Outer Limits – Rite of Passage (03/13/98)

In a small forest commune, people, goats and chickens are doing their thing.  Brav is carving a big-bellied fertility statue, other people are working in a garden that should sustain the community for about three days, a young couple is making out on the stairs.

Brav’s wife Shal begins screaming.  He shouts, “Come to her, Mother!” and runs to Shal.  The community, including the cloaked Mother, surround Shal.  The people don’t understand what is happening as Mother delivers a baby; although not understanding why Mother was exposing Shal’s lady parts in the town square was probably equally disconcerting to them.  Mother holds the human baby up to her face which we see is alien Vorak, somewhat like a Cardassian. [1]

Some time later, Mother sees Brav carving the wooden statue.  She says, “It is a good likeness, but of a form she no longer has.”  Brav starts whittling away the belly to be more accurate, but optimistically leaves the boobs.  He asks when Shal will be returned since Mother took her away to The Obelisk to care for her.  She says it is far too far and far too dangerous for him to visit.  Mother also has to assure him that the baby will grow up to look like he and Shal.  This confuses him since they don’t look like Mother.

Mother has brought a human girl named K’ren to be his new companion until Shal eventually returns someday far in the future.  Brav is not interested despite Mother stripping K’ren naked to entice him.  K’ren begins making out with him, but he bails.

The next day, K’ren gives him the stink-eye out in the woods.  One of the other guys is playing with the community dog and accidentally runs through the barrier surrounding the community.  He stumbles back through, writhing in pain.  Brav is going to help him when he sees two Voraks returning Shal to the community.  Wait, so Mother waited some indeterminate stretch of time to whore K’ren out to Brav the night before Shal was being returned?

Shal says the Voraks want to keep the baby at the Obelisk.  She is just back for a visit, but has a plan to break out of the community and get their baby.  They break into Mother’s house to steal a tool to remove the ankle-bracelets which are on their wrist (this is sci-fi, after all).  Shal also sees a book with pictures [3] of other people, but Mother had told them there were no other people.  They remove their bracelets and escape through the barrier.

As they are walking through the woods to the Obelisk, Shal is attacked by a snake thing.  The bite leaves an organism in her leg which begins crawling up her thigh under her skin (this is sci-fi, after all).  Wait, isn’t this earth?  Where did the snake thing come from?  Did the Voraks bring them?  WTF would they do that?

They find a structure which clearly was not built by the aliens.  It is a large concrete building, dirty, crumbling apart, with no signs of life, like a Sears.  They find a couple of skeletons holding a baby skeleton.  Shal suggests, maybe these are their ancestors, not the Voraks.

After an encounter with some more snake things, they reach the Obelisk.  It is actually a lovely lighthouse, although what the hell it is doing on the bank of a river is a little baffling. [2]  It also seems to be in pristine condition with a fresh red & white paint job.  After the ruins and grown-over bridges we have seen, I guess the Voraks are real handy-men; maybe four-handy-men, like the dudes on Barsoom.  And nice of them to have the humans living in Camp Crystal Lake cabins while they live in a hipster Architectural Digest showplace.

They enter the lighthouse and snatch the baby.  When they are discovered by a Vorak, the racist Shal shouts that the baby belongs with its own kind.  Brav says they saw what the Voraks did to their parents.  The Vorak says they did nothing.  When he tries to stop them from taking the baby, Brav stabs him, but gets blasted.  Shal runs off with the baby.  She goes back to the Sears, but is surrounded by snake things in the Automotive Department.  Mother and the other Vorak kill all the snake-things and rescue her — luckily the baby had an ankle-bracelet tracker that looks as stoopid-big as an Apple Watch on its tiny wrist.

The blaster was only on stun, so Brav is able to reunite with Shal.  Mother gives their baby back, but says the Vorak will continue to watch over them.  The earth’s population died out hundreds of years before the Voraks arrove, for reasons unknown.  The humans in the community were cloned from bodies they found in the ice.  This is the first baby to be born old-school.

Brav asks what they were like.  Like every snotty Star Trek alien, the first thing Mother comes up with is not love or laughter or curiosity.  She says, “They had to be taught the value of lifeforms different in appearance from themselves.”  However, the Voraks appreciate that humans saw the error of their ways.  They respect that humans even tried to restore some species it drove to extinction, although they might have just mistaken an old Jurassic Park DVD for a documentary.  “We believe any species capable of correcting such a terrible flaw, and finally appreciating the beauty that lies in diversity deserves a second chance.”

So the Voraks demonstrated their commitment to diversity by giving the human race a second chance by creating a sheltered safe-space; a cloned community with a smokin’ hot population of young white models of diverse height and hair styles.

Good episode, as usual.

Other Stuff:

  • [1] Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t work in a Kardashian reference.
  • [2] I now see river lighthouses do exist, but it still bugs me.
  • [3] The pictures are referred to as reflections.  Why wouldn’t they just be called pictures?  The Voraks know every other English word.
  • It’s like the Star Trek aliens who called the crew giant-bags-of-mostly-water.  They knew the meaning of giant, bags, of, mostly, and water but didn’t know humans?  And what happened to that fancy Universal Translator?  Isn’t this the kind of colloquialism it is supposed to smooth over?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.