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Recap / The Outer Limits 1995 S 2 E 9 Trial By Fire

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The Control Voice: Is man the center of the Universe made in the image of his God? Or is mankind merely the temporary occupant of an insignificant world about to be extinguished?

A newly inaugurated president must decide how to respond when objects are spotted heading for Earth.

The Control Voice: To those who would fail to heed their own words be warned: you never know who's listening.

Trial by Tropes:

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  • Bland-Name Product: There is a news channel called NNN.
  • Bottle Episode: This episode takes place entirely in the control room of a nuclear bunker after the teaser.
  • The Chains of Commanding: This episode deals with the US President being sequestered in a bunker after being informed that a massive object, traveling at half the speed of light, is going to hit Earth in roughly a half hour. It's up to him to decide what to do from there, though he has plenty of noise from his advisers.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: Newly elected president Charles Halsey has used the slogan: "Let me be your friend" but is brought underground when a meteor is heading towards Earth. It is realized it is an armada of aliens. After a few incidents that are thought to be signs of an invasion a message from the aliens is sent. Tensions grow as other nations and the public become aware of the aliens and the President sends a message back to admit that the aliens' video message cannot be interpreted and that any attempts to enter the atmosphere will be viewed as a threat by the rest of the world. Unable to translate the message from the aliens the Russian and America leaders decide they are threat after one ship from the armada crashes into the ocean believing it to be a means to conquer the oceans or test defenses. After both countries first strike are destroyed by the fleet the aliens retaliate and send a nuclear bomb to Moscow and Washington, D.C.. Just before they strike both cities killing millions including the president and his staff the first message is deciphered. It was in English distorted by a liquid background saying: "Let us be your friends."
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  • Deadly Closing Credits: Happens on a large scale. The newly inaugurated U.S. President Charles Halsey and his advisors are monitoring the approach of an alien fleet - who, as it turns out, were coming in peace - from a nuclear bunker in Washington, D.C.. After the United States and Russia launch nuclear missiles at the fleet, the aliens destroy said missiles with ease before they reach their targets. They then launch two weapons of their own in retaliation: one at Washington, D.C. and the other at Moscow. With only about a minute to think about it, the President, his wife Elizabeth and his advisors prepare to meet their fate. As the episode ends, the screen turns to white, signifying the destruction of the U.S. capital.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: This episode, which is set in Washington, D.C., opens with a shot of the Capitol Building.
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  • Emergency Presidential Address: President Charles Halsey makes one after the alien fleet approaching Earth is detected.
  • Fish People: This episode's aliens are an aquatic species whose ships have a liquid environment.
  • General Ripper: Halsey's military advisors, who illegally weaponized the space shuttle, and press for shooting first and asking questions later, with deadly consequences.
  • Ironic Echo: This episode has two for the price of one. The recently elected U.S. President Charles Halsey's campaign slogan was "Let me be your friend." On his first day in office, he is faced with a crisis which is at first believed to be an extinction level event but turns out to be the approach of alien ships. Having received several answers filled with technical jargon, President Halsey tells his advisors that he wants to hear plain English in response to any further questions. After the aliens launch a weapon of mass destruction at Washington, D.C. in response to an attempted attack on their fleet, Halsey is provided with the translation of their original message. It turns out that it was in English all along but that the distortions caused by the liquid environment in which the aliens live needed to be removed. The message said, "Let us be your friends."
  • No Party Given: The parties of the newly inaugurated U.S. President Charles Halsey and his predecessor President Burns are not given but it is implied that Halsey is a Democrat and Burns is a Republican.
  • Nuke 'em: The US president tries to nuke the aliens who have splashed down in Earth's oceans.
  • Phony Newscast: There is an NNN news report concerning the events of Inauguration Day which involved the new President Charles Halsey failing to show up at his Inauguration Ball and the quantum singularity (which they believe to be a comet or meteor) striking the far side of The Moon. There is later another report in which the aliens' message to Earth is shown.
  • Was Actually Friendly: A newly-inaugurated President is taken to a bunker after an object is detected on the way to Earth. It is eventually revealed that alien ships are about to enter Earth's orbit. They send a message in, apparently, their own language, which linguists are trying to translate. Meanwhile, several of their actions are perceived as hostile by the US and, especially, by Russia. Faced with the possibility of an Alien Invasion and the threat of a nuclear exchange with Russia (who claims that anyone who doesn't fight the aliens will be seen as a collaborator), the President orders a strike on the aliens. It utterly fails due to the aliens' advanced technology. Furthermore, the aliens launch powerful missiles against Washington, D.C., and Moscow. Right before they hit, an advisor tells the President that the alien message was in English all along, just garbled due to their aquatic environment, offering friendship to humans.
  • Wham Line: "Let us be your friends."
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