Space: 1999
Episode by Episode

"Missing Link"



From:  Petter Ogland (petter.ogland@dnmi44.no)
Date:  Tue, 13 Jan 1998 10:38:56 +0000
Subj:  Re: Space1999: Another Time, Another Place / Missing Link

Hi all,

In his introduction to our discussion of ANOTHER TIME ANOTHER PLACE last week, David Acheson wrote:

I agree with Petter Ogland that this episode also marks the turning point for the series. The first five episodes were essentially early scripts that were worked on by various soles at the time the series was taking its first steps. In many ways, they were experimental episodes at a time a direction was trying to be forged out of the show. ANOTHER TIME, ANOTHER PLACE was the first fully scripted Johnny Byrne episode to be filmed and definitely set the gothic, philosophical tone much of the rest of the series would follow.

This is very much the way I feel about ANOTHER TIME ANOTHER PLACE. The change from the early episodes to the later ones was a gradual one, however, and it was not nescessarily for the better, I feel, perhaps finding the early experimental episodes to be some of the best in the series.

The next installation, MISSING LINK, is also a rather experimental episode, I feel, not too unlike RING AROUND THE MOON in many ways, perhaps not too surprising as this was also written by Edward di Lorenzo and directed by Ray Austin.

It will be interesting to read the discussion concerning MISSING LINK. My impression so far is that there seems to be much more unison appraisal for MISSING LINK than for it's older sister RING AROUND THE MOON. For me, however, the two episodes seem very related, both in terms of writing and execution.

Very much like RING AROUND THE MOON, I feel MISSING LINK is a discussion on machines, conciousness and intelligence. While many of the early episodes of SPACE: 1999 investigate ideas in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, the di Lorenzo manuscripts seem, for me at least, to be the ones that goes most deeply into the philosophical aspects in Clarke and Kubrick's work.

What seems to be a central theme in 2001 is the development of technology and intelligence; the evolution of intelligence per se from the dawn of man, when we were hardly distinguishable from the apes, suddenly developing the simplest form of technology, the club, via the most impressive technology man could create by the end of the 21st century, the space technology, then how intelligence trancends the humans by the machnies (HAL-9000), and at last the odyssey of man into himself.

Much of the critique of human society in 2001, perhaps trying to make the computers more sympathetic than the humans, is somewhat mirrored in the social critique in MISSING LINK, I feel. The Zennites, dressed like fantasy versions of Flemish renaissance people, live a life of pure though. Zenno is a world of light and though, of pure enlightment, a mathematicians paradise.

This kind of life, the life of the scientists, and perhaps a mirror of Alpha itself, is contrasted to the less pleasant side of science such as experiments with animals. The questions about experiments with animals is a central point when the Zennites are about the make experiments with humans as the Zennites seem to feel towards the humans as the humans feels towards the animals.

Di Lorenzo seems to be making a point here about the "objectivity" of science, I think. On one hand, because of the objectivity the scientists have to disregard any feelings that might be contributed to the animal subject or any other object they are investigating. On the other hand, as Vanna experiences, the only profound understanding of anythin comes from being able to project ones owns feelings into the subject, especially if one is an athropologist as Raan proposes to be.

Very much like in RING AROUND THE MOON, di Lorenzo seems to be interested in this kind of self reference, the problem of analysing something objectively without taking part. In RING AROUND THE MOON the eye of the Triton probe functioned almost like a microscope, investigating Alpha as if it was inhabited by ants or some kind of virus. In MISSING LINK the observers have taken a more humanoid form, but much of the central idea to the plot seem to be the same.

What is the motivation of Raan, anyway? Early in the episode he explaines that the Zennites need to fulfil their knowledge of themselves, and as the humans represent a missing link in their chain of evolution, the way humans function with feelings and all need to be investigated in order to understand why a life by pure though does not seem to work, or does it?

Raan proposes to do experiments with Koenig. What does the experiment with the demonlike Victor signify? Well, more on this later.

Personally I find RING AROUND THE MOON and MISSING LINK to be two of the most interesting episodes in the series, much because of their though provoking themes and their ability to accentuate problems and ideas that are as interesting today as they were when they were proposed, perhaps because there does not seem to be any simple answers.

