The Outer Limits: S1E19 “The Invisibles”

A secret society operates in plain sight around the world. These men are stronger, smarter, and more desirable. They trade their humanity for power, joining forces with an ancient extraterrestrial force that cannot be seen by human eyes.

“The Invisibles” implies violence in a way we haven’t seen on The Outer Limits yet. In the opening sequence, a man is instructed to lay down on an exam table. He’s told that what he’s about to feel is “just a nick” as an older man brings a gnashing alien species to the back of his neck. The tooth or claw is sharp and ready to strike. The man reels in pain as the creature makes contact. While people have been hurt or even killed on the show before, we’ve never seen this much detail in an attack.

The result is a much darker episode than the series has shown so far. The people we meet are willingly becoming something other than human. They agree to be transformed into a member of “The Invisibles.” As the opening narration says, these people are “half-human.”

Throughout the episode, we follow a group of new inductees as they complete their transformation and go on their first mission. They will be safe hosts for the creatures by the end if the inoculation is successful. The creature will spare those whose blood poses no danger to them, but destroy those who pose a risk to the species. The only way to know if the transformation is successful is exposure to the creatures.

“The Invisibles” is a horror story about the desire for power. These men are willing to risk anything to become something. The power they seek is not guaranteed, not by exposure to the creatures, the inoculation, or joining the society. They need to build up their forces and slowly expand the operation until they can seize power. These early members are the vanguard, the ones leading the way for this ancient species to finally make their plans happen.

The creature is simple in its execution. It looks like a crab with extra legs. The legs are articulated through a combination of puppetry and what appears to be servo motors (either remote controlled or toggled on and off). The technique varies depending on the camera angle but the results are the same. This football-sized creature is constantly moving as The Invisibles carry it like royalty.

The society has many secrets that are revealed as you get further in the recruitment. Candidates are chosen with clear intentions, already screened before they can join. Information is purely on a need to know basis. You learn just enough about the inoculation, for example, to agree to it. It’s only by chance you learn what happens if it fails. Then more procedures and plans are revealed as time goes on. You cannot discuss the plans outside of the training center, and you cannot visit any other member out in the public. You will be followed and there will be consequences for breaking the rules.

“The Invisibles” is a chilling spin on an alien invasion/body snatching story. The secret society angle brings this into the realm of a spy drama, which shifts the expected beats of this kind of sci-fi/horror story in really clever ways.

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content warning: medical procedures


Up next: S1E20 “The Bellero Shield.”