In the zone

"In the Zone" is an episode of The Outer Limits television show. It was first broadcast on February 20, 1998, during the fourth season.


  • 1 Opening narration
  • 2 Plot
  • 3 Closing narration
  • 4 External links

Opening narration

“Evolution is guided by the principle of survival of the fittest. For the human animal, the urge to compete is ingrained in our spirit. But in some arenas the rules are not clear and victory may well be an illusion.”


With its deadly lasers and hand-to-hand battles, 'The Octal' is a combat sport for a new generation of athletes — but Tanner Brooks is no longer a young man. Although he's promised his wife Jessica that this will be his final tournament, Tanner is desperate to go out a winner. Dr. Michael Chen has a way to make that happen. Through an experimental treatment that taps the power of the human nervous system, Chen accelerates Tanner's reflexes and perceptions. To Tanner, everything in the Octal begins to move in slow motion ... and Tanner quickly becomes unbeatable. However, there are side effects: Jessica notices that Tanner is tired, haggard and his hair is going gray. But, when Tanner's body begins to blur and fade out of existence, Tanner and Jessica must choose between one last moment of glory ... their love for each other ... and oblivion.

Dr. Chen saw the effects and stopped the treatments. He told Tanner and Jessica that the effects would fade in time. However, Tanner decided to have one more treatment and caused his entire body to shift into an entirely different time zone.

Dr. Chen figured out how to use the chamber to absorb the energy and get Tanner back. So, Jessica used the treatment on herself to get into the time zone and get him back. Jessica is successful, but the procedure to remove the effects seems set to fail, as the mass of synthetic nerve matter Dr. Chen uses as an element of the treatment is insufficient to absorb the energy from Tanner. To provide additional absorbent Dr. Chen immerses his hands in the tank with the nerve matter, and disappears, his own body now presumably permanently sped up to the point of being imperceptible to normal humans.

A cured but aged Tanner and Jessica look at the "explanation" Dr. Chen left to them - his driver's license, which shows that he should have been only thirty years old. They realize he had tested the procedure on himself, causing his body to speed up and age faster.

Closing narration

“For the human race life is a ceaseless competition for power, for fame, even love. But when the desire for victory is reduced to winning at any cost, then we can only guarantee our defeat.”


Surprisingly for a science fiction anthology show, no version of the Outer Limits has focused very strongly on sports or future sports. This episode is the only that inarguably fits neatly into the "Future Sports" subgenre.


Adrian Pasdar ... Tanner Brooks Claudette Mink ... Jessica Brooks Dwight McFee ... Ring Announcer Pat Morita ... Michael Chen Rick Ravanello ... Marcus Douglas Smith ... Douglas Paul Carson ... Reporter #1 Catherine Swing ... Reporter #2 Lori Fetrick ... Helen

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