Death's other Dominion

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Death's other Dominion

Post  BoG on Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:36 pm

Air Date: 10/2/75  Arrow  written by Anthony Terpiloff & Elizabeth Barrows  Arrow  Directed by Charles Crichton

The moon with Alphabase arrives near a frozen planet; Koenig, Dr. Russell, Bergman and Alan head to the surface in an Eagle. On foot, they quickly get lost and separated in a snowstorm (somewhat inept on their part). Alan makes it back to the Eagle while the other three are taken in by the planet's residents - Earthlings from a 1986 Uranus expedition which also got lost in space. They have carved out rather impressive quarters for themselves underground and have somehow adapted to the cold. The leader (Brian Blessed) is a doctor/scientist who wants the new arrivals to remain, and they in turn, except for Koenig, see this as a chance to settle on a normal planet, even if it's a cold one. Eventually, it's revealed that these settlers have been there for over 800 years; for reason unknown, aging is also frozen here - the leader wants to find out this reason and has been conducting experiments on various other members which have left them as vegetables, a kind of living death. This also suggests that the moon & Alphabase have gone through some kind of time warp into the future in the recent past.
As with several episodes in this series, this doesn't bother to provide the answers one might expect - we never find out why the characters are granted immortality on this planet (christened grandly as "Ultima Thule"). Rather, it's an examination of the possible advantages and drawbacks of such immortality. It seems to depend on the person as to whether its regarded as a plus or a minus. The drama unfolds in a kind of grandiose, operatic manner, with a trace of farce, as emphasized by the two main guest stars, Blessed and John Shrapnel (who plays the ex-captain of the Uranus expedition, now seriously addled). It's never spelled out, but Shrapnel's character, the designated court jester, probably has slowly snapped under the pressure of hundreds of years of immortality. But, odd behavior is not consigned to just the guest stars: both Russell and Bergman (and later Alan) are too eager to join this conclave, as if Alpha is suddenly anathema to them. Is it the lure of immortality, twisting their perspective? Someone else also loses their perspective, when he attempts to leave the planet temporarily, and it's an expected if still shocking turn of events, but it's also the weakest part of the episode: how could he nor any of the Alphans not have expected this? BoG's Score: 6.5 out of 10
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