“The Ageless One” Tanner Brooks has just slammed something into something to win The World Octal Federation match. He has seen better days, though, and isn’t even in the top 10 anymore. He gets a visit in his dressing room from Michael Chin who says he can help him win the championship. To prove it, Chin speeds around the room at super speed.
Brooks goes to see Chin at his lab. He explains that his process accelerates the human neuro-musculature system so that a person can react to events in a much shorter time scale. Brooks subjects himself to the process.
His next match is against a woman, Helen “The Hammer” Draybeck. This is a pretty lousy test of his skillz. While the lovely Ms. Draybeck could no doubt kick my ass, I don’t know of a single sport where strength is an asset that a woman can beat a pro-level man.
Helen: You feeling good today?
Brooks: My health insurance is all paid up.
Helen: You won’t be.
Are they even working from the same script? Helen dominates him in the match and is fairly easily able to grab the ring. Rather than stuffing it in the slot, she holds it up and milks cheers from the audience.
Dr. Chin’s process kicks in. Brooks is able to move at super speed to yank the ring out of Helen’s hand and slam it home for a victory. That leaves Helen baffled, although the ref, the ring announcer, the press, and the fans seem to have not noticed that he moved at about 500 MPH to do it.
Brooks goes on with more treatments and wins repeated victories in the arena. Afterward, in the shower, he begins to see the water falling in slow motion. Outside, he sees a fan about to be hit by a truck and exhibits the usual tropes: 1) victim “saved” by being pushed away to safety so quickly that the truck would have actually had less impact, 2) the driver doesn’t stop to complicate the narrative.
Brooks finally gets his title shot. When he goes up against his younger, stronger opponent, he kicks his ass. He is easily able to grab the ring. Before he can put it in the slot, however, he begins to go out of synch with this reality and appears to vanish.
His wife and, for some unfathomable reason the ring announcer, go to Chin’s lab. Brooks’ wife goes through the same process to try to rescue him. When she goes into the same hyper-state as Brooks, Chin and the announcer appear to be frozen to her. She believes Brooks went back to the arena, so makes her way through the frozen city to find him.
Blah blah blah. This version of The Outer Limits has always gone heavy on sentimentality. They usually pull it off far more successfully than the 1980s Twilight Zone. Sometimes, however, the score and an actor as uninteresting as Adrian Pasdar can sink the episode. And this is in spite of an interesting story, Pat Morita as Chin, and a Selena Gomez look-alike as his wife.
Outer Limits was pushing its luck here. If you are going to put the word Zone in a title, it had better be great. And it really better not make you think of a Twilight Zone episode with the same gimmick. Or a 1980s Twilight Zone episode. The super-fast person / frozen masses trope is a classic, and I dig it every time (like also on Star Trek episodes); just maybe use a different title.
- Helen fought in American Gladiators as “Ice”.
- Kudos to Adrian Pasdar for great agility in the arena.
- It would just be churlish to point out the super-speedy person would burst into flames.