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Recap / The Outer Limits 1995 S 5 E 4 The Grell

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The Control Voice: We denounce the bigotry of the past, secure in our own enlightenment. But if we were to encounter a race totally unlike our own... would we remain so pure of heart?

Aliens called Grell were enslaved by humans. When a government official and his family's plane is shot down and they are on the run from Grell rebels, the only one they can turn to is their Grell slave.

The Control Voice: With each new generation, hopes for a brighter future are rekindled. But until we shrug off the shackles of hatred, we will remain prisoners of our own ignorance.


  • Alien Blood: The titular race's blood can alter DNA, meaning that a human who is exposed to it will turn into a Grell.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The titular race have a biological process known as Grell alchemy which is capable of altering the DNA of other organisms. Jesha uses his saliva to neutralize the radiation found in fruits which grow in the vicinity of Old Seattle so that they are safe to eat. If humans are exposed to Grell blood, it has the capacity to alter their DNA so that they become Grells themselves. After Jesha heals his master High Secretary Paul Kohler at the insistence of his wife Olivia, Kohler begins to turn into a Grell and gains some of their characteristics such as the ability to see ultraviolet light by day and heat signatures by night.
  • Born into Slavery: Jesha was born a slave, as were his parents before him. The same is true of every Grell for the last two generations.
  • Character Narrator: This episode features narration from the Grell slave Jesha explaining that his master High Secretary Paul Kohler's plane was shot down by the Grell rebels, which marked the beginning of a struggle for survival for Grell and human alike.
  • Child Eater: Many humans believe that the Grell eat humans, especially children, but this is only a myth.
  • Color Me Black: Humans have enslaved a race of Rubber-Forehead Aliens. An important politician survives a plane crash with his family and his Grell servant, but is critically injured. The Grell heals him by infusing his master with Grell DNA, which will slowly transform him into one of them. Whereas he had previously callously killed a Grell servant who tried to flee, when he's treated in the same way by a human soldier who tries to kill him for being a "half-breed" he starts to see the error of his ways.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Obviously, the humans' treatment of the Grell echoes our past colonialism and slavery. However, more specifically Alex is almost hanged by a human soldier who hates him for being (supposedly) a half-Grell/half-human hybrid. The best part (and likely deliberate), was that the soldier's black.
  • Due to the Dead: The Grell are treated as slaves, with plenty of Fantastic Racism to go around. One such example is that soldiers will often leave the bodes tied to the ground face-up, spitting in the face of traditional face-down burial which allows their souls to move on properly.
  • Fantastic Racism: Humans have enslaved the Grell on the basis that they should be grateful for humans having rescued them from their dying planet. The Grell are looked down upon and treated as disposable by their human masters.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: Paul is nearly killed by a human soldier who displays violent bigotry toward him for supposedly being half Grell. He slowly realizes due to this how wrong his own prior treatment of Grell was.
  • Happiness in Slavery: The Grell rebel leader Shak-El accuses Jesha of enjoying being a slave because he won't turn against his human owners and join the rebels. In fact, Jesha longs to be free as much as the rebels do but he genuinely loves the Kohler children, Kenny and Sara, and refuses to abandon Sara when she is in danger.
  • I Die Free: Discussed by Jesha when he and his master's family are stranded in the wilderness. He states that he would rather go back to his people's now uninhabitable planet, even though it would mean certain death. When his master asks him why, he replies "Because I would die free".
  • Innocent Aliens: The titular race were peaceful and primitive, which it made easy for humanity to enslave them when it was discovered that their sun was slowly going nova.
  • Karmic Transformation: Paul Kohler, who's racist against the Grell, gets turned into one. He learns his lesson and treats them with compassion in the end.
  • Made a Slave: Jesha's grandfather was made a slave as a boy, as were the rest of the Grell alive at that time.
  • Mistaken for Servant: Lt. Lockhart mistakes High Secretary Paul Kohler for an escaped Grell slave turned rebel as being exposed to Grell blood has altered his DNA so that he is turning into a Grell. Kohler's attempt to convince Lockhart that he is the Minister of Mineral Resources falls on deaf ears. His apparent status as a Half-Human Hybrid disgusts Lockhart all the more. He forces Kohler to dig graves for his fallen comrades who were killed by the rebels and then tries to lynch him. Kohler manages to escape but the experience gives him significant insight into what it means to be a Grell.
  • Never Learned to Read: The titular Slave Race are forbidden to read and write by their human masters.
  • New Neo City: High Secretary Paul Kohler tells his wife Olivia that he plans to talk to the President of the Federation about the threat posed by the Grell rebels once they get back to New Washington, the seat of the Federation's government. There is also mention of Old Seattle, suggesting that there is a New Seattle.
  • Oral Tradition: Jesha's grandfather told him of their homeworld and being separated from his parents and taken to Earth as a slave when he was a boy.
  • Polluted Wasteland: The area around Old Seattle is irradiated as it was hit by a nuclear bomb many years earlier. Humans cannot eat any of the fruits or vegetables unless the radiation is neutralized by a Grell using Grell alchemy.
  • Shock Collar: The Grell are a race of Rubber-Forehead Aliens who were enslaved by humans. They all wear shock collars that electrocute them if they disobey their masters. The collars serve as an Explosive Leash which can be used to kill the relevant Grell if necessary, as demonstrated when High Secretary Paul Kohler kills his slave Ep when he tries to escape.
  • Slave Liberation: After Jesha tells him of his grandfather being enslaved as a boy, Kenny Kohler asks his mother Olivia why they don't just free all of the Grell. She doesn't answer his question, simply telling him to go to sleep. His father Paul later frees Jesha just before he dies. They also encounter a number of Grell who have escaped and revolted against the humans.
  • Slave Race: The Grell come from a desert planet whose sun was undergoing a supernova and were transported by the human Federation to serve as slaves with Shock Collars.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Escaped Grell slaves start a rebellion against humanity to secure freedom for their people. When High Secretary Paul Kohler refuses to honor his wife Olivia's promise to free Jesha if he saved his life, Jesha is so furious that he tries to kill Kohler. The attempt is unsuccessful but Kohler's experience of being mistaken for a Grell later leads him to remove the dying Jesha's Shock Collar so that he can die free.