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Recap / The Outer Limits 1995 S 3 E 8 Hearts Desire

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The Control Voice: Those who seek to predict the future... might first look to the past. The past is a mirror — and those who ignore its sometimes dark reflection, are doomed to repeat it.

In the Wild West, an alien grants four outlaws superpowers.

The Control Voice: Will it be those seeking redemption who shall decide the future... or will those driven only by greed and envy shape our destiny? Even a hundred years later, the outcome is still very much in doubt.

Tropes' Desire:

  • Anachronism Stew: Oregon is still a territory in 1872. In reality, it became a state in 1859.
  • Cowboy Episode: This episode takes place in the Oregon Territory in 1872.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: Each pair of outlaws of the titular town use their power against each other, which results in Frank killing JD, and Jake killing Frank. After Jake kills Frank, Jake has a change of heart. Because of his change of heart, Ben attempts to kill Jake. Jake refuses to fight his brother, and asks the visitor to take away his power. The visitor does so, and Ben is just about to kill Jake when Ben's power gets taken away by the visitor. Just after his power gets taken away, Ben gets shot by Jake's ex-lover, who witnessed the violence. The visitor reveals he gave the powers to test humanity on whether they were a threat. Humanity fails and proves to the aliens that they are not a threat and will in fact destroy themselves before they become one.
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  • Grand Theft Me: The alien visitor takes over the body of a human preacher.
  • I Have No Son!: Josiah Miller is ashamed of his sons Jake and Ben because they are outlaws. They sent him quite a bit of (stolen) money over the years but he didn't spend any of it. He only allows them to stay at his house when they return home to Heart's Desire after ten years because he knows that's what their late mother would have wanted.
  • In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves: In the ending, the visitor reveals that he was sent to Earth to gauge the possibility of humanity becoming a rival to their species. After witnessing the four outlaws use their powers for selfish purposes and turn on each other, he concludes that humanity's own selfishness and penchant for conflict will ensure that they never rise to the level of being a galactic power.
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  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: An alien arrives in The Wild West and gives four outlaws superpowers. Naturally, all but one get themselves killed due to fighting amongst themselves, though the survivor was more moral and level-headed than the others, and only fought in self-defense. The alien tells the survivor that Humans Are the Real Monsters and takes away his powers before disappearing:
    The fate of a world isn't determined by its best examples, but by its worst. It takes a few to destroy the many, especially when even the best of you can be dragged down into the mire. Judging from your example, brother against brother, friend against friend, you people have such a potential for violence, sheer, unvarnished wickedness, I've got every confidence you'll destroy yourself before you build your first inter-stellar engine. We've got nothing to fear from you.
  • Siblings in Crime: Brothers Jake and Ben Miller are members of a gang of outlaws in The Wild West.
  • The Wild West: The setting of this episode.