the outer limits behold eck

The Outer Limits: S2E03 “Behold, Eck!”

Dr. Stone is a brilliant scientist researching optical engineering. He’s also forgetful and clumsy. He breaks his glasses and uses one of his experimental designs to replace them. Suddenly, he sees a previously undiscovered creature with immense destructive power. This moving outline is made of pure energy and can appear and disappear in an instant. Dr. Stone immediately knows that this creature is two dimensional, disappearing from sight if you look at it from the wrong angle.

This is the kind of silly sci-fi I love. The idea of a scientist accidentally discovering life on the second dimension and fighting to have his results verified is absurd. It’s not that different than any other narrative about someone finding an alien or a vampire or other creature and not being believed. This might as well be a spinoff of the Universal Invisible Man films for its loose relationship with realistic action and storytelling.

“Behold, Eck!” is incredibly entertaining. Dr. Stone is a man obsessed with his field of study. Nothing and no one else matters beyond his research. The 2D monster is just another wacky theory in his studies that no one else believes in. Sure, they can see that objects are destroyed and people are injured or even killed, but the people he speaks with thinks it’s just another thought experiment. A 2D object cannot live in a 3D world, let alone impact the world around it.

Dr. Stone is the misunderstood genius warning you that disaster will strike until it’s too late to stop it. He’s also a clumsy fool, prone to erratic behavior and losing things. He’s as distracted as he is brilliant. “Behold, Eck!” is not serious scientific exploration of dimensional physics but a play on The Nutty Professor with a body count.

Eck is the name of the 2D figure trapped in our 3D world. He’s simply animated line art. He moves in a jerky motion, a blurry stick figure of a four-armed monster lurching toward and away from the camera. Dr. Stone suggests that a 2D creature like Eck could pass through a 3D object without issue by turning sideways. While Eck doesn’t struggle to cross through our dimension, he does destroy anything or anyone he passes through. This creature creates a fantastic dynamic between a doctor so brilliant no one understands him and a force so destructive no one can comprehend its power. Dr. Stone and Eck are made for each other.

“Behold, Eck!” is one of those stories that thrives in an anthology format. There’s no denying that this is an episode of The Outer Limits. I can’t imagine this story being told in this way on any other show.

content warning: hospital footage

Up next: S2E4 “Expanding Human.”