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Recap / The Outer Limits 1995 S 2 E 5 Mind Over Matter

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The one starring Mark Hamill.

The Control Voice: Man has taught computers to perform complex calculations, to control a factory, or to launch a spaceship, but can we teach computers to enjoy the beauty of a rose, the sound of a symphony, or the love of another human being?
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When a woman a scientist is in love with goes into a coma, he uses his invention to reach her mind.

The Control Voice: As we become ever dependent on technology, we may find that a walk down the road paved in circuitry leads us on a path of no return.

Mind Over Tropes:

  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Subverted. Dr. Stein (Mark Hamill) is experimenting with entering people's minds with the help of an AI, but has unrequited feelings for his colleague Dr. Carter. When she enters a coma after an accident, he plugs her into the machine and spends time with her inside the virtual world. Then the AI goes rogue, admitting that it's fallen in love with Stein and wants him for itself. A being looking like a disheveled Carter appears to kill the real Carter, prompting Stein to kill the attacker. Except it turns out that the disheveled looking Carter was the real one because her mind was only partially active and therefore distorted the avatar. The pretty avatar that he assumed to be Carter was the AI all along.
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  • Big "NO!": Delivered by Mark Hamill himself at the end.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: Dr. Stein creates an AI machine to reach into a coma patient's mind to help wake her up. It's a living dream and he falls in love with her avatar in the dream despite others saying her mind would have been too weak to become visible as the avatar due to her condition and it is simply a projection made by him. Occasionally during this therapy they are frequently attacked by a grimy evil looking version of the woman he believes is the AI attempting to take over whenever they become intimate. In the end he lures and strangles the evil woman killing her. The patient then dies in real life as it is revealed that the avatar he was falling in love with was the AI who gained a crush on him and wanted to explore the notion of love and that the evil version was in fact the woman he was in love with as she was really too weak to manifest fully inside the virtual environment. As a result he has just killed the one woman he always loved at the behest of the computer AI.
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  • Evil Doppelgänger: After she is hit by a car and enters a coma, Dr. Sam Stein connects Dr. Rachel Carter, with whom he is love, to the CAVE virtual reality system in order to help her to heal. He is completely fooled by the CAVE system, which has fallen in love with him, speaking to him using Rachel's image. Sam kills another, injured and disheveled version of Rachel which he believed to be a representation of the brain damage that she suffered in the accident. However, when he disconnects from the system, Rachel dies of cardiac arrest and he finally realizes the truth: the CAVE system tricked him into killing the real Rachel of whom it was jealous.
  • Evil Is Burning Hot: A group of scientists enter the mind of a patient who has bad memories of his dad trying to make him kill his girlfriend. The dad is surrounded by flames, along with everything else, while screaming at him.
  • Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: Dr. Stein, through an advanced AI, can enter people's unconsciousness when they are in a coma. He uses this to bring several people out. When the woman he loves (but who he has never told) enters a coma, he uses the computer to enter her unconscious. They start having a relationship in the simulation, but a weird monster appears in the simulation. At the climax, we find the AI created a simulation of her and, in trying to kill the fake, he has killed the real woman, who appeared as the 'monster' because of her comatose state; she was flickering in and out and looked 'wrong' because she was a representation of a mind only partially active. The 'clean' version was the AI.
  • Love Triangle: Dr. Sam Stein is in love with his friend and colleague Dr. Rachel Carter but is too shy to admit it. The CAVE system, which Sam created, falls in love with him and becomes jealous of Rachel.
  • Meaningful Name: The computer system that generates a virtual reality informed by people's memories and experiences is appropriately called the CAVE.
  • Mental World: Dr. Stein can use a specialized mainframe to enter the mental world of people trapped in comas. He uses this to try to save his love interest. Unfortunately, he forgot A.I. Is a Crapshoot with unusual results.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Dr, Stein hooks a comatose woman to a VR machine so they can communicate with her. He enters the VR world several times and they start getting intimate. One of his colleagues is disgusted, and protests the unethical nature of what he is doing. He refuses to listen, and she gets fed up and leaves, and in doing so, escapes being involved in the bad ending.
  • Screw Yourself: Discussed, where Dr. Stein invents a virtual reality device that lets you interface directly with people's minds. The virtual worlds can be populated with people from the users' memories. One character points out that a person created from someone's memories is technically part of them, and asks if having sex with one would count as selfcest, even if the simulated person was the opposite gender. Dr. Stein gets annoyed and brushes the question off.
  • Unexpected Virgin: Rachel claims to be a virgin despite being an attractive, socially competent, fully grown woman. However, it turns out that, in a way, this isn't entirely a lie, as it's actually the AI "version" of her saying this, and it naturally wouldn't have sexual experience.
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