|With a reconnaissance team is en route to a nearby planet, Koenig becomes frustrated with the lack of information from Computer. Kano tells him that it keeps reporting the data to be insufficient. Koenig asks how the computer can control a mission to the planet, when it can't predict if it can sustain human|
|life or not. Kano replies that in neither case, would Computer be so irrational as to guess. The Eagle pilot reports to Main Mission that they are ready for final descent. This comes as a surprise to Paul, since they are a full two hours ahead of schedule, and raises more questions about the reliability of Computer's|
|predictions about the planet. Alan is certain that Computer has been giving false data When Sandra reports an increase in data discrepancies, Koenig tries to get pilot Pete Irving to check the data manually, but Pete becomes giddy, and starts to fly erratically. Suddenly, all contact is lost, and the Eagle|
|disappears from their scanners. In the following command conference, Alan Carter rebukes Kano for Computer's misinformation in regards to basic flying data like time, distance, orbital velocity, and G-factors. With this in mind, Koenig orders Carter to fly down to the planet on manual, and to obey every|
|command he receives from Paul. As Carter leaves, Victor tells John that the Moon's path is bringing them closer to the planet than they originally expected, then passes out. When Helena examines him, she notices that his wrist monitor is not accurately recording his physical condition. He is taken to Medical|
|Centre, where Helena discovers the reason he passed out was because the oxygen levels on Alpha had been dropping. While everyone else's hearts naturally adjusted to this, Victor's mechanical heart was unable to. Koenig orders Sandra to put Alpha's atmospheric controls on manual, and to|
|monitor them constantly. Dr. Mathias informs Helena that another patient died from a computer malfunction that cut off her blood supply during a transfusion. Koenig returns to Main Mission as Alan reaches the planet. He finds the other Eagle suspended motionless in the air above the alien landscape. He docks|
|with it and boards to look for survivors. The ship is empty. Koenig orders Alan to return to the base, and takes Kano into his office to get some answers about Computer. Kano tells him that no fault can be found in any systems. Koenig replies that the planet is affecting the computer and knows of one way|
|to find out how. Kano reluctantly agrees to the procedure. He goes to Medical Centre where he is connected to the computer via an implant he received during an experiment attempting to link the calculating ability of a computer with the unique thinking ability of the human brain (a procedure that only he|
|survived without becoming a mindless vegetable). They begin the procedure, and after painfully linking with the computer, Kano begins to relax, then suddenly vanishes in a flash of light. Back in Main Mission, Victor is surprisingly optimistic about the fact that the Moon has gone into orbit around the|
|planet. As Koenig voices his concerns, the computer announces that the planet will support life... with details to follow. John suspects that it is telling them just what they want to hear. Unable to gather any more information remotely, Koenig tells Carter that they are both going down to the planet.|
|When they arrive, Koenig orders Alan to stay aboard the Eagle while he looks around. He scans the trees but gets no life readings. As he moves on, he finds the pilots of the first Eagle. They are completely unresponsive to his presence. He sees Kano, and tries to slap him out of his trance-like state. Kano's|
|response is a dazed affirmation that Piri is perfect for them. Koenig tells him that there is no life on Piri. Kano replies that there is light. Koenig looks, and sees a large structure appear. It casts a bright light in his direction. Koenig tries to avoid the light. Wandering, he approaches the base of the structure and|
|sees a woman emerge from within and descend the stairs to greet him. She tells him that she is the Servant of the Guardian, gesturing towards the structure, and that she is there to calm his fears. She explains that the Pirians created machines to run the necessities of life, so that they could enjoy|
|the pleasures. Then they built the Guardian to control the machines. Their lives were perfect, and the Guardian was directed to maintain them, so the Guardian stopped time for them. Koenig asks how she got his men to Piri. She tells him that they were offered happiness and they accepted... and|
|that time is stopping for them. Koenig replies that life is stopping for them. She responds that he has seen, but not understood. He tells her that Piri is not suitable for human life, and that he will make his men understand. She tells him that is not possible, and that he, too, must be made "perfect". He tries to|
