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287 – Space: 1999 – End of Eternity

A maximum security space prison comes to Alpha.  The Alphans, cavalier to the implications, stage a jail break to free the political prisoner within…  no, wait, sorry, wrong episode.

A mostly unremarkable asteroid that has been in deep space for over 1,000 years approaches Alpha, they investigate a strange anomaly and discover a door.  Behind the door, they find the kindly, benevolent alien, Balor, who just wants to bring a little philosophy to the Alphans.

Ben and Eugene discuss the End of Eternity.

4 thoughts on “287 – Space: 1999 – End of Eternity”

  1. That harp music is very creepy.

    Definitely not kid’s viewing this week. It’s really at odds with the rest of the series. I can only think of Crispy Zoref, from Force of Life, and perhaps the steamy corpse of Brian Blessed in Death’s Other Dominion, as other moments which kids would have trouble with.

    A remarkably good performance by Peter Bowles. Part alien, part sympathetic, part cult leader, part psychopath. Especially compared against the flat performances Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Superior direction?

    It’s interesting that you guys think of Peter Bowles as a Tough Guy. I know him from his roles in endless genteel TV rom-coms, so seeing him as The Most Evil Man in the Universe is always unsettling.

    Koenig unravels the mystery of Balor very very quickly. It would have been stronger to let it have a little more time to play out.

    Did they really wheel Baxter’s fear-hand body on a trolley through Alpha? Without as much as a sheet over his face? The med-techs did the same thing with the frozen technician in Force of Life. Are they trying to psychically scar everone? Look ye Alphans! See the horrible fate which awaits you!

    Peter Bowles has an interesting tale of the follow-on from this role: “It ended up with a lady from America getting into my house, because she wanted to be my sex slave. She sold everything and had come over because she wanted to be dominated by the most evil man in the universe.” (radio interview with the BBC).

    The asteroid reconstituting itself at the end of the episode and trundling on through eternity was very very creepy. I think this whole episode must have freaked me out as a kid.

    1. If I gave the impression that I saw Bowles as a tough guy, that’s not how I envision him.

      Bowles, to me, is the suave English gentleman, that turns out to be a sadistic “agent of an unfriendly foreign power” and, ofttimes, there’s a hint of the unhinged in his performance.

      Memorably, I remember him from 60’s pieces like the Saint. We reviewed another TV episode he was in here on the podcast when we did the episode of The Prisoner entitled, A, B & C.

      Certainly, he appeared multiple times in the Avengers, although the one that comes across most strongly to me is his (also slightly unhinged) villain in Escape in Time.

      As for the psychological impact on watching this as a kid…

      That’s a very good concept to ponder. Apart for Koenig getting beaten and a couple people screaming outrageously (which was no different than the woman who screamed when Balor just put his hand lightly on her shoulder) there’s no real outrageous torture or pain being inflicted on the Alphans. As with all great horror, you have to imagine it in your mind.

      I don’t think when I watching this as a kid at age 10 or 11 that I really appreciated or understood what Balor was proposing. I certainly understood that he planned to dominate them, command them, keep them under his thumb, and was also clear that he could hurt them very badly as punishment and keep them alive anyway, but I don’t think I fully appreciated that the point of keeping them alive was solely to hurt them nor did I have the imagination to internalize the sorts of things he would do to them.

  2. I dimly recall as a 10 or 11 year old putting the paintings together with everyone’s shocked horror at Balor and having an understanding of what his intentions were.

    I wonder how this episode escaped the attention of Mary Whitehouse? Perhaps she was fully occupied with Doctor Who.

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