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Recap / The Outer Limits 1995 S 5 E 20 Fathers And Sons

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The Control Voice: In a world where youth is valued more than wisdom... what will become of our elders?

A retirement home is stealing its residents' memories.

The Control Voice: The greatest lesson one generation can bestow upon the next... is that reverence for the past ensures the future.

Fathers and Tropes:

  • Book-Ends: The first scene after the teaser shows Hank Dell strongly disapproving of the influence that his father, the famous blues musician Joe "Madman" Dell, is having on his teenage son Ronnie as the two of them play their guitars. He is particularly disturbed when Ronnie uses one of Joe's lines about learning to play in a "cathouse in New Orleans." After Ronnie successfully rescues Joe from the retirement home Silver Sunset and Hank has a change of heart, the final scene of the episode shows Hank crying with joy at the sight of his father and his son playing together.
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  • Calling the Old Man Out: Ronnie Dell has a very close relationship with his grandfather Joe but a distant one with his harsh and demanding father Hank. After Hank sends Joe to the retirement home Silver Sunset, Ronnie tells him that he wishes that Joe was his father instead of him. Later, Ronnie learns not only that Joe and all other Silver Sunset residents have had their memories systematically removed and sold to others but that Hank is one of the people buying the memories. When Hank argues that it is a way to keep Joe alive, Ronnie says that Silver Sunset is destroying everything that Joe is and that he is disgusted that his father is involved in it. He then tells Hank that he hates him. This conversation causes Hank to realize what Silver Sunset is doing is wrong.
  • People Farms: The memories of the residents of the retirement home Silver Sunset are systemically removed by the staff and sold to other people bit by bit. They are kept in stasis except for when their families arrive for prearranged visits.
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  • Transferable Memory: The residents of the retirement home Silver Sunset have their memories systemically removed and transferred into data chips using a process created by Dr. Benton Adler, the home's administrator. They are injected with memory suppressing chemicals so that they forget having the procedure done to them and are kept in stasis unless their families are visiting. While they are awake, they are given pills, supposedly for high blood pressure, which help to suppress their memories. After several memory transfer sessions, they begin to develop symptoms similar to Alzheimer's. The process eventually kills them. The extracted memories are sold to people who want to increase their knowledge and skill sets. The curiosity of Ronnie Dell, the grandson of the Silver Sunset resident and famous blues musician Joe "Madman" Dell, is piqued when a man on the street plays a song entitled "Sitting There Blues" which Joe wrote for him. Ronnie is greatly disturbed when he learns that his father Hank is one of the people who has bought Joe's memories, not to mention the technical skills and business acumen of other people who have been subjected to the same procedure. After Hank has a change of heart, he uses his newfound technical skills to remove Dr. Adler's memories so that the procedure can never be performed on anyone else.
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  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Joe "Madman" Dell, a famous blues musician, was frequently absent during his son Hank's childhood because of his music career. This leads him to resent Joe later in life.
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