After last week’s cliffhanger with Commander John Koenig (Martin Landau) being menaced by one of the monstrous Bringers, I had to find out what happened next!
Written by Terence Feeley, this episode first aired on 11 August, 1977. While the rest of the Alphans see the Bringers as friends, relatives, and loved ones, Koenig sees them as they actually are, poorly designed and constructed aliens.
The members of Moonbase Alpha believe he is mad, and ill, and Helena (Barbara Bain) and Maya (Catherine Schell) do their best to bring him back to health… but are they only doing the Bringers work for them?
Koenig is able to convince the brainiest people on the base (Maya and Helena) that his version of the truth may be correct, and they may have a way to save the rest of the moon.
Despite the shoddy alien design, this two-parter serves as a standout of the series, a solid story, characters we’ve grown to know and love, fairly solid production, and good pacing. Sadly, not all of these factors gel in the other episodes, but for this shining moment, it all comes together.
For me this one is right up there with the series opener, Breakaway, and makes me realize that this series could have been one of the real greats had some of the stories been just a bit stronger, and episode to episode continuity came into play (there’s a ridiculous error in days from Earth orbit that suggests that part one happens over a year before the second part takes place – but they don’t), and say a serialized storyline.
Let’s see how the next story plays out…
The Seance Spectre was written by Donald Jones, and first aired on 18 August, 1977. And it shows how silly the stories of this series can be. Instead of using science to investigate the potential of life on a nearby planet, someone on Moonbase Alpha believes it’s a good idea to conduct a survey via seance.
An exploration team led by Sanderson (Ken Hutchison) may have been out there for too long. He is obsessed with the belief that there is a habitable planet nearby, but none of it is based on fact… he’s been conducting seances. With a little more tweaking, Sanderson’s character may have been a little more sympathetic.
Amongst his team members is a recognizable face in the persona of Eva (Carolyn Seymour!).
While Koenig and Maya take an eagle to investigate, the exploration team attempts to take control of Alpha and bring them to this new planet. Of course, things aren’t what they appear to be, and Koenig comes up with a drastic plan for them to avoid the planet… a plan that harkens back to Breakaway.
We are coming up on the close of the series, and while I am enjoying a lot of it, it’s definitely not what I remember as a child.
Next week, my travels with Moonbase Alpha continue with Space: 1999!