Outer Limits – Criminal Nature (01/23/98)

Detectives Renfro and Venable show up to the scene of  murder. Coroner Carolyn says the cause of death is cervical trauma which isn’t located where I thought it would be.  They explore a nearby warehouse.  Venable gets trapped and Renfro shoots the suspect.  Venable finds two strange things:  The woman is severely deformed, and is carrying a vial of green liquid.

Back at the police station, Carolyn tells the captain the woman is a victim of GRS — Genetic Rejection Syndrome, but based on the evidence, she was not the killer.  Ten years ago, underground labs began producing drugs to create super-kids.  Sometimes however, the kid got GRS and became violent and deformed.  The green stuff was a shot that could turn an adult into a super-adult or serve as a booster for someone who was already super.

The woman survived the shot.  She says her name is Melanie.  Her parents had wanted her to be tall so they gave her the shots and she got GRS.  Rather than be questioned, she breaks her own neck which will probably take about 8 inches off her height as her head flops around.

Carolyn goes into an elevator and a GRSer jumps in and kills her.  This was a shock in more than one way. Carolyn was a strong, beautiful, intelligent character.  Her death so early in the episode, or at all, was like Janet Leigh’s death in Psycho; except we didn’t get a shower scene.  C’mon, did this really air on Showtime?  I applaud their boldness, but I was also a little shocked by how the scene was directed.  Just seeing the GRSer, she collapsed in the corner screaming.  This woman would have put up a fight.

After leaving Carolyn dead in the elevator, her killer throws Venable against a column in the parking garage.  Turns out the deformed killer is Venable’s son Dylan.  That night, he pulls out the baby pictures.  Dylan is seen as a healthy baby, then tragically begins showing deformities as a young boy.  On the bright side, Pa Venable doesn’t seem to have aged a day in 10 years.  If this were Science Fiction Theatre, he’d be wearing the same shirt.

I’m getting increasingly uncomfortable with this episode as I was with Unnatural Selection.  The whole “deformed kids” trope is just too heart-breaking.  Not to mention, deformed humans are getting a little too frequent on Outer Limits.  We’ve just had:  Feasibility Study — humans mutate in an effort to prevent colonization of earth by aliens, the Music of the Spheres — humans mutate to survive a solar event, and Double Helix — man mutates to reveal a map on his back.

Time to bail.

Some Other Stuff:

  • Jill Teed (Carolyn) also played a coroner in The X-Files.
  • No pics.  Just nothing I really wanted to show here.  I will say that the deformed Pa Venable reminded me a little of that Nick Nolte mug shot.

Outer Limits – A Special Edition (07/25/97)

From my Voice of Reason post:  Sometimes I wish I had an editor.  The downside, of course, is that I would be fired immediately.  But it would be nice to be able to ask someone, “C’mon this is a clip-show, do I really have to do a post?”  I would happily skip it with permission, but my completist philosophy forces me to watch it.

Whereas Voice of Reason assembled a diverse group of both white men and white women, this episode goes one better and has four clones of the same white guy kick off the action.  They are parked conspicuously about 15 degrees off-kilter in a hotel parking lot waiting for newsman Donald Rivers.  The crusading journalist, the progres-sive savior of the oppressed, the afflictor of the comfortable, [3] the champion of the underdog,  outsmarts them by sending a homeless guy in his coat & hat out to be killed in his place while he sneaks down the back stairs.

Rivers takes a cab to the studio where he anchors The Whole Truth.  For this very special broadcast, they are going live.  The script is loaded into the teleprompter, back-up generators are in place, studio doors are locked down, and most importantly Rivers makes sure his make-up is perfect and tells the camera-man he wants lots of close-ups.
His producer Sandra [1] counts down.  The opening of the show, backed by a musical score, teases the big story to come.  Rivers voices over, “DNA, genetic engineering, cloning.  The daily advances in bio-technology are almost overwhelming, but what does it mean for our lives and where will it ultimately lead us?”  OK, so he has a blockbuster story about aliens, government conspiracies, the military-industrial complex, eugenics, immortality, and genocide — and his tease could have been from a 1957 episode of Nova [2] ?  Rivers just doesn’t understand ratings.

