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YMMV / The Outer Limits (1995)

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  • Complete Monster:
    • "Living Hell": Wayne Haas is a vicious murderer who targets women. Several years before, he had a neural transmitter installed in his brain which inadvertently allows Haas to share his thoughts with any person who possesses the same implant, although Haas is mistakenly believed to have since died. He's first shown chasing a woman through the woods and killing her, before deciding to play around with the corpse when he notices his "audience," the episode's protagonist Ben Kohler. He later hires a prostitute, and, for fun, forces Ben to witness how he gruesomely stabs her to death in his bathtub. When Ben investigates Haas's apartment with the doctor responsible for the implant, Haas kidnaps her to cut out her brain and leaves Ben behind to take the blame for the other women the police claim he murdered over the previous months.
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    • "Tribunal": Karl Rademacher, during The Holocaust, was the SS commandant of an Auschwitz subcamp made up to look like a "model" camp for inspections by the Red Cross. When they leave, he usually has the prisoners gassed by the hundreds. The episode opens in 1944 as Rademacher makes his daily rounds to select a prisoner to execute in front of the rest, which he considers "the only joy I get from this miserable job". When he selects a random man, the wife begs him not to, so he selects her instead and shoots her in front of her husband and daughter, later having the child gassed to death. He gives instructions to the prisoners to write letters to their relatives to tell them how wonderful they have it there. When one man objects, Rademacher orders him sent outside and shot, before amending the order so he can personally shoot the prisoner. After the war this unrepentant war criminal lives incognito for many decades in the United States. Rademacher's cruelty and brutality ultimately becomes his own doom when, thanks to a Time Travel device, he is sent back to his own camp dressed up as an inmate. When his younger version runs into him, he demands that the rowdy old man beg for his life before he kills his older self for being Jewish.
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    • "Better Luck Next Time": Two Energy Beings have been living on Earth for centuries, stealing host bodies and using them to commit murder after murder for amusement and to alleviate boredom; one of said energy beings was Jack the Ripper himself. Detectives Terri and Girard end up each working with an alien, both claiming they are officers sent to hunt down the killer. At the end, the truth is revealed: the two are partners in crime and have been playing the officers for fun with the only excuse being how bored they are as immortals. The two have been spending centuries playing their games and corrupting good people into killing their friends and partners out of paranoia; they plan to hijack Terri's body after she mortally wounds Girard and use her police connections to have even more fun. When Terri and her dying partner mortally wound both killers' host bodies, Terri opts to kill herself to prevent them from stealing her body, knowing they can't survive long without hosts and unwilling to allow them to continue their rampage.
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  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: This show ran on so many uses of the Cruel Twist Ending that it was the former Trope Namer. This says it all.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In the episode "Gettysburg", a Confederate fanboy is slated to assassinate the first black President of the United States at a 2013 memorial to forever bury the legacy of hateful racism, and is only stopped by a time traveler intervening in an attempt to change his ways. In 2015, a Confederate fanboy stormed a church in Charleston, South Carolina to murder black people during the second administration of the first black President. The 2010s also generally saw more Neo-Confederate and other far-right groups rise in the US.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In the episode "Simon Says", Simon has an obsession with wanting to ride the horses on the merry-go-round and is voiced by Cathy Weseluck. His yells of "Horsey, horsey, horsey" become this in light of Weseluck going on to voice Spike in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic who is surrounded by horses (well, ponies) and has a crush on one of the pony characters.
    • In "If These Walls Could Talk", Leviticus Mitchell wears a t-shirt that says on the back "capitalism is organized crime." In real life, Dwight Schultz (who plays Leviticus) is a hardcore free market conservative.
  • Idiot Plot: The entirety of the conflict from the Time Travel episode "Breaking Point" stems from each of the characters holding on to their own personal Idiot Ball and never letting go, all topped off with a remarkably unnecessary Cruel Twist Ending. The protagonist has a working time machine at his disposal, and his problems all stem from the fact that no one believes him, including his wife and the company that he made the machine for! He never actually thinks of just showing anyone, but instead falls into a very obvious Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. Apparently his solution in the end is deciding that Death Is the Only Option, and so travels back to the day he meets his future wife, holds his past self at gun point (who, mind you, starts pleading for another way after recognizing himself) and pulls the trigger so that the machine won't be built, thus erasing himself from existence. Which, incidentally, leads to his past self not being there to prevent his future wife's suicide attempt that same exact night. Um, why didn't you just go back to the day before you used the machine in the first place? Or just warn your past self to not build it.
