Outer Limits – The Joining (04/17/98)

The title card tells us we are on the USAS [1] outpost in the Aphrodite Highlands on Venus.  I think it is on Cytherea Lane, across from the Cypris Mall.  Jeez, Goddess of Love, get over yourself — you’re worse than Robert Byrd.

The structure has been compromised, and a team is checking it out.  They find Captain Miles Davidow still alive.  When no one is looking, a pot-sticker wriggles down his leg [2] and slinks away, but that real-fast slinking.  The search party takes him back to the ship, and seven months later, he is debriefed (hee-hee) on the crash of Highlander.

Mile was a no-air traffic controller bringing her in.  They replay a tape from Highlander’s black box.  The ship disintegrated 1,000 feet above the surface, and the debris badly damaged the outpost and its antenna.  Dr. Hughes was killed, but Miles evacuated to the Lab Module with Major Braithwaite.  They only had a 3-month supply of oxygen — if there were two people and they both breathe.  However, the party found Braithwaite with a gunshot wound in the melon.  Awkward.

Miles’ telling of Braithwaite’s death contains a brutally hackneyed trope.  They know there is not enough oxygen for two people.  Braithwaite pulls a gun on Miles and yells at him about the oxygen crisis.  He seems crazy and is very menacing pointing the shaking gun at Miles.  As Miles cowers, Braithwaite says, “Forgive me”.  Then he suddenly swings the gun back at his own head and fires.  Yeah, you get a few seconds of suspense out of it, but it bugs me.  Why point the gun at Miles?

Miles says he injected himself with Cryotol to slow his breathing.  Thus he could make the now-six month supply of fresh air last seven months; eight if he didn’t eat the freeze-dried burritos.  They accept his explanation and ask about Dr. Hughes’ encrypted files about the fossil microorganisms.  He says unfortunately the password died with her.

Later, Commander Kate Girard of the rescue party — his fiancee — comments how pale he looks.  Miles says, “I have the resistance and metabolism of a chemo patient.  I keep losing weight.”  Kate says “You must have been breathing like a yoga master to survive on air that thin.  I don’t know how you did it, Miles.”  It’s the Cryotol, baby — you were in the debriefing!

Dr. Perkins has a theory that putting him a contraption that simulates Venus might help, as sulfuric acid always does.  The device is pretty impressive though.  To be honest, this episode was a slog until now.  After Miles gets out of the machine, his arm begins pulsating.  There is something under the skin which it bursts out like an alien Alien.  It is just a glob of tissue though.  Dr. Perkins later says it appeared to be in the early stages of becoming a hand.  Good stuff.  Amazingly the wound heals almost immediately.

While locked up in quarantine, Miles asks Kate to marry him the next day.  During the ceremony, Miles has a flashback to the thing bursting out of his arm which can’t be a good sign.  I must say, though, the USAS dress uniform is pretty snappy with the white band collar shirt.  I could totally see that in the future.

During Miles’ next treatment, he gets a literal chest-burster as a huge mass of tissue bursts through his chest.  This glob is like an unformed rib-cage leading the doctors to theorize that it mimics the part of the body that expelled it.

A few days later, Dr. Perkins is called because Miles is in great pain.  When he arrives, Miles has already expelled another glob of tissue, this one almost the size and shape of a human.  OK, where was this one expelled from?  I was able to overlook the arm expulsion and the 20 pound chest expulsion, but this is the size of a human.  WTF is all this mass coming from?  Is Miles hollow inside now?

Miles admits he injected himself with DNA from a Venusian creature in order to extend his life support supplies.  He has another attack.  This time, through his gut, he gives birth to a full grown human that seems to be even bigger than he is.  Again, WTF is all this meat coming from?  It attacks Dr. Perkins and Kate, but she stabs it.    In seconds, Miles Prime is back on his feet and Miles Prime Rib is dead.

The USAS decides Miles must be killed.  Kate comes up with an alternate plan.  Miles is sent back to Venus where the outpost is now staffed by a multitude of Miles looking like the worst 1980s movie ever.

This story was a little tedious until we got a boost from the production.  I never got a decent shot of the device Miles was treated in.  The lights and spinning horseshoe arms on each end were just great.  The meat Miles ejected was nothing special, but the idea of it getting closer to human each time was interesting (physics be damned).  C. Thomas Howell, frankly, was not great as Miles.  I must say, though, the more he had to endure, the better he got.  I could feel the pain as he was birthing these things.

But mostly that band collar.  Must buy band collar shirt.

Other Stuff:

  • [1]  I would like to know what USAS stands for.
  • [2] That is ridiculous.  Upon closer examination, it could be a pasta shell.

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