The Conversion (The Outer Limits)
|The Outer Limits episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Rebecca De Mornay|
|Written by||Brad Wright|
|Original air date||9 June 1995|
"The Conversion" is an episode of The Outer Limits television show. It was first broadcast on 9 June 1995 during the first season.
Henry Marshall participates in a real estate scam and is caught. After a long stretch in prison he still hasn't learned to value people more than money.
|“||For every human act there is a moment of decision; a single thought, a breath, a heartbeat... after which all possible outcomes narrow to one.||”|
Henry Marshall sits in a bar in the same building where he used to work five years ago. He has just gotten out of prison and is contemplating killing his old boss and workmates who were involved in the scam (but avoided prison). A beautiful woman buys him a drink and asks him what he is thinking. He explains that he is thinking of going to the office Christmas party. She tells him that she knows people who work there and asks to go with him.
While in the elevator to the office floor, she tries to seduce and distract him. As they arrive at his old workplace he pulls a gun, kills three people and is wounded himself by a security guard. The woman he came up with in the elevator looks on sadly and vanishes.
He makes his escape out into the countryside in a car and arrives at a small roadside diner where he is given a free meal. After taking his seat he is approached by a talkative man carrying a lot of money and who seems to know his name, what he's done and the fact that he is injured. He buys Marshall some more food and a drink. Marshall suspects he has heard about him from one of the many radio reports about the office shootings and is just keeping him occupied until the police arrive.
Marshall gets up to leave. The man explains that if he leaves now, the police will see him and he will be killed in a shootout. Even if he leaves later, he will die of an infection from his wound. The strange man pleads with him to wait and listen, even if only for a while. He claims to be able to see "possibilities" and begins to talk about angels and quantum mechanics. Marshall, believing him to be crazy, decides to leave. He shakes hands with the man in thanks for the food and alcohol and in the process a glow appears around their hands. Marshall makes his way to the toilets and finds that his bullet wound has healed... apparently transferred to the strange man.
Marshall returns to the man, and is told that, even with his injury healed, he will not escape. If he leaves now he will go to another city with no identity or friends, and within six months become a drug addict and eventually die alone.
Marshall explains that his crimes were not serious, and that he suffered more than anyone else in prison. The strange man tries to explain to Marshall how serious his crimes really were, his "white collar crimes" affected thousands of people. A young girl and her father arrive in the bar, and the man explains that the girl's college fund was lost during Marshall's scam. Her father, depressed over the loss, becomes an alcoholic. One night while driving intoxicated he collides with a concrete divider at 67 mph. The girl is in the passenger seat and is killed instantly. He tries to explain that everything and everyone is connected, that friends are real wealth, and that by hurting others Marshall only hurts himself. The man explains that he is here to help Marshall understand and change, and that Marshall hasn't actually killed anyone. The victims at the office party were not real people, and were placed there seconds before Marshall arrived.
After slowly becoming convinced, Marshall goes to the bathroom once again. He hears the police arrive and sneaks a look back at the table where he was sitting with the man. To his astonishment, the man now looks like him and is being arrested by the police... they have seemingly swapped bodies.
As he leaves the diner, Marshall gives the money that was in the strange man's pocket to the diner owner, to hand on to the man whose daughter's college fund was lost.
The episode ends with the strange man in Marshall's old body helping a prisoner off the floor of the jail cell after guards dump him in, starting the cycle again.
|“||A second chance. But redemption follows not a change of body, but a change of heart.||”|
- The line "drinking/a bowl of green tea/I stopped the war" is a koan by Paul Reps.