  • Magnificent Bastard: "Zig Zag": Zig Fowler is a cyberterrorist in a near-future society where almost all data is controlled by the Department of Information Technology. Founding the Syndrome cell from the shadows with the mission to free people at any cost, Zig fakes his own death and assumes the meek Cliff Unger persona in order to infiltrate the department and gain access to its central processor room. After a year, Zig's implant reverts back to its original settings, whereupon he joins up with his old comrades again, who were not even privy to his real identity. Zig stages an armed takeover of the Department offices to bomb it, manipulating his former boss through word trickery into arming the bomb with his own implant, ultimately dying in a blaze of glory as the entire city is destroyed.
  • Narm:
    • In "The Human Factor", Cho looks like he's smiling when he says "All my men are dead".
    • Many of the Cruel Twist Endings were clearly put in out of shock value rather than wrapping up the episodes in any sort of satisfying manner. As a result, they're often hilarious.
    • In "Breaking Point", Laurie Holden can be seen blinking during closeups even though her character's supposed to be dead.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Simon from "Simon Says" mainly for the Uncanny Valley aspect of it.
    • "The New Breed": the Body Horror transformations that Andy Groenig goes through, not to mention his increasingly desperate attempts to stop the nanobots culminating in an attempted suicide that fails due to the bots fixing him.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • "Free Spirit" is a prime example of this, as a disembodied person with a grudge goes after the scientists responsible for his state by possessing all sorts of people to off them one by one, his victims never being able to know where the danger might come from. In the end he reveals that he framed the protagonist for several murders by taking control of her body, then visits her in prison to assure her that he'll be tormenting her for some time to come.
    • The ending voiceover of "Corner Of The Eye" suggests that beings such as aliens in the episode may now be walking among us, and even be someone you know...
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Don S. Davis played Lt. Wilson in "Living Hell" and General Callahan in "The Voice of Reason".
    • Gregory Smith played Paul Stein as a child in "Dark Matters".
    • Ryan Reynolds played Derek Tillman in "If These Walls Could Talk" and Paul Nodel in "Double Helix" and "The Origin of Species".
    • Gary Jones played a TV host in "If These Walls Could Talk" and the FBI ballistics expert Duncan in "A Stitch in Time".
    • Molly Parker played Jennifer in "If These Walls Could Talk".
    • Teryl Rothery played Janet Brevson in "Trial by Fire" and Dr. Lucy Cole in "Re-Generation".
    • Jason Gray-Stanford played an airman in "Trial by Fire" and Dylan Venable in "Criminal Nature".
    • James Marsden played Brav in "Rite of Passage".
    • Grace Park played Satchko Watanabe in "Time to Time".
    • Noel Fisher played Brae in "Lion's Den".
    • Nicole Oliver played Jill Cooper in "The Deprogrammers" and Heather Catrell in "Judgment Day".
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • The ending of "Flower Child" from 2001 doubles as this trope mixed with Nightmare Fuel, and it's clearly bad 2001 CGI, at least by modern-day standards.
    • The special effects for the aliens in "Dark Matters" have not aged well.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: In "Under the Bed", Timothy Busfield plays the role of Dr. Jon Holland with conviction, trying his damnedest to make the ridiculous premise and awful script credible.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: The shapeshifting aliens from "First Anniversary" are intended to come off as lonely and misunderstood because they're trapped on Earth, but their true appearance is shown to cause insanity or death in their human husbands when they start suffering Glamour Failure. It's naive at best and malicious at worst for them to continue seeking attention like that, especially when they already have each other for company as well (if it was just the one alien, it still wouldn't be right, but at least a bit more understandable).
  • The Woobie: Bernard Selden, the protagonist of the episode "Fear Itself". When he was just a boy, an evil priest made him think he killed his own sister. This traumatized him so much that his terror eventually manifested itself as extremely vivid hallucinations that plague him throughout his adult life and force him to live in a mental institution. In addition, he's become so gullible and weak-willed that he's constantly bossed around by a local thug he thinks is his friend. His character arc encompasses overcoming all this when he gains psychic powers.


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