episode #31 - The Chameleon

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episode #31 - The Chameleon

Post  BoG on Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:13 pm

Air Date: 4/27/64 Arrow
writers: Robert Towne, Joseph Stefano, Lou Morheim Arrow Director: Gerd Oswald

This one has some parallels to The Architects of Fear, in that an Earthman (Robert Duvall) is transformed into an alien. Duvall plays a special agent, a CIA-type operative who has fallen on hard times. He is, however, the ideal choice to convert into an alien in order to infiltrate a couple of real aliens who have landed on Earth. Conventional means to apply military force against the aliens is unworkable due to nuclear elements in their ship. The conversion process is similar to cloning, using skin fragments of one of the aliens found under the fingernail of a dead soldier. The question becomes, then, will the chameleon-like Earthman remain loyal & true to the human race after he has been changed into the enemy?
This story seems like a commentary on the Cold War and any scenario of distrust between two nations, with aliens standing in for one of the nations. There's no legitimate reason for the hostility - mostly military (Henry Brandon plays a general) - two soldiers have been killed by the aliens, but it appears it was just self-defense. It's eventually revealed that the aliens landed due to mechanical breakdown and just have to affect some repairs. But, national defense issues mandate a 'be wary and maybe shoot first' attitude - there are defense secrets to keep... secret. Duvall's character ends up being a poor choice in the end - his life had not been going well so he didn't have much to return to. BoG's Score: 6.5 out of 10

Outer Trivia: Star Trek TOS actor alert - William O'Connel played one of the aliens here; he played another alien in the TOS episode Journey to Babel
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