|get Kano and Pete to leave with him, but the Guardian shines the light on him again in an attempt to make him conform. He runs back to the Eagle, trying to raise Alan on his commlock, but gets no answer. When he gets there, Alan is acting strangely, and takes control of the Eagle shortly after liftoff.|
|They fight, but Koenig eventually knocks Alan out. Injured, Koenig flies back to Alpha, where his hails go unanswered. He manages to land, and stumbles his way to Medical Centre, only to find a party in progress, before collapsing. He wakes, with his injuries treated. He asks Dr. Mathias where Helena|
|is, and is told that she is in a command conference. He goes to his office where they are planning the final stages of Operation Exodus, based on false reports from Computer, attributed to his reconnaissance. He tries to warn them about the danger they are in, but they giddily ignore him. He steps|
|out into Main Mission and tries to limit the computer to auxiliary services only. The computer overrides his commands stating that they are in conflict with the orders of the Guardian. Koenig tries to disable the extraneous banks, but is stopped and sedated. He wakes to find that he has been|
|confined to his quarters. In the Commander's office, Helena suggests not taking him to the planet. After a short discussion, Victor and Helena decide to leave him an Eagle so he can join them when he changes his mind about Piri. As the last Eagles are lifting off from the base, the lights dim, and Koenig's|
|door opens. He goes to the now deserted Main Mission, and watches as the last Eagles head down to Piri. He is alone on Alpha. Bored and lonely, Koenig decides to talk to Computer in lieu of other companionship. Unfortunately for him, only auxiliary service are available, as the computer has also|
|vacated for Piri. The loneliness has driven him to contemplate taking pills to sleep away the hours. The Servant of the Guardian appears. She knows that he is trying to numb his mind against the Guardian, and tries to convince him to choose "the Pirian way". She shows him the Alphans at peace on Piri.|
|While she heals his wounds, she tells him that he has fought hard in the struggle for survival and deserves to enjoy the peace that he has earned for his people. He tries to explain to her that his people can't exist in Pirian terms, but she insists that they must be made perfect. He leaves her, and flies down to Piri.|
|When he lands, he tries to find out about the Pirians from Sandra and Paul, but can't get a coherent answer from either. He locates Helena and brings her back to the Eagle. He uses shock treatment to break the Guardians hold over her. When asked about the Pirians, she tells John that she saw only the light.|
|He tells her that was the Guardian, and presses her for details about the Pirians themselves. She tells him that nothing moves, that there are no signs of life. John realizes that their are no Pirians... because there is no life on Piri. Meanwhile, the Servant of the Guardian mobilizes the Alphans against|
|Koenig. She tells them that he is trying to destroy the happiness that the Guardian has given them, and that he must be killed. As Koenig and Helena make their way to the Guardian, Alan just misses Koenig with a laser set to kill. Koenig stuns him, and Bob Mathias, who was also preparing to fire.|
|As Koenig climbs the steps to confront the Servant of the Guardian, Pete Irving Tells Koenig he's going to kill him. Before he can shoot, Helena stuns him. Koenig asks the Servant of the Guardian where the Pirians are. He tells her there are none, because they all died of total apathy, just as the Alphans|
|are now. He fires his laser, and runs up the steps. He lifts her lifeless body to reveal that she is an android, showing the Alphans what passes for "life" on Piri. The Guardian begins to explode freeing the minds of the Alphans, and releasing the Moon from it's grip. The Alphans race to the Eagles as the Moon|
|returns to its previous course away from Piri. One by one, the Eagles lift off as the Alphans board and escape the explosions around them, then race to catch up with the Moon before it gets out of range. Safely back on Alpha, the long range sensors reveal that there is now water, vegetation, everything|
|that they need to sustain life. Knowing, now, that they had returned a dead planet back to life, Koenig can't help but reflect on his decision to return to Alpha. Thinking perhaps they should have stayed on Piri, he looks out the windows on the observation deck, and watches as Piri recedes into the distance.|
Servant of the Guardian................................................Catherine Schell
Pete Irving....................................................................Michael Culver
The first thing that comes to mind
when I think of Guardian of Piri, is the amazing look of Piri.
