Back to Command Center

Back to previous episode Back to Episode Guide and Archive Forward to next episode

The Moon appears on the screen of a computer on a nearby planet, whose inhabitants are monitoring its approach. Watching the monitor are Jack Tanner who had foreseen the coming of the Moon in a vision and Cabot Rowland, the leader of the colony, whom he had told it would happen. 
He could not believe that was Earth's Moon, until he examined it more closely. Hoping that the Moonbase and it's personnel have survived whatever could have cast the Moon this deep into space, he tries to contact Main Mission. Successful, he invites the people of Alpha to join him in his "lost paradise" on
Ultima Thule. In the background of the transmission, the Alphans can here Jack try to warn them to stay away. Roland tells them that the smog is coming in, and that their transmissions will be cut off. Unable to resist the invitation, John, Helena, Victor, and Alan take an Eagle to the planet to investigate.
Having lost computer guidance from Alpha because of the smog, they land as close to the source of the signal as their onboard instruments allow, and go in search of the "Thulians". They get to the location of the signal and find nothing. Figuring it would be easier for the Thulians to locate them, they
head back to the Eagle. On the way back John and Victor realize they have lost Helena and Alan along the way. The Thulians locate Helena, then John and Victor, and bring them back to the caves where they live. When Koenig Realizes that Alan is still missing, Roland sends his men out to try to find him
before he succumbs to the severe weather conditions. While Helena, John and Victor rest, Jack muses to himself that "a death on Thule would be a wonderful thing." When Helena awakens, John tells her that, with the exception of Alan, they had been rescued by the survivors of the 1986 Uranus Probe. Just
at the limit of his endurance, Alan barely makes it back to the Eagle and collapses. Back in the caves, Helena and Victor ask Dr. Rowland how they came to be on this planet, when the last messages received from Colonel Jack Tanner were that the ship was breaking up in a proton storm. Rowland
explains that a proton storm cast their ship beyond the limits of the ,then known, limits of space, to crash land on Ultima Thule. Just then, the search party returns and reports that they were unable to find Alan, and that the likelyhood of his survival was very slim. Roland tells the Alphans to rest, and that they
will search again in the morning. Back on Alpha, Paul tries to make contact with the landing party. Dr. Rowland hears the transmission, and before anyone else wakes, he shorts out the communications system. On board the Eagle, Alan wakes to the sound of Paul's voice, but when he tries to respond, his
transmission is not able to penetrate the smog. Seeing on the monitor that the Eagle is getting buried in the snow, Alan realizes that he must lift off before he is unable to. Koenig wakes, and asks Rowland if he can contact Alpha. Roland agrees to try, but claims that the smog must be too thick for
them to break through. He tells Koenig that he will have someone keep trying. Koenig suggests that if Rowland takes him to the Eagle, that perhaps they might be able to let Alpha know they are ok. Rowland agrees. As they approach the location of the Eagle, they can hear the engines as Alan is struggling to
free the Eagle from the snow. They arrive as the Eagle lifts off. Koenig tells Rowland that they must contact Alpha, as the Moon will only be in range of the planet for five more days. When Alan clears the atmosphere, he reports to Paul that he's alone aboard the Eagle. Back in the caves, Ted gives Victor


