|A reconnaissance team, lead by Commander Koenig, is returning to Alpha after aborting their mission to investigate a nearby planet. As Koenig reports to Main Mission how they barely escaped the strange force that was pulling their Eagle down to the planet at tremendous speed, the Eagle's systems|
|fail, causing them to crash land on the lunar surface. Unable to raise Eagle 1, and with no readings from Koenig's medical monitor, Paul dispatches a medical team, in a rescue Eagle, to the crash site. We see Koenig walking back towards the base as the rescue Eagle passes overhead. He tries to contact|
|it with no success, and continues walking back towards the base. Inside Eagle 1, Alan regains consciousness, and replies to Tanya's hails from Main Mission. He tells them that the Commander is seriously injured but alive. Meanwhile the other Koenig returns to Alpha, and searches the darkened base for signs of|
|the missing Alphans. He finds no one, but in the course of his search, he catches fleeting glimpses of a male and female "alien". The rescue Eagle arrives, and Helena examines the injured Koenig. Not wanting to move him until she can do more tests, a cargo Eagle is called in to carry the command module back|
|to Alpha. After leaving Medical Centre, and seeing the monitors displaying no life signs on his medical monitor, the other Koenig makes his way to Main Mission. He enters to find it, too, is also deserted. He checks the big screen and sees an alien city. The room begins to spin, faster and faster, dissolving|
|away until he finds himself someplace else. He is not alone. His host explains that he is on the planet Zenno, in a house made of light. After introducing himself, Raan explains that it is not a dream, as Koenig believes, but all very real. Raan continues to say that although he can read minds, and can create|
|whatever he needs or wants with his mind, he is as human as Koenig. When Koenig asks why he was brought there, Raan's daughter, Vana, appears and tells him that her father is the foremost anthropologist on Zenno, and wishes to learn from him. Raan creates an "image" of Koenig's quarters on Alpha, and|
|apologizes that it's not the real thing, but tells Koenig that they are "quite accommodating never the less". When Koenig asks if he is a prisoner, Raan replies that he is a guest in his home... a permanent guest. When Vana brings Koenig some food, and he tries to explain to her that keeping him against his|
|will is inhumane. When she tells him that he will stay with them until the end of his life, he throws the food away, stating that that day will come much sooner. Back at the crash site, the cargo Eagle arrives to carry the command module back to Alpha. When Koenig is alone in his quarters, he attempts|
|to open the door with his commlock. When that fails, Raan appears and tells him that won't be necessary, because for his first experiment, he is returning Koenig to Alpha. John wakes in Medical Centre. Victor is there and tells him that Sandra died in the crash. Victor begins to rant about the futility of their|
|situation on Alpha, saying that they are not living, but merely existing. He suggests they leave their "tomb" of Alpha and live on one of the nearby planets. John tells him that would only be another form of death. John tries to contact Paul via the commpost, and Raan appears on the screen saying that he|
|should have listened to Victor. Koenig finds himself back in his quarters on Zenno, and shouts out to Raan that he is a man, not an experiment. Apparitions appear of humans that have been experimented on, or have been mutated in some way, and they grab hold of him. He screams, and suddenly finds|
|himself strapped into a chair, and covered by cobwebs. He sees Victor running towards him in slow motion, but not getting any closer. As John calls out to him for help, he moves further away. Raan discusses Koenig's reactions to his experiment with another Zennite. He explains that Koenig's fear of his|
|experiments manifested in strange, repulsive creatures. Raan was fascinated, yet frightened by the violence of Koenig's response. When the other Zennite suggests neutralizing Koenig's mind to prevent the experiment from going too far, Raan replies that Koeing must neutralize his own mind, and conquer his|
|violence. Back on Alpha, Victor asks Helena why, of the four people in the Eagle crash, it had to be John that seems unlikely to survive. Helena replies that "it may simply be John's time to die". On Zenno, Vana asks how John was able to realize that the image of Victor was not real. Koenig tells her that it was only|
|his desire to believe that it was Victor which kept him from realizing her father's deception sooner. Vana explains that it was net her father's intention to deceive him, as Zennites are free of negative emotions. Koenig asks how they can feel the joy of love if they cannot feel hate. She answers that they do|
|feel love, because they understand hate. It is born of fear, and they fear nothing, not even death. They believe in the continuation of life. This makes Koenig's decision to starve himself incomprehensible to Vana. He tells her that if she was taken from her home, against her will, she would understand. She|
