Soldier (The Outer Limits)

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"Soldier"
The Outer Limits episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 1
Directed by Gerd Oswald
Written by Harlan Ellison
Cinematography by Kenneth Peach
Production code 34
Original air date September 19, 1964
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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"The Forms of Things Unknown"
Next →
"Cold Hands, Warm Heart"
List of The Outer Limits episodes

"Soldier" is an episode of the original The Outer Limits television show. It opened the second season of shows on 19 September 1964.

For the second season, Ben Brady took over as producer from Joseph Stefano. This is the first of two episodes written by Hugo and Nebula award-winning science fiction author Harlan Ellison, and is adapted from his 1957 short story "Soldier From Tomorrow."

Introduction[edit]

A soldier from Earth's future is sent back in time where he is captured by the government.

Opening narration[edit]

Night comes too soon on the battlefield. For some men it comes permanently; their eyes never open to the light of day. But for this man, fighting this war, there is never total darkness. The spidery beams of light in the sky are the descendants of the modern laser beam — heat rays that sear through tungsten steel and flesh as though they were cheesecloth. And this soldier must go against those weapons. His name is Qarlo, and he is a footsoldier, the ultimate infantryman. Trained from birth by the State, he has never known love, or closeness, or warmth. He is geared for only one purpose: to kill the Enemy. And the Enemy waits for him…

Additional narration[edit]

Time is fluid. The waters of forever close — and passage may not be completed. The present and the future are for a moment united. And the Enemy, half-today, half-tomorrow, is locked between…

Plot[edit]

Eighteen hundred years in the future, two foot soldiers clash on a battlefield. A random energy weapon strikes both, and they are hurled into a time vortex. While one soldier is trapped in the matrix of time, the other, Qarlo Clobregnny, materializes on a city street in the United States in the year 1964.

Qarlo is soon captured and interrogated by Tom Kagan, a philologist, and his origin is eventually discovered. Qarlo has been trained for one purpose - to kill the enemy, and that is all he knows. Progress is made in "taming" him after Kagan translates his seemingly unintelligible language - "Nims qarlo clobregnny prite arem aean teaan deao" - into colloquial English..."(My) name is Qarlo Clobregnny, private, RM EN TN DO"; his name, rank and serial letters, which is what any soldier would reveal if captured by the enemy. After a short time in captivity, Qarlo comes to live with the Kagan family, with much reluctance being expressed by his government associates, in an effort to further break through Qarlo's tough exterior, and share knowledge of his way of life in the future.

However, the time eddy holding the enemy soldier slowly weakens. Finally, he materializes fully, and tracks Qarlo to the Kagan home. In a final hand-to-hand battle, Qarlo sacrifices his life to kill the enemy and save the Kagan family.

Closing narration[edit]

From the darkest of all pits, the soul of Man, come the darkest questions: Did the soldier finally come to care for those he protected? Or was it just his instinct to kill? Questions from the dark pit. But no answers. For answers lie in the future. Is it a future in which men are machines, born to kill, or is there time for us? Time. All the time in the world… but is that enough?

Production[edit]

Interiors were shot at Paramount Studios. Qarlo's "War Zone" was shot on the Paramount Sunset stage, a gigantic stage the size of three stages put together. A sky cyclorama ran all the way round it and a horizon line of mountains was placed in front of that in diminshed perspective. A fog machine provided the landscape with a smokey haziness. The gun shop scene was filmed on the Paramount Backlot, on New York Street.[1]

Copyright issues[edit]

Ellison brought suit against The Terminator production company Hemdale and distributor Orion Pictures for plagiarism[2] of this episode. According to The Los Angeles Times, the parties settled the lawsuit for an undisclosed amount, and an acknowledgement of Ellison's works in the credits of Terminator.[2]

Cast[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Outer Limits: The Official Companion (Ace Trade, 1986), page 295.
  2. ^ a b Marx, Andy. "IT'S MINE All Very Well and Good, but Don't Hassle the T-1000". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-08-22. 

External links[edit]