"The Human Factor" is an episode of the television show The Outer Limits. It first aired January 11, 2002, in the show's seventh season.
- 1 Opening narration
- 2 Introduction
- 3 Plot
- 4 Closing narration
“We believe ourselves to be an essentially noble race. But would that same assessment be made from a truly objective view?”
This episode is a clip show. Clips appear from the following episodes: "Phobos Rising", "Hearts and Minds", "Manifest Destiny", "Something About Harry", "The Haven", "Final Exam", "Final Appeal", "The Vaccine", and "Replica".
Jupiter's moon Ganymede is now the only hope for the human race in 2084 as overpopulation and constant warring has left much of Earth uninhabitable. Space Commander Ellis Ward (Robert Duncan McNeill) must convince android assistant Link (Zack Ward) that humanity is worthy of existence over a game of chess.
As Link activates the station's self-destruct sequence, Ward's officers attempt to reach the manual override at the same time as trying to get over bitter distrust. Link tries to convince Ward that the world's governments do not care about peace but only want to extend power.
In the end, after shutting down Link and the countdown, Ward is informed by the United States President that the US launched a preemptive strike against the Eastern Coalition, starting a nuclear war, which along with the underestimated retaliation killed almost all of the human race (including Ward's wife and daughter). The US President's spaceship, with the few remaining people, will arrive in several months. At this point Ward, having lost faith in life and his humanity, reactivates both Link and the self-destruct sequence and starts his last game of chess. When Link asks what has happened, Ward replies: "It was... human error."
“We have the capacity for great, good or evil. The path of our future is ours to decide.”
As the second to last episode of the revival series, it is admirable how much effort was made to provide a strong B plot to what is essentially a clip show.
Based on the internal references in this episode, the other episodes from which clips are taken, or some version of the events in those episodes, all form part of the same timeline as that in which this episode is set, meaning the culmination of the events in all these episodes is the extinction of the human race in 2084 AD.
Robert Duncan McNeill ... Commander Ellis Ward Kevan Ohtsji ... Cho Talia Ranger ... Kaila Laara Sadiq ... Lt. Conover Stephen Spender ... Corbett Malcolm Stewart ... Garrison Zack Ward ... Link Catherine Zak ... Jen Ward