Blank Slate (The Outer Limits)
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|The Outer Limits episode|
|Episode no.||Season 5|
|Written by||Will Dixon|
|Original air date||2 April 1999|
"Blank Slate" is an episode of The Outer Limits television show. It first aired on 2 April 1999, during the fifth season.
A man is being chased down an alley. He ends up in a shelter without any recollection of who he is, just that his memories are stored in a small box he is carrying.
|“||Do our memories define our identity? If we're merely the sum of our experiences, what do we become when those experiences are lost?||”|
A man desperately clutching a small metal case is being chased down an alley by two well-dressed men, Vincent (Michael Tiernan) and Cole (Brian Jensen). He barely manages to evade his pursuers and stumbles into a homeless shelter run by Hope Wilson (Robbi Chong) and her mentor, Jack Parsons (Larry Musser).
Hope believes that there is something unusual about the injured and exhausted man. He looks run-down and appears to be a junkie, but his hands are soft and delicate and his fingernails manicured suggesting refinement and culture. The man, Tom Cooper (Dale Midkiff), doesn't recall who he is, nor why, nor by whom he is being chased. The only thing he knows is that the case which he defends so violently contains five vials containing all his memories in crystalline form, as well as a specially designed injector that can delete or restore those memories.
With Hope's assistance, Tom uses the injector to restore his memories, one vial at a time, in an attempt to piece together his identity. However, with each injection of memories, Tom's personality becomes darker and more sinister, and the return of memories increases exponentially. First, Tom recovers his unhappy childhood and adolescence, then his time in medical school and then, to Hope's dismay, his memories of his marriage to his high school sweetheart, Paula. After the injection of the fourth crystal, Tom remembers that his wife was killed by a random rapist and murderer. He also remembers that he was the doctor who developed a process to chemically delete and restore memories. Finally, he recalls that the government took an interest in his invention, but perverted it and began testing his device on homeless people without his approval. He managed to escape, but the government has sent agents to recapture him so that they can proceed with the experiments.
Appalled at how his invention has been abused, and afraid that the last crystal will change him so radically that he would lose the new love he has found with Hope, Tom destroys the fifth crystal—along with the knowledge it contains to replicate his memory device and processes. He vows to start life anew with Hope and forget all about his past.
However, in a twist, Vincent and Cole are revealed to actually be working for Tom, who is in reality a greedy and selfish scientist who wants to sell the project to a private company. He created the whole scenario to fake its being destroyed. Tom is forcibly injected with a backup copy of the fifth crystal. The final scene shows a now fully evil Tom about to erase Hope's memory.
|“||The same qualities that make each of us unique can also prevent us from changing who we are. Even if it might be a change for the better.||”|
- Dale Midkiff as Tom Cooper
- Robbi Chong as Hope Wilson
- Michael Tiernan as Vincent
- Brian Jensen as Cole
- Harmoni Everett as Older Paula
- Chelsea Jonasson as Younger Paula
- Jerry Walliser as Father
- Chris Moras as Young Brother
- Jeff Burnett as Terry
- Jimmy Herman as Mickey
- Carmen Aguirre as Vagrant #1
- Larry Musser as Jack Parsons
- David Palffy as Kramer
- Dean McKenzie as Kellar