After congratulating the network for their courage in airing the episode, Rivers goes to Exhibit A, Last Supper.  He describes the horrifying tests performed on a young woman to find the secret of her immortality. Rivers runs a “dramatization” of those events which is pretty amazing since he only gave his producer the script minutes before.  Sadly, the segment does not include the part where Fred Savage hooks up with a girl his father banged 30 years earlier.  Rivers just doesn’t understand ratings.

After a commercial, Rivers introduces his source.  The informant, in shadows, is a molecular biologist from the Pentagon who claims the government is trying to “change the course of human genetic development.”  He has no beef with research into human longevity, but says the government didn’t plan on sharing that discovery with the riff-raff (i.e. him & me).  Exhibit B concerns reversing necrosis — reanimating the dead — as seen in New Lease.

Outer Limits is a little boxed in on these type of clip shows because they can’t use any episode set in the future, can’t use any episode that ended with the earth being destroyed (Trial by Fire!) or humanity being permanently altered, and it must fit within the theme of the clip show.  I guess that is why they had to reach all the way back to Blood Brothers (S1E3) for Exhibit D.

Rivers interrupts his own show to tell viewers that the show’s parent company is giving a press conference airing on some of his affiliates.  The corporate spokes-weasel says they do not control Rivers’ show and they are appalled by the sensationalism.  She says his informant is mentally ill and, “The name of his show not withstanding, he is only interested in ratings.”

What?  Didn’t I debunk that already?  Keep up, lady!  This network’s knee-jerk defense of the government and lack of curiosity is, of course, ludacris.  Well, except for 2009 – 2016.  Welcome back!

As affiliates start dropping out, Rivers brings his informant out into the light — hey, it’s Byers from The Lone Gunmen!  He is using the alias Avery Strong, but I’d know him anywhere!  In a masterstroke of economic storytelling, Exhibit E in this clip show is a scene from the first season clip show Voice of Reason, which reveals that Randall Strong, the informant in that episode, was Avery Strong’s brother.

What finally prompted Avery to go public — other than his family’s genetic disposition to be tattle-tales — was seeing alien DNA injected into a human.  We get another “drama-tization” from Exhibit F, Afterlife.  A soldier was painfully transformed into an alien. Stretching the boundaries of clip show technology, they even graft Avery into that earlier episode.

Avery’s unified theory is that the government is creating clones which they can control.  These look-alike clones will then be used to replace world leaders and other powerful individuals.  For Exhibit G, they completely wreck the time-space continuum by using a clip from a future episode, season four’s In Another Life.  They have invented the self-spoiling spoiler, so I have to fast-forward past that segment.

When I rejoin the program, power in Rivers’ studio has gone out.  As Feds pound on the door, Avery and Rivers grab the evidence and run.  We follow as the episode turns hand-held.  They end up in the Whole Truth news van.

The last Exhibit is from Dark Rain showing thousands of mutant cloned babies.  Avery shot that footage himself.  Rivers announces that they are going to that facility now.  There is a fine twist.  The repetitive stacking up of the evidence actually contributes to the denouement rather than just being a cheap dramatic device.  The episode was hurt a little by the necessary lack of a score.  As it swells over the ending, it really sells the twist.

Playing a news-reader or DJ on TV seems to be nearly impossible to do well.  DJs in particular are nearly always dreadful.  I have to give credit to Alan Thicke (Rivers).  I might not have watched Rivers’ show (or any of Thicke’s for that matter), but he did an excellent, credible job as the anchorman.  I even kind of secretly like clip shows, and they at least tried a couple of new ideas here.  The last few minutes even rise to a Trial by Fire level of quality.

A Special Edition was no Special Bulletin, but it was pretty good.

Other Stuff:

  • [1] In a bizarre choice, Sandra wears an almost comically short skirt.  It’s not like she is a floozy — she is a 39 year old professional woman.  She’s attractive, but not eye-candy for the episode.  Weird, man.  Maybe that’s what the producers at FOX News look like.
  • [2] OK, PBS was created in 1970, and Nova began in 1974.  Wait, the evil Richard Nixon allowed this to happen?  Next you’ll be telling me the EPA began on his watch.
  • [3] As in “The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”.  Which is complete bullshit.  How about honestly reporting the story?

