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Young Shermeen Williams is
helping Tony cultivate hops and
barley, in Hydroponics for use in
brewing his beer. During the
course of their collaboration she
has developed a crush on him
much to the chagrin of her co-
worker, and would-be suitor,
Eddie Collins. After bringing
the latest brew to Command
Center to be sampled by his
unwilling compatriots, Tony
takes a swig of his beer to
find that it did not live up to
his expectations. Frustrated,
he inadvertently hurts
Shermeen's feelings. She runs
from Command Center crying,
much to Tony's surprise. In her
quarters, she stops crying when
she senses something in the
room with her. She looks and
sees a man's face staring at her
from the corner of her room.
Helena, who followed her from
Command Center to check on
her fragile emotional state,
finds her disturbed by what she
believes was a dream. She
gives her a tranquilizer and
lets her return to duty. Back in
Command Center, a planet
is detected. Koenig asks Helena
to join them for a landing party
but she is in the middle of some
tests and can't go. She tells John
about Shermeen, and when he
says he wants her to join the
team to go to the planet, Helena
advises against it. Tony is elected
to give the news to Shermeen.
She assumes he told them not
to let her go and tells him she
never wants to see him again.
He leaves and the face returns.
He tells her that his name is
Vindrus, and he comes from
the planet Sunim, and that
she will see the planet soon.
She tells him that she is not
going, but he tells her that if
she does as he says, she will.
He has her bombard a seed
with protons and plant it, then
tells her to prepare to go to
the planet. She leaves as
Eddie Collins returns. The seed
grows to maturity at incredible
speed. Eddie notices the plant,
and when he smells one of
the flowers, falls unconscious.
As the landing party prepares
to embark, they find Shermeen
who tells Koenig that Eddie
was suddenly taken ill. They fly
to Sunim to check it out. They
arrive to find a completely Earth-
like planet, but with no animal
life detectable on their sensors.
Shermeen wanders off getting
samples of the different plants.
Vindrus leads her to a temple
which has already been
discovered by the rest of the
team, but as they approach
they are charged by a large
horned creature. When John
fires on it, the laser beam is
deflected. They run for the
cover of the woods. As they
retreat, Koenig notices the
creature has stopped at the
obelisk at the edge of the wood.
They look for Shermeen who is
told to enter the temple past
the creature. Vindrus assures her
that it will not attack. She enters
the temple unscathed, where
Vindrus tells her that he needs
her help to cross over into our
world, and asks her to take a
cylinder back to Alpha. Bill
finds Shermeen's footprints
leading towards the temple.
Maya changes into a fox to
evade the creature, and get
into the the structure to see if
Shermeen is within. Maya finds
her, and after recording the
images on the wall, leads her
out. Maya hesitates, when she
sees the creature, but is told by
Shermeen that the creature
will not harm them. Unable
to contact Alpha, Koenig
decides to return to the base.
on the way back, he asks
Shermeen why she was able to
get past the creature. She tells
him that no harm will come to
her on Sunim. He asks how she
knew the name of the planet.
She becomes defensive and
he backs off. On Alpha they
review Maya's tapes, and come
to the conclusion that the
creature that they saw on the
planet was made up of anti-
matter. Vindrus appears to
Shermeen and asks her to
get a generator, that will fit
the cylinder, to bring to the
planet. Tony walks in and
sees Vindrus. He is knocked
out and made to forget
what he has seen. Shermeen
gets a generator and, using
a flower hypnotizes Bill into
taking her to Sunim. Vindrus
has her hook up the generator to
a matter converter. Then has her
step into one of two booths.
Vindrus locks her in and trades
places with her, sending her into
the anti-matter world while he
enters the matter world. Koenig,
Tony and Maya who had
followed them to the planet,
arrive at the temple. Vindrus
exits the temple after Koenig
figures out that the creature
cannot harm them. They
learn that he is no longer
anti-matter. Koenig asks
where Shermeen is. Vindrus
tells them she is inside the
temple and won't come out.
He suggests they go in and get
her. John and Tony follow him
in and Vindrus seals the door
to the temple. Tony remembers
that Vindrus needed people
to maintain the balance for
the transfer into the matter
world. Tony shoots Vindrus
but the beam bounces off.
Vindrus demonstrates that
he does have an effective
weapon, and orders them
into the conversion booths.
Koenig throws his commlock
at Vindrus, and he and Tony
hide. While Vindrus looks for
them, Maya who heard the
commotion, has gotten into
the temple as a small monkey.
John tells Vindrus that Shermeen
is coming back because he
knew what Vindrus was up to,
and set the generator to work
at partial power. Maya
transforms into Shermeen and
enters one of the booths. She
calls to Vindrus telling him that
they need to try again or they
will all be destroyed.
Vindrus approaches the booth,
Tony pushes him in, and John
bars the door shut. Maya exits
and turns the converter on. She
can't recall the controls of the
one she had seen before, but
Shermeen is able to guide her,
and the conversion is reversed.
John sets the reactor to
overload. Tony finds the button
to open the door and they head
back to the Eagles. Before they
can lift off, the generator
explodes and the Planet is
returned to anti-matter. Back
on Alpha, Shermeen returns
Tony's hops, as she needs the
room to test a theory Eddie
Collins has on plant growth.
Tony is dumbfounded at her
sudden change of heart, but is
soon distracted with musings of
brewing beer with anti-matter
grain and/or hops.

