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Recap / The Outer Limits 1995 S 1 E 14 Quality Of Mercy

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The Control Voice: Men of war have long known that warriors must often abandon those verities they defend. Peace, human kindness, love... for they hold no meaning to the enemy. And so, to win, do we become what we despise... and despise what we become?

In a war with an alien race, a soldier gets captured and thrown into a cell with a woman who is slowly being turned into one of them.

The Control Voice: In the darkest of hours... in the greatest of battles... we must never forget who, or what, we are.
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Quality of Tropes:

  • An Arm and a Leg: The alien guard chops off Skokes' hand in retaliation when Skokes tries to stab him.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The aliens succeed in their plan to extract information from Major John Skokes by having him tell one of their own (disguised as a human cadet) Earth's plan to turn the tide in the war in order to give her hope.
  • Big "NO!": Robert Patrick delivers one at the end.
  • Bit-by-Bit Transformation: Major John Skokes has been captured by aliens. He meets another captive, who is being subjected to numerous surgeries to gradually change her body into that of the aliens. Turns out she was actually an alien spy being reverted out of her human disguise, all the while playing on his sympathies to gain information.
  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: Downplayed. The male members of the hostile alien species are much larger than an ordinary human; the female members are a lot smaller. Which makes it more surprising when Cadet Bree Tristan turns out to be one of them.
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  • Bottle Episode: This episode takes place almost entirely in a prison cell.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: Cadet Bree Tristan wasn't being turned into an alien, she was being turned back into one.
  • Cute Monster Girl: A captured Space Cadet, Bree Tristan, is being forcibly transformed by her alien captors into one of their own against her will. The slow alterations they implement don't change her outward beauty much, and her cellmate, Major John Skokes, falls in love with her. This was part of their plan all along, since she's actually one of the aliens sent to spy on him to obtain valuable military information.
  • False Innocence Trick: Major Skokes and Cadet Bree Tristan are held prisoner on an alien world. She is taken for more experiments and wants just to die. At the climax, we find Tristan is really an alien spy — and Skokes just told the aliens humanity's battle plans.
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  • P.O.W. Camp: Major John Skokes is captured by the aliens with whom humanity is fighting a losing war and is sent to a POW camp on a moon or asteroid. He shares a cell with Cadet Bree Tristan.
  • Space Cadet: Bree Tristan tells Major John Skokes that she is a cadet 2nd class who was assigned to Europa base and that she was captured by the aliens while on a training mission with her instructor Commander Hartley. In the final scene, it is revealed that Tristan is in fact an alien in disguise. It is not made clear whether Tristan was a real person whose identity the alien assumed or whether she was merely a creation of the aliens.
  • They Look Like Us Now: The nine foot tall, eight hundred pound Reptilian monsters with whom humanity fights a losing war manage to pull this off by surgically-altering their (much smaller) females.
  • Transformation Horror: During a future space war, Cadet Bree Tristan is locked up with Major John Skokes from another division when they're both captured by the aliens. The aliens start to transform her into one of them so they recruit her and use whatever useful knowledge she possesses, and her body gradually mutates further. Until the ending reveals that they're changing her back, and she was sent to spy on the Major so that he'd reveal the location of their forces.
  • Wham Line: "They're not changing me. They're changing me back."
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