"The Prodigal Son"
Series War of the Worlds
Season 1, Episode 16
The Prodigal Son title card.jpeg
Air date February 6th, 1989
Writers Herbert Wright; Patrick Berry
Director George McCowan
Producers Jonathan Hackett; Greg Strangis; Sam Strangis
Starring Jared Martin; Lynda Mason Green; Philip Akin; Richard Chaves
Episode guide
"He Feedeth Among the Lilies"
"The Meek Shall Inherit"
"I have nothing really against humans, but as a group, they stink. I say kill them all."

"The Prodigal Son" is the sixteenth episode of season one of the science fiction series War of the Worlds and is the sixteenth episode of the series overall. It was directed by George McCowan and written by Herbert Wright, based on a story treatment by Patrick Berry. It originally aired in first-run syndication on February 6th, 1989.

Plot[edit | edit source]

In 1953, aliens invaded Earth, but were stopped when they fell to the planet's bacteria - except one. Now this rebellious rogue alien uses Blackwood's meeting with the United Nations to help his own plan for global domination.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

In a human body immune to Earth's bacteria, the alien army's supreme commander has survived since 1953, becoming famous as the hermit artist Quinn. Now, the Advocacy wants to dissect him to discover his secret.

In New York to secretly brief the United Nations Security Council on the aliens, Harrison is captured by Quinn. Three million aliens will soon arrive. Harrison must tell the United Nations that if they accept Quinn as Earth's ruler, Quinn will save 10 percent of humanity.

Suzanne and Ironhorse find a message from Harrison at Quinn's studio, warning that Quinn is an alien. The aliens infiltrate Ironhorse's security force at the United Nations building, cornering Quinn and Harrison. When Harrison saves them both, Quinn frees him and disappears, promising that they will meet again.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Principal Cast[edit | edit source]

Guest Stars[edit | edit source]

Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]

Quotes[edit | edit source]

  • Quinn: To Life Immortal... sucker.


  • Harrison: Quinn, if you have any information about aliens, tell me.
  • Quinn: Oh, I'll tell you, Harry, but just about one. I'll tell you about one who did not fall to the bacteria in the great invasion, one who was stranded alone 35 long, lonely years on a hostile alien planet...called Earth.
  • Harrison: You're an alien.
  • Quinn: Oh, no, Harry. You're the alien.


  • Harrison: Why do you hate humans so much, Quinn?
  • Quinn: I have nothing really against humans; some of my best friends are humans. But as a group, they stink and you know it. I say kill them all.
  • Harrison: Is this the only way to end the war, Quinn? Why can't we start here and now, between you and me, some interspecies dialogue which, for all we know, might bring peace?
  • Quinn: Dialogue, no. Demand, yes. You will tell the U.N. Security Council leaders tomorrow night that 10% of the human race will be allowed to live, only if they follow my orders. The rest will be poisoned. Otherwise, total annihilation is inevitable. It's an offer you can't refuse.
  • Harrison: That's not a peace offer, Quinn; that's the slaughter of billions of innocent people!
  • Quinn: This is a fact.
  • Harrison: Why? Why our planet?!
  • Quinn: We come from an ancient world, Harry. A garden planet called Mor-Tax. But our sun is dying. And without light, there is no life. Earth is the closest planet by far to continue our eternity under a new sun in a new world. A world you don't deserve. A paradise your kind treats like a toilet! You're all vermin! A plague this planet can well do without.
  • Harrison: We belong here, Quinn. You don't!
  • Quinn: We are the future, Harry! In less than five years, three million colonists will arrive here from Mor-Tax, and an army of thousands up there right now works to slaughter all of you. But I offer mankind a compromise! Take it!
  • Harrison: What happens to the ones that you spare, Quinn?
  • Quinn: I will have them put on reservations far from my kind. The world will be a better place for it, and we will live life immortal.
  • Harrison: Even if I was to convey this grisly offer to the U.N., how do I know that your kind would accept this idea, especially coming from a renegade like you?!
  • Quinn: Because I am Muura-esuk, one who knows. Supreme Commander of the army. I sacrificed everything. I left my mate, my children, my home, to come here to make a refuge for my dying race. But our ruling class thought only of its own glory, ignoring the warnings of our scientists.
  • Harrison: Yes, I know that problem well.
  • Quinn: The army will accept me to quickly win this war. Earth is a new world with new rules. We are thousands ruled by only three, the Advocacy. But now, Harry, I will rule alone.
  • Harrison: And me?
  • Quinn: You... You will make the final selection: Who amongst you lives...and who dies.


  • Harrison: Do you realize that you're unique?
  • Quinn: What's your point, Harry?
  • Harrison: My point is that you've lived here for so long that you're more human than you are alien.
  • Quinn: Don't try my patience; I've very little left.
  • Harrison: That's what I mean. The truth is that you've lived here for 35 years in torment, in suffering, in a terrible kind of loneliness. Now you're revolting against your condition. Despite the pain, you want to live, Quinn. That's a human feeling!
  • Quinn: What I've done, I've done to survive, no matter what you read into it!
  • Harrison: From what I know of your people, they are short on humor and they are long on murder. Do you think that millions of alien society are going to, going to accept that body? That mind and its human feelings, let alone allow a half-breed like you to lead them?! No, Quinn; your kind is intolerant in their superiority!
  • Quinn: Your kind murders anything different from its own. Yours is the killer race, Harry, not mine!
  • Harrison: But we have learned the value of tolerance, Quinn. And your species hasn't! Tolerance is, and always will be, the saving grace of humanity.
  • Quinn: Tolerance, Harry. What good is tolerance to me?
  • Harrison: Because if you want to live, Quinn, humans will tolerate you. They might even celebrate your half-alien identity, but your kind, your kind will squash you! They will kill you out of fear!
  • Quinn: I will rule this planet, and anybody who stands in the way will die.
  • Harrison: That's been tried before, Quinn. Maybe not by one man operating all by himself!
  • Quinn: Oh, but I'm more than one, Harry. I have you. And if you're good, really good tonight, Harry, the United Nations will end this war.
  • Harrison: And put you on the throne?!
  • Quinn: You'd better pray that they do. Because if this fails, you'll be extinct...along with all the rest of your God-forsaken species.


  • Harrison: 35 years ago, a great invasion force of aliens nearly obliterated mankind in an all-out attack from the stars. They came here in these spaceships, and they fell from the sky dead...or so we all thought. Earth was saved from interstellar conquest by the presence of common bacteria found on this planet, but they were not dead, as my adopted father, Dr. Forrester, tried to warn everyone. They were only asleep. Dr. McCullough?
  • Suzanne: They are capable of inhabiting human bodies, a perfect cover which allows them to roam our cities undetected, unnoticed.
  • Ironhorse: We are at war, gentlemen, and we had better win.
  • Harrison: There won't be any second chance.

External links[edit | edit source]

Video[edit | edit source]


WAR OF THE WORLDS TV Series (1988-90) Advert for Ep 15 THE PRODIGAL SON. TV Violence

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.