The Outer Limits - Original

Season 1 Episode 10


Aired Monday 8:00 PM Dec 02, 1963 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
47 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

After Earth is attacked by the planet Ebon, troops are dispatched in response to the alien planet, only to be captured, interrogated and tortured.

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  • Preposterous premise

    An utterly preposterous premise deep-sixes this one for me. Also I must say that the atmosphere seems to resemble a bit more an encounter group than a POW camp. ;)
  • An outstanding episode to watch!

    This episode is one of my personal favorites from this series. Set some time in the future, it shows a group of soldiers involved in war with an unseen enemy ( at first ) who are captured and put into a holding area. One by one, the alien holding them takes each of them out of the area and tries to extract information via the use of a variety of torture methods. As the tension rises among the captives, they start to accuse each other of caving in to the aliens' demands. The surprise twist that is revealed near the end is given additional emphasis when the tension between the prisoners explodes into open conflict.

    Nightmare is an outstanding example of what the series is trying to achieve: tell a story and make the viewer think about what they have seen at the same time. The acting is stellar and the episode, despite its basis, plays out in a way that doesn't stretch credibility too much. Highly recommended!moreless
  • A group of international prisoners are tortured, one by one, physically and psychologically, by alien beings. They accuse each other of giving up some information . Only gradually does the reason for their imprisonment and interrogation become known.moreless

    From the beginning, this episode looked like a play. It was well-acted, and it was interesting to see a young Martin Sheen. He even reminded me a little of James Dean. The only reservation I have about the show was **spoiler warning** the ending. Why would the United States Government torture soldiers? I shared the indignatioon of the leader (Ed Nelson). Another strange part was when he was being questioned, and he fell asleep. The images were strange. I think the weirdest was the prisoner who had the object which looked like a giant light on his chest. Very disturbing.moreless
Ed Nelson

Ed Nelson

Luke Stone

Guest Star

Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen

Pvt. Arthur Dix

Guest Star

Bill Gunn

Bill Gunn

James P. Willowmore

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Control Voice: (opening narration) A war between worlds had long been dreaded. Throughout recent history, Man, convinced that life on other planets would be as anxious and belligerent as life on his own, has gravely predicted that some dreadful form of combat would inevitably take place between our world and that of someone else. And Man was right. To the eternal credit of the peoples of this planet Earth, history shall be able to proclaim loudly and justly that in this war between Unified Earth and the planet Ebon, Ebon struck first. Ebon: its form of life unknown, its way of life unpredictable. To the fighting troops of Earth, a black question mark at the end of a dark, foreboding journey.

    • Ebonite Interrogator: Now, Private Dix, tell us true things. (Dix mouths words) That won't do, Dix. Your name, your rank, your serial number, are useful only to those Earthly relatives who will apply for your insurance.

    • Jong: It seems to me that a totally different form of life would have developed a totally different form of death.
      Dix: Oh, shut up.
      Jong: Well, death here will truly be a mysterious adventure.

    • Jong: Don't misjudge laughter, Colonel. It's not always a sign of humor. At the moment, I was laughing because I felt sudden confidence. Confidence tickles.
      Brookman: What do you base your confidence on?
      Jong: On friendliness, suspicion. Normal, Earth-bound, basic human emotions. We're behaving like human beings, and as long as we continue to do so, we'll survive.
      Brookman: Is that all you're thinking about, Major? Survival?
      Jong: That... and the smell of fog in the San Francisco night.

    • Stone: There's no leniency for a traitor. None at all. He earned the death penalty all by himself. There's no reason why we should handle Major Jong any differently here than if he were down on Earth. I told you all before we were captured, the only laws we would have here were those we brought with us. We need those laws. Even the questionable ones, even the painful ones. We need them. They remind us that we were civilized enough to make them in the first place.
      Jong: Or perhaps to remind us that we are not as civilized as we should be.

    • Jong: I regret that I have but one arm to give for my planet, but I shall give it.

    • Control Voice: (closing narration) The exploration of human behavior under simulated conditions of stress is a commonplace component of the machinery called war. So long as Man anticipates and prepares for combat, be it with neighboring nations or with our neighbors in space, these unreal games must be played, and there are only real men to play them. According to established military procedure, the results of the Ebon maneuvers will be recorded in books and fed into computers for the edification and enlightenment of all the strategists of the future. Perhaps they will learn something.

  • NOTES (1)


    • Jong: Good friend grasshopper, will you play the caretaker for my little grave?
      Referencing the haiku by Kobayashi Issa, poet and lay Buddhist priest (1763-1827), considered one of the four great haiku masters of Japan. He wrote over a thousand verses concerning insects, verses such as thsi one.