Malevolent energy beings enter through a portal opened by accident, and only a cowardly scientist can stop them.
Production and Decay of Strange Tropes:
- Another Dimension: Marshall says that the particles are "forcing their way in from an entirely new dimension."
- Dirty Coward: Dr. Marshall is reluctant to tackle the nuclear monsters at first...
- Cowardly Lion: ...but after Laurel gives him a pep talk, he eventually steps up and saves the day.
- Large Ham: George Macready is often criticized for Chewing the Scenery in this episode.
- Last-Name Basis: Dr. Marshall's first name is never used, even by his wife, leading reviewer Craig Beam to speculate that his full name is "Marshall Marshall".
- The Teaser: Defied Trope. Unlike most first season Outer Limits episodes, this one lacks a teaser, beginning with the actual first scene instead of a preview showing the monster.
- Technobabble: It starts with the episode title, and just gets worse from there.
- Word Salad Title: Zig Zagged Trope, since the title supposedly does make sense if you're knowledgeable about nuclear physics. It's derived from a 1956 paper published in Physical Review magazine called "Cloud-Chamber Study of the Production and Decay of Strange Particles."
- Zombie Apocalypse: The nuclearized workers aren't literally zombies, but their shambling gait and mindless, obsessive pursuit of their destructive goal are reminiscent of this trope.