Alfred Hitchcock Presents – The Crystal Trench (10/04/59)

In September 1907, a train rolls across one of those impossibly huge bridges in the Alps.  I’m not sure we could build one of those now.  It’s like those gigantic statues and titular towers in Lord of the Rings; how did those simpletons build such colossal structures?  There is probably a 50 page LOTR answer replete with Elvish songs, so I retract the question.

Mark Cavendish [1] is arriving in Switzerland today to climb the Schwarzhorn, which I hear is very popular in German porn.  He sees the other members of his climbing party arguing on the veranda about whether they can see some dumbkopfs atop the mountain at 4:00 PM.  That would very dangerous as the weather is unpredictable, visibility decreases, and the pro shop charges you another full day for carabiners and crampons.

That night, the concierge — possibly the hotel manager, but concierge is so much more fun to say . . .  Concierge!  Concierge! — informs Cavendish there has been an accident on the mountain.  Mr. Ranks led a pair of young men up the mountain, taking a route that was beyond their skills.  Only Ranks and George Liston made it back. The other young man, Michael Ballister, died before reaching the summit.  Ranks and Liston were too fatigued to haul him down.  The manager thinks since Cavendish is from England like Ballister, he should be the one to tell Mrs. Ballister to cancel that couples massage.

They find the lovely Stella Ballister sitting alone in the ballroom as others dance around her.  Apparently, they feel this is the perfect place to let her know her husband of six months is dead.  Before Cavendish can give her the news, she asks him to dance.  She is not flirting; she loves her husband, but just feels like having a little fun with a fellow Brit.  They get in a few steps before he takes her aside and says, “Mrs. Ballister, your husband is dead. His body is up on the Schwarzhorn.”  Amuse-bouche?

Stella insists that he retrieve her husband’s body off the mountain. Cavendish and his pals brave a Frosty Blizzard and a blinding Blast of McFlurries to find Ballister. Despite the heavy snow, they are wearing lederhosen (also fun to say  . . . Lederhosen!  Lederhosen!) [3] and hats that don’t cover their ears.  They find Cavendish draped frozen along the side of a cliff.  As they are hauling him up, they lose their grip and he comically slides down the mountain like Stallone rode that dude in Cliffhanger,[4] until he disappears into both a crevise and a crevasse.

Cavendish returns and again must give Stella tragic news — maybe during pool aerobics this time. She asks him to go with her to see Ranks and Liston in the hospital where they are recovering from frostbite.  Stella thinks Michael was too strong to just die of expo-sure. She wants to get “the truth” out of the two men.  At the hospital, Ranks is wheeled in.  He gives Stella his condolences.  Ranks admits they left with too little food and that the boys were too inexperienced for the route he took.  Even in a wheelchair, he’s a stand-up guy.  However, he insists that he and Liston stayed with Ballister until he died.

Stella doesn’t buy his story and shouts, “You left him up there to die!  I know it!”  The nurse wheels Ranks back out and Stella gets her groove back.  She tells Cavendish that she will keep her husband alive through her memories.  She — not me, she — says it will be easy because being packed in ice, he will never change.

Back in London, Cavendish and Stella begin attending dinner and concerts together.  One day, she invites him to tea and he shows up with a ring.  She refuses his proposal.  To explain why, she takes him with her to see a professor.  He describes — in very authentic sounding jargon, BTW — how glaciers move and transform over time.  He blows his credibility when he absurdly predicts the glacier will poop Ballister out in 40 years on July 21, 1947, around tea time.  Stella plans to wait all that time to be with her beloved, perfectly preserved Michael.  In a stunning Hollywood reversal, the wife would be 40 years older than the husband.  Madness, I tells ya!

Forty years later, Cavendish and Stella return to the glacier. [5] Some men picking at the ice, not realizing it will never get better, reveal Ballister’s frozen face, unchanged after 40 years in the glacier — I guess . . . we never saw him before.  Cavendish retrieves a locket from around Ballister’s neck.  Stella doesn’t seem thrilled.  When Cavendish opens the locket, the picture inside is another woman.  He tries to protect Stella, but she knows her husband had no such locket with her picture.  She takes the locket and tosses it back on the ice.

