The Outer Limits: Season 6, Episode 13

Decompression (30 Jun. 2000)

TV Episode  |   |  Drama, Fantasy, Horror
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An emissary from the future struggles to convince the next U.S. President to jump from an airliner, before it crashes, killing him and setting off a disastrous future. The candidate is ... See full summary »



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Title: Decompression (30 Jun 2000)

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Episode cast overview:
Jon Tarkman
Catherine Walsh
Will Sunderland
Michael Dowd
Dale Wilson ...
Frank McKenna
The Stranger
Keith Martin Gordey ...
Kristina Matisic ...
Winston Brown ...
Male Staff Member
Colin Banner ...
Stranger #2


An emissary from the future struggles to convince the next U.S. President to jump from an airliner, before it crashes, killing him and setting off a disastrous future. The candidate is already torn in several directions, elated from a big primary win, avoiding an interview by an aggressive reporter, excited by having his mistress on-board, with his frigid wife absent. The time traveler assures the candidate he needs no parachute, because the advanced technology his presidency will make possible, allows them to scoop him out of the sky. Written by David Stevens

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30 June 2000 (Canada)  »

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An Interesting Take on the "Character Issue"
9 February 2009 | by (Denver, Colorado) – See all my reviews

American political campaigns are all about "character issues," like, did the candidate serve in the military? does he have marital problems? or, did he get stoned in college? For potential voters who'd like to hear about civic issues instead of personality traits, nothing is more frustrating, and this episode of the Outer Limits plays around with notions of character and civics in a suspense-filled and insightful way.

First, the writers throw us a red herring, just like political campaigns do. The slick "populist" presidential candidate is having an affair, and there's a reporter on board the plane with them who just might notice! But, just like real campaigns, much more significant things are at stake, and, just like in real elections, no one seems overly interested in them. The reporter drops the real issue, about technology and privacy, which he uncovers in an aborted interview, as soon as the candidate starts behaving oddly.

The show maintains its suspense effectively. The audience knows something no one else but the candidate knows, and has to watch and see how he will handle the information, while trying to guess whether everyone else on board the plane is actually misreading the situation or not. The action is confined to a small, claustrophobic setting. The time traveler who unhinges the candidate is effectively unsettling, and the story she has to tell strikes the right balance between credibility and BS. The candidate, his staff, and the reporter all behave believably, if a little stereotypically, and the audience has plenty of foreshadowing to set up the "twist" ending.

This is one of the better Outer Limits episodes.

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