Tempests 1
Tempests 2
Tempests 3

"Tempests" The Outer Limits episode

Season 3 Episode 9

Directed by Mario Azzopardi

Written by Hart Hanson

Production code53

Original air date7 March 1997

Guest appearance(s)

Eric McCormack as John Virgil Burt Young as Captain Parker Charlene Fernetz as Corinne Virgil Marie Stillin as Governor Mudry Kenneth Welsh as Dr. Vasquez Lee Taylor as Colonel Lynne

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List of The Outer Limits episodes

"Tempests" is an episode of The Outer Limits television show. It first aired on 7 March 1997, during the third season.


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


A spaceship crashes while on a mission of mercy. One of the crew begins to hallucinate — unable to tell what is real, and what is fantasy.

Opening narration

“What is freedom but the ability to make choices? Between courage and cowardice, duty and love, or even... heaven and hell. The nature of the choices we make define us as human beings. We choose the world we inhabit.”


Commander Virgil is desperately attempting to deliver a serum to his home colony, which is being devastated by a virus, Ellycia C. His wife and young son are there. After his ship crashes into a gas giant, he finds himself shifting between two realities: an ideal one, and one in crisis.

In the "bad" reality, the crash site turns out to be the interior of a living being; while conducting repairs, Virgil is bitten by a spider-like creature and its venom causes him to hallucinate. In the "good" reality, the crew were rescued and delivered the serum; Virgil is living happily with his family but is in treatment for Ellycia C., which is causing him to hallucinate. In each reality, he perceives the other reality as a hallucination, and he is warned he could die if he does not struggle against the other, "false" reality.

Virgil reasons that his family are already safe if the "good" reality is true, but they still need the serum if the "bad" reality is true; so he embraces the "bad" reality to ensure their survival. He heads for the colony in an escape pod and makes contact with his wife, believing he is on track to save both the crew and the colony. However, both realities are false; Virgil and the entire crew are unconscious and being fed on by the alien spiders.

Closing narration

“Each of us creates his own world. We conjure paradises from our hopes, and nightmares born of fear. But what if they are both illusions?”

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