There is a lot to like here . . . I seem to use that phrase a lot in a passive-aggressive way.  I enjoyed the location.  This ain’t a James Bond movie — you’re working with a 1950s TV budget, meaning stock footage, papier-mâché rocks and snow made of deadly asbestos shavings.  But they were all cut together great.  In particular, the shot of Ballister sailing down the mountain sticks with me.  That is too specific to be stock footage, and didn’t strike me as a model. It was just a great drawn-out Hitchcockian “uh-oh” moment like Norman Bates trying to sink Marion’s car.  If that shot cost half the budget, it was worth it.

Although I respect the twist, it rings hollow.  While I enjoy seeing other people waste their lives — the Dead-Heads always made me feel like my life actually had direction — the premise is just too flimsy.  OK, Stella’s handsome young husband died tragically.  I can imagine her going into seclusion.  I can imagine her heart-broken.  I can imagine her never remarrying.  I can imagine her expressing her grief by having a steamy affair with the proper young woman who just arrived on the train to be a dance instructor at the local academy, who wears jodhpurs even though she doesn’t have a horse, and never had time for men and their boorish ways.  However, I can’t understand her waiting 40 years for her dead husband’s body to reappear.  To what end?  And Cavendish, dude!

Still, 30 minutes well-spent.

Other Stuff:

  • AHP Deathwatch:  Only one survivor, but his character had no name.  However, the professor (Patrick McNee) had a good run, dying at 95 in 2015.
  • [1] James Donald, Senior British Officer at Stalag III.
  • [2] Werner Klemperer, Senior German Officer at Stalag XIII.
  • [3] Or maybe they were knickers.  They were pants that did not break at the shoe, but ended with socks from the calf down.  Just seems a strange choice for freezing weather.
  • [4] I didn’t find a clip, but everyone should watch Cliffhanger (again).  It’s just great fun.
  • [5] I think it was meant to be a stunning reveal when the actors turn to the camera and are made up to be older.  However, we already knew it was 40 years later.  I do admire the restraint of the make-up, though.  Rather than the hideous job done on Guy Pearce in Prometheus (or anyone ever in any series of Star Trek), for example, just some gray hair and an ashen complexion are perfectly adequate.
  • This is the end of Hulu’s AHP line-up.

Outer Limits – Feasibility Study (07/11/97)

Sometimes I will accuse an episode of setting up a story that is never told.  Usually, my complaint is because the other story would have been an improvement over the bile left on the screen. Tonight, however, I am happy to see the alt-plot take off on a motorcycle not to be seen again for 40 minutes.

Sarah Hayward brings her boyfriend Nicky home to meet her father.  Pop is not crazy about the motorcycle-riding hooligan.  The good news for him and the viewers is that they will never see each other again.  What could have been another angsty teen drama with a sprinkling of sci-fi is pared down to its SF essence.  Mr. Hayward convinces Nicky to slow down their relationship and sends him away.  While calling Sarah from a phone booth, Nicky sees Sarah’s neighborhood scooped up from the earth like Jouret IV  [1] and get transported away.

Hayward is returning from a run when he is caught by his neighbor Pat Dooley.  Despite being neighbors for three years, they’ve never spoken.  Within seconds, Dooley is blabbing his life story about his wife’s death from cervical cancer, and asking for a ride to work, thus illustrating why people don’t talk to their neighbors.  Hayward gets the last laugh by transporting Dooley to work after not taking a shower because the utilities are off.

Another set of strangers neighbors is having breakfast.  Dickish attorney Daniel Tenzer is established as a tool early on.  He pictures himself a tough-guy because of his prowess in the court-room.  Their phones are out and his too-good-for-him wife suggests he ask to use a neighbor’s. He says then they will think he owes them a favor.

Dooley and Hayward begun their drive to the city.  They soon encounter a shimmering barrier across the road which blocks their passage, however, they are thrilled to now be living in a gated community. The camera pulls back to show the neighborhood now sits atop a spire on an alien world.  Tenzer pulls up in his Mercedes and is literally about as useful as a lawyer in an apocalypse.  I’ll say this for him, though, he is smarter than Dooley who gets handsy with the barrier and is sucked into it.

Sarah sneaks out of the house in a fabulous ensemble topped off by a beret.  In the woods, she is grabbed by a blue alien with barnacles on his head.  She screams and he says, “I know I look horrible.  It is the disease.”  He is an alien, so what is the symptom that he thinks scared her?  The blue skin, the webbed fingers, the cthulhu tentacles, the barnacles?  He is an alien, for crying out loud — how does he think she knows what his “normal” is?  To his credit, though, he did not scream at the sight of her nose-ring.

