The Immunity Syndrome... you’d almost expect the Alphans to find themselves in a giant amoeba, but that’s a different show. However, the title isn’t the only thing this story shares with Classic Star Trek. It took me 47 episodes to notice, but Helena must have been a distant relative of Doctor McCoy – she spends far more time on the command deck than in medbay! The episode also shares some ideas with other classic Trek episodes, as we’ll see below.
The Alphas are passing a planet that appears to be earthlike. They go on a survey mission but when one of the random crewmen is exposed to a flashing light; he goes mad and tries to kill Tony. Tony gets the upper hand, kills him instead, then is exposed to the same light and goes mad. Koenig and crew go searching. Meanwhile the atmosphere is turning toxic and all their equipment begins breaking down. Food and water becomes lethal. What’s happening on the planet is very similar to Trek’s The Way to Eden with an idyllic planet that is deadly to the touch. Then the Alphans encounter a buried ship. They unearth it and find a corpse that has conveniently left messages in English for anyone who finds him. And that’s when we find out what drove Tony mad…
So the first question dawned on me before the atmosphere started going bad. They can’t find Tony and Maya has a propensity for turning into a bird. Why not get her there to do a flyby and locate their missing crewman? After finding and subduing Tony, the crew are in a pickle since they can’t leave the planet; they realize nothing metal can last so they can’t be rescued because Eagles are mostly metal. So Helena and Maya – the two most seniro officers on the base – leave in a glider. By the time they arrive, Koenig has listened to all of the alien’s messages and learned that there is an immortal alien that just wants to communicate with people, but drives them mad in the process. (Not sure how the alien learned this – he says a flaw in the eyes of a specially crafted suit made it where they could not communicate, but he seems to know a lot about the creature.)
That brings up the next Trek connection. The immortal extrovert drives people mad on sight, not unlike Trek’s Medusan in Is There in Truth No Beauty. Koenig has to have a special visor that blocks out all sight to go to meet the alien of flashing lights. Now, all of this leads to a great message. The alien does manage to communicate, also conveniently in English (more or less) and says “I am I”. He doesn’t understand that there are other beings. When he learns more, he is saddened by the pain he caused and helps the Alphans leave. Koenig offers the best message of the 48 episodes: Each of us must discover who we are. I was impressed; Captain Belligerent offered something helpful. Wow.
But there are so many things that make me laugh in this series. “Eagle 1” is used (and frequently destroyed) in nearly every episode. Does no one like referring to any others? Can’t they use Eagle 34? Also, when Koenig first finds the dead alien, he spins the chair around and a scream is heard. Who screamed? Sure it was unsettling, but was it Carter? Poor Aussie! It sure wasn’t Koenig! And I love the line, “We can’t build a communicator out of plastic.” Since I had the toy, I can tell you they absolutely can! Lastly, I take notes and sometimes write a few of these at the same time. This takes place 2310 days into their journey but that overlaps with an episode from a few weeks ago: The Lambda Factor. I begin to think Helena makes up the mission statement as she goes.
Though I watched these in order, this was a far better episode than what actually ended the series. More on that next week. But that still can’t make up for the shortcomings. ML
Curious how Space: 1999 so near its end would have several Star Trek connections. Thanks, ML.
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