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Recap / The Outer Limits 1995 S 5 E 22 Better Luck Next Time

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The Control Voice: Is violence born in the heart, or in the mind? If we must kill to protect ourselves, what will that do to our souls?

In a warehouse, two men wrestle for control of a gun, mentioning various adventures they have shared. One man gets the gun, declares himself the winner, and shoots himself, a blue energy being leaving his body. Before the survivor can leave, he is arrested by the police.

Detective Terry Russo and her partner Frank Daniels attempt to interrogate the man over what happened in the warehouse, but the man insists on speaking with Terry alone. The man, calling himself Gerard, tells Terry that he is an alien life form that must take on human hosts to survive in Earth's atmosphere, pursuing another member of his race who is a serial killer, and the chase has been going on for centuries. To prove this outlandish claim, he shows Terry visions that he claims are the criminal's past crimes (these visions are clips from the past episodes "Ripper", "A Stitch in Time", "Living Hell", and "Heart's Desire"), and that the criminal had been several famous murderers like Jack the Ripper. Shaken up, Terry reluctantly believes him.

However, a security guard from the warehouse who has been possessed by the other alien meets with Frank. Calling himself Kimble, he tells Frank a similar story and shows him similar visions, but claims that Gerard is the criminal and he is the one pursuing him. The two prod Terry and Frank to take them back to the warehouse. Worried and tense over the bizarre circumstances, Terry and Frank eventually panic. Frank shoots Gerard and Terry shoots Frank, fatally wounding them both.

Gerard and Kimble start arguing about which of them "won" by convincing their detective they were telling the truth. The two aliens laugh and reveal that they are both evil and friendly rivals. Bored with immortality, they have throughout the centuries gone on murder sprees and elaborate deceptions like the one they played on Terry and Frank, casually snuffing out human lives as a game for their entertainment. As soon as Gerard's current body dies, he plans to take Terry's body and use her position as a detective to further their agenda.

Right before Frank dies, he shoots Kimble's body and fatally wounds it. Realizing the warehouse is completely empty except for Terry, Gerard and Kimble panic and argue which of them deserve to survive by taking her body. Terry tells them, "Better luck next time." and shoots herself in the head. Gerard and Kimble frantically exit their bodies and try to find a new host, but fail and die.

The Control Voice: In the struggle between life and death, sometimes survival is not the only way to win.

Better Luck Next Trope:

  • Actor Allusion: Megan Gallagher plays Detective Terry Russo. She previously played Officer Tina Russo in Hill Street Blues.
  • Area 51: Discussed. Detective Frank Daniels suggests telling NASA about Kimble and Gerard's claim to be Energy Beings with access to Time Travel technology. His partner Terry Russo thinks that if they do so, they will probably end up in Area 51 with bags over their heads.
  • Big "NO!": The two evil aliens deliver this as they are defeated at the end.
  • Body Surf: This episode features two nearly immortal aliens who could inhabit any living host and can survive for however long they can bind to the central nervous system. After the host dies, they have only moments to transfer into another body until they die, since they can't live too long in the Earth's atmosphere. If they transfer, they will still live for however long they can repeat the sequence. If they fail, they disintegrate. This is a sequel to another episode: one of the duo was in fact Jack the Ripper!
  • The Chessmaster: The Energy Beings in the bodies of Gerard and Kimble set up the events of several previous episodes ("Living Hell", "A Stitch in Time", "Heart's Desire" and "Ripper") for no reason other than their own amusement.
  • Death Is the Only Option: A police detective is manipulated by a pair of malevolent energy beings into being their plaything, intending to turn her into a host after they've tricked her into shooting a fellow cop. However, their hosts burn out rapidly, they can't survive for long without one, and their current hosts are just about to expire. She utters the episode's title just before shooting herself in the head, bringing the energy beings' centuries-long murder spree to an end.
  • Heroic Suicide: The two protagonists defeat two evil Body Surfing aliens by killing the host bodies and then themselves. Too far away from any other people, the aliens die.
  • Ironic Echo: Two evil Body Surfing aliens named Gerard and Kimble - one of whom was revealed as the true form of Jack the Ripper in the episode this one is a sequel to - use "Better luck next time" as a catchphrase, usually when killing or screwing someone over. At the end, they realize they are in big trouble because both of their human hosts are mortally wounded and the only nearby human is a policewoman named Terry:
    Gerard: Her body belongs to me!
    Kimble: Well, where am I gonna go!?
    Terry: Nowhere! Ever again. Neither one of you. Better luck next time. (points her gun at her head and fires)
  • Possession Burnout: The Energy Beings can only stay in each host body for about a day before they decay and become useless to them.
  • Shout-Out: The two aliens' names are taken from the TV series The Fugitive.
  • Telepathy: The Energy Beings in Gerard and Kimble's bodies are able to share their memories with Detectives Terry Russo and Frank Daniels telepathically.