In this manner I feel more strongly for RING AROUND THE MOON and MISSING LINK than, say, ANOTHER TIME ANOTHER PLACE. While ANOTHER TIME ANOTHER PLACE does seem to have a lot to say about the human experience, I feal, at least for the present, that the problems raised in RING AROUND THE MOON and MISSING LINK are somewhat more profound, at least it feels so in my case. Perhaps I relate more to these episodes as I am a person spending most of my working hours with computers and mathematics. Perhaps.

What are your thoughts on MISSING LINK, David? Tony? We havn't heard much from you after your excellent analysis of BLACK SUN, have we? I remember your comments on BLACK SUN stimulated abundance of reflections from other list members. You haven't said too much on MISSING LINK yet. And what about you Quintin, I was surprised we didn't hear more of your views on ANOTHER TIME ANOTHER PLACE, I thought this was a kind of episode that could trigger of endless philosophical and religious associations. I'm also longing for your contributions, Pat. You are certainly one of the most fascinating contributers to this list. I relish your letters.

Petter


From: judas@netmatters44.co.uk (B J Dowling) Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 23:23:03 +0000 Subj: Space1999: Missing Link

Hi folks,

Working like crazy, deadlines looming with intimidating speed, offline at work... it isn't quite going according to plan at the office. Consequently I'm shattered, and it's only Tuesday!

Thoughts on Missing Link will follow eventually, as soon as I can chill, relax and get time to sit down and watch it.

Prentis Hancock also appears in the Doctor Who story "The Ribos Operation" (1979). I can't say much more about Prentis or the story, I haven't watched the video yet.

Oh, and before I fall asleep on my keyboard, a very off-topic request for our South African based Alphans:

Can anyone tell me what the Afrikaans for "Do you speak Afrikaans?" is?

Nighty-night


From: LKJ1999 (LKJ1999@aol44.com) Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 19:25:06 EST Subj: Space1999: Missing Link.

Hi all...
I will be watching Missing Link. Tonight! On My new 32" sony...

I will give You all the info tomorrow...

Chas P. LKJ1999


From: Patricia Embury (Patriemb@sprintmail44.com) Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 20:41:40 -0500 Subj: Space1999: Missing Link rant

I know there are others on this list who really like this episode. My post will disappoint them. I have to start off saying that this is not one of my favorite episodes. Overall, I found some scenes to be entirely laughable, i.e., the spinning camera effect and Koenig's nightmare sequence with the old hag. The scene in which Koeing spins in his quarters on Zenno saying "I am a man, not an experiment". I laughed. It didn't ring true to me, for some reason. It reminded me of "The Elephant Man." The writers didn't explore the experimentation/exploitation theme as efficiently as they could have. They touched on it, and switched the storyline to the Koenig loves (or pretends to love) Vaana. Maybe they were trying to get across that exploitation can take many forms, but it could have been done better. I also didn't believe that Koenig really fell in love with Vaana that quickly, as the novelization states. He was using her to irritate Raan into sending him back to Alpha. Look at the way he smiled and reached for Helena after he awoke on Alpha. The injuries irritate me also. Again, Carter gets off with a minor concussion, while Koenig, and more importantly the others, have more serious injuries. Granted, Victor and Sandra weren't restrained, as Koeing and Carter were, but Carter should have been hurt worse if you add up the force they were traveling vs the force of impact.

There were some good things. The Eagle crash and rescue scene were superbly done. The dim lighting on the alternate Alpha gave the atmosphere/sense that something was terribly wrong. The misspelling of Koenig's name on the monitor was the telltale sign that all was not right. Barry Morse was superb. Delivering his speech about saving himself was so out of the Victor character, you knew he had such a mastery over the Victor character that he could deliver those lines flawlessly. Nick Tate, Prentiss Hancock , and Clifton were very passionate, and appropriately worked up. Carter by this time, has become almost fanatically loyal to Koenig as Commander, and doesn't seem to think anyone can fill his shoes. Mathias, although seemed like a vulture, telling Dr. Russell she should remove the life support, really wasn't. The life support removal scenes featured the best character writing. Barbara Bain's delivery of the lines was great, she portrayed the Doctor/family member role perfectly. I didn't care for her CPR/Code skills left a lot to be desired! I know, I've cared for several brain dead or arresting patients in my work. Granted, they couldn't do a real code, because you can hurt a live person by precordial thumping them, and in the 70's, the body of knowledge about CPR, and resuscitation wasn't as developed as it is now. However, you don't thump someone in asystole! She seemed to believe the cardiac monitor she doubted before, and you don't run a code on someone with a pulse. Life support can't and won't support someone without a pulse, which Koenig apparently had! They never stopped to check!

