The Outer Limits Wiki

Manifest destiny.jpg

"Manifest Destiny" is an episode from the sixth season of The Outer Limits. It originally aired on February 11, 2000.


  • 1 Synopsis
  • 2 Opening narration
  • 3 Plot
  • 4 Closing narration
  • 5 Cast


An invisible alien race inhabits a spaceship and causes a salvage team to go insane.

Opening narration

Human history is marked by our desire to expand our boundaries. But what happens when our reach exceeds our grasp?


In 2163, the UFS Mercury is en route to the planet Trion to do scientific tests in preparation to establish a colony when they receive a distress call from a battleship, the UFS Rhesos. It was only weeks ago that the Rhesos dropped bombs on Trion, killing the local flora and fauna, making it ready for colonization.

Before the crew of the Mercury boards the Rhesos, medical officer Dr. Will Olsten dons a miniature audio/visual recording device to chronicle the events on the massive ship. It is through this device that we see and hear what takes place during their rescue mission. The team quickly realizes that things are not as they should be when they find the ship eerily empty, and come across strange writing on the walls in what looks like blood.

Soon, the crew starts becoming paranoid and suspicious of one another. They begin hearing things and seeing things that aren't there - or are they? One by one, the crew members go crazy, attacking each other or committing suicide.

By the time Dr. Olsten figures out that this lethal, mental degradation is being caused by a virus which was unleashed by the dying aliens from Trion, it's too late to stop it. In a final and ultimate act of alien revenge, the virus, which is transmitted via electric current, is unknowingly downloaded and sent to Earth.

Closing narration

Ultimately, our survival may depend less on our ability to overcome our enemies, than the weakness of our character.


The episode is shot mainly in the form of a "found footage" style with footage provided by a camera mounted on the main character. Partly due to this as well as to the director's deliberate stylistic choices this is one of the rare episodes where the audience is given clues rather than being given information that the characters within the story do not possess. This adds to the mysterious atmosphere and tension in the episode.

The ending is fairly conventional for The Outer Limits but the journey there is very distinctive.