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An asteroid is detected in the proximity of Alpha, but all indications suggest that it poses no threat. Suddenly Computer raises the alarm. The asteroid is now on a collision course for Alpha. With no time to destroy it, the Alphans brace for impact. The asteroid narrowly misses the base as it's trajectory
changes again. The Alphans watch in amazement as it stretches and is destroyed by unseen forces. It becomes apparent, that whatever altered the course of  the asteroid, has now changed the course of the Moon. They are heading right into it. An Eagle is dispatched in investigate the phenomenon.
Astronaut Mike Ryan, reports back to Main Mission, stating that none of his sensors are bouncing back, and he can get no readings. He asks to move closer to try to get more information. Victor finishes his calculations, and rushes to Main Mission with his findings. Koenig tries to recall Mike, but it's too late.
Mike's Eagle is caught in the gravitational forces of the black sun. Even with his anti-gravity screens at maximum, and his engines at full power, he cannot escape. The Main Mission crew watches in horror as his ship stretches, and is destroyed on the big screen. Koenig calls a command conference to
discuss the situation. After Computer confirms that it is a black sun, Paul asks Professor Bergman if they can avoid it. Victor explains that the gravitational forces are so immense that nothing can escape it, not even light. But he does have a plan. He explains that he will alter the gravity towers to to generate a force
field that will reverse the crushing force of the black sun, using it's own force to protect Alpha. While there are no guarantees, it is their only hope. Later, Helena is looking for John, and learns he is outside with Victor. Paul directs her attention to the screen. They are ready to perform a test on the force-field.
Koenig gives Paul the command, and the force-field is activated. Beneath the supposed safety of the energy screen, Koenig orders Alan to fire his Eagle's laser at them. The beam is blocked by the force-field, and Koenig and Bergman jump for joy. Back inside Alpha, Helena chastises them for their
stupidity. Victor replies that Computer gave them a ninety-eight percent chance of surviving the test. They go on to explain that it was all done for moral, and proved nothing. That realistically, the chances were slim they would survive the encounter with the black sun. When Helena asks the point of the
force-field, Victor says "the same point that prevents you from giving up on a patient until he's dead." Victor leaves, and John tells Helena that he has left one Eagle intact to use as a lifeboat, to insure the survival of a small group of Alphans. The temperature starts to fall on Alpha as the black sun starts
draining off their energy. In order to save power to operate the force-field when they need it most, energy conservation plans are drawn up. Victor informs Kano that Computer will have to be deactivated. Paul tells Koenig that The Moon is being drawn into the black sun faster than originally calculated, as it is
impossible to predict how much mass is available to the black sun in the sector. Koenig must activate the force-field in order to slow the Moon down enough to give time for the "life boat" to be launched. Victor is in the Main Power Unit when a warning light goes on, indicating a fault. When Victor tries
to fix it, he is electrocuted. Luckily his artificial heart saves him, and he recovers in Medical Center with no ill effect. Supplies are being loaded onto the survival ship as quickly as possible, while repairs are made to the force-field. The force-field is activated to check the repairs, and slow the Moon's
momentum towards the black sun. Alan confronts Koenig about the survival ship, and wants to know why he wasn't told. He says that he should be one of the six, because if anyone can get them somewhere, he can. Koenig makes his announcement to the base about the survival ship, and lists those,
selected by Computer as the most likely to ensure the survival of mankind in space, who will be on the Eagle: Alan Carter, George Osgood, Toshiro Fujita, Helena Russell, Sandra Benes, and Angela Robinson. They gather in Koenig's office where he tells them they will lift off in twenty minutes. They all
leave to prepare, except Helena. She tells John, that she's not going. He tells her the list is final, and that this is no time for noble gestures. She says it's not a noble gesture, and asks what difference does it make if she dies in space or on Alpha. Koenig replies that it matters... to him. The crew board,
and the Eagle lifts off, heading away from the black sun. The force-field is turned back on, and the remaining Alphans await their fate. Victor joins Koenig in his office, bringing him a spacesuit to keep warm. He asks John if he ever consider how and why they have survived, telling him that he ran
the probability through the computer, and it almost blew up. The odds are almost infinite against them having survived so long. Koenig asks if he's referring to God. Victor replies that being a scientist, he doesn't know anything about God. A "cosmic intelligence" is more what he had in mind, but supposes
we all believe what we want to believe. Koenig relieves Paul from his duties in Main Mission, and he and Victor move into the empty control center. Victor brings out a bottle of 50 year old brandy. They toast, John: "To everything that might have been", and Victor: "To everything that was". Around
The base, the Alphans await the Moon's entrance into the black sun in various ways, some playing cards, chess, etc. Paul plays his guitar in his quarters. Tanya appears at his open door, and asks if she can share the music with him. He nods, and she sits down with him. The Moon enters the black sun.
In Main Mission, John and Victor become transparent. Amazed that the force field held, they notice that they no longer feel the cold. The survival Eagle and it's crew experience a similar effect, despite the distance it put between itself and the black sun. John and Victor age suddenly and find themselves
in a place of light. They can hear each others thoughts. They hear a female voice. When asked who she is, answers "a friend". John surmises that every star is just a cell in the brain of the universe. The voice, says that's lovely way to understand it. As the Moon exits the black sun, she tells them it was good to
have known them. They find themselves back on Alpha, no longer suffering from the power drain of the black sun, and now somewhere on the other side of the universe. Everyone returns duty. As they give up hope of ever seeing the survival ship again, it appears on the big screen. A cheer goes up in Main
Mission, and they race to greet the Eagle at the landing pad. John asks if they followed the Moon into the black sun. Alan tells him they went in the opposite direction. When asked how they found Alpha again, Alan says he's an astronaut not a philosopher, Helena suggests that something brought them home.

