The Inheritors

The Outer Limits (1963)

The Inheritors, directed by James Goldstone.

Four soldiers miraculously survive head wounds. The bullets had been cast from a meteor and microscopic examination shows alien cell structure in the metal. Each man exhibits extra brain waves and it is clear the same brain is now controlling all of them.

Without ever meeting each other the soldiers take off and start working on a project they do not understand. Fearing the worst, the Fed "men in black" are watching and talking to them, but what can you do about super-intelligent opponents with mind-control powers?

Part of the project becomes clear: they are building a starship. Going back to where the meteor came from? Maybe that's not so bad.

Then they start collecting the children...

The only two-part episode in the series, this one seems more like a labor of love than was usual for the second season. It's not like anything else in the series, but is still one of the best episodes.

On the down side:

This is all redeemed by an involving story of deep ethical conflict. I kept flipping between:

The ultimate dilemma: what do you do when you don't know if you are doing right or wrong? It is an SF mystery where the transformed men, the Feds and the audience all have to figure it out together. There is even a hint at the end that the alien force is learning, too.

The backbone of this part of the story is our matched opponents: government science cop (Mulder!) Robert Duvall and leader of the alien plot Steve Ihnat.

Duvall is so intense we wonder as to his backstory, if he has encountered something like this before. Even granting that the alien-controlled humans may be well intentioned he can't let them get away with the children.

Ihnat was a familiar supporting actor of the period, usually as a villain, last seen in The Chase (1966), In Like Flint (1967) and Fuzz (1972). He would also be the psycho villain in Star Trek Whom Gods Destroy. He died at age 37.

It is too bad Ihnat did not get a chance to do leading parts because he goes deep and produces something special here: like the others he does not know the ultimate purpose but is more confident that it is a good thing. And yet he cries when taking the children. He can't know for sure. The scenes where he and Duvall face off are very fine.


I immediately recognized the little blind girl as one of the terrified children from The Birds (1963):

This is Suzanne Cupito, later "Morgan Brittany".


Gary Gerani and Steve Mitchell provide the Blu-ray commentary track.