Outer Limits – Dark Rain (02/14/97)

oldarkrain1A motorcade of black SUVs and limos with a massive carbon footprint rolls up to a secure building.  A diverse group of white men and white women file into a conference room. Rather than wait for Leonardo DiCaprio to arrive in his private jet, they start immediately.  “Dark Rain is now falling on every continent.”

95% – 97% of the earth’s population has been exposed to Teradoxyn. Paradoxically, it was first detected in the Middle East which you might think would get off easy on rain-related plagues. How did Seattle escape this fate?  Note to CDC: investigate immunity based on coffee and awful music.  “The birthrate of viables has already fallen to near-zero.”

Dr. Marissa Golding wants to spread the word that we brought this on ourselves.  It was caused by the use of chemical weapons which mutated.  I guess this was before the next Ice Age was a bigger threat than Global Warming, and the Hole in the Ozone was not fashionable yet.  Maybe this was during the Acid Rain / No Nukes hysteria nexus. Rest assured, though, the producers are quick to say that “both sides” were at fault.  C’mon, I expect that kind of America-bashing from Hollywood, but from Canadians?  Naturally, the administration wants to squash this data lest it hurt their chance of getting re-elected with 2 of the 3 remaining electoral votes.

oldarkrain2Glen Campbell Glen Canyon High School has seen better days; as has Glen Campbell.  Someone has spray-painted School’s Out Forever on the front doors.  Although most of the classrooms are empty, Sherry McAllister teaches the last existing class of kids.  She reminds them it is time to report to the Federal Reproductive Board to “get tested for your fertility rating and become sexually active as soon as possible.” Holy crap, they look about 12 years old!  Their lack of enthusiasm for this plan is the best indication they might be too young.

Back at casa de McAllister, she and husband Tim are watching the news.  The NWA (New World Army) is pissing off the government by minding their own business.  Oh, they’re being accused of terrorism, but I suspect that is a smokescreen.  Even Tim says, “What is wrong with those people?”  He just can’t catch a break.  Even though there is zero population growth, Sherry is making him use a condom . . . mutations, you know.  A week later she is pregnant.  Weirdly played, but I assume this isn’t the first time they’ve had the sex.

At the hospital, Dr. Golding assures them there are no signs of mutation. Quickly, men with guns show up and say they are there for her protection (i.e. We’re from the government and we’re here to help).  Sherry accidentally witnesses another woman go into labor in a very well-done scene.  It is known that the baby will be a mutant, but there is still great energy and suspense as the medical team surrounds her.  The heightened stakes come through in the production, so kudos on that.  Sherry is understandably ready to bail after seeing that.

Some time later, however, Sherry gives birth to a healthy boy.  They are thrilled, but not thrilled that they are still prisoners.  To be fair, they hold the key to humanity’s survival.  I am in the unusual position of supporting Big Government on this one.  This is too important to keep all your fertilized eggs in one basket.  They are awakened one night by an NWA member in their room.  He offers to help them escape with their baby.  When the head doctor brings the brass in to see the miracle baby, all they see is NWA spray-painted on the wall.  As the McAllisters are African-American, this takes on a whole different unintended meaning.  No, the other one.

I should have stuck to my constitutionally-protected guns — they escape to the NWA’s compound and there is a happy, almost tear-jerking resolution.  It has finally struck me that this newer version of Outer Limits is softer on the Sci-Fi, and spends more time exploring humanity and emotion than the original series — just like the new Twilight Zone, but I always complain about that reboot.  Maybe it’s because I am not as familiar with the original Outer Limits, so I can’t be disappointed.  Or maybe Outer Limits is just a much better series.

Nothing extraordinary here, just another well-produced episode. Outer Limits stands with AHP as being reliable when the other series wear me down.

I rate it an 85% chance of dark precipitation.

Post-Post:

  • Shades of Children of Men which came both earlier (book) and later (movie).  But it’s probably a common sci-fi trope.
  • Sadly, the mutants reminded me of Unnatural Selection.  Very sadly.
  • The head of the Federal Reproductive Board survived two episodes of Ray Bradbury Theater:  The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone and The Screaming Woman.
  • Title Analysis:  Meh.  Complete McGuffin.  Could have been anything.

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