a tour of the facilities, and Victor is quite impressed with what he sees. Jack tries to warn him that there is something wrong, but Victor ignores what he believes are the ramblings of a mad man. Jack and Freda tell Helena to go home to Alpha. When Helena tells them that the Alphans are
 looking for a world where they can live and raise children, she is told that the Thulians, have lived on this planet for 880 years, and are frozen in eternity; unable to grow old, have children, or die. John returns and tells Helena that Alan is alive, and she relays what Jack and Freda told her. Dr. Rowland
confirms this. He explains that he has been trying to analyze the difference between what they were, and what they are now, for that would be the secret to immortality. And with it, they could leave Thule and travel to the stars. But his research has been fruitless. What he needed was a mortal subject for
comparison. Now, with the arrival of the Alphans, he believes he will find the answer. He leads them to cave to show him the next phase of his plan. The Phoenix, built from the wreckage of the Uranus Probe. He tells them that when he solves the riddle of immortality, they will complete work on the Phoenix, which
will allow them to travel freely, unlike the Alphans current situation on the runaway Moon. He asks them to join him on the greatest scientific adventure in the whole history of Man, saying that, unencumbered by death, they will travel from planet to planet, solar system to solar system, and galaxy to
galaxy as gods. Helena and Victor seem to be mesmerized by Dr. Rowland. Koenig, on the other hand, is alarmed by what he hears. Jack sees this, and offers him more food for thought. Jack leads him to another cave where he sees the results of Dr. Rowland's experiments; the "honored living dead".
Koenig is aghast. Jack explains that he was once among the "honored dead", that as commander of the mission, he volunteered to be part of the first experiment. He eventually managed to regain most of his faculties. He says that Rowland deplores his erratic behavior but envies his new psychic abilities.
Jack warns Koenig that his friends are about to become part of Rowland's last great experiment. Koenig runs to stop it but is grabbed by two of Roland's supporters. Freda shows up with other dissidents, and they smash Roland's equipment. Roland holds Koenig responsible. Koenig explains to Victor
that Roland was not forthcoming about the victims of his previous experiments. Rowland states that he didn't want to involve the Alphans in the mistakes of the past, and he felt he had learned enough to be sure that his experiment would be safe. Helena and Victor take his side over Koenig's concerns.
While Alan and Bob Mathias head to Thule to look for their missing comrades, Jack shows Koenig that the Thulian transmitter had been sabotaged. He replaces the damaged parts, and Koenig is able to get through to Alpha. Alan and Bob land and are greeted warmly by the Thulians and are beguiled by
the prospect of eternal life. Koenig's words of caution fall on deaf ears. Rowland suggests that each Alphan be given the choice to join him on his quest. Helena and Victor support this notion, as they are excited to unravel the mystery that would conquer death, and lead to the next step in the evolution of mankind.
 Koenig tells them that Alpha cannot survive with a partial crew, but he will allow a vote, and that he would abide by the general consensus. Either everyone moves to Thule or everyone stays on Alpha. This decision satisfies everyone. Dr. Roland says he would like to present his case to the Alphans, and Freda offers to go to explain the opposing
view point. Jack tells Freda that she should not go and neither should Dr. Rowland. Roland laughs off Jacks warning, but Freda is concerned. Koenig tells her that he will state her case in her stead. He finds Jack in the cave with the revered ones, and asks him what he knows. Jack doesn't answer. Koenig
tells him that if he wins his case, he'll not see Jack again. Jack assures him he will win. Dr. Rowland is confident that the Alphans will side with him. In the cockpit, Koenig asks Alan if he can count on his support. Alan doesn't understand just what Koenig has against the prospect. They hear a scream
form the passenger module, and rush back to investigate. Helena is sitting next to the decomposing corpse of Dr. Rowland and it still has a grip on her hand. It turns out that immortality on Ultima Thule has a price: you can never leave! As Alpha starts to pass out of range of Thule, they receive a message
from Jack Tanner. The Thulians are going to give up the quest to understand their immortality, and focus on restoring the revered ones. Koenig wishes them luck and tells them that wherever they go the fate of the Thulians will haunt them 'til the end.
...if there is an end.

Screenplay.....................................Anthony Terpiloff & Elizabeth Barrows

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

Guest Stars

Dr. Cabot Rowland..........................................................Brian Blessed

Capt. Jack Tanner...........................................................John Shrapnel

Freda................................................................................Mary Miller

This episode has an almost Shakespearean quality, especially the dialogue delivered by John Shrapnel as Jack Tanner. His performance was both amazing and disturbing as he would pass from madness to lucidity and back again.

I thought Mary Miller was terrific as Freda. She had a tremendous amount of presence for a supporting character, and was both sensitive and strong as the situation required. I was very impressed with her performance.

Brian Blessed was wonderful as Dr. Cabot Rowland, the seemingly sane doctor, who would casually laugh off the "insanity" of Jack Tanner, but he becomes far more disturbing when he begins to rant about becoming a God with the the secret of immortality.

I found it a little odd that Koenig was the only Alphan put off by Rowland's delusions of God-hood. I can understand Helena's fascination with conquering death, as a doctor, but Victor's philosophical background, makes it a little harder to understand his willingness to go along, short of a blind pursuit of knowledge. This is the first, of three first season episodes, to deal with the concept of immortality (the others being End of Eternity, and The Infernal Machine). It does surprise me how everyone but Koenig was attracted to the idea of living forever on Thule. Helena had already mentioned that the Alphans were looking for a real home where they could raise children. Freda and Jack already mentioned that one of the prices of immortality was the inability to have children. It seems unlikely that Helena (or many Alphans, for that fact) would not want to eventually have children. And the longer they lived, the more, I imagine, they would come to regret it.

One of the more impressive aspects of this episode (actually the first season of Space: 1999 as a whole), was the size and grandeur of the sets. For example, the Thulian Cave sets, in particular, the cavernous main living area pictured below.

I mentioned last month the first appearance of Arra's dais as a set piece that we see used again periodically throughout the series. In Death's Other Dominion, we see a glass chamber that will appear occasionally over the run of the show.

A few episodes that come to mind are Mission of the Darians (as the booth where people are reduced to proteins for the Darians food-bank) and A Matter of Balance (as the matter/anti-matter transferal chamber). The door from the chamber appears in Journey to Where (as part of the matter transference chamber).


Click for larger version
Click for larger version


Click here to play sound A gift wrapped in an enigma
is presented to the Thulians.
Click here to play sound Alpha receives mixed signals
from the Thulians.
Click here to play sound Jack provides Dr. Rowland
with cryptic advice.
Click here to play sound Helena doesn't act like a doctor.
Click here to play sound Jack is hopeful about death.
Click here to play sound Freda and Jack are not
very welcoming to Helena.
Click here to play sound Dr. Rowland gets a little
carried away with his dreams.
Click here to play sound Jack is sane... for the moment.
Click here to play sound Helena and Victor forget what
matters most, while being
blinded by the big shiny prize.
Click here to play sound Thule has separation issues.
Click here to play sound Alan doesn't see the problem... yet.
Click here to play sound Koenig waxes philosophical.
Click here to play sound Background sound.


Back to previous episode Back to top Forward to next episode