Outer Limits – The Hunt (01/30/98)

Four people are taken out to the woods for a nice weekend of hunting.  The other four, that is. These four are going to be hunted for sport.[1]

They wisely take off running immediately.  Clute Nichols, his brother George, and nephew Eric pursue them with a guide.  George nails one, literally, with a steel arrow.  I don’t what kind of iBow he is using — it has a red light, but doesn’t seem to have any technology built into it.

When they arrive at the body, their guide Pete skins the victim, revealing him to be an android.  I can see no point to the skinning.  Yes, they are trying to emulate an actual hunt, but this is just crazy.  It is traditional in these hunts to keep the CPU as a trophy. Wouldn’t most dudes rather keep the head, though?  A moose-head is pretty sad, but a row of shiny terminator noggins on the mantle — awesome!

While they are taking pictures beside their skinned trophy, Clute’s nephew Eric is clearly not on board with the concept.  George explains the robots are destined for the scrap-heap anyway.  Environmentalists made sure animals couldn’t be hunted.  Clute tells Eric his grandfather killed polar bears on the tundra and lions on the Serengeti, like that’s a good thing.

George showing off the CPU of which he could only remember 2/3 of the name. Kudos for putting his cap on the dead android.  “Hey, look at me — I’m a hunter, I’m a hunter!”

I don’t know what these robots were used for, but they’re not very bright.  After running away from the hunters, and even after the hunters take time to pose with the corpse, somehow Pete is right on top of them.  He fires a warning arrow to get their attention, and explains the rules.  He says they will have a fair chance . . . although giving them the rules before killing the first contestant would have been a little more sporting.

If any of them make it to the final marker, they will be given their freedom.  They are given a 15 minute head-start, but the next scene is the hunting party enjoying a luxurious gourmet meal in a tent. [2]

We learn that there is a $40,000 fine for hunting androids, but a 1 year fine for hunting actual animals.  The androids have an inhibitor chip which prevents them from harming humans or each other; but they were programmed with a survival instinct.

At the android camp, Doc is working on Tara’s robot hand.  She regards humans as sadistic savages, but Kel defends them.  He says they can’t be sadists because they know androids can’t feel the pain they inflict.

The next morning, the hunters catch up to the androids.  George tells his son to take the shot.  He reluctantly lines it up, then purposely misses.  When George smacks Eric, Clute tells him that better not happen again.

The androids find a cabin in the woods.  There are weapons in the cabin, but the androids are powerless to use them.  Then they find schematics for their systems.  Doc reprograms Tara to be a killer then instructs her how to reprogram him.  Kel is having none of this.  He continues to take the human’s side.

The androids pound sharpened stakes into a log and hoist it above the trail,  When George breaks the trip wire, it swings down, one of the spikes slicing his stomach.  They go to the same cabin to bandage George. When they find the plans, Clute explains that they could be used to remove the inhibitor chip.  Clute left the plans and weapons there for the androids.  He says he is just giving George what he asked for — “to go on a real hunt.  Like the days before they were outlawed.”  Back when polar bears and lions had weapons, I guess.

Clute remembers when hunting involved skill and danger.  Just as George thinks his son is a wimp for not wanting to kill androids, Clute thinks his brother is soft for wanting to shoot “fish in a barrel”.  Hunting means “going after your prey on a level playing field.”

Now that the androids have a chance, however, Mr Level Playing Field  breaks out rifles with digital scopes.  Clute and Pete go scout around, telling George to stay put.  Naturally he drags Eric off into the woods, enabling Tara to steal some rifles.  Clute wings Doc, but Tara and Kel are able to help him escape.

After Clute sees the rifles have been stolen, he gets serious.  He again sees Doc and this time kills him, giving a big laugh.  They pursue Kel and Tara with mini-rocket launchers.  Tara is able to corner Pete and Eric.  Kel convinces her not to kill them, but to use them to negotiate a truce.

Kel suspects Pete is a android and slices him open.  He is an android who was once hunted.  He made it to the final marker and won his freedom.  They let Eric go, but the idiot George ends up shooting his son by accident.

Yada, yada, Clute and Tara end up dead also.  Pete and Kel get to the final marker and a game warden says Kel is free because he survived an illegal hunt.  He says he’d rather go back to the mines than live around humans.  So he is neutered and becomes a guide.

Another fine episode.

Other Stuff:

  • [1] That would have made more sense if I had grabbed the right picture.
  • [2] It is explained that the robots run on solar power, so they aren’t going to get very far at night. They are still moving around, though, so they could have made it a few miles.

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