Outer Limits – The Deprogrammers (S2E16)

oldeprog07I wish I could deprogram this from my line-up.  See what I did there?

Earth has been conquered by giant reptilian aliens which have brainwashed and enslaved humanity to be worshipful and submissive to their new masters; just like the media to Obama.

They might be murderous beasts, but they haven’t lost touch with their softer side.  Koltok has 2 human slaves draw him a warm bath in what appears to be the lobby of a hotel.  He then calls for bath oils to go into the viscous goo he bathes in, which already appears to be about 30-weight.  When one of the slaves drops the oil, Koltok slaps him across the room, killing him.

The other slave, Evan, is due to leave that day for a rejuvenation i.e. re-education update after bath time. However, he is abducted from the bus and awakens in a resistance facility run by Professor Davis (Brent Spiner).  To break his literally slavish devotion the lizards, Davis throws him around the room with a strength I doubt Spiner possesses, but gets no reaction.

They then leave him alone in a bedroom with a one way mirror.  When he sees his own reflection for the first time since his enslavement, he passes out.  Davis throws him into a bathtub and sprays him in the face with the shower.  Evan tries to escape, but just happens to open the door where is wife is staying . . . who just happens to be standing right by the door.

oldeprog08This leads to an interminable series of melodramatic scenes meant to bring Evan’s humanity to the surface again.  Finally, after learning of the death of their child, he is back to his old self (no, his old-old self) and agrees to go on a mission to kill Koltok.

Supposedly back from his rejuvenation, Evan is once again drawing Koltok a bath.  He brings the precious oils to him, but drops the bottle in the bath.  The oil has been replaced with some agent that hardens the goo he bathes in so he is trapped.  Evan beats him to death and takes his head back to resistance HQ.  Fortunately, no one along his route questions why he is carrying a blood-soaked white pillow case.  And this was no small head — this was one of those Ted Kennedy 25-pounders.

Unfortunately, the resistance operation is a ruse and this has all been an insidious plot to 1) kill Koltok so his even more eviller rival can succeed him, and 2) waste 45 minutes of my life.

oldeprog09Erich Anderson brings nothing to his role as Evan, though, to be fair he is basically playing a zombie for most of the episode.  His wife did not exactly leap off the screen either.

The big surprise and disappointment was Brent Spiner as the head of the resistance.  Whether it was simple miscasting, or maybe he is just too type-cast as Data, he is largely responsible for the failure of the episode.  Every time he spoke, I heard EmotionChipData, Lore or the young Noonian Soong.

There is also the strange decision to show only the reptile’s arm for most of the episode.  We only get a shot of the head and body near the very end.  While they are certainly monstrous, the reveal is not shocking enough to justify the wait.  And the reptilian arms are not alien enough to generate much suspense about what they are connected to.

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  • Canadian disc title:  Les Déprogammeurs.

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