Masters of Science Fiction

Season 1 Episode 4

The Discarded

Aired Saturday 10:00 PM Aug 25, 2007 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (5)

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out of 10
72 votes
  • I Cringed...

    ... when the mutants had to give blood BEFORE going back to Earth. How gullible can you be?
  • Don't discard!

    This episode was aired first on VirginOne. Probably done so as its one of the better of the four (unless I missed one) that they showed.

    The start does a good job of building up the mystery of who there group of misfits are and why they are there. Interest is developed w/ the help of a solitary defining act within the first minutes. It will no doubt make you want to watch more.

    Decent sets make a good stab at placing the setting in the future where mankind has befallen some sort of genetic epidemic. Of course our descendents are cast in the negative light (what else?!) and we discover why this band is placed within its current dilemma.

    The plot is simplicity itself which is why this episode is very watchable. Its underlying question is transferred into decent screenplay, coated with convincing dialogue from the characters. The actors here all do a good job of communicating their individual natures and circumstance to the audience.

    There is such a thick dose of 'healthy' cynicism pervading the whole group which lends itself beautifully to the ovreall mood and sets up the eventual twist at the end. [Yes I did guess what it was!]

    Truly this is one of the episodes to watch from this shortlived season.
  • Disappointing, seemingly derivative story.

    Perhaps "Jerry Was a Man" influenced my interpretation of "Discarded," as I immediately connected two Robert A. Heinlein stories to this episode: Orphans of the Sky and Methuselah's Children. With regards to Orphans of the Sky, I first thought of the perspective of the mutants on the ship of that story. Furthermore, discarding dead bodies via the air lock recalled to my mind the disposal of dead bodies in the mass converter. As the story progressed, despite a whole lot of nothing going on, the blood-borne ailment and hesitance when dealing with Terrans recalled the longevity factor present in Methuselah's Children and their return to Earth, although, unlike "The Discarded," those exiled people were not betrayed.

    Absent my familiarity with Heinlein's works, which certainly colored my view of this Ellison story, I believe that I would still find this episode to be plodding and dull. The detailed makeup work for the grotesque mutations seemed to be the raison d'etre of the show, not the plot. The sense of false hope and hopelessness had little poignancy.
  • I was both repulsed and fascinated by this episode of Masters of Science Fiction.

    I was both repulsed and fascinated by this episode of Masters of Science Fiction. When this episode opened, I got a strong Deep Space Nine vibe. I have been missing the look of a TV show with a theatrical set and make-up type feel. The work done on this episode was magnificent. It looked like it was expensive and some care was taken to make the set look "just-so". As hideous as the characters were, the make-up was astounding. The CGI in this episode was seamless.

    This was a Harlan Ellison story. It was a very sad tale of people who had a blood infection and were discarded into space. People of Earth eventually needed their blood to stop the infection on Earth. In exchange, the "discarded" were promised to be taken back home. They were used, double crossed and brought more discarded people from Earth then left to float alone in space.

    This is one of those stories that is so sad and depressing that it can be confused with being a bad episode. The message was so strong and the predicament of these people was so extreme that it would be easy to be turned off by this episode. I thought the acting was spectacular and it has to be my favorite in the series.
  • Seeing John Hurt and Brian Dennehy wasted this way was a painful experience.

    Seeing John Hurt and Brian Dennehy wasted this way was a painful experience. And Im suprised Harlan Ellison isnt using his pseudonym "Cordwainer Bird" (used in the awful STARLOST series in the early 70s) for this episode.

    Basically some on Earth became infested with a disease that turns people into freaks (if youve ever seen the movie FREAKED - they look exactly like that - it was disgusting)and they are "discarded" by sending them onto floating space arks so normal people dont have to look at them - the supposed moral of the story.

    Of course what actually happens is absurd. Why would the people of Earth waste so many resources exiling the freaks and not kill them? Supposedly after an attempted cure failed most people on Earth became freaks. At least thats what the space freaks are told by another freak in a white sailor suit who arrives to tell them if they donate blood for a cure they will be returned to Earth. Then doctors show up take their blood and leave. The transport to take them home arrives and instead of taking them home, the white suited sailor freak brings more freaks. The sailor guy says NOTHING! The space freaks say NOTHING! Not one of them asks what happened? Did the cure fail? If so, why would they send more freaks to the station? The whole episode was a mess.

    Then there was the deal where freaks bashed their skulls against a wall to kill themselves at which point the leader of the space freaks would yell "Clean up in aisle 13..." at which point they would dump the body into space. What was the point of this? They couldnt find a better way to kill themselves other than bashing their own skulls against a wall? Totally absurd! I guess this was supposed to be funny? If you want a good series of this type watch the very successful 1990s OUTER LIMITS which lasted several seasons - even the worst episode is better than this show. This episode is confirmation this series was meant to be.... DISCARDED. Bring back a great series like TRAVELER instead.
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