For the finale of Space: 1999 we have a special treat: legendary actor Patrick Troughton stars as the Archon. His people, the Dorcons, hunt and kill Psychons for their brain stems because of their unusual properties in giving eternal life. With Maya being the last Psychon alive, the stakes are high. The dorks… I mean Dorcons will stop at nothing to get Maya and prolong the life of their dying leader. An episode about Maya featuring Patrick Troughton… what more can you ask for? Well for one, I wish they didn’t call this The Dorcons, because how can you not make fun of it???
Sadly, as a final episode with a magnificent actor, we are treated to the slowest episode of the series. How can you get it that wrong?! Not even the legend that was Troughton could save this one. The Dorcons… (I cringe each time) are far superior to Alpha in every way but they fail to turn off their transporter the moment they have Maya in custody because they are dorks. Mind you, this is after first blasting the base to pieces, yet miraculously only causing two deaths. Makes me wonder just how all powerful these beings really are! With the beam still active, Koenig runs into it and gets back to the Dorks base. Lucky for him, The Archon’s nephew wants power for himself and undermines his uncle and his chief councilor. If not for that serendipitous situation, there was no way for the Alphans to survive against the Dorks. Dorcons… sorry.
What it means in terms of viewing is that we get to watch Koenig run up and down bland, uninteresting corridors repeatedly while trying to hide from his captors, all while the Archon’s nephew helps take out the guards. This wouldn’t bother me so much if Koenig were even moderately interesting, but we know the series is carried by Maya for the whole of season 2. Oh… Maya spends the bulk of the time on a table unconscious so even in an episode that is largely about her, she has nothing to do except look scared at the start and asleep for the rest of the production. Yes, I can’t blame her. This was a sleeper script after all and no surprise that they wouldn’t extend for another series after this plodding nightmare. (Having said that, I still think this has more going for it than The Avengers – the series I watched concurrently with this!)
Mercifully Helena only plays a small part telling us we are 2409 days into their travels. The series ends with minimal involvement from the other cast members. Probably for the best in general, but an absolute godsend where she was concerned. She was as wooden as Pinocchio and she never really got any better. And to end without a hint of Bergman… sinful really. But then, this whole episode was a sin considering, even in 1977, surely the idea of a good ending would have meant something! I guess not…
The show was interesting and periodically hit some high notes, but for the most part the pace never hit the momentum it needed to remain a classic. The television of today would never accept a show like this, even if the premise is an interesting one. That might explain why no one has thought to revive it, I suppose. Still, it was often interesting and I never knew what to expect, but it left something to be desired. I’m happy to have delved into it, but I can’t say it will ever be a favorite and the likelihood of ever returning to it again is very slim. Although, I was happy to find a coda…
Stay tuned next week for a wrap up and a brief message from 20 years after the show finished; a Message from Moon Base Alpha. ML
Great to have Patrick Troughton in a series finale. Thank you, ML, for all your Space: 1999 reviews.
LikeLiked by 1 person
This was obviously in the days where it was rare for television shows to do proper series finales, so this is what we got instead. Also, Gerry Anderson did not know if the Space 1999 was going to get renewed for a third season.
There was an interview with Zienia Merton where she talks about how in 1977 she had two offers. One was to stay on for Space 1999 for the final few episodes of the second season with more screen time and then return as a regular in the third season. The other was to appear in a Norwegian film entitled Cosmetics Revolution. The schedules for the end of season two and the movie would have clashed, so she couldn’t do both. Since her experience on Space 1999 during its second season had not been a pleasant one and no one could definitively say the show was returning for a third season she decided to leave the show and go to Norway and make Cosmetics Revolution. Shortly afterwards she found out Space 1999 had been cancelled. So, she obviously made the correct decision.
At least two decades later Space 1999 did get a final episode in the form of A Message from Moonbase Alpha.
LikeLiked by 1 person