|tells him, that if he were to stay of his own free will, he, also, would understand. Back on Alpha, things are starting to fall apart, without the guidance of the Commander. Tempers are flaring. Helena attempts to shock Koenig out of his coma, and is barely able to revive him when his heart stops.|
|Raan explains to Vana that he is trying to help mankind by learning from John Koenig. Vana replies that they can learn nothing from him, because the situations Raan creates are not real, thus Koenig's reactions, although honest, are also not real. She tells him that Koenig is an individual, and it's wrong to|
|exploit him. When Raan asks if she wants him to send Koenig back, she cannot answer. She appears to Koenig who tells her he was just thinking about her. She is projecting music with her mind. Koenig tells her it's beautiful, but sad. He asks her what is troubling her, and she tells him that she wants him to stay|
|with her. On Alpha, Helena is preparing to disconnect John's life support. Sandra asks her to wait a while longer. Vana tells her father that she and Koenig are to be joined. He tells her that is is not possible. He asks Koenig if he believes he can span two million years of evolution. Koenig says he can try.|
|He tells Raan that he has decided to stay with Vana. Raan leaves, visibly distressed by this new development. He returns with Sandra. Koenig believes she is another image, like Victor until Vana convinces him, that she is real. Raan tells Koenig that his image on Alpha is dying, and that he cannot sustain it|
|indefinitely. Sandra tells him that Helena is going to disconnect his life support systems because she thinks he is dead. Raan asks Koenig which world he chooses now. Back on Alpha, Doctor Mathias tells Helena, that there is nothing else she can do for John. She tells him their is one thing. Koenig visits Vana|
|and she believes Sandra convinced him to return to Alpha. He tells her that her father made him realize that he belonged in his own time, with his own people. Vana offers to come with him, but he tells her the same is true for her. She belongs with her own people in her own time, they can never become one.|
|He tells her that in time she will understand. She asks, what will she do until then? He tells her to cross the bridge between their worlds. As long as she thinks of him, and feels for him, he will be with her. She tells him that she will try, and asks him not to forget her. Helena tries to restrain her tears as she|
|prepares to turn off John's life support. Alan bursts into the Diagnostic Unit and tells her that she cannot kill him. Mathias tries to calm him down, and Alan backhands him. Bob takes Alan down, and they struggle. Helena calls security, and after a full on brawl, they finally manage to subdue him. Before John|
|leaves Zenno, Raan tells him that although the experiment was a failure, he did learn something from Earthman after all... and so did Vana. Koenig suggests that perhaps Vana was the true reason Raan brought him there. Raan asks Koenig to take his gratitude with him. John replies that he'll be taking|
|much more. Raan asks if it is something he learned. Koenig says "not exactly", and tells him that he still believes it is more important to feel than to think. Raan replies that it is the perfect balance between the two that must be achieved, and that both of their worlds have yet to learn how. He sends Koenig back to|
|Alpha, with the valediction "Until tomorrow, John Koenig". Helena turns off the life support systems. As everyone present begins to absorb the reality of John's passing, he opens his eyes, and speaks Helena's name. He asks if he has been gone long. To which she replies "not long", and takes his hand.|
Missing Link is an interesting episode on many levels. I find it intriguing that Man is the missing link in the evolution of the Zennites. This idea works with the concept of the Arkadians seeding the galaxy with new life, if we assume that more than one ship left Arkadia, or the one ship left Earth, and continued on to Zenno at some point. But to justify the difference of "two million years of evolution" between Man and the Zennites, someone would have had to pass through a time warp on the way to either Earth or Zenno.
On a more "down to Earth" level, I love the fact that the Zennites are portrayed as relatively normal people. Vana feels sympathy for Koenig as he is clearly distraught with his situation, and eventually falls in love with him. Even better, is Raan's all too human reaction to this. Of course no man is good enough for one's daughter, but someone two million years behind on the evolutionary ladder? This will not do! Peter Cushing played this brilliantly. The dismayed look on his face was enough to let us know he would not stand for this.
He immediately begins scheming to get rid of her would-be suitor. When he brings Sandra to convince Koenig to return to Alpha, Vana's reaction is perfect. She knows what he is trying to do, and has reason to be distressed. Joanna Dunham does an excellent job as the ingénue, playing it very honestly, not sappy or cloying.
