The Outer Limits

Season 6 Episode 14


Aired Friday 9:00 PM Jul 07, 2000 on Showtime
out of 10
User Rating
21 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

It's late in the 23rd century and the aging interplanetary hauling vehicle Pequod is on a ten-year reclamation project on behalf of The Company, the corporation that has run North America since 2102. The crew is tucked away in hyper-sleep when the ship comes across a mysterious object floating in space. Awakened from their artificial slumber, they retrieve the pod and are shocked to discover the body of Virgil Nygard, executed 150 years earlier for leading his militia in the slaughter of more than a million people. They are even more shocked to discover that Nygard is alive.moreless

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  • Cliché science fiction themes, a dangerous end-message and overall poor acting (with the exception of the awesome Keith David, who somewhat redeems this episode) make this episode one of the worst of the series. Uncharacteristically bad.moreless

    All in all, I wouldn't say that this is the worst-acted or the worst-scripted episode of "The Outer Limits", but its shameful ending and disturbing message make it difficult to stomach. The episode seems to be suggesting that not only is morality not absolute, but that it is SO relative that murdering hundreds of thousands of people is justified in the name of fighting for freedom. This episode comes close to appologizing for a Hitler or a Stalin, and I believe that it is for this reason that it is ultimately so distasteful to so many viewers. Additionally, the disjointed story-telling and clichéd themes make this episode even less pleasing to watch. Were it not for the convincing performance of Keith David as the ship's captain, I would have to suggest avoiding this episode altogether.

    Because I always like to describe the positive side of any artistic effort along with the negative, I will describe the virtues of Keith David's compelling performance. David depicts a well-anchored (though at times somewhat fanatical) "military man" captain who tries to maintain balance and order in spite of the gamut of emotions and perspectives of his conflictive crew throughout the episode. Ultimately, he seems driven by a "just follow orders and get the job done unquestioningly" kind of attitude, but yet seems to genuinely care about the wellbeing and safety of his crew. When one of his crew members betrays him, he seems so genuinely shocked that he is unable to comprehend, uttering "this is madness" with his final breath (and don't worry...his crew member doesn't respond "no...this is Sparta" before kicking him into an's not THAT bad).

    All-in-all, though, the other characters of this episode seem either underdeveloped or not developed at all, and in the end, we don't know the truth about Nygard either. This is problematic to me simply because the whole point of the episode seems to be that an action can be good or bad when viewed from different vantage points. I thought this was going to be an intreguing episode that showed that two people could have an irreconcilable difference of opinion, and BOTH be right based on their fundamental underlying assumptions. Instead, it seems to illustrate that two people can both be bad for good reasons, but it doesn't really side with Nygard for any rational reason other than, "yeah, he's anti-monopoly; he's pro-freedom!" But what does that matter in light of the fact that he HAS killed thousands (as far as we know, he doesn't deny he's killed many; only that the company lied about the exact number and the circumstances)! I mean...I'm pretty sure that Stalin would have said he was "anti-corporate and pro-freedom" as well, and that he didn't directly kill the people in the Urkanian famine, but I don't think most of us would say that the ends justify the means in his case. F for message content, C- for scripting, acting and character development in general, A- for Keith David, who makes this episode almost worthwhile.moreless
Jill Teed

Jill Teed

Gwen Hutchinson

Guest Star

Corbin Bernsen

Corbin Bernsen

Virgil Nygard

Guest Star

Keith David

Keith David

Ian Merit

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (2)

    • [Closing Narration]
      Control Voice: Powerful ideas do not die with those who gave them birth, so long as the seeds of those ideas are planted in their followers.

    • [Opening Narration]
      Control Voice: Who among us does not think he knows evil when he sees it? But are such distinctions really so black and white or is morality simply a matter of perspective?

  • NOTES (0)


    • Episode Title: Abaddon
      The title of this episode is taken from the Hebrew word Abaddon which means "destruction". It is a name for the underworld, or Sheol, and also one of the compartments of Gehenna. In Revelation 9:11, he is both death personified and the angel of the abyss.