Peter Cushing did well, but I couldn't help note a very sinister undertone to his performance. I was almost reminded of his portrayal of Governor/ Grand Moff Tarkin, as he deliveres some of his lines. I almost expected him to say "The Alphans are a dead race, Commander, and you, are the last one."

Sorry for the length of this post.


From: "Mark Meskin" (plastic.gravity@newrock44.com) Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 22:29:08 -0600 Subj: Space1999: Missing (the boat) Link

Pat hit many of the the points about this pile o crap. Top 3 worst episode. Only Ring are the Moon and Rules of Luton were worse. Everyone is SO out of character. Its funny, I didn't remember this episode from my childhood, and when I fist read the synopsis for it, I thought, Hey what a great script idea. Then I saw it..ugh. The blurb I read filled my mind with Koenig being found by an alien race after his Eagle crashed and then the doctors slowly coming the realization that Koenig is really an ancient ancestor of theirs. What we got was pure garbage. Raan's little mind games with Koenig make no sense at all, and the cool SFx of the Eagle CM being removed is total eclipsed by the fact that we see Koenig and Dr Russell in the Service section! Did Koenig get cut in half when the pressure door close as the module released? No wonder he's near death! One last gripe, how does Carter manage to pull the Eagles nose up at the last minute in a powerless Eagle? Methinks that with his record he's had some supercompressed gas tanks mounted in the front of the eagle, which he can open by pulling on cables which require no ship power.....:-) Just for once I'd have loved to see a crash like that (with the Eagle falling from orbit) smack the moon at high speed and leave a Huge crater. !!!!!!!!! Well at least it would be real!

-Mark


From: Riccardo Iommi (r.iommi@mailcity44.com) Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 23:23:36 -0700 Subj: Space1999: Missing Link Italian version

Hi Alphans,

someone may be curious about how Italian broadcasters translated the original title Missing Link:

the answer is THE SPACE LOVERS!

Keep an eye on your orbit

Riccardo


From: Riccardo Iommi (r.iommi@mailcity44.com) Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 01:52:37 -0700 Subj: Space1999: missing link

Hi Alphans,

here are a few notes on Missing Link, the first 1999 episode I ever watched (I was only 6 years old).

The shot which fascinated me most is Koenig's fight with the monsters (his subconscious? His errors?) and his desperate seeking for help with Victor: in Missing Link we see how the warm scientist has just become a brother figure to Koenig, maybe the reflecting part of his conscience, in contrapposition with the man-of-action part of it. In fact, why didn't he ask for help to Helena? Good psychological game.

However, I found the episode a bit too slow in his development, and some confusion emerges (what about Keonig? Who is he? Why was Sandra chosen to bring back the commander, and not Helena or Victor?)

In the end, look at Koenig's smile: is he awakening from a nightmare?

Keep an eye on your orbit

Riccardo


From: "Petter Ogland" (petter.ogland@dnmi44.no) Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 11:13:19 +0000 Subj: Re: Space1999: Missing Link rant

Hi all,

Pat wrote:

I know there are others on this list who really like this episode [MISSING LINK]. My post will disappoint them. I have to start off saying that this is notone of my favorite episodes. Overall, I found some scenes to be entirely laughable, i.e., the spinning camera effect and Koenig's nightmare sequence with the old hag.

I found the camera work excellent in this installment. Creative camera work of this kind seems to be a trademark of Ray Austin. The only one who comes close to it is David Tomblin, I think, perhaps in his THE INFERNAL MACHINE in particular, which includes some rather fancy cinematography.

I can't see what should be laughable about MISSING LINK, however, particulary not the spinning camera effect, which was excellent in my opinion. I must admit, on the other hand, that the Koenig's nightmare sequence didn't work all that well with me either, but I didn't think of it as particulary bad, just that it was a bit too theatrical for my taste. As it was rather short, I felt it was ok for illustrating the emotional disturbance as an aftermath of Raan's first experiment.

The scene in which Koeing spins in his quarters on Zenno saying "I am a man, not an experiment". I laughed. It didn't ring true to me, for some reason. It reminded me of "The Elephant Man."

I thought this was a rather fine sequence, and by the way, I also liked "The Elephant Man". Come to think of it, the directoral styles of Ray Austin and David Lynch don't seem all that different. Lynch also has this obsession with dreams and nightmares and an very emotional and creative way of filming.

