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Moonbase Alpha is traveling
through a region of space, which
they have named the "Peace Zone"
because of it's lack of nearby stars,
or space storms. It seems to lack
any potential threat. All should be
well on Alpha, but isn't. They are
troubled by sporadic disturbances
and petty irritations. One source
of irritation is Sally Martin, who
can't seem to complete her stores
inventory on schedule. As a result,
she has been ordered to complete
her duties during her recreation
period. While Sally is doing her
inventory, objects start to move
about the store room, and a
wind appears. Sally attempts to
leave, but the doors close, shutting
her in. She then seeks shelter from
the tempest in a sub-room, but
the door shatters, and the storm
follows her in. She screams as it
exerts tremendous force upon her.
Meanwhile, John tosses and turns
as his sleep is disturbed by a
vision of a woman accusing him
of killing her. He wakes as Helena
calls him to the Medical store
room. He arrives and learns of
mysterious circumstances of
Sally's death. He is clearly
agitated as he orders Helena
and Tony to provide him with
whatever information they can,
so he can begin an investigation.
He goes to Command Center,
only to find that the sensors are
malfunctioning due to a strange
space phenomenon. He snaps
at Maya as she struggles to give
him an explanation with the
minimal information the sensors
can provide. Tensions are also
high in the Recreation Area, as
George Crato assumes Carl
Renton is cheating when he
keeps beating him at one of the
games. Tony arrives and breaks
things up as George attacks
Carl physically. He sends them
both on their way, then tells
Sally's ex-fiancÚ Mark Sanders and
his current girlfriend (and room-
mate of the now deceased Sally),
Carolyn Powell, of her passing.
Helena has finished her autopsy,
and tells John that Sally's body
was shattered internally, with no
evidence of any type of weapon
having been used. John and Tony
meet with Greg Sanders to discuss
his relationship with Sally. They
interview Carolyn next, and she
becomes hostile when Tony asks
her about her research on some
sort of pressure device. Tony goes
to her lab to look at the device.
When Carolyn shows up, he asks
her to explain it to him. She
smashes it, and tells Tony that
now it can't be blamed for the next
murder. He asks if she is expecting
a "next murder". She asks him if he
isn't. Alan is investigating the fact
that three quarters of the Eagles
are non-operational. He talks to
Chief Engineer Pete Garforth, who
doesn't understand why engines
that test ok on the work bench,
fail when put back into the Eagles.
When Pete is called away, Alan
takes a quick look around. Before
he can leave, an engine starts by
itself, and begins to overload. Alan
tries to shut it off but can't. He tries
to leave but the doors close and
  won't open.Tony and Maya pass
by and hear the engine. Alan tries
to warn them off, but Maya turns
into a gorilla, pries the doors open,
and disconnects the power to the
motor. Back in Command Center
Maya detects what she thinks are
lambda waves coming from the
object in space. Helena then
identifies the waves as the lambda
variant, a wave discovered during
research into ESP. Helena begins
testing the Alphans to see if they
are being affected by these waves.
With her tests completed, she goes
to John's quarters to show him
her data. It's late, but he's awake.
She begins to share her findings,
but notices that he doesn't seem
well. She tries to give him some-
thing to help him sleep, which he
refuses. He tells her he is afraid
to sleep, and about the visions
that have been terrorizing him.
Mark visits Carolyn to tell her
that he can't shake the feeling
that she had something to do
with Sally's death. He tells her
that she's changed, and it just
won't work out. He leaves her.
A short while later the lights dim
in the corridor he is walking,
and a wind begins to blow.
Maya detects an energy surge
from the object over Alpha, as
Carolyn Powell kills Mark, in the
same way she killed Sally. When
his body is found, Tony is certain
that Carolyn is the killer, but
Helena asks for another series
of tests to be sure. Tony insists
on being there. As early reports
from the tests are received in
Command Center, Sandra tries
to pass the information on to
Koenig, who is distracted by
the "ghosts" of Sam and Tessa,
two friends he was forced to
leave behind on mission to Venus
when they contracted a strange,
and highly contagious illness. He
runs from the room trying to get
away from his visions. Helena is
finishing her testing with Carolyn
Powell, the only one capable of
generating the lambda variant
in a room shielded from the
object over Alpha. Tony asks
Carolyn to come with him, and
she responds by telepathically
knocking him, a security guard,
and Helena across the room.
She leaves. As the others pick
themselves up, Sandra alerts
Helena to the fact that Koenig
has locked himself in his room
and won't come out. They leave
to check on John and find him
locked in his quarters in a
catatonic state. Helena has him
brought to Medical Center where
she uses narcosynthesis to help
him face, and overcome his fears.
Tony orders security to stun Carolyn
on sight. She easily quells any
attempt to stun her, and makes
her way to Command Center,
where she sits right down in
Koenig's chair. Alan tells her she
is "out of place". She sends him
to flight control with a telepathic
suggestion, and immobilizes the
rest of the Command Center staff.
Tony shows up and she forces him
to kneel before her, and call her
"Commander". Helena's treatment
begins to take effect, and John
sees his "ghosts" again. He tries
to run, but Helena forces him
to face, and confront, his fears.
In talking to his visions of Sam
and Tessa, he realizes that his
friends knew he had no other
choice but to leave them, and
that what he is seeing are not
the ghosts of his friends.
Maya arrives in Command
Center and Carolyn forces her
to change into a monkey, then
a caterpillar. She threatens to
crush Maya before Tony's eyes
but decides to let her suffocate
slowly, in a small clear box,
instead. Helena tells John her
theory that the object over Alpha
is magnifying the emotional state
of the ESP "sensitives", the two
most powerful being Carolyn and
he, who then used the power of
the object to manifest their hatred
and fears respectively. Sandra is
forced to call to tell them that
Carolyn has taken command
and wants to see Koenig. When
they get there, Carolyn tells them
that she is in Command now.
Koenig tells her he knows that
she wants them to hate her so
she can turn the power of their
hate against them. But Koenig
tells her that they have no hate
for her. She screams at him to
 hate her, telling him that she
hates him. But they have no hate
for her. With only her own hate
to latch on to, all hell breaks
loose around her, but no one
else is hurt. Carolyn eventually
collapses and the object over
Alpha fades away, leaving
Carolyn's mind completely blank.
A few quick tests reveals that
the Alphans have been returned
to their original "un-magical"
selves, something which Koenig
does not regret in the least.

