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Recap / The Outer Limits 1995 S 7 E 21 The Human Factor

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The Control Voice: We believe ourselves to be an essentially noble race. But would that same assessment be made from a truly objective view?

An android decides humans are inherently evil and activates a space colony's self destruct sequence. Over a game of chess, a man tries to convince the android of humanity's worth while his friends try to abort the self destruct.

The Control Voice: We have the capacity for great good or great evil. The path of our future is ours to decide.
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The Tropin' Factor:

  • Actor Allusion: Commander Ellis Ward says that holograms give him a headache. Ward is played by Robert Duncan McNeill, whose Star Trek: Voyager character Lt. Tom Paris initially had a difficult relationship with the Doctor, the ship's Emergency Medical Hologram.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: A robot rigs a reactor to blow in order to Kill All Humans. The protagonist is trapped in a room with the robot. He begs the robot to snap his neck. When it asks him why, he answers that he would rather die that way than get blown up. It refuses.
  • Colonized Solar System: There is a base on Jupiter's moon Ganymede in 2084. It was established by Free Alliance and Eastern Coalition moderates in order to terraform Ganymede and show that the two sides could live together in peace.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: On the first ever colony on Ganymede, a robot suddenly rigs the reactor to blow up. The robot explains that since Humans Are the Real Monsters, its logical course of action is to destroy the colony and prevent humanity from expanding beyond Earth. The crew manages to deactivate the robot and save the reactor, though all but one die in the process. The survivor receives a message from Earth. World War III broke out, and nukes have wiped out a lot of the planet (including the survivor's family). A shuttle carrying the President and other officials is heading for Ganymede and will arrive in a few months. In despair, the survivor re-rigs the reactor to blow and turns the robot back on. He tells the robot it was right, then offers to play chess to pass the time until the colony is blown to kingdom come (though this one skirts Karmic Twist Ending a bit).
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  • Depopulation Bomb: Humanity is almost completely wiped out in the final phase of the war between the Free Alliance and the Coalition of Middle Eastern and Pacific States. On April 23, 2084, the Free Alliance launched an all-out attack on the Eastern Coalition in the hope of finally bringing the long war to an end. However, they underestimated the Coalition's firepower, which was equal to their own, and Earth is rendered uninhabitable.
  • Earth That Used to Be Better: The Free Alliance and the Coalition of Middle Eastern and Pacific States have been at war for years and large parts of Earth are irradiated as a result.
  • In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves: Pretty much said ad-verbatim by Link the Ridiculously Human Robot. Turns out he's right.
  • Middle Eastern Coalition: The Coalition of Middle Eastern and Pacific States is one of the two major power blocs on Earth and Mars, the other being the Free Alliance.
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  • Mutual Kill: Both sides finally come to nuclear blows on Earth, ending all life on the planet.
  • Polluted Wasteland: Apples are no longer safe to eat in many parts of the United States in 2084 due to the high levels of radiation caused by the war between the Free Alliance and the Coalition of Middle Eastern and Pacific States.
  • While Rome Burns: Commander Ellis Ward sabotages the colonization project he was in charge of after finding out his superiors started a nuclear war that killed off most of humanity, including his family. This is after he spent the entire episode trying to stop his Robot Buddy Link from doing the exact same thing out of the belief that Humans Are Bastards. Having come to agree with Link in the end, he reactivates him. When Link notes that Ward's sabotage leaves them with about two hours before the base is destroyed, Ward decides they might as well play one last game of chess. They spend the last scene setting up the chessboard while the base and all hopes of humanity's survival fall apart around them.
  • World War III: Everyone on Earth, with the exception of several high profile political figures and their families, is killed in the war between the Free Alliance and the Coalition of Middle Eastern and Pacific States on April 23, 2084.
  • Yellow Peril: Averted and Lampshaded, in this episode about a future Cold War between America and China, in which the latter complain that they are regarded as the bad guys even though the former are usually the ones to initiate hostilities. This is borne out when the American leaders start World War III.
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