I also didn't believe that Koenig really fell in love with Vaana that quickly, as the novelization states. He was using her to irritate Raan into sending him back to Alpha. Look at the way he smiled and reached for Helena after he awoke on Alpha.

I view this differently, but whether Koenig was in love or not is an interesting question. If he were simulating he would have to do this in a very convincing way as the Zennites were capable of reading his mind. After having watched this episode several times I'm now under the impression that he was actually in love. He was doomed to spend the rest of his life on Zenno, so perhaps this was the best he could make out of it.

It is particulary interesting when Sandra enters, I think. Koenig is still under the impression that it is all a dream, and that he is not able to return to Alpha. When he finally decides to return he does not seem to bear too many harsh thoughts for the Zennites. Quite to the contrary it seems.

There were some good things. The Eagle crash and rescue scene were superbly done.

I agree, and also seem to remember that this crash was voted the best Eagle crash in the whole series by many on poll on this list some time ago.

The dim lighting on the alternate Alpha gave the atmosphere/sense that something was terribly wrong. The misspelling of Koenig's name on the monitor was the telltale sign that all was not right.

Extravagant direction by Austin in the sequence, I feel, he seems to be a master of such moody sequences. This sequence and similar sequences in THE TROUBLED SPIRIT were far superior to what Crichton (GUARDIAN OF PIRI) or Tomblin (FORCE OF LIFE) managed to do, the way I see it.

Barry Morse was superb. Delivering his speech about saving himself was so out of the Victor character, you knew he had such a mastery over the Victor character that he could deliver those lines flawlessly. Nick Tate, Prentiss Hancock , and Clifton were very passionate, and appropriately worked up.

For some reason the acting really seem to excell in the Austin and Katzin installments. I feel BREAKAWAY, BLACK SUN, RING AROUND THE MOON and MISSING LINK are far superior to the other episodes we have disucused so far in this respect. In the Crichton and Tomblin episodes the acting seem much more formula. In the episodes mentioned above I sense the characters are much more unpredictable and alive. This aspect alone makes MISSING LINK and the others worth watching I think.

Carter by this time, has become almost fanatically loyal to Koenig as Commander, and doesn't seem to think anyone can fill his shoes.

In di Lorenzo's previous effort, RING AROUND THE MOON, Carter seemed rather annoyed by Koenig. I think this 180 degree turn seems very fit for the type of character Carter seems to represent, emotionally driven, popular but extremely dependent on his superiors.

I can't remember if there were any confrontations between Carter and Koenig in EARTHBOUND. There was a minor controntation in ANOTHER TIME ANOTHER PLACE, as Carter couldn't understand why Koenig hesitated the landing party, but the kind of suspicion regarding Koenig's ability to make the right choices, perhaps most explicitly elaborated on in BLACK SUN and RING AROUND THE MOON, did not seem to be present.

Peter Cushing did well, but I couldn't help note a very sinister undertone to his performance. I was almost reminded of his portrayal of Governor/ Grand Moff Tarkin, as he deliveres some of his lines. I almost expected him to say "The Alphans are a dead race, Commander, and you, are the last one."

Peter Cushing is one of my favourite actors. I just saw him cast as Osric in Sir Laurence Olivier's "Hamlet" (1948). He certainly developed quite a lot since then, but did a remarkable role there as well, much better than Robin Williams in the 1997 Brannagh version, I think.

Regarding the presence of Peter Cushing I feel just like Brian exclaimed about Christopher Lee in EARTHBOUND. Just the fact that they casted Cushing makes the episode enjoyable in itself.

Petter


From: "Petter Ogland" (petter.ogland@dnmi44.no) Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 12:04:04 +0000 Subj: Re: Space1999: Missing (the boat) Link

Hi all,

Mark wrote:

Pat hit many of the the points about this pile o crap. Top 3 worst episode. Only Ring are the Moon and Rules of Luton were worse.

Oh dear! On my list MISSING LINK rates one of the top 5 best episodes I believe, together with RING AROUND THE MOON and others. RULES OF LUTON is not one of my favourties, however, although I think it gives some insight to how Fred Freiberger was thinking about Sci-Fi, not too unlike his two other scripts.

The blurb I read filled my mind with Koenig being found by an alien race after his Eagle crashed and then the doctors slowly coming the realization that Koenig is really an ancient ancestor of theirs.

This sounds nice. I suppose this could have made fine premise for an interesting episode too.

