“The most brilliant planet in our solar system is Venus, named for the Greek Love-Goddess. It is closer to Earth than any other planet — twenty-eight million miles away. Until sometime in the last half of the twentieth century it is still a planet shrouded in mystery, enveloped in a heavy blanket of clouds and steam. Because its surface temperature was believed to be several times that of Earth’s, it was not thought possible for Man to reach Venus and come back… until one day, somebody did it.”
THE OUTER LIMITS: Cold Hands, Warm Heart
SEASON 2 EPISODE 2
September 26, 1964
As part of Project Vulcan, an ambitious endeavor to colonize Mars, astronaut Jeff Barton has traveled to far off Venus. However, when he returned a celebrity to a ticker tape parade, he was changed. Regular temperatures were far too cold and he had strange visions of his mission. He proclaimed his love for his endearing wife as far greater than any of the planets in the solar system but something was wrong with him.
Seeking the advice of his personal physician proves worthless and Barton continues to experience cold spells and night terrors, recalling glimpses of his Venus mission. It is only when he visits a steam bath and sets the temperature gauge to the limit that he has a reminiscence of falling too close to Venus and actually landing on the surface. A strange wraith-like creature visits him and claws at the exterior of the vessel, trying to get at him.
After the experience in the steam bath, Barton finds that his hands have changed and are now webbed and mottled with raised bumps. His blood tests confirm that he is mutating into something else, something alien. But there is no time for rest and recuperation as Barton is busy preparing for a meeting with top brass to drum up support for Project Vulcan. He is burning the candle at both ends and his sanity is paying the price.
He is apprehended at the military base and placed into a flight simulator to reproduce the mission to Venus and find some way to connect to him. Only his wife’s voice seems to make any impact as Barton once more sees the creature in the mists of Venus, clawing at him. His wife’s voice eventually brings him down and he is stable once more. He even delivers the speech to the top brass and earns the funding he was after. It turns out that for all the dangers and tribulations of his journey and after effects, his heart held the strongest connection to his humanity through his love for his wife.
Starring William Shatner, Cold Hands, Warm Heart is another stellar achievement for the Outer Limits. It once more uses the human element combined with the strange and alien to connect to the viewer. Barton’s relationship with his wife is touching and full of warmth. Shatner delivers a top notch performance of a gifted and devoted astronaut who dreamed of flying as a child. His soliloquies are powerful and full of that rich Shatner charm that we would grow to love on Star Trek.
Part of the magnificent second season of Outer Limits, Cold Hands, Warm Heart is highly recommended.