Follow TV Tropes


Recap / The Outer Limits 1995 S 5 E 11 Ripper

Go To

The Control Voice: Even in the darkest corners of despair there are glimmers of light we call truth. But what if it is a light to which the rest of the world is blind?

In London, 1888, a doctor (Cary Elwes) goes on the trail of Jack the Ripper.

The Control Voice: The universe is a labyrinth so vast and mysterious that those who choose to plumb its depths may wind up lost... forever.


  • Artistic License – History: Polly Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride and Mary Jane Kelly are depicted as being killed over several days. In reality, their murders took place over the course of more than two months from 31 August to 9 November 1888.
  • Advertisement:
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: It is revealed that Jack the Ripper is a malevolent Energy Being who possesses people's bodies. It is stranded on Earth. Every time that it vacates one of its hosts, they are killed and their bodies are mutilated. The creature then takes possession of the nearest available body. While the creature is in control of their bodies, the hosts tend to cough up green bile, which allows Dr. Jack York to identify them.
  • Break Her Heart to Save Her: Jack tries to send Ellen to a safe place so he can concentrate on finding and stopping The Ripper. When she refuses to leave him, he insults her enough to have her leave, ending their engagement. Turns into a "Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!" when she leaves for America, with the creature, now inside the police inspector, going with her.
  • Advertisement:
  • Cassandra Truth: Dr. Jack York's efforts to convince his fiancée Lady Ellen and Inspector Harold Langford that Jack the Ripper is an alien creature that jumps from body to body fall on deaf ears. They instead believe that he is the Ripper and he is arrested and committed to an asylum. Lady Ellen visits him in the asylum and tells him that she is going to America as she needs time away from England. Immediately afterwards, Inspector Langford tells him that he is retiring from the police force and that he will be Lady Ellen's escort in America, which he describes as "the land of opportunity." He then coughs up green bile, indicating that he has been possessed by the creature. As he leaves, Langford assures Jack that Lady Ellen will "hardly feel a thing."
  • Cruel Twist Ending: In Victorian London, a man goes on the trail of notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper. He eventually discovers that the Ripper is actually an evil Body Surfing alien. While it is in the body of an old woman, he fights and stabs it, only for the alien to exit the body and escape. The police arrive and arrest the protagonist, assuming that he is the Ripper. The alien, in a new body, visits the protagonist in the asylum and promises to find his family and kill them before leaving.
  • Advertisement:
  • Descent into Addiction: The former Harley Street surgeon Dr. Jack York became addicted to absinthe and opium after his misdiagnosis resulted in the death of the young daughter of a duke.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: This episode, which is set in Victorian London, opens with a shot of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Dr. Jack York, who is high on absinthe and opium, is transfixed by the sight of Polly Nichols and Annie Chapman making out until an Energy Being leaves the former's body, killing her in the process, and takes possession of the latter.
  • Historical Domain Character: Polly Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride and Mary Jane Kelly, four of Jack the Ripper's victims, are killed by the alien creature vacating their bodies. It is also mentioned that Inspector Harold Langford's superior is named Sir Charles, a reference to Sir Charles Warren, the Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police at the time of the Ripper murders. Lady Ellen's friend Lady Sophie says that her cousin Charlotte recently visited Dr. Sigmund Freud in Vienna. When Lady Ellen tries to convince her fiancé Dr. Jack York to give up opium, he counters that Oscar Wilde uses it frequently.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Lady Julia describes Dr. Sigmund Freud as a quack for the sole reason that he practises in Vienna and brands Lady Sophie's cousin Charlotte a nincompoop for going to see him.
  • Opium Den: Dr. Jack York spends most of his evenings getting high on absinthe and opium in an opium den. Since it doubles as a brothel, he often has sex with the prostitutes who work there.
  • Popular History: This episode takes place in Victorian London and prominently features the Jack the Ripper murders, an Opium Den, prostitutes and the East End slums of Whitechapel.
  • Possession Burnout: The Energy Being can only stay in a host body for about a day before it decays and become useless to it.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The Energy Being responsible for the Jack the Ripper murders takes control of the bodies of its hosts as soon as it enters them. Vacating them results in their deaths.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: