Space 1999 #14: The Last Enemy

Moonbase Alpha finds itself caught up in a war between two planets - and the wiles of a beautiful woman.
WHEN: The episode first aired on Feb.19 1976, 24th in broadcast order and the last episode of the first season. It was 18th in production order.

OH THE NOSTALGIA! The French version I would have seen and promptly forgotten was called "Le dernier adversaire", or "The Last Adversary".

REVIEW: Though an episode that features space Amazons and interplanetary war, The Last Enemy is almost literally like watching models dry. It has no business being this boring, especially as the season finale (as broadcast; we're putting it in the middle of the pack). But wow, what a snoozer. Padded to the gills with people checking systems, slow model shots devoid of suspense, a wasted matte shot (because we never go to the planet), etc. etc. etc. Even the Deltan leader seems to be sleeping through it (a strange affectation from Kevin Stoney... is he trying to make himself seem more alien?). If that was its only crime, that would be one thing. But no. It's also incredibly STUPID.

For example, the two planets are called Betha and Delta, which is quite the coincidence considering the Moonbase is called Alpha. Also, who calls their worlds 2 and 4 (or B and D)? Their conflict isn't defined, so is meaningless. It seems clear this started out as a battle of the sexes, with one planet run by women, the other by men (let's hope they still have all the genders they need to procreate), but there's no onscreen confirmation of this, nor does the episode have anything remotely interesting to say about that theme. The women of Betha attacked first, but they say preemptively, because the men of Delta were unreasonable. That's it. Alpha stands in the middle of this conflict for a few hours while the Moon passes by, and Koenig wants to stay neutral, but hopefully help them resolve their differences. But they're all too untrustworthy for that to work, and Koenig's final musings that maybe they've learned their lesson are absurd. Diplomacy isn't always the most interesting to put on screen, but here it's essentially Koenig acting as a go-between for talking heads who are monitoring each other anyway. They get to preface every statement with "I heard what he/she said and...". Ugh.

There's also a problem with the resolution, in which Koenig drives a moon buggy by remote control to the "colossal" Bethan battleship and blows it up. How much destroynamite was on that tiny thing?! His pleas to be let aboard, though a ploy, make no sense because he's got no bargaining chip. They don't need to let him board the ship; he has nothing to offer and isn't a threat. Bob Kellett both wrote and directed this thing, so there really wasn't anyone to temper the script's weaknesses in any way.

I don't recognize anyone in Fox Force Five, but Kevin Stoney is Talos; he was Mavic Chen and Tobias Vaughn, two of the best early Doctor Who villains. The Bethan ship shows up in the Wonder Woman TV show of all places (in "Time Bomb"), and apparently in The Rah Band's video for "Clouds Across the Moon".

- Some sexy babes and cool-looking models, but they can't rescue this dull, brain-dead turkey.


Luke said...

Nice screencap at least!


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