What we got was pure garbage. Raan's little mind games with Koenig make no sense at all, ...

It made perfect sense to me, in fact one of the most meaningful episodes in the series as I see it. Lots of interesting ideas being discussed in this one, I feel, just like BREAKAWAY, BLACK SUN and others, an episodes that continues to be interesting during repeated viewing, perhaps, just like RING AROUND THE MOON, an episode that even improves by repeated viewing as there is so much happening.

Some of the best episodes are like symphonies, I feel. During the first hearing one often just catches some of the surface themes and structures, while upen repeated listing, new ideas and structures are revealed. MISSING LINK is definitely such an episode, for me at least.

By the way, what are your favourite episodes, Mark? Perhaps I like some of the things you like, although you don't seem to share my enthusiasm for what I consider to be definitive highlights of the series.

Petter


From: LKJ1999 (LKJ1999@aol44.com) Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 17:31:56 EST Subj: Space1999: Did You notice...MIssing Link.

Hi All... Missing Link.
Did anyone on this list notice anything new added to Main Mission?

This is the first time we see this ( THING) Added to Main Mission...
We did not see this thing in the first six episode's...

Chas P LKJ1999


From: LKJ1999 (LKJ1999@aol44.com) Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 17:17:30 EST Subj: Space1999: Missing Link

My comments on Missing Link...

I love this episode. It's NO.3 on My list of best liked episode's. From Y-one
NO. of times the word Eagle was said. (16)
NO. of landing's (1)
NO. of lift off's (1) And a very good Eagle crash...

Bloopers. None that I could see. Except for the paper Eagle.
I think Alan and Victor where at their best in this episode...

I also liked the part where Kano get's coffee spilled on Him...

Well all I can say is I love this episode...
It seem's some of You on this list . Do not like this Episode...

Chas P. LKJ1999


From: djlerda@juno44.com Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 17:39:51 EST Subj: Re: Space1999: Missing Link rant

On Tue, 13 Jan 1998 20:41:40 -0500 Patricia Embury writes:

The injuries irritate me also. Again, Carter gets off with a minor concussion, while Koenig, and more importantly the others, have more serious injuries. Granted, Victor and Sandra weren't restrained, as Koeing and Carter were, but Carter should have been hurt worse if you add up the force they were traveling vs the force of impact.

Ah, but that would violate Bergman's First Law: All Eagle Piolts named Alan Carter always survive Eagle crashes with only minor injuries. It is the opposite of Bergman's Second Law: All Moonbase Alpha Personnel with Purple Sleeves Die / Get Injured (this is a corolllary of the Red Sleeved Starship Enterprise Personnel Principle).

Seriously, before Alan left Earth for his tour of duty Alpha he went on vacation in a little town called the Shire. There he purchased a Ring of Power from a hooded figure riding a large horse. Perfectly logical explanation why he survives explosions, fistfights, monsters, time warps, etc. without so much as a discreet patch of band-aid on his head.

Enough physics for one day. My head hurts.


From: Patricia Embury (Patriemb@sprintmail44.com) Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 20:48:22 -0500 Subj: Re: Space1999: Missing Link rant

I can't see what should be laughable about MISSING LINK, however, particulary not the spinning camera effect, which was excellent in my opinion.

I think the spinning camera combined with the blinking lights, was too much for the viewer to digest in such a short time. If they had cut out the blinking lights, it might have played better for me. The two combined, moved the sequence from creative cinematography to an almost garish state.

I must admit, on the other hand, that the Koenig's nightmare sequence didn't work all that well with me either, but I didn't think of it as particulary bad, just that it was a bit too theatrical for my taste. As it was rather short, I felt it was ok for illustrating the emotional disturbance as an aftermath of Raan's first experiment.

I'm glad you mentioned this, because it brought up another point. Raan told Koenig that this was his first experiment. Since Koenig "knew" this was the first experiment; he quickly figured it out, and told Raan that he knew it wasn't the real Victor, I think this nightmare was a reaction to his kidnapping.

I thought this was a rather fine sequence, and by the way, I also liked "The Elephant Man". Come to think of it, the directoral styles of Ray Austin and David Lynch don't seem all that different.

I liked the Elephant Man also. Although Koenig values acting on emotion, allows an emotional component to influence his decisions (i.e., Collision Course), the sequence was overdone, too theatrical. If Landau had stared, or confronted Raan directly, eye to eye, face to face, screaming the lines at him, it would have seemed more in character for me.

