Outer Limits – Mind Over Matter (S2E5)

olmindovermatter15At Horton University, Dr. Sam Stein (Mark Hamill) is giving a demon-stration of his Computer Aided Virtual Environment (CAVE) system. He is assisted by Dr. Sarrazin and Dr. Rachel Carter (Debrah Farentino).  The subject is a paranoid schizophrenic who has visions of his dead father telling him to kill his girlfriend.

Stein and the patient are hooked into the CAVE which basically puts them in The Matrix. Together, they occupy a virtual setting which can also be televised to observers. The virtual space is a nightmarish construct of roaring hell-fire.  It is later revealed that Stein can control the environment, for instance, to be a tranquil lake setting.  Maybe this would have been a better setting for therapy of the homicidal maniac.

olmindovermatter07There is a strange series of hiccups in logic in the next scene:  1) Dr. Sarrazin interprets a 78% chance of recovery as meaning the patient can “absolutely” be cured.  2) The CAVE system asks for more input on the emotions of fear and love, yet we were just told “everything written on human psychology is cataloged in the CAVE’s RAM.”  And 3) Stein comments on skiing:  “Call me crazy, but sliding down an icy hill on two planks of wood just seems to challenge the laws of gravity.”  Well, that’s more a demonstration of gravity than a challenge of it.

Stein is hot for Dr. Carter, but too shy to make his move.  Once he finally approaches her, she is run down by a car and put into a coma.  Luckily, he has an app for that.

olmindovermatter22Stein is able to meet with the comatose Dr. Carter in the CAVE. But they are not alone  — there is another entity.

There is a great story here, but it is somewhat undermined by Mark Hamill who is just a terrible actor.  I never once got the feeling he was the character or had any idea of the meaning of the medical jargon he was using.  On the other hand, Debrah Farentino is going to be awesome anywhere she appears.


  • Peter Breck gets a strange “Special Cameo Appearance By” credit.  And is it technically a cameo if you are in two scenes?
  • Jonathan Glassner also wrote Valerie 23.  His stories are good, but the casting is awesome.
  • Debrah Farentino is the daughter of James Farentino from Since Aunt Ida Came to Stay.
  • Can it be just coincidence that there is a Dr. Sarrazin in this episode and Michael Sarrazin starred in the previous week’s episode?
  • Is it just my imagination, or were Dr. Carter’s breasts about 50% bigger in the CAVE?  It could have actually been justified by the denouement.  Now that’s good writing!
  • Hulu sucks.

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