|A strange ball of blue light approaches the Moon. Koenig and Bergman notice it as it becomes visible from their location on the observation deck of Main Mission. Koenig has Paul run a sensor sweep, but the scanners register nothing nothing in the area. Elsewhere on the base, an alarm call is|
|made to the living quarters of Anton, and Eva Zoref. When Eva rouses Anton, he can think of better things to do than get ready for work, but his wife points to the clock, and sends him on his way. As the ball of light continues on its course towards Alpha, Koenig becomes more concerned that it|
|doesn't register on their sensors. He has Paul assemble the section heads foe a meeting. Anton arrives at Nuclear Generating Area 3, relieves Mark Dominix, and begins his shift. Helena arrives in Main Mission, and asks John what the meeting is about. He begins to explain, but doesn't get the chance to finish.|
|Everyone in Main Mission, and the rest of the base slows to a stop, as if frozen in time... with one exception. Anton Zoref is working in Generating Area 3, and notices that he is suddenly bathed in blue light. He looks out the windows, and sees the ball of light. He tries to contact Main Mission to no avail.|
|He tries to reach anyone at all on the base, and still nothing. The ball of light enters the Nuclear Generating Area, then Anton Zoref. He collapses, and the rest of the base returns to normal. As Koenig tries to recall what he was saying, an alarm sounds in Main Mission. Receiving no reply from Zoref,|
|John, Helena and Victor go to investigate. Anton comes round, feeling fine, but has no explanation for why he passed out. He tells Koenig that' he'll check out the area, but Helena orders him to Medical Centre. Koenig has Victor check out the Generating Area to make sure it's ok. While Helena is|
|examining Zoref, the monitor he is hooked up to fails. Helena can find nothing wrong with him, besides mild shock, and releases him with restricted duties for a few days. Victor reports a massive energy discharge was recorded in the Generating Area. Koenig asks if it's a fault in the reactor, but Victor|
|tells him it was recorded outside of the reactor. Koenig suggests a radiation leak, but Victor replies that there was no radiation detected. With nothing else to go on, Victor offers to check the scan records for the last twenty four hours. Eva Zoref gets out of the shower, and is grabbed by her husband.|
|Anton begins kissing her, but is reminded by Eva that Doctor Russell's orders were to rest. She gets up and notices that the heat is turned on full in their quarters. She moves to turn it down, but Anton snaps at her. While she gets dressed, Anton sits down to read a book. He appears listless, and his eyes turn|
|to his reading lamp. He emanates a strange purple glow, and the power is drained from the lamp. He jumps up from his chair startled by what just happened. Eva walks in from the other room, and sees that he is disquieted, and asks if he is alright. He tells her he just feels cooped up, and is going for a walk.|
|Victor brings Koenig a copy of the scan report showing the energy energy discharge was recorded at the same time Anton Zoref passed out. Having checked that there was no damage or fault with the reactor, Victor tells John that the only possible explanation is that the energy must have come from|
|outside Alpha. As Anton wanders the corridors of Alpha, he finds himself outside the Generating Area. He goes in to visit his friend Mark, but can't keep his mind off work. Mark tells him the compulsive need to work is called ergo mania. Suddenly Anton is freezing cold. He calls to Mark, who brings|
|a coffee to help warm him up. The coffee freezes solid in his hands. Anton starts to collapse, but Mark catches him. Anton begins to glow purple again, and Mark Dominix freezes instantly as the heat is drained from his body. When Anton sees the lifeless body of his friend on the floor, he|
|runs from the Generating Area. Mark Dominix's wrist medical monitor triggers an alarm in Medical Centre reporting his death. Helena tells John that his death appears to be caused by sudden freezing. Koenig is concerned that two bizarre events are linked to such a vital part of the Moonbase, and|
|restricts access to the area. After the announcement is broadcast to the base, Eva Zoref learns from Anton that Dominix is dead. She becomes more concerned when he tells her that he was there, and continually warns her not to touch him. Anton decides that he needs to see Dr. Russell, and asks|
|Eva to wait in their quarters for him. Victor shows Koenig, scans of the Generating Area from the time Dominix died, illustrating that the same energy force was present, and is still on Alpha. Anton approaches Medical Centre, and appears to be struggling with the force that has taken hold of him, as Orderly|
|Hillary Preston exits. She asks if he is alright, and when she receives no response, goes on her way. Anton follows her. Disturbed by Anton's behavior, she looks over her shoulder as she turns the corner, and heads down the corridor. She sees him following her, and when he drains the power from one of the|
|lighted wall panels, she panics and runs for the Travel Tube. But the doors close before she can reach it. Trapped in a dead end, she watches in horror as he drains the power from the all the lights in the corridor as he approaches. He reaches for her, and she screams as he drains the heat from her body.|
|The alarm in Medical Centre goes off again, and they find her frozen body in the darkened corridor. Koenig calls Kano to ask what happened to the power in that section. Kano tells him that the power cells were drained of all their energy. Helena theorizes that since both victims froze to death, and light being|
