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The Outer Limits S1 EP16 Controlled Experiment

The Outer Limits is an American television series that aired on ABC from 1963 to 1965. The series is often compared to The Twilight Zone, but with a greater emphasis on science fiction (rather than simply fantasy, bizarre, or supernatural) stories. The Outer Limits is an anthology of self-contained episodes, sometimes with a plot twist at the end.

"Controlled Experiment" is an episode of the original The Outer Limits television show. It first aired on 13 January 1964, during the first season. It is the only comedy episode of the series.


A love triangle appears to end in murder, but a strange pair of men appear to have the ability to replay time itself.

Opening narration

Who hasn't seen the dark corners of great cities, where 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.


Deimos and Phobos One are two Martians – whose names also happen to be those of Mars' moons– the latter being a researcher who wants to understand the concept of murder (they are portrayed by actors Carroll O'Connor and Barry Morse, respectively, who play their characters as a sort of Holmes-and-Watson team). Upon his arrival on Earth, Phobos One contacts Deimos, whose 'cover' is working as a pawnbroker in a large American city. The duo, inconspicuously, investigates a shooting that is about to take place in a downtown hotel lobby that resulted from a love triangle, predicted and then reported by Martian Central Control. Using a machine that can manipulate the flow of time in a manner much the same as one might do with recorded video, they review this same event over and over again. They rewind time in order to watch the incident unfold at various speeds, forward and backward. Finally, they slow the passage of time down to such an extent that the participants seem to be standing still, the bullet suspended in flight, so that they can examine all of the nuances that, at "normal" speed, pass by too quickly for adequate, scientific observation. Phobos One, however, is unable to simply remain a passive observer, and finally gives in to the temptation to tamper with the scenario and alter the outcome; he arranges the scenario so that the bullet is deflected at the last moment, preventing the murder from ever taking place. Phobos decides to remain on Earth indefinitely, finding that he enjoys life as a human being.

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.

Posted by George Freund on July 30, 2022 at 12:45 PM 110 Views