Childhoods End Episodes
Part 1: The Overlords
It's the year 2016, and there's some weird stuff going on. All across the world, cell signals are jammed, man-made, airborne devices are being suspended and lowered in mid-air, the sky is fogging over, and a fleet of enormous spaceships are blocking out the sun. And then Karellen, the alien Supervisor for Earth, taking the form of people's deceased loved ones, transmits a message of peace to humans. Karellen vows that the Overlords will put an end to suffering, injustice, hunger, and sickness. The people of Earth are no longer alone. A new version of Earth known as Utopia will be the new law of the land.
All across the globe, the tension in conflict zones is easing. Warring peoples come together in harmony. But the calm doesn't last for long. At Ricky Stormgren's farm in Missouri, all the appliances inside the house go haywire, and he, his dog, and his wife, Ellie, take refuge in the cellar. A mysterious force radiating from a droid beckons Ricky out of his home, before dismantling it piece by piece. Only when Ricky agrees to climb aboard does the spacecraft return his house to its proper place.
When Ricky wakes up, he finds himself in a swanky hotel suite — the one he and his deceased wife Annabelle shared on their honeymoon. It is here that the disembodied voice of Karellen asks Ricky to be the liaison between the Overlords and the Earthlings — a "blue-collar prophet". Karellen equips Ricky with a device, a shiny toy whose design is as futuristic as its purpose is mysterious.
Shortly after, government officials and the press descend on Ricky's farmhouse, just in time for his return. The agents strong-arm Ricky into handing over the device given him by Karellen. When they open it together, it releases a cure-all that eradicates disease around the world. Invited to the White House to give a speech to the people of Earth, Ricky starts out positively, then things quickly get out of hand, as reporters demand to hear more about what Karellen and his vessel look like — neither of which Ricky can answer. For Karellen - just a voice behind a mirror in the spaceship at this point - has told Ricky that the world is "not ready" to see him yet.
In just six months, the Overlords, with Ricky's help, have eradicated war, hunger, and poverty. But something isn't sitting right with many Earthlings, in particular a wheelchair-bound little boy named Milo — he's got some theories about The Overlords' true intentions. At the same time, a resistance movement called the Freedom League, funded by media tycoon Hugo Wainwright, is gaining followers and spreading doubt in Karellen's patronage.
In New York, Milo, returning home one day, gets between his addict mother and her violent, scummy drug dealer…a courageous act which he pays for with a bullet in the chest. But the Overlords do not sit idly by: they send down beams of light that dispose of the homicidal drug pusher, revive Milo, and even give the boy back the use of his legs. In Utopia, good deeds are rewarded.
And in Missouri, Ricky is kidnapped from his farm by the Freedom League and taken to a remote base supervised by Wainwright himself. In the massive underground bunker, Wainwright presents his idea to take back the power out of The Overlords' hands: by destroying all the good things they've given humans, the Freedom League will disgruntle Karellen and his crew, and they'll take a hike. When Ricky tells Wainwright to basically kiss his a*$, the tycoon's muscle opens fire on the farmer. But Karellen's sorcery freezes time (and the bullet heading right for Ricky), allowing Ricky to exit the situation and return to his farmhouse — and, to boot, Karellen broadcasted the whole thing live around the world, humiliating Wainwright.
When Ricky visits Karellen in the honeymoon suite, the Supervisor thanks Ricky for his services but informs him that he's no longer needed. Before Ricky is excused, he takes a photo of the mirror Karellen always hides behind. But upon reviewing it with Ellie, he decides that it shouldn't be sent around. Karellen WAS right to keep himself hidden.
Over a decade later, long after Wainwright was found hanged, wiz kid Milo graduates from M.I.T. and becomes an astrophysicist at the World Federation (the new, unified government of Earth). Masses of people gather to receive Karellen, who decides to make himself known. When he reveals himself looking like the Devil, complete with horns, wings, red skin and tail, we are left to wonder whether the utopia that Karellen created should be taken at face value.