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When some weird spores are found in outer space, Lt Howard (Dabney
Coleman), head scientist of a space station, thinks little of i -
until the spores grow into weird plants, emit their seeds just like
popping pop corn and release a deadly gas, which kills Howard. The rest of
the station's crew have no idea what killed Howard, so they make the
mistake of taking the spores with them when they board the shuttle to
earth - but during some outer space turbulences, the boxes containing the
spores open up, and the spores have developed into deadly plants in no
time and begin to affect the crew, who soon start to die ... all but
Captain Doweling (Richard Jaeckel), who has spent some time outside the
shuttle for repairs, and since he doesn't take off his spacesuit when
reentering the shuttle, he remains unaffected ... and is now the only one
available to steer the shuttle.
Down on earth, the ground crew is gravely concerned about what's going
on on the shuttle, and Colonel Williams (Stephen McNally) at first wants
to blow up the shuttle altogether so the deadly spores cannot reach earth
and take over - which is quite a sound idea. But Doweling's wife Janet
(Gail Kobe) and his second in command Jennings (John Kellogg) can convince
him otherwise ... and soon the shuttle lands on earth with a bang (which
Doweling survived though, in case you wondered) ... and suddenly the
deadly plants are everywhere and start to attack us earthlings, but mainly
Williams and Janet, who are for some reason the last ones to leave the
scene and have to realize their car has broke down because the plants have
even started growing inside the engine (this scene is actually rather
But when everything seems lost, rain starts to fall, killing off the
deadly plants in no time ...
One of the better episodes of Outer Limits - but
considering the poor quality of the series (first and foremost in the
story department) this isn't saying much. Specimen: Unknown is
stlll average science fiction at best that, despite its exciting
storyline, fails to create sufficient suspense, instead loses itself in
dreary dialogue - and the climax is simply underwhelming, as if somebody
had to think of an ending, but quickly.