episode #92 - Just a Matter of Time

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episode #92 - Just a Matter of Time

Post  BoG on Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:00 pm

episode #13 of 5th season / Air Date: 01/08/78  Arrow  written by Gregory Dinallo, Neal Sperling Arrow Directed by Don McDougall

This one at least begins in an intriguing manner: Austin is back in outer space, on an orbital mission, testing a new fuel. There's a sudden problem, Mission Control loses contact with him, and he soon ends up floating in his capsule onto the beach of an unknown island, where he meets a supposed missionary (Paul Carr). All this is not the disturbing part, however; Austin soon gets clued to the 'fact' that it's 1984 or 6 years later. For whatever reason, though only about 8 hours have passed for him, six years have gone by on Earth. The obvious theory is that he passed through some kind of space/time warp. But, he has other problems: military officials (Charles Cioffi, John Milford) who arrive to meet him inform him that Oscar Goldman died a few years back and that Austin is now under arrest for treason. Apparently, the suspicion is that he had defected to the Soviets, who only let him go now because they had no more use for him. Needless to say, Austin is perplexed.
For some viewers, watching this episode may recall a film such as 36 Hours (1965), a war thriller in which an American officer (James Garner) wakes up in a hospital several years after World War II ended, with no memory of the past 5 or 6 years.  The question is, is he really in an American hospital, in the year that everyone tells him it is? If he isn't, then one has to admire the ingenuity and calculation to fabricate an entire scenario which successfully fools him, if even for a brief time. It's easier for the culprits to trick Austin - if it is a trick - they don't have to age him and the whole scam can be conducted in a remote area, the island. The moment we wait for is when (or if) Austin deduces the truth - how will he do it?  Even with the limitations of a TV episode, it's a nice brain teaser. Unfortunately, as with several last season episodes, the game ends abruptly and anti-climatically; Austin merely stops a helicopter from taking off - the story doesn't even bother to show us the defeated expressions of the villains. BoG's Score: 6.5 out of 10
Bionic Trivia: back in a supporting role here is John de Lancie (future Q on TNG) as a supposed army sergeant; he had appeared in the 4th season's 2-part Death Probe episode. In one scene, Austin tells him that he was in the Apollo 17 mission when asked when he went to the moon. Also back is Paul Carr, who had appeared way back in the 1st episode, Population Zero, as a motorcycle cop and later as a villain in The Bionic Woman.
Star Trek TOS actor alert: Carr was also in Where No Man Has Gone Before, the pilot episode.
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