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Recap / The Outer Limits 1995 S 4 E 14 To Tell The Truth

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The Control Voice: It has been said that for the truth to exist it takes two people... one to speak it and another to hear it.

A scientist attempts to warn his colony that they are in danger from a solar flare that will happen soon, but no one believes him.

The Control Voice: Mankind will be forever doomed to destruction, if we continue to ask for the truth but then... refuse to listen.

To Tell the Tropes:

  • Genocide Backfire: After the first wave of colonists arrived on Janus Five, they attempted to place the small and primitive native population into reservations but the natives proved to be uncooperative. A squad of colonial marines was sent in to kill them and they later reported that their mission had been accomplished. In spite of this, stories persisted that some of the natives had survived and that they were shapeshifters. It turned out that these stories were true and that one of the natives had taken the form of the colony's security chief Montgomery Bennett. Moments before the sun flashed over as Dr. Larry Chambers predicted, Bennett tells the council chairman Franklin Murdock that Chambers' theory that the indigenous lifeforms had evolved to survive the aftereffects of the periodic devastation was correct. He adds that Murdock had been right himself in another respect: the natives planned to use the opportunity to retake control of Janus Five and that the humans' leftover ships and weapons would allow them to repel any further attempts to colonize the planet. The native in Bennett's form is killed but he is praised by his people for making a Heroic Sacrifice so that they could reclaim their home.
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  • Heroic Sacrifice: Dr. Larry Chambers chooses to stay behind and fend off an angry mob. He is beaten to death, but his action buys just enough time for his friends to activate and launch an escape pod.
  • Hostile Terraforming: The native population of Janus Five view the human colonists' terraforming of their planet as such.
  • Ignored Expert: Dr. Larry Chambers attempts to convince the ruling council of Janus Five that the system's sun is a pulsating star which is due to flash over in several days' time, a process that happens once every 1,000 years. He warns that the sun will emit deadly radiation and the colony will be destroyed. Chambers' claims are not taken seriously as, five years earlier, he had warned that the original location of the colony would be destroyed in a major volcanic eruption, which proved to be incorrect. The colony was moved to a new location at great cost in terms of time, money and manpower, leading many people to resent Chambers. He explains that he misinterpreted the data and what he thought was an impending eruption was in fact an early sign that the sun would flash over. It is also alleged that he is imagining an apocalyptic scenario since he is depressed over the death of his wife Elise three years earlier and does not want to live. When it looks as if people are starting to believe him, the council chairman Franklin Murdock and the colony's security chief Montgomery Bennett frame him by making it appear as if he is a shapeshifting alien who has taken Chambers' place.
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  • Karmic Twist Ending: This episode has a discredited scientist discover that his newly-founded colony is about to be wiped out by a solar flare. Given that his discrediting was due to a prediction of volcanic activity that caused the colony to be moved at great expense but failed to occur, no one believes him except his assistant and his mentor. He keeps on raising a fuss, until the colony's security chief reveals that evidence was found of an indigenous alien race when the colony was set up on the most valuable land on the planet - and not only accuses the scientist of being a shape-shifting saboteur trying to break up the colony, but condemns him with a DNA test that shows bizarre readings. He is then imprisoned and threatened with dissection, but the assistant, holding one last ounce of trust in her mentor, meets him in secret and tests him again to reveal that he is in fact human. As time is running out, the scientist, mentor and assistant attempt to escape the planet in the single emergency shuttle - and the scientist is mauled to death by a crazed mob while ensuring the escape of his two supporters. Afterward, the security chief mourns the scientist, and is mocked by the colony administrator for caring about an alien. The chief then reveals that he is the alien saboteur - he used his own DNA to fake the test - and states that it's ironic that the scientist, the only human in the colony he wished he could have spared for being "the gentlest of you", was the first to die, and at the hands of other humans - and then the solar flare hits, wiping out the colony and triggering the rebirth of the alien civilization.
  • Meaningful Name: The native population of Janus Five are shapeshifters. Janus was a Roman god who is typically depicted as having two faces.
  • Overpopulation Crisis: It is mentioned that Earth has a population of ten billion.
  • Vicious Cycle: Dr. Larry Chambers determines that the Janus system's sun is a pulsating star which flashes over once every 1,000 years and that it is scheduled to happen again in several days' time.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The native population of Janus Five possess this ability.

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