292 – Omega Factor – Illusions

So that’s it then, this is the end…

Simon and Eugene look at the last TV episode of Omega Factor called Illusions.

Will Tom Crane get his answers about Omega?  Is Martindale really part of the sinister organization?  What about Ann and Tom’s on-again-off-again romance?  Is Scott Erskine a villain?  And what was Tom’s brother really doing? Was it for Dept. 7, or Omega?

Find out all the answers you’ll ever get as we wrap-up our discussion on the Omega Factor.

4 thoughts on “292 – Omega Factor – Illusions”

  1. OH WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT. Objects were flung at the TV. There was loud booing.

    Disappointment began with Tom and Anne carefully explaining that everything in the previous episode was crap and to be ignored. Despite Tom having stood six feet away from his dead wife, staring her in the face while she stood next to her own headstone. It was all just a Scooby Doo escapade with a wig. Total copout.

    What became of Vashrevsky? What were the bodysnatchers* up to? The previous episode finished with the entire cast expectantly hanging out in a graveyard. Was there no psychic element, no significance, to any of it?

    Tom Crane – quarter-finalist, Scottish division, Crap Boyfriend of the Year Contest 1979. The Tom+Anne relationship comes to its whimpering conclusion. Full marks to Louise Jameson for trying to sell it.

    The lady from Omega – Mrs Arden – mentions to Martindale that he used “risky techniques on children”. Does this pin the sabotaged test envelopes which resulted in the oil tanker explosion (Telepathic Murder Boy episode) on Martindale?

    Tom visited by Mrs Arden – again the powerful psychic and canny investigative reporter is completely incapable on picking up on the fact that he’s speaking with the enemy, who means him harm.

    As the series went on, the psychic element became a smaller and smaller part of the show. In the finale, Tom has a few psychic flashes, but they don’t affect the outcome. Overall, the series seemed to lose vision of what it was about.

    Omega – an evil organisation developing psychic weapons. Where are all the evil psychics? Does Omega have any? We only ever saw Drexel, and Omega disposed of him. Where was the epic psychic battle between Tom and the Evil Psychics in the final episode?

    So, the mysteries which half the series hung on – Drexel and Morag, the Demon, etc. – remain as opaque as ever.

    At the end of the series, it’s telling that my sympathies are with Martindale, not Tom. Was this a problem with the scripts? With the casting? I’m not sure, but the hero of the series never won me over, and frequently had me offside. In the end, it was Martindale who avenged Julia and had the potential to bring down Omega, not Tom.

    Overall, I was drawn into the series of seemingly important plot threads which ultimately went nowhere. Perhaps I read too much into things, due to subsequent shows like X-Files and Babylon 5, but I came away disappointed. I didn’t see Omega Factor when it first aired, but if there had been a second series in 1980, I don’t think I would have been coming back.

    For me, the standouts from the series were the performances of Louise Jameson, John Carlisle and Cyril Luckham as Anne, Martindale and Drexel. Best episode was Child’s Play (Telepathic Murder Boy), as its script coherently delivered on the premise of the series.

    Only on a few occasions did the series really manage to project the subject at its core – psychic powers – as something vast and dark and Beyond Our Ken. So much potential for atmosphere and creepiness and genuine scares was wasted. The series I had imagined Omega Factor to be was so much better than what it actually was.

    * Vashrevsky and the Bodysnatchers shall be the name of my punk band.

    1. I’ll have more to say about this a bit later, but for now, I’m obligated to warn you that Vashrevsky and the Bodysnatchers is already the name of my Terry and the Pirates cover band.

  2. I rewatched much of the series to try and find answers. Some were subtle, some were lying in plain sight. My truths vs mysteries list is:

    Truths:
    – Drexel is dead, like a Norwegian Blue
    – Morag was alive, is now dead-dead
    – The Picts were a “Stone Tape” replay
    – Range Rover Man works for Omega
    – Martindale is the mole and probably sabotaged Colin’s test envelopes

    There is no explanation of the following:
    – Any mysteries surrounding Drexel or Morag
    – Tom’s brother’s camping adventure
    – Anyone murdered or suicided in connection with Drexel
    – Eidetic memory
    – Beware the dogs!
    – Bodysnatching
    – The Demon or the demon becoming Martindale
    – Julia standing over her gravestone

    + Morag IS corporeal! In the bookshop, Drexel calls out to her to ask Tom to wait and then brings her a cup of coffee. Also, she appears on a video monitor in the Bureau of Outrageous Accents.

    + During Morag’s other appearances – causing the car crash, at Julia’s funeral, during Tom’s possession, in the hospital carpark, in the demon mind battle – she’s only visible to someone with psychic abilities (or on film?).

    + During the demon mind battle, Tom stabs psychic-Morag in the back, killing her. The close-up of the bloodied knife underscores this. As a result, corporeal Morag appears to be dead-dead, as she never appears again. Morag helped Tom escape possession during the Sonic Murder House of Death, yet here she works against him and is killed. I’m confused.

    + Early in the first episode, Martindale picks up Tom’s brother to take him on his walking tour. At the time, we have no idea who M is.

    + Drexel caused the death of Martindale’s friend, Lawson. So M avenged both his friend and Julia.

    + The suicide body Tom finds in the first episode, has no significance beyond showing us that Drexel is dangerous.

    + The dead girl in Drexel’s cult – has no significance beyond telling us that Drexel is dangerous. She is NOT Morag.

    + Drexel IS dead. There are no hints of activity from him after being shot by Martindale.

    + The Picts/Vikings are explained by Anne’s “Stone Tape” theory – that the sonic weapon replayed events from the past. There is no lasting significance to them.

    + There is no explanation for what Tom’s brother was doing in the military test area.

    + Range Rover Man uses a car phone, matching calls to Martindale. RR Man is thus part of Omega, spying on the Bureau of Outrageous Accents and reporting to Martindale. RR Man is not a mysterious third (4th?) party.

    + Tom’s brother’s seeing Julia from his hospital bed goes nowhere. “Beware the dogs!” has no significance beyond barking dogs near the weapons test. The VERY important thing Tom’s brother tries to remember goes nowhere.

    + There is no explanation for why the demon’s face turned into Martindale’s, beyond hinting that M is the mole. There is no explanation for how the demon fits into the Big Picture with Omega and Morag.

    + The eidetic memory scene was just filler. It has no significance.

    + Mrs Arden possibly hints that Martindale sabotaged Colin’s test envelopes, which resulted in the tanker explosion.

    + There is no explanation for the floating head of Tom’s dead wife appearing over Anne’s.

    + There is no explanation for what Anne sees in Tom.

  3. And on that last point, WE CAN ALL AGREE!

    I must say, if you watched this series a second time just to try to make sense of it, you have the constitution of a podcaster.

    What are you doing after the airing of the Doctor Who Xmas special this year? 😉

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