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Recap / The Outer Limits (1963) S 1 E 4 "The Man With the Power"

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Harold's eyes glow as he summons his mental power.
The unintended result of that power.

The Control Voice: In the course of centuries, Man has devoured the Earth itself. The Machine Age has dried up the seas of oil. Industry has consumed the heartlands of coal. The Atomic Age has plundered the rare elements — uranium, cobalt, plutonium — leaving behind worthless deposits of lead and ashes. Starvation is at hand. Only here, in the void of space, is there a new source of atomic power. Above us, in the debris of the solar system, in the meteorites and asteroids, are the materials needed to drive the reactors. Yet in their distant, silent orbits, these chunks of matter are beyond the reach of man, beyond the reach of human hands—but not beyond the reach of human minds. Driving along a country road in an ordinary car is a modest man: Harold J. Finley, quiet and profound…

Harold J. Finley (Donald Pleasence) is a mild-mannered college professor on the surface, but after having a brain operation, every time he's angry a stormy cloud emerges and zaps his enemies whether he wants it to or not. For a considerable length of time, he's not even aware it's happening.

The Control Voice: Deep beyond the kindest, gentlest soul may lurk violent thoughts, deadly wishes. Someday Man will learn to cope with the monsters of the mind. Then, and only then, when the human mind is truly in control of itself, can we begin to utilize the great and hidden powers of the universe.


The Tropes With the Power:

  • An Aesop: Violent thoughts and deadly wishes have consequences when enabled by technology, even beneath the, "kindest, gentlest soul". In other words, Beware the Nice Ones.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Dr Keenan and Steve Crandon.
  • Asshole Victim: The people attacked and/or killed by the cloud are all rude, dismissive Jerkasses in their dealings with Harold.
  • Extreme Doormat: Harold. Deconstructed when being put down triggers an Electric Cloud to appear.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Harold is a wimpy academic who wields a horrific destructive power without even realizing it.
  • Henpecked Husband: Harold can't catch a break with his mean-spirited wife.
  • Heroic Suicide: When Harold summons the cloud on himself, it's a combination of this trope, Despair Event Horizon and Driven to Suicide.
  • Homage: The concept of the energy cloud (a destructive entity created by a character's suppressed negative emotions) is similar to the Id Monster from Forbidden Planet.
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  • I Just Want to Be Special: Harold volunteers for the experiment because he wants to break out of his dull, ordinary and unexceptional life, and do something which might make him special.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When Harold realises the effect his subconscious mind has on people, he starts calling himself a "murderer" and resolves to stop Steve's operation by any means necessary.
  • Power Incontinence: The premise of the episode.
  • Sleeping Single: Dean Radcliffe and his wife Emily sleep in separate beds.


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