Space 1999 – UFO – tape 2120

First on this tape, it’s off to Moonbase Alpha. This episode is called Earthbound so I’m sure there’ll be false hope and dashed promises along the way.

It’s immediately enlivened by guest star Roy Dotrice, returning as Commissioner Simmonds, the Earth politician who was stranded with the rest of the Moonbase crew in the pilot episode.

He’s very unhappy with the lack of any plan to locate Earth and get back home. “We can’t afford to waste our time on something scientifically impossible” declares Koenig. “The impossible just takes a little longer, that’s all commander” says Simmonds, who clearly learned everything he knows from those stupid desk signs in Clinton’s Cards.

But Koenig’s having none of it. “A return to Earth is out of the question.” He’s interrupted by a call from Sandra in Main Mission. What do you want to bet it’s news that a return to Earth might just be on the cards?

A manned spaceship is approaching Alpha. Eagles are launched to intercept. What are the rules for whether an Eagle has red stripes or not? I quite like them.

On the ship, when it lands on the moon, they find passengers in suspended animation. After some examination, they conclude that to learn any more about the passengers, they have to open up one of the suspended animation chambers. This decision is taken rather quickly, and doesn’t turn out well for the passenger.

Luckily (?) this activates the other chambers, and the rest of the passengers wake up non-flammably. I can’t imagine they’ll be happy. Even worse, their leader bears a striking resemblance to Christopher Lee.

“All our instruments indicated life no longer existed” says Helena in her defence.

To Simmonds’ delight, the people on the ship, Kaldorians, are actually travelling to Earth, albeit a trip that will take 75 years in suspended animation. Simmonds hatches a plan to seize the ship by force. Such a typical politician.

But there’s a spare seat on the ship, and he offers a chance for one of the Alphans to join them.

Koenig wants Computer to choose one person from Alpha to go with them. Simmonds doesn’t seem to want to take the chance.

So he grabs a gun, threatens to destroy Alpha if they don’t let him go. The Kaldorians reluctantly let him join them and the ship takes off. I have to say, the Kaldorian ship has a very distinct ‘hanging from wires’ movement to it. I wonder if it was deliberate.

Cut to the Kaldorian ship, and Simmonds wakes up from his hibernation. He makes a call to Earth with his comlok. “After 75 years”.

Cut to Main Mission, present day, and the Alphans are rather surprised to hear the broadcast, no time really having gone by. It’s like the end of a Tales of the Unexpected.

As realisation sets in, and Simmonds starts screaming for help, trapped in his chamber, the Alphans all manage to look shocked, rather than happy.

And in a second twist, the person Computer chose to go on the trip was Simmonds.

After this, recording switches to the end of an old TV programme, The Vise and an episode called Under Suspicion.

Then there’s an episode of UFO called The Dalotek Affair. It opens with an interview with an American UFO expert who manages to cite both Gerald Ford (then a congressman) and Robert Kennedy. He even quotes General Macarthur talking about war between planets, something I’d prefer to have confirmed by Snopes.

Such a weird opening, with the interview, then Colonels Freeman and Foster having a drink in a swanky bar, ogling pretty girls, and Foster starts reminding Freeman of “The Dalotek Affair… The Dalotek Affair,,, The Dalotek Affair” as he goes into black and white, then all wibbly wobbly flashback. I hope the flashback is a narrative necessity.

After three UFOs turn away from an attack on the moon, there’s a large meteor heading for the moon, and heading for the ‘Dalotek Unit’, a private corporation on the moon.

Moonbase has radio problems, and Foster thinks it might be Dalotek operating outside their assigned frequencies, so he visits their base. One of their personnel is Jane Carson, played by Tracy Reed, so obviously there’s typical 1970s leering and innuendo. “Miss Carson is in charge of the scanner. She’s very experienced.” “I can imagine.”

But they do strike up a relationship.

After a lot of back and forth, they need to wipe the memories of the Dalotek team when a UFO attacks, which is why there was a flashback at the start. Then, at the end, Foster goes over to speak to Jane, for her the first time they’ve met.

Next, more from Moonbase Alpha. An asteroid is heading of the moon (again?) and they’re sending nuclear bombs to it to destroy it, but Alan Carter is having trouble getting away in time.

Landau is a very stoic actor, but he’s really looking upset when Carter only has seconds to get safely away from the blast. Some good sad acting.

The asteroid is successfully destroyed, and when Koening takes another Eagle to rescue Alan, he sees another planet on collision course with Alpha.

Carter survived the explosion, but he seems to be followed around by visions of a woman.

Koenig goes up to scope out the planet again, only to find a massive spaceship there, which captures his eagle, You Only Live Twice style.

On the ship after an interminable wander through dark corridors, he meets the same woman Carter has been seeing. She’s Arra, Queen of the planet that’s heading for the moon.

She spouts a lot of gobbledegook about how the moon and her planet must collide, which will change both in strange ways. She tells him he has to stop Alpha laying mines to deflect the planet. Will they believe him?

No, they assume he’s raving because of radiation sickness. They confine him to quarters and proceed with the plan.

Once again, there’s a scene where a female member of the command staff suddenly becomes hysterical and tries to run out of Main Mission. This is happening far too often in this series.

There’s a big standoff in Main Mission as Koenig and Carter try to stop the plan and let the worlds collide. They succeed, and to almost everybody’s surprise, the moon is not destroyed.

After this, recording continues for a while with some Twin Peaks. This recording stops, and underneath there’s the end of an episode of The Critic (as seen in The Simpsons recently).

After this, an extra treat with an episode of It’s Garry Shandling’s Show. The scenes are introduced by Ian Abercrombie, a shakespearean actor who they got cheap. He’s playing Fate, also the title of the episode.

Garry is visited by Pete Conrad, the third man to walk on the moon.

The tape ends shortly after this episode.

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2 comments

  1. Every time I see Tracy Reed’s name I expect the black American actress of the same name. I suspect most first-time viewers of “Earthbound” guessed the ending correctly.

    “V” did something similar on the regular series, in one of its few effective moments.

  2. Frank E. Stranges was a pretty wacky guy, Google him for the titles of his books and you’ll see what I mean. Forever immortalised by the Andersons in that UFO episode. And his UFO research centre. I wonder if he knew Frankie Stein from Monster Fun?

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