Guardian of Piri

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Guardian of Piri

Post  BoG on Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:22 am

Air Date: 11/13/75  Arrow  written by Christopher Penfold  Arrow  Directed by Charles Chrichton

The moon and Alpha Base approach another planet, Piri (why that name? dunno).  The first two Alphans to check it out in an Eagle suddenly start behaving as if intoxicated and are presumed killed in a crash. But, when Alan (Nick Tate) follows them there, he finds the craft hanging in midair and the pilots missing. Meanwhile, Alpha's computer seems to be seriously malfunctioning, even causing the death of a woman undergoing a blood transfusion, though diagnostic checks reveal nothing. Koenig also goes to the planet and meets a simulacrum of a human female (Catherine Schell) who identifies herself as an agent of the Guardian. The Guardian apparently has the power to freeze time. Alan is also mentally affected, causing a fight between the two men. By the time an injured Koenig gets back to Alpha, all the Alphans have been subverted, behaving in an almost mindlessly happy, carefree manner and making plans to head to Piri permanently. This they do, using all but one of the Eagles, leaving Koenig alone on Alpha.
This episode is very similar to the old Star Trek TOS episode, This Side of Paradise, in two definite ways: (1) the crew deserting, their minds subverted to be free of care, and (2) the commander remaining alone on the ship or base, somewhat immune to the mind control for some reason. In this case, the subversion is even more severe; rather than relaxing in a field of grass or falling in love, the Alphans merely sit in one spot on the planet, not just apathetic but nearly catatonic (but they're "happy").  The planet's surface is somewhat psychedelic in design, being mostly white globules perched or hanging. It's amusing to witness Bergman and especially Dr. Russell behaving in such a goofy manner, but the story is very limited in scope and tension, with the only revelation that there are no Pirians a no-brainer. The science is also goofy - time is frozen yet the Alphans are not. Also, it's never explained why Koenig is immune, except that he might have more willpower - unlikely. The solution - one power blast from Koenig - is very anti-climactic. BoG's Score: 5 out of 10
Space Trivia: an early appearance on the show by actress Schell as the robot servant of the Guardian; she would return as Maya, a regular character, at the start of the 2nd season.
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