He says most of his people are dead, that it is something in the air.  He explains that they are both are in the same predicament.  They have been brought to this moon by the Triunes. He says “you have machines that protect you” as he fondles her headphones.  He asks for her help.  Boy, is he in the wrong neighborhood.

Like Maple Street when the titular monsters were due, the neighbors meet in the street.  Hayward suggests pooling their resources, but they aren’t crazy about that idea. When the neighborhood security guard shows him Sarah’s backpack, he asks for help finding her.  Again, no takers.  Tenzer says they have their own families to worry about.

Blue-Boy leads Sarah through a breach in the barrier.  Although an earlier shot suggested they should be falling to their death, they arrive in a rocky desert wasteland.  Scattered around are his dead, fully barnacled “people”, all in red garments. Strangely, there are 5-foot towers of rocks with red material tied around them.  At first I thought his people had turned into these stones, but no.  It took me a minute to figure out that they must be elaborately stacked cairns with a ribbon of the deceased’s clothing.  It amazes me that most TV is such crap that a little thing like this is awesome.  Kudos on leaving this for the viewer to figure out!

But then the tone-deafness returns.  Blue-Boy again refers to Sarah’s Walkman as a “medical device” that will protect her.  That’s a fun idea, although, why the hell would he jump to that conclusion?  But the boneheadedness is in the branding.  The unit clearly says WALKMAN [2], which was a product made by Sony.  OK, TV likes to hide brand names unless they are getting paid for it, so Sony is replaced by fake company MD. Blue-Boy calls it a medical device — MD.  Hunh?  Is that a coincidence?  Did he call it a medical device because it said MD?  How did this gargoyle who never saw a human before learn to read English?  Plus, when he referenced it earlier, he motioned toward her headset — the unit with the MD logo was hidden on her belt.  I am utterly baffled by this.

While Hayward and the security guard are looking for Sarah, they find Dooley is back from the other side.  He says the aliens examined him, but he seems to have not gotten the standard anal probe.  He tells Hayward that they are no longer on earth and seems oddly chipper about it.  Hayward hears Sarah’s voice and goes through the barrier to find her.  Unfortunately, he is diverted to the examination room where he gets the full Dooley.

The aliens tell him the neighborhood was brought to their world to test human’s feasibility as slaves.  The aliens assure him humans “will enjoy the usual perquisites of slavery” which I guess are room and board; although interstellar slaves miss out on the fabulous sea cruise. If humans are the first species to survive their atmosphere, the aliens will come pick up a few million more.  This group is the Swedish Meatballs at the end of the CostCo aisle.

Hayward proposes to his neighbors that they all infect themselves so the aliens believe humans can’t survive their atmosphere, thus saving the earth.  He takes his daughter’s hand to infect himself.  The preacher takes Hayward’s other hand.  Another man takes his free hand and Mrs. Tenzen joins in probably just to get away from her husband.  It’s a nice kumbaya visual, but unless this disease conducts like lightning, and about that fast, I don’t think this daisy-chain approach would work.

Meanwhile back on earth, Nicky returns to look at the big hole in the ground.  I wonder if he is silently thanking Hayward for saving him, you know, from marriage.

Another fine episode.


  • [1] Although The Best of Both Worlds is two of the best hours in TV history, I was always disappointed we never got to see the Borg city-scooping in that episode or any other.  And what was the point of it, anyway?  The Borg wanted bodies and technology.  How did scooping up a city fulfill those needs?  Maybe they will show us on Star Trek: Discovery, but I won’t see it — I will NEVER pay for TV other than VHS, DVDs, Blu-Rays, cable, NetFlix, Amazon Prime and Hulu.  NEVER, I tells ya!
  • [2] Does anyone under 25 even know what these were?  They were like early iPods . . . does anyone under 30 even know what they were?  They played cassettes . . . does anyone even know what they were?  They were like tiny reel-to-reels . . . does anyone even know . . . feeling old now.  BTW, this is the 2nd 1997 Outer Limits episode where a cute blonde girl listening to rock & roll was expected to save the world.  Is there anything they can’t do?
  • There is a preacher in the episode played by an actor named French Tickner.  I wonder if he ever had a nickname.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents – Arthur (09/27/59)

