Outer Limits - Fish w/ Legs Episode

Paging all “Outer Limits” fans:

Several years ago, I caught an episode of “Outer Limits”. It was about a college professor who had discovered a drug (or something like that) that seemed to prode DNA into evolving. During a faculty meeting (or something) he tells his colleages his finding, they laugh, and then he unveils a fish inside a tank that had spouted legs & presumably lungs and was resting on top of some sand on the corner of the tank. Needless to say, everyone was shocked.

Said professor hand-picked students for a special course he was “teaching” and in addition to GPA and standard interviews, once he got down to a small group, he asked all the prospective students about their medical backgrounds and I think even asked them to strip to show they didn’t have any deformities, surgical scars, whatever. Turns out that the professor had been doing the whatever experiments he did with the leggy fish on himself and wanted to now try it on the students to see what humans were going to evolve into next.

I’ve seen this episode twice now, and both times I get to the part where you see some weird thing happening to the professor’s back/spine, and the something crazy happens to pull me away from the room and I miss the rest. I found a very brief description of the show on various websites, but none of them tell me what happened in the end.

Does this sound familiar? What happened?!!

If you don’t want to wait for the reruns, this is what happens:

After the professor injects himself with a solution that activates dormant genes in his introns, a map forms on his body and a weird lump appears on his hand. The professor was not going to test his evolution-accelerator on his students…rather, as he evolved he was “directed” by the messages in his DNA to start collecting perfect specimens of humans. The map led the prof and students to a spaceship located underground, which had been protected by and studied by the military. No one had been able to open it, until the professor came. He used the triangular lump on his hand to activate the ship. We learn that aliens had put these intron sequences in our DNA, so that when we reached the stage where we could activate them, a group of people would board the ship to travel to their planet.

Considering that the vast majority of humans are far from perfect, the group he selects are hardly a representative sample of their species. Whoever created the professor’s instruction set was cooking his results a little, don’t you think? :slight_smile:

When I saw that episode, I got this image:

The ship finally arrives at the alien world and shuts itself down, its mission complete. The people get out, look around, and find… a wasteland. The alien species went extinct millions of years ago, and the desert swallowed their city. Our intrepid band of gullible college students turn to cannibalism. Mr. “Let’s Fulfill Our Destiny” goes on the menu first. :slight_smile:


Thanks, MaceMan for the plot summary & kindness with spoiler tags. I don’t watch the show anymore (it was a fluke I caught that episode twice at all) so chances are I would have never caught it on reruns. I have to say - the plot didn’t go where I thought it would. At all. Apparently the “We are alien descendants or alien-tinkerings” theory is pretty popular.

So - did the professor & his crew get into the spaceship or did everyone die? Or do we know?

I’m greatly relieved to find out what happened with this storyline. Perhaps now I shall go and get a life.

The episode’s title BTW, was “Double Helix.” The episode ended with the professor and students boarding the spaceship and leaving Earth. There was a sequel episode in the next season titled “Origin of Species” which showed what happened on the ship and when they reached their destination. IIRC, Vlad Dracul’s image was fairly close, without the cannibalism.