Relativity theory

Relativity Theory (The Outer Limits)

"Relativity Theory" is an episode of The Outer Limits television show. It was first broadcast on February 27th, of 1998, during the fourth season.

Opening Narration

“When we have conquered interstellar space, what will we gain? A new perspective on ourselves or only a wider scope for our arrogance.”


Biologist Teresa Janovitch is a civilian among military men, traveling on the Resource Survey Vehicle Cortez to Tau Ceti Prime in search of minerals for an Earth that has squandered its own. Initial signs indicate that the planet is both uninhabited and rich in mineral resources, which could mean a million dollar payday for both the crew and the company that owns the Cortez. But on the first exploration, the crew is attacked by gigantic and apparently primitive aliens. After initial casualties, command of the mission technically, by regulations, falls to Janovitch (Melissa Gilbert), who favors further investigation and a non-aggressive approach towards the aliens; it may be possible to either reach some accommodation with the aliens or find an area of the planet where they do not occur to extract resources. But she is overpowered by her crew: Sgt. Adam Sears, a veteran of pacification missions on Earth, who favors annihilation of the new race and an ambiguous Corporal Charles Pendelton. Impatient with the idea of negotiating with alien savages after they are responsible for killing members of their crew, and greedy to claim their reward for finding a planet so rich in resources. Despite her protests, Sears essentially mutinies against Janovitch and leads a patrol that hunts down and kills the aliens, in the process seizing a golden object that appears to be a religious totem, knowing that his actions will not be held against him if Earth profits from the planet's resources. As he celebrates his slaughter, Janovitch examines his victims and makes a shocking discovery. Before she can communicate it, a highly advanced alien vessel (far more advanced that the human team's own ship) emerges from a wormhole, with a member of the "primitive" alien race on board. Janovitch reveals that her medical examination of the corpses showed that the "primitive" aliens were juveniles; they did not bear advanced technology with them because they were essentially an alien boy scout team on a camping trip. The "religious" totem was an emergency radio. Having downloaded the location of Earth from the ship's computer, this "father" then sends a bomb killing the remaining crew. The closing scene shows the alien ship approaching Earth ready to attack.

Closing Narration

“Cultural relativity. It doesn’t need to be a complicated theory. Indeed, it can be as simple, and as deadly, as a two-edged sword.”

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