This was more like it! Last week we had a terribly dull episode that felt like a repeat of a Star Trek story. This has hints of a classic Twilight Zone episode in the form of The Lonely, where an asteroid is used as a prison, but they ramp up the story and give us a frightening episode that is a distinct departure from its Twilight Zone counterpart.
End of Eternity opens with the Alphans exploring an asteroid that seems to have an internal atmosphere. They find what Victor calls “…a one-room world”. When they use explosives to get into that room, they find a man who was injured by the explosive. They rush him back to Alpha where he dies. But not for long…
With hints of Doctor Who’s Mawdryn Undead, the being, Balor, is in a state of perpetual regeneration, as is the asteroid he is imprisoned on. He offers the Alphans eternal life but Koenig feels the price is too high. What ensues is a tense battle against a man who cannot be harmed and has the strength of many men.
Balor reminded me of a vampire throughout the episode from his clothing to his physical appearance. Our first glimpse of him is his injured, gloved hand, covered in blood. The problem with the offer of immortality is that it’s laced with the promise of torture as well. When he was found, there were a number of grotesque paintings lining his small cell, all indicative of the evil this man had been responsible for. There is yet another one of those superb Space: 1999 chilling moments when the camera does a quick shot of the pictures accompanied by screaming.
There were a number of really enjoyable things about this episode. The tension of the cat and mouse game between Balor and Koenig was exciting and the fight sequences were really well done. I loved the weird music while a slowed-down fight scene took place where no one threw actual punches, but Balor was quick to throw people. And there is a marvelous battle between Koenig and a guy named Mike who attacks Koenig viciously with a model plane. The sequence is remarkably well-filmed before Mike’s really disturbing on-screen death. Truly great stuff. On the other hand, I laughed out loud when Balor was walking through the base prying doors open since he did not have his own remote for the moon base doors. While something being unintentionally funny doesn’t disappoint me, having the hero (Koenig) say “use the kill ray” was uncalled for. Sure, at this point they just see an enormously tall man hurling people around, so I understand John’s fear, but no one had tried talking to the man until he spoke perfectly good English and asked them to stop!
I wish they made the alien look at least a little bit alien, rather than a very tall man who might be passing for a vampire. I did appreciate the ending though because I had been wondering how they could possibly get him out of the base, being unable to hurt him, kill him, stun him, or anything else. I figured an airlock might work, when lo and behold, that’s what they did. But I couldn’t help feel like he’d just be somewhere else on the moon at that point. Still, the idea of him drifting forever in space, knowing he was never going to die… that was very disturbing.
I can’t tell if we lost two people through this adventure or just one. Mike, the pilot who attacks Koenig, was definitely dead but the nurse working with Helena is a bit unclear. Helena says that Balor is a cold blooded killer leading me to believe she was killed, but he made a comment earlier that he was going to hurt them, not kill them. So, I’m of the mindset we are now down to 297 crewmen. The Alphans had better start taking more precautions. They may be all that’s left of humanity at this point.
This was a far better episode than last week and left me with some ideas to ponder. It doesn’t offer as much to look at, but I can live with that if it gives me something to think about. ML
It’s curious when the episodes with hints and reminders of those from other sci-fi shows can earn specific popularity. When a being like Balor, and with a distinctive actor like Peter Bowles for the role, makes such a grand impact on the Moonbase Alpha crew, it was different enough from what Whovians can remember about Mawdryn. As another cautionary tale about the obvious curse of immortality, and how Space: 1999 saw fit to get round to such a story within its first season, it can earn as much praise from sci-fi audiences as the classic Star Trek’s first two time travel stories. It certainly earns my respect when a new sci-fi series dares to take on such familiar challenges with its own creative signature. So thanks, ML, for your encouraging review.
LikeLiked by 2 people