Origin of Species (The Outer Limits)

Origin of Species (The Outer Limits)

Infobox Television episode
Title = Origin of Species
Series = The Outer Limits

Caption =
Season = 4
Episode = 23
Airdate = November 14, 1998
Production = 85
Writer = Naren Shankar
Director = Brad Turner
Photographer =
Guests = Ron Rifkin
Ryan Reynolds
Kathleen Duborg
William deVry
Silvio Pollio
Terri-Lynn Ibisoglu
Clare Lapinskie
Kirby Morrow
Tara Spencer-Nairn
Episode list = List of "The Outer Limits" episodes
Prev = Balance of Nature
Next = Phobos Rising

"Origin of Species" is an episode of "The Outer Limits" television show. It was first broadcast on November 14, 1998 during the fourth season, and is a sequel to a previous episode Double Helix.

Opening Naration

"Throughout the ages humans have looked to the heavens and wondered, ‘Where did we come from, and where are we going?’ But will we find those answers in the stars, or in ourselves?"


After lifting off into space, the rocket is seen heading through the cosmos. It's a very shaky ride inside a strange-looking ship. The students, and Doctor, are all secure against a sort of upright wall. The ride stabilizes after they exit the atmosphere. Soon after some questioning from the students, the Doctor places his hand on a symbol, however he and his son are absorbed into the ship.

The confused students search for any trace of them after their disappearance. They try to remain calm and rational, but fear that the ship may attack the rest of them.

They attempt to stay together, and talk amongst themselves, but decide to try and wait until the ship reaches its destination.

Suddenly, the ship rocks violently and it seems they're breaking apart, however in truth the ship is reshaping into another form, of a more aerodynamic craft. They are amazed at the changes, and are afraid of the possibilities, but decide to put their fears aside and split up to map out the ship to search for anything useful or possibly more information about the ship itself.

The girlfriend, who stayed behind in the central room, is looking around. She reads through the Doctor's report.

Meanwhile, one of the pairs is inspecting a corridor. The girl asks what the guy thinks the ship is made of, to which he responds some sort of metallic crystal. There are comments made that the ship feels more like a 'living thing'

Another group find a symbol that looks like the one that had been on the Doctor's hand.

Back in the central room, the girlfriend is still reading the report. It reveals that the doctor had a genetic disease, which he may have passed on to his son. On the last page is a diagram of the symbol, and a note about a dinner date. As she closes the book, she hears a voice coming from the machine apparently the Doctor and his son had been absorbed into. She, curious, places her hand close to the machine and is zapped. It is then that a sort of holographic image of the doctor and son (they alternate) appear, trying to tell her to 'listen and prepare', then disappears.

Another group disappears into a moving wall in the corridor, and strange noises are heard. When the wall they disappeared in moves back, they are gone.

The other group returns, to find the girlfriend alone in the center room. She gives one of the guys the report, and tells him to look through it.

They theorize that the ship may not have intentionally attacked the doctor, but that his disease (which would have been passed on to his son genetically) may have interfered with their ability to interface with the ship, which led to their disappearance. It's discovered that the Doctor possibly passed his disease to his son, which is why the ship made them disappear..

The ship lands ... on Earth, but an Earth of the future, without humans. Investigating, they learn that the human race apparently began to experiment with genetically engineering humans with new abilities (such as wings) at some point after they left, which unleashed an illness that wiped them out.

The humans theorize that the aliens may have been a race that originated on Earth, and wiped themselves out in a similar manner. Foreseeing the possibility that the next sentience species to arise might suffer the same fate, they built the ship to save a sample of that race before it wiped itself out, and protect it until it could repopulate the Earth. The ship extracted genetic material from the others during the journey and created babies (modifying their genetics to avoid the dangers of inbreeding), creating a sufficient number of humans with enough genetic variation to repopulate the Earth.

Closing Narration

"It is said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Will we be wise enough to learn?"


Ron Rifkin as Dr. Ira Nodel
Ryan Reynolds as Paul Nodel
Kathleen Duborg as Hope
William deVry as Ben
Silvio Pollio as Anthony
Terri-Lynn Ibisoglu as Sarah
Clare Lapinskie as Clare
Kirby Morrow as Kirby
Tara Spencer-Nairn as Heather

External links

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