Space 1999 #37: The Beta Cloud

A sentient cloud sends a robot monster to steal Alpha's life support.
WHEN: The episode takes place 1503 days after Breakaway on Oct.25 2003. It first aired on Dec.16 1976.

OH THE NOSTALGIA! I remember the fighting monsters, but then I was a kid when I watched this stuff.

REVIEW: Space 1999 doesn't seem to know what to do with its plots. Case in point, The Beta Cloud. Alpha encounters yet another exploding phenomenon, this time a cloud that 1) gives almost everyone a depression, 2) speaks, and 3) sends a bat-like monster that is actually a robot to steal a key component of Alpha's life support system because it needs it for some reason. It's pure nonsense, like a plot written via exquisite corpse techniques. The audience keeps asking why, but it doesn't look like the production had any answers. And when both the cloud and the monster are defeated, the former just disappears. Because nothing really matters, does it?

Not even the one bit of character development that seems to happen between Maya and Tont. Pushed into it by all the danger, Tony admits his love for her and they finally share a passionate kiss. At the end though, Tony plays coy and takes it back just to see if she'll care enough to get angry. This prolonged will they/won't they is pretty tedious when you consider other pairings on Alpha were done deals without actually having to fall in love. Of all the episodes to fall in love with Maya though... She's at her very whiniest. If we're being generous, we'll say it's because of the cloud's depressing effects. Those effects at least heighten the tension, since the base has to be manned by a skeleton crew. Surprisingly, Koenig is one of the few regular cast members to be affected, when he's usually the most strong-willed of the bunch. That gives Tony a chance to shine, as well as Sandra (whose electric barrier is somewhat useful) and Bill Fraser (who hasn't had this big a role since The Metamorph).

In the end, the episode may be named after the cloud, but most of our time is spent fighting the monster. One wonders why this is the cloud's herald; it's too easily confused to make an able engineer and can't really identify life support by itself. It's got some time, since it's invulnerable to damage, and the characters take way too long to realize it's a robot. The clues are there very early on and they keep missing them. Too busy trying to justify reusing Maya's chlorine breather, I guess (those suits cost money). Maya beats the monster by turning into a bee that can't be zapped, apparently, so maybe those monster suits are a waste of cash after all. Except to get little boys to watch, I suppose.

HEY, ISN'T THAT... David Prowse is the creature; he is of course best known as the body of Darth Vader.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - There's a lot of action in this one, but it's pretty mindless.


Anonymous said...

This is the episode that prompted "Space: 1999"'s only spinoff:

Siskoid said...

Hahaha, Maya l'abeille.

Good catch!


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