This episode also provides the rest of the cast plenty of chances to shine, and all take good advantage of it. Martin Landau does and excellent job throughout, with highlights like the scene where he is is covered in cobwebs during the dream sequence. He does have one scene that seemed a little over the top though. When he laughs sarcastically before saying "My being considered the caveman of the future, is your idea of a situation?", it just doesn't come across naturally to me. I found it interesting that he came across as more of a "matinee idol" in his scenes with Joanna Dunham than I had ever noticed in any other role of his that I have seen.
Barbara Bain does a wonderful job as well. When she almost loses John after trying to revive him with the shock treatment, and when she prepares to turn off his life support before Alan bursts into the Diagnostic Unit, are two scenes that immediately spring to mind. I also loved her trying to justify John's failure to recover by stating that "it may simply be John's time to die".
Nick Tate also does an excellent job in this episode. Alan's refusal to give up hope on the Commander at any cost, is a wonderful display of his loyalty. Also the fight scene with the guards was very well choreographed, one of my favorites of the series. Poor Bob Mathias takes the brunt of it. I always feel bad for the Security Guards on Alpha. Everyone always seems to get the drop on them. On the up side, at least they don't die as regularly as the "red shirts" on Star Trek!
I really liked the way this episode was filmed. There were a lot of interesting camera shots, without them being either distracting or disorienting. One such shot was in the "fake" Medical Centre. Koenig thinks he sees Raan's reflection in a mirror on a table. When he passes in front of the mirror, the camera stays on it until Koenig comes back into view, and his reflection turns to face the camera. Very nicely done.
Speaking of the "fake" Medical Centre... this is where one error in the episode takes place. As Koenig looks at the screens displaying the medical conditions of the Eagle crew, his name is misspelled in the insert shot, but correctly in the wide angle.
When asked whether or not this was intentionally done to tip off, either Koenig or the audience, Keith Wilson replied that it was not. Another goof, is when the command module is separated from the rest of the Eagle to carry Koenig back to the base. When they show the interior, the door to the companion way is still open. Thanks to Don Monk for reminding me of this one. I suspect this was a mistake born of necessity. I don't think the cockpit set was designed with a stretcher in mind.
Another potential goof is when David Kano states that the Eagle crash landed approximately 100 miles from the base. Are we to assume that Koenig walked all that way back to the base? No wonder Raan said Koenig must be tired after his long walk! Although this could be explained by the idea that in Raan's scenario of the events, the Eagle crashed closer to the base.
On the subject of Raan's experiments. I was always impressed at how dark, psychologically, the producers of the show let things get. Koenig's ghoulish manifestations of his fear were pretty disturbing, but one in particular tied in very nicely with the dialogue about experimenting with recording animals brain patterns.
There are some excellent effects, including the very cool matte painting of Zenno. The addition of the lighting effects traveling down the tube in the center of the screen really help bring it to life. And I always thought the buildings were really cool too!
And there were a few that didn't work quite as well. The obvious use of cutouts detracted slightly from the scene were the winch Eagle comes to remove the command module of the wrecked Eagle.
Note the cutout rescue Eagle in the foreground
and the cutout command module in this shot.
They still did a pretty remarkable job considering they only had one full sized Eagle module to film at this point.
Over all, I really enjoy this episode for the thought provoking ideas it tackles, the possible alternate evolution of man, human/animal rights, and the mind versus the heart.
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Eagle One returns to Alpha after
a close call, and crashes
on the lunar surface.
Main Mission locates the downed
Eagle, and sends help.
After regaining consciousness
Alan reports in.
|Koenig is welcomed to Zenno.|
Raan impresses upon Koenig
the reality of his situation.
Raan introduces Koenig to
his daughter Vana.
Raan explains to Koenig that
he is the Zennites' "missing link".
Koenig tries to explain to Vana why
what her father is doing is wrong.
John is returned to Alpha
...or is he?
Another Zennite expresses his
concern over the potential dangers
of Raan's experiments.
Victor and Helena discuss
John's failure to recover.
Vana tries to convince Koenig
of the benefits of staying on Zenno.
Vana tells Koenig that she
wants him to stay... with her.
|Raan brings Sandra to Zenno.|
Helena tells Bob that there is
one thing she can do for John.
|Koenig breaks the news to Vana.|
Raan and Koenig both take something
away from their experience.