The Outer Limits - Original

Season 1 Episode 16

Controlled Experiment

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Jan 13, 1964 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
43 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Two Martian investigators probe our custom of homicide.

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  • Great change of pace!

    A marvelously witty script with several (genuine) lol points, and great turns by the Martian-Moon tag team of Morse and O'Connor. And a nice change of pace for a series which was generally unrelentingly sombre throughout. O'Connor amusingly assumes his Bunkeresque patois in a brief exchange with a patron of his pawn shop. Morse is perfectly cast as the haughty outlander who can't quite get a grasp on the customs and mores of these wacky earthlings, as we keep watching Yeoman Rand blowing away some guy. The humor is nicely snide, and surprisingly irreverent for the time, as witness the discussion of the dollar bill ("Who is this old woman?" "That's an old man" "Oh"). It's weakened somewhat by the ending though. Generally the shortcomings of the shaky science got lost in the atmosphere of tongue-in-cheekiness, but the extrapolation from "Martian Control" came off a bit far-fetched. Yet if you give them the benefit of the doubt, the "solution" put into place by our Dynamic Duo leaves something to be desired (as does the concluding "que sera?" VO). Wouldn't people given such a task be a bit more trustworthy than that? Also, Morse's sudden acquiescence to all things Terran in the finale comes off as rather perfunctory.moreless
  • Two Martians investigate the Earthling habit of murder. They observe a killing as it happens. Despite a thorough look at the event, including a speeding up and slowing down of the action, they are at a loss to understand the reasons for this behavior.moreless

    This episode had both good and bad elements. On the positive side, it is interesting to look into the psyche of a killer. I must also say (as a man) that the femme fatale struck a stunning image (I imagined her in a red dress). It was also nice to see a pre-Archie Carroll O'Connor. On the negative side, I thought that it was against the policy of the show to do any funny episodes (and the way it was carried out--with the back and forth editing--was funny, or at least mildly amusing). Also, the logic behind the **spoiler alert** conclusion was faulty. The Martians did not see the man shot, because he wasn't shot. His coat pocket was shot, and the cigarette case prevented the bullet from entering his body.moreless
  • Greeat Episode, I love this

    I managed to at long last get hold of a copy of this yesterday and have watched it six times Brilliant episode which explores human kind from an aliens point of view. Particularly liked the cafeine and nicotine part, as the Pheobus tries what is supposedly his first cigarette and his first cup of coffee. The rewinding of the Murder is quite funny as well, (i won't spoil it)

    classic episode, easily one of my all time favourite programs.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Control Voice: (opening narration) Who has not seen the dark corners of great cities, whose small and shabby creatures wander without purpose in the secret corners of the night? Without purpose? There are those whose purpose reaches far beyond our wildest dreams.

    • Control Voice: (closing narration) Who knows? Perhaps the alteration of one small event may someday bring about the end of the world. But that someday is a long way off, and until then there is a good life to be lived in the here and now.

    • [trying a to decipher dollar bill]
      Phobos: Annuit Coeptis Novus Ordu Seclorum...what does that mean?
      Diemos: It's a dead language. Latin. They use it to impress each other.
      Phobos: What's this bird holding the vegetation?
      Diemos: Nesting materials. Symbol of the home.
      Phobos: And this brick pyramid?
      Diemos: Also symbol of the home.
      Phobos: But it's got one eye looking out of it.
      Diemos: Symbol of the home owner.
      Phobos: Who's the old lady?
      Diemos: It's an old man.
      Phobos: What does it all mean?
      Diemos: Who knows?

  • NOTES (3)

    • This episode was the least expensive to produce in the series, costing only $100,000.

    • Actor Robert Fortier, an accomplished mime, actually did many of the scenes of his character standing still or "walking backwards" rather than rely on special effects.

    • This episode was deliberately written to pad out the season with an extra low-budget episode. To succeed, Leslie Stevens used the gimmick of the Martians "watching" the murder repeatedly, and at different scenes, to reuse the footage and keep actual shooting time down to a minimum.


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