|another form of heat, that whatever the alien force is, it is consuming heat. Koenig tells Sandra to monitor all power levels, and report any fluctuations. Eva Zoref, shows up in Medical Centre and asks to see Anton. Helena tells her she hasn't seen him since her examined him earlier. Eva tells her that he|
|is sick, and something happened when he was with Dominix. Helena relays this information to John, who has Kano check, and learns that Anton was with Dominix at the time of his death. Koenig has Paul locate Anton, who has entered the Solarium. Anton lies down under the sun lamps, and begins|
|to absorb the heat. An alarm sounds in Main Mission, and Sandra reports the power drain to Koenig. As the sun lamps start to dim in the Solarium, Tanya and Jane see Anton emitting the strange purple glow. Tanya calls security to send help. When the sun lamps are drained, Anton sees the two women,|
|and begins to move toward them, as Koenig, Alan, Victor and a security team show up. Koenig shoots out the power to the room which stops Zoref in his tracks. Anton collapses at the feet of the two women. To check if it's safe to move Zoref, Koenig puts a flashlight near him, and when it doesn't dim,|
|he slowly reaches out to touch him. Koenig is convinced that he is safe, for the time being, and Zoref is taken to Medical Centre, where after some scans are taken, he is locked in the security wing. Some time later, while Helena is going over some medical records, Anton wakes, and manages to break free of|
|his bonds. He breaks down the door, and drains the power from the room. Helena makes a run for the door, but with no power, she is unable to get out. She calls to the guard posted outside. He shoots the control panel and forces the door open. He enters, and is drained of heat by Zoref. Koenig, who|
|was notified of the power loss, arrives just after Zoref escapes. Koenig makes an announcement to the base warning them that Zoref is dangerous, and to avoid contact, but if he should attack, shoot to kill. Eva hears the announcement and goes looking for Anton. In Main Mission, they track the power|
|drains, and realize that Zoref is heading to Nuclear Generating Area 3. In an attempt to weaken Zoref, Koenig orders Paul to cut all power on the base. It works. Eva finds Anton in his weakened state, and tries to convince him to let them help him. He tries to warn her away, but then the alien force regains|
|control, and tries to approach her. Alan Carter rounds the corner, and pulls Eva away. Zoref continues towards the reactor. Koenig, Victor, and Helena arrive, and Eva is left in Helena's care as the others follow Anton. They catch up to him at the doors to the Generating Area, but he is too weak to|
|open them. With no other available heat source, he lunges at Koenig. Alan moves between them, and fires his stun gun at Zoref. The charred body of Anton Zoref falls to the floor... but he is not dead. He slowly gets to his feet, regenerated by the energy of the laser and forces open the doors to the|
|Generating Area. Koenig orders Paul to restore power to the base, and closes the door behind what's left of Anton Zoref. They scramble to get as far away from the reactor as possible, before the inevitable happens. Inside the Generating Area, Anton opens the door to the reactor core, and walks inside.|
|There is a series of massive explosions that rocks the base. When the tremors stop, a blue light forms above the wreckage of Nuclear Generating Area 3, and moves off into space. Koenig has Paul get damage and casualty reports from all sections. As the power stabilizes, and the reports come in|
|that there were no casualties, Koenig tells Victor that they are going to be alright, and that they were lucky that the force hadn't gotten to the other reactors. Victor replies that one was enough for its purpose. When Koenig asks "Purpose?", Victor suggests it could be some sort of creative evolution.|
|Helena is trying to comfort Eva, who tells her that she doesn't understand. Helena replies that they are living in deep space now, and there are so many things that they don't understand. As they watch the force fade into the distance, Helena tells Eva that they have to try to help each other to understand.|
Anton Zoref......................................................................Ian McShane
Eva Zoref.......................................................................Gay Hamilton
Mark Dominix....................................................................John Hamill
Hilary Preston....................................................................Lea Dregorn
In my original version of this page, I mentioned a boom microphone being visible in the early scene of Victor and John watching the approach of the blue light. This was visible on the laser disc which I used for video captures until the release of the DVD's (around the time I did Brian the Brain... I think). On the DVD releases, they zoomed in on the image, and the microphone is no longer visible.
Laser disc version
DVD version of the same shot
Now, on to the episode itself. When I think of Force of Life, one of the first things that comes to mind is that it is a "bottle episode", meaning that it takes place entirely on the Moonbase. I'm sure that after the huge effects budget for Guardian of Piri they wanted to do an episode without alien landscape sets etc. But the fact that they limited themselves to Alpha does not mean that there is nothing new or interesting to see. We are treated to the wonderful Generating Area set (a redress of the Main Mission set) which is both beautiful, and grand in scale.
