episode #87 & #88 - Dark Side of the Moon

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episode #87 & #88 - Dark Side of the Moon

Post  BoG on Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:23 pm

episodes #8, 9 of 5th season / Air Dates: 11/06/77 & 11/13/77
 Arrow  writers: Richard Landau, John Meredyth Lucas Arrow  Directed by Cliff Bole

As hinted by the title, Austin makes it back to the moon in this 2-part episode. It begins with a routine space mission on some asteroid, with Austin and an obsessive scientist (Jack Colvin) looking to find a rare element. Though Austin finds traces of the element, the scientist insists that the amounts are too minute and that the mission is a failure. Back on Earth, however, tests are positive enough to assure a 2nd, more extensive mining mission, with a larger team. The scientist doesn't want Austin on this 2nd team, proclaiming him as too uncooperative and it's eventually revealed that this scientist is plotting with a couple of others to divert the mission from the asteroid to the moon, where he is certain there are larger quantities of this element. They trick NASA and OSI into thinking that the mission team is on the asteroid by using a relay signal device, while they actually go to the moon. However, their mining efforts, using explosives, change the moon's orbit enough so that it causes catastrophic weather and calamity on Earth. Austin determines that he must go to the dark side of the moon to find out what's going on there. There's also a female astronaut (Simone Griffeth) whom he's fond of.
As indicated by the plot summary above, all attempts to ground these episodes in some kind of quasi-reality and root the story in scientific fact were for naught by this time. Someone must have watched the series Space:1999 a few times too many and gained all the wrong lessons. The start of this 2-parter shows us that space travel is a bit more advanced and routine than in our reality, as if the moon missions were just a starting point - all well and good, and kind of cool. But then we get all this stuff about shifting the moon's orbit with simple mining explosions. Towards the end, there's even a supposed nuclear explosion which Austin easily evades with a few seconds of running  Rolling Eyes ...and the plot by this scientist makes no sense: why is he so opposed to mining on the asteroid? Why is he convinced that the moon offers a better deal? (he's wrong, btw).  Why is he, even with a pragmatic 'for-the-greater-good' attitude, willing to let the Earth be destroyed in order to improve things for mankind? Austin does call him insane at one point, but Colvin plays him as simply a matter-of-fact stubborn egoist. The sloppiness is also there: one of the conspirators (Skip Homeier) just disappears in the 2nd part. BoG's Score: 5 out of 10
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