RETROSPECULATIVE TV: Space 1999: "Another Time, Another Place" (Season 1, Episode 6)

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The Moon encounters a swirling anomaly that makes everybody walk sideways. They are accelerating 'off the clock'. This doesn't mean that they won't be paid overtime, however. It is an indication that time is a component of acceleration. Everything gets all glowy and we start to see double images of the Alphans as two images of the moon separate. We are also sort of introduced to our "Special Guest star about to die"… Regina, with a hard 'g', played by Judy Geeson.

As everybody checks for bumps and bruises, John asks Victor where they are. Victor doesn't know.

Regina wakes up in Main Medical, and she's seeing dead dopplegangers in her dream. She's quite loopy, but she has sunburn on the back of her hand and face. She believes that she's living another life, where there is sun and open air. She thinks Koenig and Carter are dead.

Victor thinks that their recent FTL jump might be affecting her, but that's sketchy.

In Main Mission, it appears that they are headed back into Earth Orbit, but nobody is answering their communications. Koenig is baffled. He can accept being blasted billions of lightyears away, but coming back to Earth just defies all explanation.

Back in Medical, Regina now believes she's married to Alan Carter. Helena, in a fit of bad judgement, asks Alan down to see her. After the inevitable meltdown, Helena explains to Carter after the fact.

In her sleep, she has a 'Luke in the Tree' moment, and ends up knocking Bob Matthias out. She makes a run for it, and hits a security guard with a comlock. (See my previous reviews for my opinion on Alpha security…). She gets to Main Mission as the Moon enters Earth orbit, waves a stun gun around, blows up a desk lamp and collapses.

Victor has completed his survey of the Earth, and apparently the only habitable place is Baja California. (My, that's an interesting choice, given the show. I'd've thought that they'd have picked somewhere in Wales or something.) Helena shows up with an x-ray-- Regina has two brains. You know, they might've thought to check for that…

Coincidentally, the Earth has grown another Moon. Carter and Koenig take an Eagle over to the other Moon to take a look. Counter Alpha is a mess, stripped bare. They see a crashed Eagle within walking distance, so they go take a look- see. They find two astronauts in the cockpit… Dead Alan Carter and Dead John Koenig. Naturally, they drag the bodies back to Alpha-Prime… spare parts being so hard to come by and all.

Helena performs an autopsy on the dopplegangers. She says that they died in an Eagle crash, duh. It happened about five years ago…. because decomp is soooo easy to determine in a vacuum. (What is this, CSI: Moonbase Alpha? ) John tells Helena that he's about to start Operation Exodus (again). Helena would like to wait to see if any more Alphans start sprouting new brains.

The other Moon is accelerating and will bump into them in about 48 hours, so they must initiate Exodus. Alan, John and Helena head down to Earth. Alan and John go because their dopplegangers are dead; Helena, because she always wanted a second brain. They quickly find a settlement. and a whistling Victor in a habit. The settlement is hardscrabble, and the Alphans tend to frighten (or at least startle) the settlers.

Settler Victor explains that this indeed is Earth, but a parallel Earth or a post apocalyptic Earth, he can't really say. The Alphans settled throughout the valley for mostly economic reasons. They had to use every single resource Alpha had to make the settlements work.

Alan visits Regina's grave on the planet. She died at apparently the same time that Alpha Regina died. Earth Paul looks ominous and mildly Mosaic and declares that it was no coincidence.

Helena and Helena have a weird discussion that ends in Earth Helena kissing John Koenig and dying. Apparently they cannot be on the Earth with their dopplegangers without killing them. So they have to allow the other moon to bump into them and correct the timestream.

The moons collide, and after the requisite higgaldy-piggaldy, they wonder if in correcting the other timeline, the settlers survived… or whether they ever existed. Helena picks the roses she got from the settlers off of the deck. They are still vibrant

OBSERVATIONS

This episode was a bit more compelling than 'Ring around the Moon', and it wasn't glaringly awful, just oddly paced. I found myself enjoying it, though Regina's acting was stagey and over the top. When you take into consideration that Space 1999 was trying to be a thoughtful show in a place and time where Doctor Who was the accepted norm, you can see why the directors and actors had some problems.

I would really like to know what the pressure suit protocols are for flying an Eagle. Sometimes they are in P-Suits, and sometimes they are in their Alpha uniforms. It would make sense to be in P-suits full time, unless they had some sort of policy based on their destination.

In their continuing quest to cram new concepts into a '2001'-ish framework, the idea of the fractured timeline is interesting, but makes no sense on closer examination. The entire thing seems rather arbitrary… why Earth? Why is there a ten year discrepancy between the two timelines? Why would meeting a ten year younger version of yourself cause you to speak in riddles, kiss someone and then die?

In Space:1999 terms- "There's so much we don't understand".

In Republibot terms- "Because it makes no sense!"

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