Screenplay..............................................................David Weir

Director...............................................................Lee H. Katzin

Guest Stars

Mike Ryan.............................................................Paul Jones

Smitty..............................................................Jon Laurimore

Black Sun is one of the most popular episodes with fans (and cast members), and I am no exception. This episode boasts some of the best character driven moments of the series. There are suggestions of interpersonal relationships all over the place. I have always wondered what relationship, if any Mike Ryan has with Sandra. There is an implied closeness between them which is reaffirmed when he dies, and Sandra faints. Then of course the budding relationship between Paul and Sandra, which appears to be more strongly driven by Paul, and almost deflected by Sandra (Sandra: "It was thoughtful of you to come, Paul. You didn't have to." Paul: "I wanted to."). Which, given the apparent relationship between her and Mike Ryan, makes sense. Then, things get interesting with the addition of Tanya to the mix.

She shows up at the door to Paul's quarters, and joins him on his bed. To be honest, I never thought anything of this when I first saw it, but with age, and feedback from other fans, there does seem to be a hint at more going on than meets the eye.

Then of course we get to see more of the ongoing relationship between John and Helena. There are some great scenes, like her scolding him and Victor for their foolhardiness on the lunar surface; and her wanting to stay on Alpha, while he insists she go on the survival ship.

There is also a nice development in the relationship between Helena and Victor, as in the scene where she rubs his chest in Medical Centre after he is electrocuted, and when he sees her off with a kiss on the cheek before the Survival ship takes off. 

There is one scene that does not work quite so well for me. When Alan confronts Koenig about the survival ship.
His speech ends up sounding more cowardly, than heroic or inspirational.

If I were to guess at the reason, I think maybe they should have left out the line when he says "I care about how I die". And, perhaps, he could have approached Koenig asking why he, as head of Reconnaissance, wasn't notified about the ship, making it a little more professional, and less personal. Or just maybe they wanted him to have a weak moment where he was confronted by his own mortality and showed a little weakness. But personally, I prefer to think of it as a small slip in an overall excellent script, than a character flaw.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, I have always enjoyed when Victor waxes philosophic, and in this episode, he is free to do just that. His musings in this episode, are among my favorite lines he delivers in the series with the possible exception of his "goodbye Alpha" speech in Wargames. The writers outdid themselves on this one!

I also found it interesting that when asked who she was, the voice within the black sun responds "a friend". This is the same answer given by Arra in Collision Course. With the time and space bending properties of the black sun, perhaps this is Arra in another incarnation? Perhaps after her mutation into a higher form?

There are a few small errors in this episode. The most glaring would have to be that the force-field, as shown, doesn't even cover the entire base, let alone the entire Moon. So why isn't the rest of the Moon crushed as they pass through the black sun?

And how, if it was reprogrammed to reverse the force of the black sun, is it still maintaining the gravity on the base? Another small flaw, is that the survival ship is shown facing to the right, with the boarding tube in the foreground while it is being loaded (which matches all the other angles we

 see it from), until it launches, where it's facing left with the boarding tube in the foreground.

One last thought about the title of the episode itself. Where any other film that I can recall would have referred to the phenomenon in this episode as a black hole, they use the term black sun. I'm not sure if this is because when it was made, the term "black hole" had not come fully into vogue yet. They maintain the use of this term in Dragon's Domain and Seed of Destruction.

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Click here to play sound The Moon's course takes
a turn... for the worse.
Click here to play sound With Mike Ryan's help, the Alphans
 try to figure out what has pulled
them of course.
Click here to play sound Computer confirms that they are
faced with a black sun, and Victor
explains what it means for them.
Click here to play sound Victor devises a plan.
Click here to play sound Helena chastises John and Victor.
Click here to play sound John reveals his plan for
a life boat to Helena.
Click here to play sound The Alphans have to think for themselves.
Click here to play sound Alan finds out about the survival ship.
Click here to play sound Helena doesn't want to leave Alpha.
Click here to play sound Victor tries to cheer John up.
Click here to play sound Helena and Sandra discuss
their childhood fears.
Click here to play sound Victor and John ponder the meaning
of their survival so far.
Click here to play sound John and Victor toast.
Click here to play sound Tanya visits Paul for a little...
Click here to play sound Victor's hopes for the black sun.
Click here to play sound Victor and John share their
thoughts... literally,
and make a new friend.
Click here to play sound Victor and John wonder how they
survived the black sun.
Click here to play sound The survival ship returns to Alpha.
Click here to play sound The Alphans discuss how the survival
ship found Alpha again.
Click here to play sound Background sound.


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