Screenplay...........................................................Pip and Jane Baker

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

Guest Stars

Lynne Frederick...................................................Shermeen Williams

Stuart Wilson......................................................................Vindrus

Additional Cast

John Hug..........................................................................Bill Fraser

Nicholas Campbell........................................................Eddie Collins

Brian Osborne...............................................................Chris Potter

Well... this episode is slightly better than Catacombs of the Moon, but not much. I guess my first problem with this episode is the character of Shermeen Williams. A teenager?! Assuming she was (at the oldest) nineteen (which she certainly didn't act), with the episode dated 1702 days after leaving Earth orbit, that would make her fourteen or fifteen at the time of Breakaway. How young do they let people work on Alpha? Tony states at one point in the episode that she "has been on the first team a long time", and Shermeen mentions having collected specimens from every planet they've been to. How did I manage to miss her in all the previous episodes? And why didn't the Judges of Luton sink their vines into her? That gripe aside, I thought she did a respectable job as Shermeen, if not a little melodramatic.

The script suffered from several other problems as well. Sunim is supposed to have a constant temperature of seventy-eight degrees. How is that possible? Wouldn't the temperature change in different locations around the planet, or as night falls? And how was the planet converted from anti-matter to matter? It certainly would not have fit into one of those tiny boothes! And wouldn't they also have had to convert a matter planet? Why not just set up shop on that? Assuming that this may not have been the case, how were they able to land on the Sunim and breathe the air? If the planet was still anti-matter it would only have appeared solid and their Eagle would have passed through it, as demonstrated by Thaed running through Koenig on the steps of the Temple. I have also wondered why it was necessary to use the Alphans to convert Vindrus' people from anti-matter to matter. It is never specified that the matter used for the conversion has to be living tissue. Why not just fill the chamber with rocks or dirt or whatever was handy?

When Vindrus appears to Shermeen in hydroponics (oddly his close-ups were shown against the corner of Shermeens room...) he asks her if a certain plant is the Magnus Lilarium, then tells her to break open the seed pod and place a seed on the propogatoscope. I am amazed at how familiar he is with the technical names of things given by humans... but then again, he does speak English... I might also add that a plant does not seem like the most effective way to insure his goals. How could he know that Eddie Collins would go over to smell it? Besides that, the plant seems to have different effects on different people, depending on whatever is required by the plot at that particular moment. It knocks out Eddie Collins and Chris Potter, but makes Tony forget seeing Vindrus in Hydroponics, then hypnotizes Bill Frazer. Oddly it has no effect whatsoever on Shermeen.

Her motivations for helping Vindrus are sketchy at best. After Tony suggests to Vindrus that the Alphans help him cross over, Shermeen totally ignores his response explaining that they "would not do it willingly. For everyone who crosses into your world, one of you must cross into ours." One might think that would dampen her enthusiasm slightly.

And what was with Koenig? Was he afraid of Shermeen? Why was he sending Tony to go talk to her? Why ask her if she was going to submit a report? He's the Commander! Order her to fill out a report. He has never been this coddling with any other Alphan before or since.

On the positive side, I think Tony Anholt did a fine job in this episode. His subtle chagrin at Koenig using him as a go between with Shermeen, after her emotional outburst, was very well played.

I liked the use of Maya to trick Vindrus back into the booth. Koenig's clever ruse played out much better than having her turn into a monster and strong arm him into the chamber.

Stuart Wilson also did a fine job as the hypnotic but sinister villain. Bonus points go to him for overcoming, what had to be, a somewhat embarrassing costume!

I also was rather impressed with the temple structure. Both it's design and size added a level of reality, enhanced by the location shoot. Too bad it was wasted on this particular script. Overall, an unimpressive offering from Space: 1999.

Replies to comments made here are always welcome. You can contact me by using the commlock in the Communication Centre.

In this episode we see several props from previous episodes gathered in one location.

From left to right: A mining helmet worn in
Catacombs of the Moon, in the center, the orange pyramid schematic for the jumpdrive from The Taybor, and lastly, a probe from the planet Ariel seen in The Last Sunset, also used as the test package in Journey to Where.

And did Thaed look slightly familliar to you? Could the robot from The Beta Cloud have come back to haunt the Alphans?

You may have also noted that Vindrus' weapon was used by the Darians in the silver spacesuits.

Click for downloadable version


Click here to play sound "Moonbase Alpha status report,
1702 days after leaving Earth orbit..."
Click here to play sound Vindrus appears to Shermeen
Click here to play sound Koenig handles Shermeen with kid gloves.
Click here to play sound Maya gives Tony a lesson in remedial
matter/anti-matter theory.
Click here to play sound Tony's offer to help Vindrus, is
politely declined.
Click here to play sound Vindrus welcomes the Alphans to Sunim.
Click here to play sound Koenig tricks Vindrus back into
the conversion booth.
Click here to play sound Maya attempts to restore Shermeen.
Click here to play sound Shermeen cultivates a new relationship,
and Tony contemplates new
brewing techniques.
Click here to play sound Background sound

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