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Recap / The Outer Limits 1995 S 7 E 3 A New Life

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The Control Voice: Religious devotion can lead people away from temptation and evil. But is the path as clear if that devotion is blind?

A preacher invites weary families to join his rural village, but some question his motives.

The Control Voice: When you blindly give up your free will to a higher authority, be sure you are not also giving up control of your ultimate destiny.

A New Trope:

  • Alien Blood: Father's species has bright green blood.
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  • Born into Slavery: The members of Father's religious community do not know it but their descendants will be born into slavery aboard a massive spaceship.
  • Burn the Witch!: Daniel attempts to convince the other members of the religious community that they are being deceived and that Father is an alien. He is sentenced to burn at the stake by the assembly after Father frames him for attacking his own wife Beth, killing Jacob and trying to kill Father. With Thomas' assistance, he manages to escape before the sentence is carried out but he is later killed by the aliens, shapeshifters who have all assumed Father's form. This episode ends with Thomas, who has been condemned as a traitor for helping Daniel to escape, being burned at the stake as his frantic warnings about Father's true nature fall on deaf ears.
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  • Cassandra Truth: Daniel follows Father, the leader of the religious community where he has lived for the last two years, into the woods and sees him transform into an alien and vanish in a flash of light. Later that night, Daniel, his wife Beth and their newborn son William leave the village but, after walking about ten miles, they are confronted by Some Kind of Force Field which blocks their path. They find Jacob, a former member of the community who left more than a year earlier, living rough in the forest. After bringing them to his cave, Jacob tells Daniel and Beth that the barrier covers an area of 20 square miles and even extends into the sky. The next morning, Daniel awakens to find that Jacob has been killed and Beth has been attacked. Before he can even process this, he is found by Father and other community members and brought back to the village. His efforts to persuade the others that Father is an alien who has framed him are unsuccessful and he is sentenced to burn at the stake. Beth was brain damaged in the attack and therefore cannot corroborate his story.
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  • City in a Bottle: Approximately 40 young people who are tired of the rat race join a religious community in an isolated wooded area. It turns out that the 20 square mile area surrounding their village is part of a massive spaceship and that aliens intend to sell their descendants into slavery, after humanity's rebellious traits have been bred out of them.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: This episode's premise may remind some fans of Shyamalan's The Village. Two married couples join a cult that resembles Puritanism, because their lives have become unfulfilling. The problem is, no one remembered how they reached the forest they were brought to, because the cult leader knocked everyone unconscious en route. At first, the protagonist seemed okay with his new life until the cult leader borrows his child and brands him. After the protagonist gets his son back, he panics and convinces his wife to flee from the village with him. Soon, they realize the forest's edge is blocked by a force field, and stay on the run, but their branded child was used as a tracking device. As a result, the couple was discovered by the cult leader and captured. For fleeing, the protagonist would be executed, so he helped convince his male friend (played by Jeremy Sisto) to help him escape and de-activate the force field. The plan goes well at first until the two of them find a teleporter. The protagonist volunteers to enter, while his friend protects his wife. After entering the teleporter, the protagonist was transported to a dark room with several robed people. The people in robes? Oh they're aliens. They also claim that the forest is inside a spaceship, they've already left Earth, and they plan to use religion to encourage people to breed for the next 500 years...which is when they'll reach their destination and use the humans as slave labor. Of course, the protagonist gets killed for knowing too much, though his partner met a grisly end. The cult leader burns him at the stake to urge people not to rebel. Even better? His wife watches him get roasted.
  • Cult Defector: One villager, Jacob, ran away from the group years ago and has been hiding in caves away from the community due to missing civilization and then finding there was no way back. The main character Daniel also tries to run away with his wife and son after witnessing Their leader shift into his true alien form (he's gathering people to mold into a Slave Race), and is later able to convince his friend Thomas that there's something wrong with the cult after being captured.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: The opening shot features the Golden Gate Bridge, indicating that Daniel, Beth and Thomas lived in San Francisco before joining Father's religious community.
  • Generation Ship: The members of Father's religious community are unwittingly the first generation of humans to travel aboard a huge generation ship belonging to a group of alien merchants. It will take 500 years to reach the aliens' destination where their descendants, who will number approximately 100,000, will be sold into slavery.
  • Healing Factor: Daniel stabs Father with a knife given to him by Thomas. In the chaos that follows, none of the community members notice that Father is bleeding and that his blood is green. Within seconds, Father manages to heal himself, covering his wound so that no one sees the green glow emanating from it. He stands up to show his flock that he has not suffered any injury and it is hailed as a miracle.
  • The Hermit: Jacob is an involuntary example (he has nowhere else to go) having been living in a cave for two years since he left the cult.
  • Ludd Was Right: Daniel, his girlfriend Beth and his best friend Thomas join a religious community in an isolated wooded area that eschews technology and advocates the return to traditional values. The community's motto is "A new life through faith and service." However, as Daniel later discovers, its leader Father is one of a group of shapeshifting alien merchants who plan to sell their descendants as slaves once humanity's rebellious streak has been bred out of them.
  • Meaningful Name: Thomas is uncertain whether he has made the right decision when it comes to joining Father's religious community and tells his best friend Daniel and Daniel's girlfriend Beth, who convinced him to join in the first place, that he will give it a month. After two years, Thomas, displaying the zeal of the converted, has become an active member of the community and has embraced Father's teachings of a new life through faith and service. This is a reference to Thomas the Apostle (otherwise known as "Doubting Thomas") refusing to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead until he felt the wounds that he received on being crucified, as recounted in the Gospel Of John.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Daniel, Beth and Jacob all try this without success.
  • Slave Race: A group of shapeshifting merchants saw that humans possessed many of the qualities that would make them ideal slaves but quickly determined that their rebellious nature posed a problem. Instead of merely abducting humans and enslaving them outright, the aliens decided to use religion as a cover as their observations of Earth taught them that many humans are willing to embrace servitude in such circumstances. Within several generations, the aliens predict that the humans on the ship will have forgotten that they were ever anything more than slaves. By the time that the ship reaches its destination in 500 years' time, the aliens will have approximately 100,000 completely obedient slaves to put on the market.
  • Theme Naming: Daniel, Thomas, Beth (short for Elizabeth) and Jacob are all named after major figures from The Bible.
  • Tracking Chip: Daniel and Beth give Father, the leader of their religious community, their newborn son William for an hour so that he can perform a private blessing. When William is returned to them, they find that he has a strange mark on the back of his neck that was not there before. Daniel later learns that Father is an alien and the mark was created by a tracking chip being implanted in William's neck.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The alien merchants who deceived people into joining the religious community are shapeshifters. There are at least seven of them, all of whom assume the form of the community's leader Father.
  • The Wall Around the World: Daniel and his wife Beth discover that there is a forcefield surrounding the forest in which the religious community is located. Daniel later learns that they have left Earth and that the forest is in fact an artificial environment aboard a spaceship.
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