Sarcophagus (The Outer Limits)

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The Outer Limits episode
Episode no.Season 4
Episode 19
Directed byJeff Woolnough
Written byBill Froehlich
Production code81
Original air dateAugust 7, 1998
Guest appearance(s)

Lisa Zane as Natalie Grainger
Robert Picardo as Emmet Harley
David Cubitt as Curtis Grainger
Peter Wilds as Dean
Eli Gabay as Faber
Doug Jones as Elder Alien/Alien #1/Alien/Alien Doctor
Patricia Dahlquist as Doctor

Episode chronology
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List of The Outer Limits episodes

"Sarcophagus" is an episode of The Outer Limits (new series) television show. It was first aired on August 7, 1998, during the fourth season.


A relatively unsuccessful archaeological team discovers a burial mound in remote Alaska.

Opening narration[edit]


Natalie Grainger is a driven researcher, faithfully though apparently unappreciatedly supported by her husband Curtis. Along with their colleague Emmet Harley and two helpers, Dean and Faber, the two are searching for traces of neolithic culture in the Alaskan Wrangell Mountains, but instead find an anachronistically advanced burial chamber. Inside, they find a strange cocoon made of an amber-like substance which encases a humanoid body. When Curtis tries to take a sample of the resin, he is telepathically assailed by the last memories of a long suspended alien who was attacked by primitive men; the contact inexplicably begins to dissolve the cocoon and weaken Curtis, draining his strength. Simultaneously, the tissue on the alien corpse starts regenerating, and in time the creature comes back to life.

Though Natalie is excited at the prospect of being the first to publish that sensational find, Emmet is substantially more pragmatic and chooses the commercial rewards made possible by the longevity potential evidenced by the reformed alien. Drawing the remaining two members of the team on his side, he stages a coup, holding Natalie, Curtis and the reformed alien at gunpoint and preparing explosive charges to seal off the tomb until he can return with a science team to reap his reward. Shielded from view by his benefactors, the alien quietly creates a spear by attaching a flint spearhead to a hollow metal pole the team had brought into the chamber. Using the weapon to defend the three of them, the alien thwarts the coup, but Natalie is critically wounded when Emmet fires a stray shot. Dean panics and fires a gun at the creature, but a bullet hits and sets off the charges, collapsing the entrance and killing the perpetrators.

Curtis and Natalie, finally reconciled through their shared adversity, are trapped and in dire straits when the alien makes up his mind to sacrifice himself for the humans who put their lives on the line for him. He coats them with the rest of his preservative, which is just enough for two people. This allows them to be revived and made physically whole roughly 1,000 years in their future, when the chamber is rediscovered. Natalie is removed and revived first to have her serious injuries treated, and she is present when Curtis is revived. Although the couple is saddened to realize the alien is long dead, his people came to Earth and befriended humanity. The couple is rewarded with witnessing how their wisdom allowed Earth to become a cooperative human-alien world.

This episode, like several others, was dedicated to Michael Blacklock, who worked as a special effects coordinator on the series.

Closing narration[edit]

External links[edit]