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The Outer Limits: The New Breed

A doctor creates nanomachines that are capable of fixing any health issue, but the first recipient finds out that their gifts come with a terrible price.

Episode Info  

Episode number: 1x17
Airdate: Wednesday July 05th, 1995

Guest Stars
Peter OuterbridgePeter Outerbridge
As Dr. Andy Groening
Richard ThomasRichard Thomas
As Dr. Stephen Ledbetter
Tammy IsbellTammy Isbell
As Judy Hudson

Co-Guest Stars
L. Harvey GoldL. Harvey Gold
As Dr. Merritt
Veena SoodVeena Sood
As Dr. Katzman
Main Cast
Kevin Conway (1)Kevin Conway (1)
voiced The Control Voice
Episode Quotes
Richard Ledbetter: Let’s just say… God created a flawed man. I think I can do better!

Dr. Andy Groening: Do the X-Rays show anything?
Dr. Katzman: I believe we’ve located the source of your back pain.
Dr. Andy Groening: What is it, a pulled muscle?
Dr. Katzman: I’m afraid it’s not that easy. The tests indicate a mass in your pelvic region.
Dr. Andy Groening: What kind of mass?
Dr. Katzman: Osteosarcoma.
Dr. Andy Groening: Cancer.
Dr. Katzman: I’m sorry.

(After healing from a serious knife wound in seconds.)
Dr. Andy Groening: They won’t let me die. It’s ironic, isn’t it? Two weeks ago, I would have sold my soul for a new lease on life. And it appears that’s exactly what I have. Now I’m desperate to die and I can’t.

Control Voice: (closing narration) Over millions of years man has become the very paragon of animals. But we must take care not to alter what nature has taken so long to forge, or risk being burned by the very fires of creation.

Control Voice: (opening narration) Man has long worked to stave off the disease that can ravage us. But what can happen when the cure grows more fearsome than the disease?

Ledbetter tells the audience at the beginning of the episode that his machines can repair malfunctioning cells. Human science is nowhere near this level of understanding of cellular function; the mechanics of cellular activity are enormously complex. Putting that aside, the machines later make unprogrammed physiological changes to their host in response to external events such as injuries and stresses. Still later, they make modifications (such as gills) that could not have been programmed because they were never part of human physiology. Either Ledbetter programmed them with various sorts of animal physiologies - dangerous, to say the least - or they demonstrated an emergent property of collective intelligence and deduced how to counter the stresses that challenged their host. They're either much smarter than even Ledbetter realized when he claimed he could improve on God, or the premise of the episode is fundamentally flawed and this commentary belongs in 'Goofs' instead. I leave it to the reader to decide which explanation he prefers.

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