The light brigade 1
The light brigade 2

"The Light Brigade" is an episode of The Outer Limits television series that first aired on 23 June 1996, during the second season. The episode is a sequel to the season one episode "Quality of Mercy". Robert Patrick reprises his role as Major John Skokes.


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


Four soldiers, including repatriated prisoner of war Major John Skokes, are the last survivors of a space battle. On board a crippled space cruiser, they are slowly dying of radiation poisoning, but they are the only remaining chance to launch a strike against the alien enemy.

Opening narration

Warriors may be forged in the fires of battle, but heroes are discovered in the most unlikely of places.


In this episode, "The Light Brigade" refers to the ship on which the story takes place. This leads the captain of the vessel to attempt to read a verse of the original poem to the men before the commencing of their mission. This ship is the last hope of humanity in a war against an alien race. In an attempt to turn the tide of the war, humanity is resorting to a Hiroshima type strike. The Light Brigade carries a new, subatomic bomb, to be delivered to the enemy homeworld. This bomb works by breaking down the forces which hold subatomic particles together to form an atom. As with the original atomic bomb, a very limited number were made. The first was tested on one of the Martian moons, and it created an explosion of such power that it was daylight on Earth for several days.

The Light Brigade's purpose is to deliver this powerful weapon to destroy the enemy homeworld. Unfortunately, the aliens ambush the ship and use their unique methods to trick the survivors of the Light Brigade into failing their mission. This feat is achieved by Robert Patrick's character, John Skokes, whose physical likeness has been assumed by an alien spy, meaning the real Skokes never escaped captivity.

In the closing scene, at huge personal cost, the bomb is released over what the crew believe to be the alien homeworld. It is in fact Earth, and the mission is not only a failure but allows for the unleashing of the doomsday weapon on an already crippled humanity.

Closing narration

The greatest horror of war is the fateful transformation of our children into heroes.

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