Space: 1999 – Seed of Destruction

breakawayReaders of the Junkyard might recall that a few weeks ago, I mentioned that the Sci-fi channel (now Syfy) once aired 2 episodes of this show back to back.  One was that abysmal Brian the Brain. The other was Seed of Destruction.  I couldn’t recall this title, but I remembered it was good.  Watching many years later, which is to say now, I realize it’s still good but it’s another time Space: 1999 seems to rip off Star Trek.  If I’m being completely honest, this isn’t a bad idea offering a Mirror, Mirror counterpart for Koenig, but the logic isn’t as sound.

A jewel-like asteroid is coming close to Alpha so Koenig and Alan go to explore.  Upon arrival, their Eagle goes wonky so Alan stays on board to fix it while Koenig goes to explore.  He finds a cave that is like a hall of mirrors and one of those reflections comes to life and takes Koenig’s place.  He heads back to the Eagle, which suddenly starts to work again, and they go back to Alpha where Koenig orders all power diverted to the asteroid, nearly draining all power from their base.  Helena knows something’s wrong and recruits Tony and Maya to get to the bottom of it before it’s too late.

I have to say, they thought of a lot.  When Gineok … no, that’s not really what he’s called, but Mirror Koenig emerges from a mirror, he’s wearing a jacket that has all the insignia backwards.  His belt is on wrong and even his hair is parted to the wrong side.  Conceptually, this was very well done.  Where it failed a bit was when Kalthon, the disembodied voice of the planet, started telling (real) Koenig its plan.  It creates a really weird funhouse atmosphere as it laughs at Koenig, but proceeds to tell him he’ll never escape while sharing all their plans.  The Kalthons want to take Alpha’s energy to regenerate their species.  If this were a better show, we might have seen a solution where both Alphans and Kalthons survive.  This isn’t that show and Alpha survives while dooming the Kathons.

“I talk like I’ve been drinking my own beer!”  The episode was still a step up from a lot of the season 2 fare including a line that recognizes that Tony has been working on brewing his own beer for some time.  It’s a simple continuity line that has no payoff other than showing the audience that these characters are being developed, even if a bit too slowly to make a mark.  Unfortunately, the same character mockingly says to Maya, “how would you know?  You’re a Psychon!”  Though he seems to be playing with her, I find the racism, even if “only” towards a fictional alien, unpalatable.  Mirror John comes off as a very belligerent commander which would have worked better had he not been that way 90% of the time anyway.  He yells more than Yosemite Sam!  And Alan is called a “dumb, blind kangaroo”, which is 100% the only time I’ve ever heard anyone called that.

The resolution comes when the two Koenig’s face off and Helena has to decide which is the real one.  Mirror Koenig tries to point out that the real Koenig is wearing reversed clothing but that’s because he put it on the real Koenig after knocking him out.  Real Koenig stays calm for a change and points out that he may have thought of everything… except the part in his hair.   But Helena comes off best of all when she says none of that mattered: his actions spoke for themselves and she knew who the fake was all along.  It’s a really strong victory for a character I’ve found very bland almost the whole series long.

It’s a shame more of season 2 wasn’t like this one.  It’s not perfect, but it’s a major improvement from most of what’s come along this season.  Interestingly, Zenia Merton showed back up as Sandra; she had been absent for the better part of season 2.  Also of note, this one takes place 1608 days into their journey making it into 2004 – it’s the furthest out that we’ve traveled with them, to the best of my memory.  They’ve done a good job so far, considering a very crotchety man has been in command the whole time.  Frankly, I think they’ve survived this long because of Maya.  ML

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1 Response to Space: 1999 – Seed of Destruction

  1. scifimike70 says:

    A sci-fi TV episode about a double replacing a main character, as openly familiar as it may be, being an improvement for the show is certainly interesting. How many ways can the idea be refreshed? I think it was after Meglos impersonated the 4th Doctor that it all became rather routine for me. Still a revisit to one episode that made it work out particularly well is always nice. Thanks, ML, for your review.

    Liked by 1 person

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