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Recap / The Outer Limits (1963) S 1 E 16 "Controlled Experiment"

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Phobos and Diemos operate the Temporal Condenser.

The Control Voice: 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.

Two Martians conduct a controlled experiment on Earth in order to figure out the cause of murder.

The Control Voice: 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.

Controlled Tropesperiment:

  • Aliens Love Human Food: Phobos grows quite fond of coffee and cigarettes.
  • Butterfly of Doom: Martian control warns Phobos and Deimos that if they prevent Carla shooting Bert, he'll think he's indestructible. Then, the couple will marry and have a son, who will also think he's indestructible, which will cause him to eventually become a dictator and cause World War III.
    • Take a Third Option: Nevertheless, Phobos decides to Screw Destiny and save Bert anyway through a lucky accident; this saves everybody, since Bert will no longer think he's indestructible, which means his son won't grow up to destroy Earth.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: This episode is actually a rejected pilot for an unrelated half hour comedy series, hence why It feels so out of place in the series.
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  • Human Aliens: Phobos and Deimos, which is why they blend in with human society so well.
  • Humanity on Trial: The mission of Phobos is to find out if humans, who have a tendency to destroy each other, pose a danger for the galaxy, hence whether Earth needs to be eliminated or not.
  • Humans Are Smelly: The Martian Phobos One comments on humans' smell shortly after his arrival on Earth. Deimos tells him that he has gotten used to it.
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes: This episode features two comical humanoid Martians who strive to understand humanity, especially its strange custom of murder.
  • Long-Lived: Phobos is 208 and Deimos is 220 years old.
  • Martians
  • Theme Naming: The Martians are named Phobos and Deimos after the moons of Mars.
  • Time Stands Still: The Martians have a "temporal condenser" that can stop time, then reverse or fast forward it like a cosmic VCR.


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