Relativity theory
Relativity theory 2
Relativity theory 3
Relativitiy theory 3

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


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

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 Gamma 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, 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 live 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 Corporal Charles Pendelton; the crew are impatient with the idea of negotiating with alien savages after they have been 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, that one is still alive, and healing. She tries to protect it, but Sears kills it.

Before she can communicate with it, a highly advanced alien vessel (far more advanced than the human team's own ship) emerges from a wormhole, with a member of the "primitive" alien race on board. Janovitch angrily 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, and the "religious" totem was actually a locator beacon.

Having downloaded (from the ship's computer) the location of the homeworld of these bloodthirsty aliens that would murder children, this "father" then sends a missile, killing the remaining crew. The closing scene shows the alien ship approaching Earth, preparing 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.”


Melissa Gilbert ... Teresa Janovitch Jeremy Ratchford ... Sgt. Adam Sears Tim Guinee ... Corporal Charles Pendelton Hiro Kanagawa ... Tali Michael Kopsa ... Commander Ivers Robert Lewis ... Jake Sternlight Mary Ann Skoll ... Judith Mason Doug Jones ... Elder Alien Eg Mahan ... Wounded Alien

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.