Space: 1999 (1976) – The Mark of Archanon, and The Rules of Luton

A strange discovery beneath the surface of the moon gives Alpha a fun story to explore. Lew Schwartz penned this episode that first aired on 16 October, 1976.

Carter (Nick Tate) discovers a pair of encased bodies with a strange mark on its casing. Here’s where I start to have a problem because Tony (Tony Arnholt) refers to an adventure that has happened off screen at some point in the past as backstory.

The beings are eventually roused and it is revealed they are a father and son pair, Pasc (John Standing) and his boy, Etrec (Micheal Gallagher). They come from a planet called Archanon, Planet of Peace. They tell a tale of missions around the galaxy to promote and create peace, to stop evil and violence. They claim a rebellion caused Etrec and Pasc to be exiled to stasis.

But this proves to be not entirely true, and Etrec has some issues with the lies his father tells. It seems in reality they are virus carriers and they may prove a deadly threat to Moonbase Alpha.

There’s also an issue with the fact that they are only 640 days out of earth orbit, making this episode fall before some of the episodes that have already aired.

Koenig (Martin Landau) and Maya (catherine Schell) are noticeably absent for a large portion of the episode; they are in an Eagle doing some exploration and find themselves trapped in a meteor shower.

Consequently Carter, Russell (Barbara Bain) and Tony get a lot of story time, which is nice because all three characters need some screen time.

sptmoaketrec

The Rules of Luton is a Koenig and Maya story that was filmed on location while The Mark of Arhanon was being shot.

892 days after leaving Earth orbit, Koenig and Maya end up in an odd scenario as they are put on trial by living trees, and forced to fight three different enemies to prove their innocence.

One of their enemies has super-strength, another has invisibility, and the last can teleport.

Back at the Moonbase, the Alphans are trying to find their friends as the planet itself seems to have vanished.

There are similarities between Arena, Gamesters of Triskelion and Savage Curtain from Star Trek: The Original Series, and while it does present the idea of a living planet, recognizing that plants, trees are living things, and in this case sentient, it isn’t quite as good as it could have been.

It does look different from most of the season as they were able to shoot on location, but Koenig is not Kirk, and he can’t quite pull off the action sequences.

It is definitely not my favorite episode of the season, let alone the series, but the location work is nice.

Next week Alpha’s journey continues in Space: 1999!

sptrolkm

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