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Recap / The Outer Limits 1995 S 6 E 15 The Grid

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The Control Voice: Technology is designed to serve us, to ease our burdens. But will our machines become so sophisticated that it is we who do the serving?

A man goes to his hometown and finds antennas everywhere that emit a mind control signal.

The Control Voice: When the human mind is made obsolete by advancing technology, the soul may not be far behind.

Tropes:

  • Book-Ends: The Teaser involves Peter Bowman being killed by his wife Eileen, who is under the control of the computer, as he knows too much about it. In the final scene, Peter's brother Scott is likewise killed by his computer-controlled wife Joanna and for the same reason.
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  • Cruel Twist Ending: A man on a road trip stops at another city and finds that an evil organization has installed the buildings with antennas that emit a mind-controlling signal as a sort of Take Over the World plot. Since the protagonist is immune, the brainwashed citizens are ordered to kill him. He escapes and returns to his hometown, intending to call the cops, only to find more antennas. His brainwashed wife shoots him.
  • Doomed Hometown: Scott Bowman discovers that almost everyone in his hometown of Halford, Washington has been taken over by a computer.
  • Driven to Suicide: Eileen Brennan commits suicide as she can no longer stand the voices of the computer in her mind, especially since it had earlier forced her to kill her husband Peter.
  • The Evils of Free Will: The computer's ultimate goal is to take over the minds of all humanity and eliminate their emotions and violent tendencies so that they can live in harmony under its control.
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  • No Name Given: The young girl who tells Scott Bowman about the computer controlling the people of Halford is not named.
  • Speak in Unison: The computer takes over two young boys and speaks through them simultaneously.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: The computer tells Scott Bowman that it intends to take over the world in order to bring order to chaos and eliminate the problems in human society.
  • Wetware Body: A cognitive computer known as a neural network processor was designed by the US government and a private company to communicate electromagnetically with the human brain so that messages could be sent directly to soldiers in the field. The small town of Halford, Washington was used as a testing ground and dozens of antenna towers were installed for that purpose. Over the course of several years, the computer was able to take over the minds of almost everyone in town. When Scott Bowman visits Halford after the death of his brother Peter, he discovers what the computer is doing and it communicates with him by speaking through several townspeople.
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