Outer Limits – Second Thoughts (01/19/97)

olsecondthoughts03Howie Mandel is mentally challenged.

Now on to the review.  See, the problem is, it’s hard to have fun with this.  He actually does a good job in the portrayal, but my gut tells me this is exploitative.  Logically, I don’t believe that.  I feel a Flowers for Algernon story coming, and that was good.  Hard to shake that vibe, though.

Blah, blah, dying scientist, Dr. Valerian, transfers his brains into Karl Durand’s (Mandel) noggin.  Afterward, he slips up and uses some big words that Karl would never use.  The next day, his caretakers are stunned to see he can suddenly play the piano as great as me if I were a great piano-player.  However, he is still jealous when his favorite nurse Rose gets engaged, so there must be a little Karl left in there somewhere.  Maybe in “Little Karl.”

Karl goes to Valerian’s office and sees it is being looted by William Talbot.  He is looking for the mind-transfer device Valerian invented.  When he walks out with it, Karl tries to stop him.  In the struggle, Talbot falls down the stairs and dies.  Karl panics, but Valerian surfaces and calms Karl down.[2]  He is then able to transfer Talbot’s mind into his melon also.  And transfer Talbot’s briefcase full of bearer bonds into his brokerage account. [1]

olsecondthoughts02The three personalities fight to be in control.  The wildcard is Talbot who is understandably peeved at being killed.  He does, however, see this as an opportunity to commit crimes that will be blamed on Karl.  Well, whose body does he think will go to jail?  What is he, retar . . . oh wait.

Karl goes on a spending spree buying jewelry for Rose.  When she asks where he got the money, he says his stock split 2 for 1 and he cashed out.  So apparently, the writer thinks a stock split doubles your money.  She says the jewelry has to go back because she is engaged.  We then get to meet her fiancee — a long-haired poet with a soul-patch.  Maybe she should have held on to the jewelry; something tells me Rose will be supporting this guy for a while.

But then, she’s no prize either — coming out of the shower and getting into bed wearing a towel.  Did we use up the season’s NQ (nudity quota) with Bits of Love?  So no more naughty bits of love?  Karl senses the detective investigating Valerian’s and Talbot’s murders is getting too close, so he calls anonymously and sets up a meeting behind a bar (in the alley, not the place where the bartender stands.  He bops the detective on the melon with a beer bottle and takes his gun.  Karl considers shooting him, but instead uses his gizmo to transfer the cop’s mind into his.


All those people in his head, and tragically not one stylist.

Since the last meet-up went so well, Karl phones Rose’s fiancee and says she was in an accident. Pretending to be a cop, he gives the him the address of the parking lot.

The poet pulls into the lot, and leaps from the car, she’s all he’s got, but he doesn’t get far.

A car ahead flicks on its lights, it has the poet dead in its sights, it guns the engine and spins its tires, it doesn’t care what he desires.

Aw screw it, Karl runs the poet’s ass down and absorbs his brain.

It didn’t go where I expected it to, which is probably a good thing.  I can’t figure out why Karl or Valerian keep adding more souls to the mix.  Of course, Valerian makes sense, but why would he or Karl want Talbot with them?  Or the others?  Also, a big deal is made over the fact that Talbot was dead during his transfer — then nothing is done with that.

Mandel probably did about as well as could be done with the part.  The scenario of a mentally challenged man possessed by five personalities is just risky.  It is way too easy to come off looking silly, especially for a comedian.  So credit to Mandel for attempting it and doing pretty well.  Otherwise, kind of a meh outing.


I feel your pain.


  • [1] I kinda see how he might cash in, stealing them from a dead guy. But how did Hans Gruber expect to cash in the bonds from the Nakatomi heist?  Wouldn’t the serial numbers have been reported stolen immediately?
  • Or are they regulated by the same body that allowed Bane to bankrupt Bruce Wayne despite a thousand witnesses and an electronic audit trail?
  • [2] Oh the irony.
  • Title Analysis:  OK, he has a second consciousness in his head.  But he also has a third, fourth and fifth.  Why does the second one get top billing?
  • References sadly not used:  Deal or No Deal, St. Elsewhere or that f-ing surgical-glove-over-the-head thing.

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