About as subtle as a hand grenade. Unfortunately this series got very preachy indeed, as can be seen all too readily in this episode. I always have remembered the little (or big) ant guys anyway; I can't really decide though whether they're cool or just kinda goofy.
About 20 years ago TV Guide listed the top 100 episodes in TV history. "The Zanti Misfits" ranked 97. OK. We diehards will take it. From start to finish one of the very best scifi episodes not only of TOL, but in all broadcast television. Thematically dealing with how societies deal with those who cannot adjust to its norms, "The Zanti Misfits" entertains and enlightens. A young Bruce Dern gets a little too close to the misfits thus initiating the action. Olive Deering's performance as his moll is a mixed bag. She has that weary, worn-out look of a waitress on her heels too long. There are a couple of problems. Once more security is a problem. I figured battalions would be dispatched to guard the penal area instead of just a guard here and there. And, as great a climax as the final shoot out is, you can see the strings. Darn it! But "The Zanti Misfits" still holds up after decades...after all - we are still practiced executioners!
This is an episode that I have to admit I am quite fond of. The idea that criminals, who resemble giant spiders, are teleported from another planet to Earth is not totally unusual. However, the fact that that aliens sent their brethren to Earth to be executed and not for incarceration is something that, for myself, was unexpected and thought provoking for me.
You have to wonder if the Zanti represent countries that don't have the death penalty and the military/scientists representing the ones that do. Or is it an anti war message with the implication that the Zanti don't believe in killing their own kind but mankind doesn't have such a qualm under certain circumstances? Or is it just two different philosophies?
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