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The unrelenting strangeness of the alien environment in this episode earns it a high place in my pantheon of favorites. The "fallout" effects (as Mrs. Cashman calls them) combined with the out-of-place rhythyms and musical notes, as well as the unnerving high-pitched noises heard on the telephone lines, all help establish a completely alien environment. The familiar landmarks of houses and cars, as well as an ornate church, do little to help the viewer hold onto any semblance of normality. As the story progresses, and we actually see Luminos and the Luminoids themselves, Haskin and Stefano further expound the eerie strangeness of the alien surroundings, especially when Dr. Simon Holm touches the surface of Luminos and finds his hands wet from the "sweating" caused by the planet's proximity to its sun. Haskin's directorial standards mesh perfectly with Stefano's story, making Luminos and the abducted six square blocks linger in our minds long after the episode has ended.

 

In retrospect, "A Feasibility Study" is an excursion into parallels; the ironic decision of Andrea Holm to leave her husband the day their neighborhood has left the Earth, the domineering nature of Simon Holm as well as the domineering nature of the Luminoids, and of course the (at the very least) dubious morality of the Luminoids contrasted with the heroic sacrifice of the townspeople at the end. The Luminoids, with all their faults, truly believe they are doing what's right to rebuild their civilization, and the means by which they do so makes little difference to them. It is especially interesting to note that they would make captivity pleasant for their slaves (as much as captivity can be made pleasant) by allowing them the freedom to "worship and love and think" as they normally would on Earth. Indeed, had the population of Earth been given a choice, many would no doubt voluntarily choose to go to Luminos, if it had meant the end of such unpleasantries as war, famine and poverty.

 

The central crux of our story therefore is choice; human choice as well as Luminoid choice. The situation of the Luminoids is not without its ability to generate sympathy, especially since life for them begins as life does for us, with the birth of "sweet golden nuggets in the palm of fate's hand." Unfortunately the cruel trickster known as fate seems to be working overtime when it comes to the plight of the Luminoids, establishing their civilization on a planet too close to its own sun. Thus, one can easily identify and even empathize with their situation, although not their means to rectify their dilemma. Given this, the Luminoids unfortunately choose a poor course of action, whereas the humans, despite all of their isolation from one another, make a remarkably moral decision. What makes this decision even more poignant is the fact that it is made by the human community as a whole. Their decision is in direct contrast to the collective decision of the Luminoids to enslave other beings for their own ends. "A Feasibility Study" is indeed a remarkable study of parallels and vastly different courses of action spurred by those parallels.

 

In conclusion, "A Feasibility Study" is typical of most Outer Limits episodes--there is no happy ending. The fact that the townspeople choose to give up their lives as they know them to save the people of Earth is uplifting, but ultimately a hollow victory, since the Luminoids will simply abduct the next hapless group of beings in their feasibility study. However, what makes The Outer Limits so endearing is the fact that few stories end on happy notes; a refreshing change of pace when compared to television's tendency to neatly wrap up everything at the end.

Edited by Lieutenant Gerard
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