Space 1999 #19: End of Eternity

Alpha frees an immortal psychopath from an asteroid tomb.
WHEN: The episode first aired on Nov.20 1975, 12th in broadcast order, though 16th in production order.

REVIEW: Another episode about the high price of immortality? That's the third (fourth? I've actually lost count!) this season, which makes everyone wondering what decision they'd have made under different circumstances ring hollow. We already know! This time, immortality is offered by an alien in a black habit, found in the SF version of the Mummy's tomb, an asteroid headed straight for Alpha. They blow up the entrance, there's some iffy physics with the astronauts visor-up in a tunnel, and they accidentally kill the alien occupant, no big whoop. Everyone's much more concerned with pilot Mike who's been put on the no-fly list for an eye injury we can't see. The alien, Balor, rises from the dead on the autopsy table anyway, and among his powers are super-strength, invulnerability, an aura of fear that - dear God - I hope explains why nameless Alphans are falling all over themselves trying to escape, and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope. No wait. Not that last one.

What ensues is a battle of wits between Balor and Koenig, because physically, no one is a match for this guy. We'll discover that he was a prisoner aboard that asteroid - that old SF nugget - and that they probably shouldn't have been setting him loose. The one major casualty is pilot Mike who goes mad and starts playing a little too dangerously with his model planes (doesn't he know he was just flying models even before the accident?), and dying of extreme fear. Why does Balor kill people? He's a psychopath. Nothing else really makes sense. Don't get me wrong, he's a strong, arrogant presence on the station, walking its halls like he owns the place, because he sort of does. His announcing Helena as obsolete is a very good moment, for example. The ending is a little disappointing, however. The Alphans force him to an airlock, cutting off his options remotely - that's fine - but when he's expelled, shouldn't he just be stranded on the surface of the Moon? How powerful does the rush of air need to be to achieve Lunar escape velocity?

But while there are some dumb moments like that in the script, the episode remains very watchable thanks to Ray Austin's direction. You'll remember I praised his work on The Trouble Spirit as well. Here, he again uses sound design to great effect, supporting Balor's first rampage with odd music and no audible voice or sound effects, giving him a strange deaf perspective. Pilot Mike's insane attack on Koenig is done with fierce jump cuts and Mike stabbing at the camera with a biplane. Austin gets it right every time. Horror, spectacle, violence... he just can't fill the scientific plot holes for us.

Peter Bowles is Balor; he's been in everything from Blow-Up to The Sarah Jane Adventures.

REWATCHABILITY: Almost Medium-High
- The direction is quite inventive, but the plot isn't.



Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine