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"Tribunal" is the 100th episode of The Outer Limits. It first aired on 14 May 1999, during the fifth season. The episode's screenwriter, Sam Egan, is the son of a Holocaust survivor and it is dedicated to his family members who did not survive it.

Contents

  • 1 Opening narration
  • 2 Plot
  • 3 Closing narration

Opening narration

“It is said that those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it. But what dangers await those who cannot forget the past, those obsessed with reliving it?”

Plot

Leon Zgierski, an inmate of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in 1944, is forced to watch as his wife Miriam is shot and killed by S.S. Obersturmführer Karl Rademacher, with their young daughter Hannah. The murder is witnessed by a mysterious man who writes a list of names of the victims that Rademacher personally murdered in a digital notebook, but before he can be taken, he steals Rademacher's greatcoat, holds up a pocket watch and vanishes in a flash of light.

Decades later, Aaron — Leon's son by a second marriage to another Holocaust survivor named Helen, is an American nonprofit attorney seeking justice for his father's first wife's murder and his half-sister's presumed death (Leon had witnessed that two of Rademacher's guards took Hannah to what he believes was the gas chambers). After Aaron was born, Leon named his son after a kind stranger whom he and Hannah had a positive experience with before the latter's disappearance.

Having finally found Rademacher in Philadelphia under the alias Robert Greene, Aaron confronts Greene and denounces him as a war criminal. Greene (Rademacher), knowing that he has been discovered, books a one-way ticket to Argentina to avoid prosecution. Aaron enlists his former wife and assistant district attorney Gwen Sawyer (whom he divorced under good terms and is on the verge of reconciliation), in order to build his case.

Nicholas Prentice, the mysterious man with the antique watch, appears and gives Aaron some artifacts and files from the camp. As Aaron continues building his case against Greene, he seeks to learn about Prentice to determine whether he truly is an ally. Aaron follows Prentice to his hotel room, where he finds an antique watch with high-technology innards. He accidentally activates the device, and finds himself back in the 1944 concentration camp with his father and Rademacher's younger selves, and finally meets his half-sister, whom he then adores. The young Leon and Hannah, not knowing their relations to Aaron, bond with him due to his compassion.

Prentice follows Aaron and returns him to his proper time, and he reveals that the watch is a time travel device and he is a time traveler from the late 21st entury. As an agent of the future's law enforcement agency calls "Tribunal", he is assigned to ensure that Rademacher would be prosecuted by the 20th century's authorities by creating loopholes for Aaron to exploit without altering the timeline.

Having seen the camp conditions and Rademacher's crimes for himself, in addition to grieving over Hannah's fate, Aaron becomes vengeful. Eventually, Aaron, despite knowing that Gwen would doubt him, tells her about Prentice. Despite sufficient evidences against Greene, Prentice reveals that documents in the future shows that Greene has escaped to Argentina and never been found. Aaron then goes to Greene's house with Prentice' gun and seeks to kill him, leading Prentice to reveal that he is Aaron's great-grandson. Though persuading Aaron of not becoming a murderer for the future's sakes, Prentice do share his need for revenge, and gives him a bag with two S.S. camp guard uniforms and camp inmate clothing. Once Aaron understands Prentice's plan, they put on the uniforms and force Greene on the inmate clothing, and the three of them travel back to 1944.

Aaron and Prentice orchestrate the meeting between Greene and his younger counterpart; Greene tries to explain who he is, but the young Rademacher shoots him, believing the old man to be just an insane Jewish prisoner. Thus, under the causal loop of time travels, Rademacher is destined to be murdered by his younger self in the past. Seeing Hannah still alive, Aaron grabs her and orders the guards nearby to send Leon to a labor camp (because whoever did not reported there would be executed), thus fulfilling the flow of history and secures Aaron and Prentice's existences—earlier, young Leon had seen his daughter taken away, not knowing that the guards were his time traveling descendants in disguise. In addition, Leon's early experience with Aaron would later lead him to name his unborn son after him following his second marriage.

Back in the present day, Aaron visits his father, the elderly Leon, and introduces him to Hannah - identified by the camp number still tattooed on her arm. Aaron has adopted his time displaced half-sister as his daughter, allowing their elderly father to be close to her. Gwen is convinced about Aaron's claims after meeting Prentice and Hannah. Sharing Aaron's adoration to Hannah, Gwen has reconciled her marriage to him in order to provide his new daughter a mother.

A fulfilled and yet deeply humbled Nicholas Prentice watches the tearful reunion between his ancestors from nearby, before quietly walking away and dematerializing.

Closing narration

“The wounds of war run deep, cutting across generations. But there is always the hope of healing, so long as there are souls among us whose hearts are more full of love than hate.”

Cast

Saul Rubinek ... Aaron Zgierski Alex Diakun ... Nicholas Prentice Alex Zahara ... Karl Rademacher Peter Boretski ... Leon Zgierski Jan Rubes ... Robert Greene / Older Karl Rademacher Lindsay Crouse ... Gwen Sawyer Roman Danylo ... Young Leon Zgierski Holly Ferguson ... Miriam Zgierski Kyra Azzopardi ... Hannah Zgierski Robert Weiss ... Guard Apollonia Vanova ... Female Prisoner Vincent Walker ... Prisoner (as Vince Walker) Sue Astley ... Grace

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