The special effects team and the set designers did a great job of matching the look giving it a great sense of continuity.
It is truly one of the most unique
alien landscapes I have ever seen on television or in movies...
until Titan A.E., which had a planet that looked eerily similar to Piri...
And doesn't that look like the Earth's Moon with a big chunk missing in the background? Hmmm...
The other thing that immediately
comes to mind when I think about this episode is the presence of Catherine
who, as we all know, would go on to play Maya in the second season.
Catherine Schell does a perfect job as the Servant of the Guardian. She plays it almost emotionless, but with just enough emotion to keep the character interesting. Little hints of feelings of superiority add the right tone, when she is explaining that the Alphans must be made perfect to live on Piri, and forceful enough to believe that she could turn the Alphans against Koenig for disturbing their happiness. I doubt I need to add that she looks incredible in that dress!
The regular cast also turn in great performances. Clifton Jones gets a rare chance to really shine, and makes great use of it throughout the entire episode. Some of my favorite scenes include when Kano is defending Computer, when its data comes in question, early on in the episode, and when Koenig is trying to convince him to be hooked up to the computer, as well as during the procedure itself.
Barbara Bain and Barry Morse are wonderful when they in Koenig's office, trying to decide if they should bring him down to the planet.
Anton Phillips has a great comedic moment when he offers Koenig some medicine, and drinks it after Koenig refuses it.
Martin Landau maintains a great performance throughout, without going over the top, with the possible exception of the "cabbages" line (which I actually love, just because it cracks me up!), and when he stumbles back to Medical Centre after his fight with Alan Carter. Nick Tate has a great scene in the Eagle with Koenig just prior to this fight. He is both calm and creepy at the same time.
I can't help but wonder if this story is was intended as an analogy for drug use. It certainly seems as though it could be. The Alphans are tempted by an artificial happiness that dulls their cognitive functions, and with prolonged exposure cause them to become apathetic, and unchecked would eventually bring about their death. The characters, under the influence of the Guardian, appear giddy as though they are either drunk or high. This idea seems to be further reinforced by scenes like Dr. Mathias drinking the medication he offers, and is refused by Koenig. Then again when The Servant of the Guardian tells Koenig that he has been reduced to numbing his mind with pills, and that the process could be made easier by the Guardian. Not to mention the fact that Piri itself is pretty psychedelic looking!
There are some minor nits to pick in this episode. The most major one being the fact that when Koenig returns from Piri he is in an Eagle with a laboratory module, not the standard passenger module that he left Piri with. Oops!
There are also a few scenes where you can tell the backdrop is at an angle to the camera, which spoils the illusion.
Despite these minor flaws, this is an excellent episode which remains one of my personal favorites.
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Kano defends Computer's honor
when Koenig questions it's abilities.
The reconnaissance Eagle
vanishes after discrepancies in
Computer's data are discovered.
Alan lashes out at Kano for the
misinformation Computer relayed
to the reconnaissance Eagle.
Computer begins making errors
concerning life support.
Alan finds the missing Eagle...
suspended motionless above
the surface of the planet.
Koenig asks Kano why
Computer is malfunctioning.
Dr. Russell explains the procedure
that Kano will undergo.
Koenig is greeted by the
Servant of the Guardian.
|Koenig is surrounded by cabbages!|
Helena and Victor discuss
leaving Koenig on Alpha.
The Servant of the Guardian
tries to convince Koenig to
enjoy the peace of Piri.
|Koenig shuns the prime directive.|
Helena learns the shocking
truth about Piri.
The Servant of the Guardian
instigates rebellion among
the "creatures of the Moon".
The Alphans try to kill Koenig,
but he breaks the Guardian's
hold on them... and the Moon.
The Alphans learn that Piri
has been brought back to life.