There is also some very creative camera work, like when they rotate the camera when Anton collapses at the end of the teaser, and when we see his point of view when he rises from the tanning couches in the Solarium. These more sophisticated camera moves, together with high and low angles, and fish eye lenses to give an "other worldly" feel to the episode.
The next thing I think of, in regards to this episode, is how they really give you a sense of life on Alpha, more so than most other episodes. From Anton's wake up call, and amorous moments with his wife... to the "daily grind" of his job, where a blown condenser serves as high drama... to his wife getting out of the shower (and presumably getting ready for work)... we get to see what daily life on Alpha would be like between the adventures we saw on a weekly basis. And somehow, they never seem to slow the story down, but rather add a connection to the people's lives we are watching. This is also helped by the fine performances of the guest cast. Ian McShane does an excellent job despite a little too much face pulling for my taste.
He manages to create a charming, and sympathetic character, which you can see struggle for control against the force that is taking him over, and when he loses, becomes quite menacing. Gay Hamilton, also does an excellent job as his wife Eva. She is convincing throughout, whether she is making her amorous husband get ready for work, hurt by him raising his voice to her, joking about the lack of real "air" on Alpha, or trying to get Anton to seek help. She carries it all off brilliantly.
The regular cast does a great job as well. One of my personal favorite scenes is when Koenig is trying to decide if it's safe to move Zoref, and reaches out to touch him, hoping that he won't be flash frozen in the process. I also like that Helena is pretty much the driving force in solving the mystery of the alien force. She is the one who theorizes that it's consuming heat. She directs Koenig to look into the whereabouts of Zoref when Dominix was frozen. My least favorite scene with her is when she sits with her back to the window of the security wing of Medical Centre. What was the point of putting a light on Zoref as an "early detection device" if she is not going to look at it?
I always considered the life cycle of the alien force as being similar to that of the Alien in the Alien series of movies, in that it occupies a human host, and grows until it reaches the next step in its evolution, then discards its host. I enjoy when Victor speculates on its evolutionary process, but cringe when Koenig ask if they've witnessed the birth of a star. I always want Victor to laugh, and tell him not to be ridiculous, that they are looking at a life form, not a ball of gas! ... but maybe it's just me.
I've always wondered why the actress who plays Hillary Preston is not credited for her part in this episode? When it is much longer and better acted than "Jane", who, by the way, we never even hear her name mentioned. Is it simply because she was not a Miss World, as was Eva Rueber-Staier? This was probably the same reason we got the great shot of Anton entering the Solarium through the gams of the aforementioned Jane.
It's nice to see them making a little more use of Tanya in this episode too. I'm sure I've said it before, but I always thought they should have expanded her role on the show.
Once again, Space: 1999 has shown that they are not afraid to show the more horrific aspects of science fiction. The graphic depiction of the burnt and smoldering body of Anton Zoref after Alan shoots him with the laser is still somewhat startling.
Despite some minor flaws, I think this is an incredibly strong episode.
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In this episode, we see the nuclear
waste domes from Area 2 incorporated into the walls of the Nuclear Generating
which seems somehow fitting.
We also see some reused footage from Breakaway, when the nuclear reactor explodes.
A blue light approaches Alpha,
defying explanation... and their
ability to detect it.
|Anton gets a wake up call.|
Koenig becomes concerned about
the approaching force, and calls
a meeting of his section heads.
As the force enters the
generating area, Anton calls for
help, but everyone is immobilized.
Anton wakes with no recollection
of what happened to him.
Helena examines Anton,
and puts him on restricted duties.
Anton tries to generate a little heat
with his wife, in quarters that are
too warm for her liking.
Eva finds Anton acting oddly,
and he decides to go for a walk.
Victor shows Koenig scans that
recorded an alien energy force in
Nuclear Generating Area 3.
Helena and Koenig discuss the
death of Mark Dominix.
Eva tries to get Anton to talk about
what's going on with him. He tells her
he is going to see Doctor Russell.
Hillary Preston dies in the same
manner as Mark Dominix, and
Helena comes up with a theory.
Eva goes to Medical Centre looking
for Anton, and gives Helena
another piece of the puzzle.
Tanya calls for help from the
Solarium. And Koenig saves the day.
Anton is placed in the security
wing of Medical Centre.
Koenig warns the Alphans that Anton
is dangerous, and if he attacks...
shoot to kill.
Koenig and Paul discuss the
ramifications of shutting down
all power to the base.
Eva finds Anton, and tries to get
him to seek help... but it's too late.
With no power to absorb, Anton is
too weak to open the doors to the
reactor... until Alan fires his laser.
Alpha survives the explosion of the
reactor with no other casualties. Victor
and John watch the force return to space.
|Helena tries to help Eva understand.|