The titular Arthur addresses the camera while stroking his c**k.  Oh come, it’s a chicken!  He is quite proud of his New Zealand chicken farm which he operates solo, and the fact that he got away with a murder.  In fact, he chokes his chicken — oh, grow up! — right on camera, committing another murder most fowl.  “Yes, that’s right,” he says a little too chipperly, “I am a murderer.” [1]

We cut to Arthur taking a roast chicken out of the oven, but I don’t think that was the corpus delishti he was talking about.  Even after making this gourmet dinner for one, his tie is still tight and his white apron is neat, form-fitting, and spotless.  I get more stains than that making reservations.  I thought he was done addressing the audience, but this guy won’t shut up.  He continues jabbering as he carves the bird.  He goes on about his fiancee Helen to the point where I’m begging for a flashback.  Oh . . . .

Helen drops by one evening and tells Arthur that she can’t marry him.  She is going to marry gambler Stanley Brathwaite.  She is not happy cooped up on the chicken farm with Arthur — ha, get it?  Cooped up?  She wants to travel the world with Stanley.  She says she only agreed to marry Arthur because she wasn’t sure anything better would come along.  Oh sh*t!  Did she not watch Fargo (Season 1)?

“Well, that’s the end of these shoes.”

A year after that carnage, a couple of government workers stop by.  Fortunately it is the Police and not the Health Department.  He proudly shows Sgt. Theron his high-tech gadgets which enable him to murder so many chickens single-handedly.  For instance that feed grinder, which is big enough to put a woman into.  He tells Theron he’ll meet him at the pub for chess and goes into the farmhouse.  Helen is there.

She has come crawling back from Stanley.  This being 1959, she doesn’t move in, but she does take over.  She cooks meals, but leaves the dishes stacked up.  She fills the ashtrays with butts.  Arthur likes being on his own and tells her so.  She is so upset that she knocks a coffee pot over on the carpet.  He asks her if she would be miserable if he threw her out.  Having never seen AHP, she says, “I’d rather be dead.”  He strangles her and she makes the same hilarious sound as the chicken — I mean, literally the same sound clip.   Well-played!

Three weeks later, Sgt Theron drops by again.  Seems Helen is missing.  Theron and an Inspector take a look around, but don’t find anything.  They leave, but have an officer keeping an eye on the place.

For reasons I can’t figure out, Arthur strategically decides to disappear for three days.  As he leaves, he tells us he wants them to believe he is making Crippen’s mistake. [2]  Arthur hides out in a cave for three days, then returns home.  A cave would seem to be the last place this fastidious, anal-retentive twerp would hang out.  It is also strange that they serve up this blatant resurrection reference but do nothing with it.

Arthur returns to find the police tearing up his farm looking for Helen.  They even try to dupe him by saying they found a body in the barn.  While I fully support tricking murderers into confessions, this is a stupidly specific way to do it.

Yada, yada, after the police fail to implicate Arthur, he sends Theron a nice chicken dinner to show there are no hard feelings.  Theron also raises chickens and asks Arthur what feed mixture produced these fabulous birds.  Arthur gives him all the ingredients except one.

Less than the sum of its mixed parts.  You better like Laurence Harvey because you’re going to get a lot of him.  I liked the farm which was probably just a backdrop after the first building.  However, it worked because it was well-crafted and also seemed like just the kind of perfectly clean operation Arthur would run.  The scenes inside the coop are great, although probably not so great for the chickens.  On the other hand, the scene we see is probably practically free-range compared to the industrial torture chambers chickens live in now.


  • [1] The sound the chicken makes as Arthur snaps its neck is laughably human.
  • [2] The story at the link is pretty interesting; but I don’t know who would have ever gotten that reference before Google was invented.
  • AHP Deathwatch:  Tragically, no survivors in this cast of thousands.
  • AHP is getting pretty edgy — after the indirect incest of Touché, this episode features indirect cannibalism.
  • The lead character is named Arthur Williams.  The story is credited to Arthur Williams.  The title of the episode is Arthur.  Get over yourself!
  • Alternate title:  The Murders in the Perdue Morgue.
  • Strangely, Hulu calls this episode 37 of Season 4, but IMDb calls it episode 1 of Season 5.  The opening theme has a new arrangement.  The change, like all change, is for the worse.