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Recap / The Outer Limits 1995 S 2 E 21 Vanishing Act

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The Control Voice: Our lives follow a long and winding path through time. But what happens if we're forced off the course of our own destiny?

A man in 1949 finds that every time he falls asleep, he wakes up 10 years farther into the future.

The Control Voice: Life is, at best, an uncertain path. Perhaps, we should be grateful with what we have, for even these riches may disappear along the way.

Vanishing Tropes:

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  • The Constant: Trevor McPhee travels forward in time to 1960, 1970, 1980 and 1990. He meets his wife Theresa, who eventually divorces him due to his unavoidable absences, in every time period. Trevor also meets Theresa's new husband Ray Carter in 1960, 1970 and 1980. As Ray died in 1988, he only sees a video recording of him in 1990. Trevor's son Mark, who was conceived during his brief sojourn in 1960, is present from 1970 onwards.
  • Kid from the Future: A variation occurs. After getting into a minor car accident on December 31, 1949, Trevor McPhee returns home the next morning to find that it is January 1, 1960. He and his wife Theresa - who thought that he abandoned her - have sex before he is sent another ten years into the future. In 1970, he finds that he has a nine-year-old son named Mark who was conceived that night. He meets Mark again as a 19-year-old in 1980 and as a 29-year-old in 1990. By the time of this last encounter, Mark is four years older than his father.
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  • Newspaper Dating: Trevor McPhee realizes that he has traveled ten years into the future when he sees issues of Time Magazine and Life dated 1959.
  • Popular History: Very much in evidence here, though it begins in a fairly low-key way. The music is pretty much Nothing but Hits. On New Year's Eve 1949, Trevor McPhee turns off the radio while it is playing swing music. When he travels forward in time to New Year's Day 1960, he looks at 1959 issues of Time Magazine and Life featuring Vice President Richard Nixon, Fidel Castro and International Brotherhood of Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa on the cover. At the Tiki Isle Bar and Grill, the Patsy Cline song "Leaving' On Your Mind" is playing on the radio. On New Year's Day 1970, Trevor finds that his now ex-wife Theresa and her new husband Ray are 40-ish hippies and runs into his former physician Dr. Golden at a protest against The Vietnam War outside a Marine recruitment office. When he goes to the Tiki Isle to drown his sorrows, the Jefferson Airplane song "White Rabbit" is on the radio. On New Year's Day 1980, Trevor arrives in the middle of a disco at the Tiki Isle where the Van McCoy song "Do the Hustle" is being played. The disco patrons wear jumpsuits, strapless gowns, leisure suits, bell bottoms and gold medallions and chains. Trevor's final jump to January 1990 averts this trope, considering that it was only six years before the episode was made.
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  • The Slow Path: Trevor McPhee would go to sleep and wake up ten years in the future every time. Once she figures out what is going on, his lover spends the rest of her life trying to figure out how to save him.
  • Starfish Aliens: A group of worm-like fluorescent aliens nab a hapless human through a wormhole so they can use his body as a host to experience Earth through his senses. It turns out that they also have no concept of time, only being and non-being. Luckily they're friendly enough to return their host to his original time when it's explained to them.
  • Supernaturally Young Parent: Trevor McPhee finds himself unstuck in time when Starfish Aliens with no concept of time use him as a host to explore the Earth, only to transport him 10 years into the future every time they return him to his planet. He fathers a son in 1959 when he's physically 25, and the last time they meet in 1989 his son is already 3-4 years older than him.
  • Time Dissonance: The aliens abducting Jon Cryer's character transport him another decade into Earth's future every time they return him, because as it turns out, they have no concept of time. Once the concept is explained to them, it's no problem for them to return him to the right time.
  • Time-Travel Episode
  • Whole Plot Reference: This episode's plot is a sci-fi version of Rip Van Winkle.
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