Outer Limits – The Camp (02/21/97)

olcamp1The Elder is giving a speech to the prisoners about the era twelve generations ago, before the New Masters arrived, when humans held dominion over the earth.  Special scorn is heaped on the treasonous humans who help the alien overlords. He reminds the children that their birthright lies outside the gates of their prison.  A couple of human guards show up and escort the Elder out.

The next day, the human Commandant lines up the wretched remains of humanity in the prison yard.  He has three announcements.

  • 1) The nutritional rations will be cut by 3%.
  • 2) Repairs to the refining center will continue.
  • 3) The Elder won’t be getting any elder.

He graciously grants the prisoners one hour to grieve and to choose a younger Elder. Prisoner 98843 (Harley Jane Kozak) shouts that the rations are already too low.  The Commandant says there is no more food to distribute.  She suggests that they grow their own food or import it from somewhere.  He dismissively dismisses the idea before he says, “Dismissed.”

olcamp2Later, 98843 is complaining to a guard about the lack of replacement parts for the factory.  She is joined by a young mute girl [1] who has been bringing water to the prisoners as they work.  She is also teaching the girl about electronics.  This is good, because the way 98843 mouths off to the overseers, there won’t be a 98844.

Guards enter and haul 98843 away to see the Commandant.  The prisoners assume she will be raped.  The Commandant even misleadingly says, “I need you.”  She begins to strip but he stops her.  He pops an electronic eyeball out of its socket and hands it to her with the order, “Repair it.”  She negotiates more food for the kiddies.  The Commandant had said there was no more, yet he agrees, the big liar-head.  He also warns that if she fails, they will get NO food, which makes no sense.  As that Moses guy said in the movie, “The strong make many [bricks], the weak make few, the dead make none.”

olcamp3Prisoner 91777 (Bill Cobb) is elected as the new Elder.  The Commandant orders them both to his office to receive supplementary rations for the prisoners.  91777 wants to know how 98843 got him to agree to this, but she dodges the question.  The Commandant tells them they will receive sharrak, an alien food from the New Masters; also some cigars from the Dutch Masters.  They are taken to a dungeon where a tentacled sharrak lives.  It attacks 98843 and 91777 is allowed to cut off its tentacle to feed the prisoners (oh, and save 98843’s life).

At the big feast, 91777 notes that there are fewer overseers.  He recalls a previous uprising where some prisoners made it over the wall.  However, 98843 recalls the remaining prisoners were slaughtered.  She reminds him the New Masters destroyed the combined armies of the world in 3 days.  Since he says the survivors reported seeing nothing but aliens with razor teeth, and scorched earth and black steel, I’m not sure what his hurry is.

olcamp4The Commandant’s new eye goes bad, revealing that he is a robot.  He orders 98843 to repair him or he will feed the young girl to the sharrak. She does, and becomes his personal mechanic, living separate from the other prisoners.  Despite her securing more food for them, they shun her as a traitor.

She learns that all of the overseers are robots.  They are beginning to break down and will soon execute Procedure 7 — closing the camp and killing the human prisoners.  The next time the group is assembled in the yard, 98843 twists the Commandant’s head off and shows everyone he is a robot.  The humans attack the few remaining overseers, who ain’t exactly Cyberdyne products in fighting ability.

The humans prevail and open the prison gates for the first time in centuries.  The gates swing open to reveal not a scorched earth, but a plush green valley (and possibly the former 18th fairway at Augusta (sorry, 98843)) [2].  The verdant scenery proves that the robots were lying for 2 centuries, and that even 200 years in the future, prime real estate with a scenic view will be squandered on an ugly government building if a Senator’s brother owns the land.

A good episode despite maybe being padded out a little.  As usual on The Outer Limits, the performances and production design are great assets. Harley Jane Kozak and David Hemblen as the Commandant were both great in their roles.

Good stuff.


  • [1] The family relationships here seem needlessly obfuscated.  The girl is referred to as 98843’s girl, but she doesn’t seem to be her daughter, although there are hints. Mid-episode, 98843 refers to the previous Elder as her father, but there was no indication of that earlier.
  • [2] Correction, Augusta began accepting female members in 2012 (as predicted by the Mayan calendar).
  • 91777 is not a prime number, but is the product of three primes:  7 x 7 x 1,873.
  • 98843 is not a prime number, but is the product of two primes:  97 x 1,019.
  • I like a prime number reference as much as the next guy, but why have a different number of factors?  I assume I’m missing something; probably missing the fact that there is no significance.
  • Harley Jane Kozak is a genresnaps fave for reasons I’m not even sure of.  Could it be one episode of LA Law I saw on Lifetime before the New Masters arrived?
  • Title Analysis:  A little too on-the-nose.

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