Screenplay................................................................Terrence Dicks

Director..................................................................Charles Crichton

Guest Stars

Carolyn Powell.....................................................Deborah Fallender

Mark Sanders................................................................Jess Conrad

Additional Cast

Zienia Merton.............................................................Sandra Benes

Sam..........................................................................Dallas Adams

Tessa.........................................................................Lucinda Curtis

Pete Garforth...........................................................Greg De Polnay

Sally Martin.....................................................................Lydia Lisle

Carl Renton..............................................................Michael Walker

George Crato...................................................Anthony Stamboullieh

Maintenance Section (voice only)...................................Shane Rimmer

The Lambda Factor isn't a terrible episode, but it is rather a lack-luster re-envisioning of an idea that has been done before. Star Trek's "Where No Man Has Gone Before" comes to mind, looking at how "absolute power corrupts absolutely". Sadly, Space: 1999 wasted the potential of this story by simply turning it into a soap opera. Further hurting this episode, are what have to be the absolute worst special effects done for the entire series. The horrendous "whirly-gig in space" looks so terribly two

dimensional, that I can't help but wonder if, the otherwise brilliant, Brian Johnson was sick that week. Speaking of not-so special effects, the "mysterious" force that rips the Medical Stores sub-room door apart is not quite as "mysterious" as they would like us to believe. If you look closely, you can see the

hands pulling the sections apart. Far less disturbing, but still a curiosity... why is the door numbered on the inside of what is essentially a closet? I could understand if there were several sub-rooms off of the Medical Stores, and they were numbered where it could be seen from the main room, but I am just picking nits now. 

Another point that made no sense to me, was how did Helena decide that Carolyn turned the hate of others into power she could use to destroy them? I would dare say Sally Martin hated Helena more than Carolyn at the beginning of the episode! Even though Mark Sanders couldn't help but feel that Carolyn played a part in Sally's death, he didn't seem to hate her. Helena's theory just doesn't stand up.

On the positive side, we get to see windows for the second time this season in the Rec Room!

The last time we saw windows on Alpha was in Seed of Destruction as Koenig oversaw the construction of the energy reflector.

Other positive aspects include some nice performances by Martin Landau, and Deborah Fallender. Martin does a really nice job when facing down his ghosts, and Deborah Fallender manages to turn in a reasonably chilling performance as the none-too-stable Carolyn Powell, when she is not going a little over the top.

Replies to comments made here are always welcome. You can contact me by using the commlock in the Communication Centre.

 


In this episode we see the portable nuclear generator from Matter of Balance used again.

And yet again we see the ever present Space Warp Locator, used in:
Bringers of Wonder part 1 in the Records Lab, and on the Eagle in Matter of Balance and,
who could possibly forget Space Warp.


Click here for downloadable version

 

Click here to play sound "Moonbase Alpha status report,
2308 days since leaving Earth orbit..."
Click here to play sound The ghost of Tess disturbs John's sleep,
making him cranky when called to a murder scene.
Click here to play sound Helena describes Sally's injuries.
Click here to play sound Helena describes the Lambda Variant,
and John orders her to run some tests.
Click here to play sound Helena tells John of her test's results.
Click here to play sound John explains why he can't sleep.
Click here to play sound Carolyn has delusions of Command.
Click here to play sound Carolyn forces Maya to transform.
Click here to play sound Helena describes the way the
space whirly-gig works.
Click here to play sound Carolyn decides to let Maya suffocate.
Click here to play sound Koenig goes toe-to-toe with Carolyn.
Click here to play sound Carolyn loses her mind, and everyone
loses their powers.
Click here to play sound Background sound

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