I’ve been far happier with this series than I’d expected but the last episode was tedious. I was excited to find Ring Around the Moon had a strong opener with a strange brain-eye planet looking at the Alphans. It spoke in that whispery Zygon-like way. It was a disconcerting image with a cool voice and it gave me high hopes. When Doctor Who’s Corporal Adams (The Android Invasion) suddenly started taking over the computer before he died, I thought we’d be in for a real treat. And then I waited. And waited. And waited…
The whole episode felt like a particularly late pregnancy. The doctor tells you your wife is about to go into labor and three days later, you’re still waiting, having not gone home, gone for food, or even a shower and still, no sign of said delivery. The planet Triton is watching the Alphans (and is probably as bored as I am) and they are trying to understand what it’s doing. They send Carter and another pilot to the planet, but they are sent back where they crash. With nothing better to do, 5 members of the crew do a moonwalk to rescue Carter and the other pilot. So the Tritons miraculously abscond with Helena who they intend to send back and use as a spy.
Look, I know this is the product of another age but surely someone thought this was a bit slow? Did no one review the script? And I know that the order is often changed so maybe this episode took place chronologically before The Full Circle, but we saw that Eagles can be remote controlled so when Carter is crashing, why did no one take over? It leads to the death of the copilot, which makes this weeks death count: 2, bringing our number to 287. On top of that, this series has been doing an incredible job with model work and set design. A real testament to our pre-CGI special effects. So why did I feel so cheated in the totally black nothingness when Koenig and team finally breach the Tritons home? Oh yeah… probably because it was a black nothingness!! Had the used up the budget earlier in the season? And I do acknowledge that the cast has come a long way but I’m totally confused how Barbara Bain was given this role. While in the control of the Triton lifeform, she has to reprogram a computer. Her fingers just go up and down on the keypad without any variation to give it the impression of doing anything at all.
To really put the final nail in the coffin, the Alphans work out a way to basically feed misinformation to the brain-eye. They tell it that its home planet is no longer around; wiped out. Without that, it has no purpose. So you betcha! Koenig once again talks the villain to death. It blows itself up. Oh, it tries saying things over Koenig, but since the two were talking at the same time, I’ve no idea what it was saying.
“Intelligence without physical form…” I think by the time this episode was over, I was a physical form without intelligence. I don’t know how some episodes I can find mesmerizing, then two back to back episodes I found utterly devoid of excitement or interest. I don’t need these to be exciting episodes, but I do want them to be interesting. When this started, it had a premise that looked really good. Alas the earlier episodes ran rings around this moon. ML
Max Faulkner as a connection between this Space 1999 episode and Dr. Who: The Android Invasion is indeed very interesting. As an actor/stuntman with an impressive resume that includes Blake’s 7, Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes and Goldeneye, he has one of those faces that you can’t miss. So it’s another special reminder of how an actor playing a doomed crewman for an episode of Space 1999, Star Trek or somewhere in Dr. Who can be so easily and fondly remembered. Thanks, ML.
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