would be like without the rock solid Duvall but thankfully we don't have to worry. The alien spacecraft is not convincing as it is a little too small and inside looks a bit too much like the back room of a TV repair shop. The alien facial makeup give the aliens a unique appearance (as is nearly always the case with The Outer Limits), the actor's mouths free to add expressions. The scaly hands of the aliens make little sense as there would be no dexterity possible and they are big and clumsy compared to the basically slight build of the aliens. The transformation of Mace into an alien is not the best, but Duvall's alien giggle is very effective and signals behavior not expected by the doctor. The character of Leon Chambers, the "government man" seems miscast. Howard Caine plays Chambers but Caine is a portly little man who hardly fits the image normally reserved for government authorities. This episode ends up being a small story of a man in search of a purpose for himself and is enjoyable in large part to Duvall's performance.
My rating: 7 - Very Goodmoreless