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Recap / The Outer Limits 1995 S 2 E 18 The Light Brigade

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The Control Voice: Warriors may be forged in the fires of battle but heroes are discovered in the most unlikely of places.

A sequel to "Quality of Mercy". A spaceship crew attempts to drop a bomb on the alien race's home planet as a last ditch effort to win the war.

The Control Voice: The greatest horror of war is the fateful transformation of our children into heroes.

The Trope Brigade:

  • The Bad Guy Wins: An alien disguised as Major John Skokes succeeds in delivering the mother of all cruel twist endings detailed below.
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  • Big, Bulky Bomb: This episode involves humans fighting a losing war against a race of Lizard Folk. In order to win it, humans build a "sub-atomic bomb," which looks like an early atomic bomb but many times larger, capable of causing an Earth-Shattering Kaboom. Unfortunately one of the crew is The Mole, and the ship sent to drop the bomb gets disabled. The last surviving crewmember ends up killing the mole, and drops the bomb... On Earth, because the mole turned the ship round while everyone was knocked out.
  • Bottle Episode: This episode takes place entirely onboard the titular spaceship.
  • Brain–Computer Interface: The Chief Weapons Officer has an ocular implant which allows his brain to connect to the computer of the Light Brigade and arm the subatomic bomb.
  • Casting Gag: It's possible that Wil Wheaton's being cast as the deeply unfortunate lead was due to his previous work as Wesley Crusher. Robert Patrick would also be known to sci-fi fans as the human-mimicking villain from Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Native American actor Graham Greene plays the 'Chief' Weapons Officer.
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  • Chromosome Casting: This episode has an all-male cast.
  • Colonized Solar System: There are colonies on Mars and various moons in the Solar System. Europa base is a major part of the Solar System's defense perimeter.
  • Continuity Nod: Skokes' missing hand has been replaced by an Artificial Limb, and the Chief Weapons Officer witnessed the destruction of the fleet whose existence Skokes unwittingly revealed as a POW.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • Major John Skokes, the cadet, and the Chief Weapons Officer are exposed to a lethal dose of gamma radiation while climbing past the engine core of the Light Brigade. They begin to suffer the symptoms of radiation poisoning within minutes.
    • The Chief Weapons Officer is about to reveal that they're approaching Earth instead of the alien homeworld when Skokes reveals himself as an enemy agent by shoving the Chief's eye into the Brain–Computer Interface.
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    • Skokes is killed by an energy beam slicing off the top of his head.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: Since the events of "Quality of Mercy," humanity has begun to lose the war for real since the aliens tricked John Skokes into revealing secret military Intel. John Skokes, who has escaped his captors, heads the ship called The Light Brigade which carries a powerful planet destroying bomb that will destroy the alien threat once and for all when it is deployed on their home planet. After the aliens ambush the ship, everyone is killed immediately or knocked unconscious and given a fatal dose of radiation which will kill them soon. The remaining young cadet manages to unmask a traitor, revealed to be a spy disguised as Skokes, and gets to the destination and drops the bomb before his ship can be boarded. Unfortunately, the ship had been turned around whilst everyone was unconscious by Skokes, meaning he has just sent the bomb to an already crippled Earth, ensuring the aliens' victory.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Chief Weapons Officer witnessed a single alien warship destroy the entire fleet that was meant to turn the tide in "Quality of Mercy".
  • Deadly Closing Credits: Happens on an large scale. Humanity is losing an interstellar war against an extremely belligerent and much more advanced alien race who are hellbent on exterminating them. In a last ditch attempt to turn the tide, the Light Brigade is part of a fleet sent on a mission to attack the alien homeworld with a subatomic bomb, a Doomsday Device which can disrupt matter on a subatomic level. The ship is attacked and disabled by the aliens while it is approaching their planet but a cadet, one of only four survivors, is able to launch the subatomic bomb. However, it turns out that the alien posing as Major John Skokes turned the ship around while the cadet was unconscious and the cadet has just dropped the bomb on Earth. The subatomic bomb is seen making its way to Earth as the episode ends.
  • The Determinator: Subverted; Skokes is actually an enemy agent, and the Cadet is fooled into destroying Earth.
  • Earth All Along: The crew of a stricken ship must launch a Doomsday weapon on an enemy planet in order to save humanity. However, in one of the Cruel Twist Endings the revival series became infamous for, the aliens had tricked the crew into believing that that they were in orbit above the enemy planet, when in actuality they were above Earth, and our heroes end up nuking our own planet.
  • Fantastic Nuke: Humanity plans to bring the war to an end by destroying the aliens' homeworld with a subatomic bomb capable of disrupting matter on a subatomic level.
  • Guilt-Free Extermination War: Humanity is at war with an alien species who are determined to wipe them out. As the war progresses, the UNDF becomes convinced that the only way to defeat the aliens is to destroy their homeworld with a subatomic bomb.
  • Hopeless War: Humanity is fighting a losing war against an extremely belligerent and much more technologically advanced alien species.
  • Literary Allusion Title: This episode's title refers to Alfred, Lord Tennyson's 1854 poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade", which is quoted several times during the episode. The poem describes the infamous charge at the Battle of Balaclava during The Crimean War.
  • Meaningful Name: The ship is named after the poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade" and the poem is quoted several times. Just like the battle the poem is describing, the mission completely fails and the heroes lose everything.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: While humanity is at war with a powerful alien race, a last desperate attempt is made to carry a huge bomb to destroy their home planet. After finding and killing an alien in disguise, the heroes release the bomb and discover the alien turned the ship around—the heroes just bombed Earth.
  • No Name Given: Although he appears in every scene, the cadet is never named.
  • Nuke 'em: The titular human warship is hit by two nukes.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted in this episode, which features Major John Skokes and the Chief Weapons Officer, whose name is John.
  • Sole Survivor: The Chief Weapons Officer was the only survivor of the General Patton, one of the UNDF's most advanced ships which was easily defeated by the aliens.
  • Space Cadet: The cadet was assigned to the Light Brigade during its mission to destroy the aliens' homeworld with a subatomic bomb due to the influence of his father, a member of the UNDF Council. He wanted to be one of the 600 heroes who would save Earth from the aliens. It doesn't go according to plan.
  • 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.
    • Skokes is upset when a fellow POW is killed, and later says that he was his mate, with the implication that he was one of the larger males as he was a Giant Mook.
  • United Nations Is a Superpower: The United Nations forms a world government. It is led by a president who has executive powers.

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