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Recap / The Outer Limits 1995 S 3 E 9 Tempests

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The Control Voice: What is freedom but the ability to make choices? Between courage and cowardice, duty and love, or even... heaven and hell? The nature of the choices we make define us as human beings. We choose the world we inhabit.

While trying to deliver medicine to a space colony, a ship crashes on a planet. While repairing the ship, a crew member is bitten by a spider-like creature and starts hallucinating.

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The Control Voice: Each of us creates his own world. We conjure paradises from our hopes, and nightmares born of fear. But what if they are both illusions?

Tropests:

  • Cruel Twist Ending: In order to save millions on a space colony from death from a deadly pandemic, John Virgil must deliver a serum. After the ship crashes on a moon he is bitten by a spider and begins to shift between two realities. He must figure out which of the two realities he's switching between are real, the seemingly perfect one or the darker one. He makes the "right" choice - and we find out that both worlds are false ones. His real situation is much worse, he and the rest of the crew are cocooned by giant spiders and slowly being eaten, kept in a hallucinogenic state and, as a result of his failure, everyone presumably dies with Governor Mudry being the only one to see the real world.
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  • Giant Flyer: The gas giant Leviathan's atmosphere harbored two giant flyers: "pteranodons," gigantic winged predators that had only been seen on "deep radar" (the characters encounter a skeleton) and "baleens," kilometer-sized jellyfish-blobs that float through the clouds and have dog-sized Giant Spiders in their guts, either as parasites or symbiotic organisms.
  • Living Gasbag: This episode has kilometer-long jellyfish blobs that float through the clouds of the planet Leviathan.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The protagonist's spaceship, carrying a vaccine for his dying colony, crashes into the heart of an Air Whale in a gas giant's atmosphere. When he goes outside to check the damage, he's bitten by a nasty, basketball-sized spider and passes out just as he returns to the airlock. When he wakes up, he keeps passing out and reawakening between a reality in which he's lying on a hospital bed with his family at his bedside, having already been rescued and now hallucinating from his colony's plague, and a reality in which he and the remaining crewmen are struggling to fix their ship, in which he's hallucinating from the spider venom, while another crewmember is being webbed up and parasitized by the spiders while babbling happily to herself. He eventually rejects the hospital reality as a Lotus Eater Machine (and reasons that if there's any chance the colony still needs to be saved, he has to take it), finds a way to escape from the wrecked ship and delivers the vaccine. At his moment of success, however, the view changes to reveal that the spiders actually overwhelmed the ship near the beginning of the episode, and now he and the entire crew are lost in their dream worlds while they're being webbed up and sucked dry. Both the good and bad realities were illusions.
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  • One Character, Multiple Lives: Commander John Virgil, the first officer of the spaceship Tempest, is infected with the venom of a giant alien spider which causes him to hallucinate. His perspective begins to switch between two mutually exclusive realities: one in which he is hailed as a hero for delivering the serum that eliminated the virus Ellycia C that was devastating his home colony and one in which he must repair the severely damaged Tempest so that it can bring the serum to the colony. He must decide which is real and which is the illusion. It turns out that neither is real and that the unconscious Virgil is trapped aboard the Tempest being fed on by one of the spiders, as are the rest of the crew.
  • The War of Earthly Aggression: Earth's offworld colonies sought their independence but lost the ensuing war against Earth. Many colonists feel that Earth authorities treat them poorly because of the war.
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