After having watched this episode several times I'm now under the impression that he was actually in love.

I agree, this is definitely an interesting question to discuss. I think Koenig has had to learn to guard his thoughts, and his expressions, in dealing with the politics involved in Command, both on earth and in dealing with Simmonds. Koenig has demonstrated himself to be a very passionate and emotional person, not the type to give up on anything. I don't think he would settle for life and love with an alien, and ditch Helena so easily. He and Helena have a history, apparantly a good relationship, from the way Helena reacts to the predicament. Maybe it's just the hopeless romantic in me, but I don't see how anyone could just throw that away.

When he finally decides to return he does not seem to bear too many harsh thoughts for the Zennites. Quite to the contrary it seems.

The fact that Koenig didn't hold any harsh feeling towards Raan puzzled me. Raan and John discuss lessons they learn, and seem to be great friends. I don't think I could be as forgiving to someone who wanted to stick me under a microscope for the rest of my life.

In di Lorenzo's previous effort, RING AROUND THE MOON, Carter seemed rather annoyed by Koenig. I think this 180 degree turn seems very fit for the type of character Carter seems to represent, emotionally driven, popular but extremely dependent on his superiors.

I think this would take some time. Do you know how long of a time between Ring around the moon and this episode occur? I'd have to look at the timeline in the Cybermuseum. The conflict between Carter and Koenig added spice to the show. Carter is a leader, but he needs to know what is expected of him, so he can fulfill his duty. He needs a C.O that can and will challenge him. I think the show lost a little something when they eliminated some of the conflict between the two characters. Carter didn't have a big role in Earthbound. I don't remember any conflict between the two.

Peter Cushing is one of my favourite actors.

Peter Cushing is a wonderful actor. I'm glad they cast him in this role, because his sinister-like presence added to his performance. I would have liked to see his role deepened somewhat, made more meaningful. It just seemed so superficial, for lack of a better word, almost like a comic book portrayal of a mad scientist. Cushing was so good as Tarkin, because it was such a meatier role. Raan needed more depth. I realize you won't get Shakespeare in a one-hour show, but so much can be done in the limited frame of time.


From: "Mark Meskin" (plastic.gravity@newrock44.com) Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 21:49:19 -0600 Subj: Re: Space1999: Missing (the boat) Link

Hi Peter,

I hope you did not think I was being personal about Missing Link, its just that IMHO its clearly is one of the low(est) spots in the Series. If you like it, hey that's great.

OK, now your turn to hit me: My Top 5

  1. Dragon's Domain-
    the pentultimate Space:1999- a man obsessed and enough space horror to be forever imprinted on my 7 or 8 year old brain. Great music!

  2. Black Sun-
    this IS Space:1999- speculative, erie, philosophical and religous in a story that goes beyond the Series

  3. Wargames-
    great concept, great sfx, very moody, doomed episode.

  4. The last Sunset
    Again, this IS Space:1999. The Alphans find what they've been searching for, right under their noses......and then lose it again.

  5. Breakwaway
    I actually think this is one of the weaker teleplays, but I like it because its the introduction to a show that is so different and unusual and groundbreaking. Here we have people living and working in Space, not 200 or 300 years into the future, but only 25, and they don't have magical hardware either. The technogoodies are mostly a logical extension of our modern(circa 1975)day technology. The people are likeable, proffesional and 3 dimensional, and they don't have reset switches.

If you gave me six choices, I'd pick Testament of Arcadia as well, just for its beautiful music and tastefull narration. The Arcadia as Eden story I thought was crap though :-)

Ok, rip em up Petter!

-Mark


From: JSchill824 (JSchill824@aol44.com) Date: Thu, 15 Jan 1998 00:37:00 EST Subj: Space1999: Missing Link Tops!

Hi Alphans,

My first episode I saw of S9 was Missing Link when I was 12. This could be why its my favorite episode, and what a great lead in to talking about this weeks episode. What can I say, having Peter Cushing and Joanna Dunham gave this already great episode a boost! Plus the filming again is creative and stunning.

When I recently got an uncut version of Missing Link it was really great seeing parts that were originally cut to add commercials. In the beginning scenes where John is walking through the Medical Center he passes a mirror and turns to see himself in that mirror. I've never saw this part before - it reminds me of "Alice in Wonderland" - which would relate truly to the story. Its amazing how important each scene is, and if taken out how much the viewer is misses out!

My over all take on the show was not the obvious concentrating on the comparing of the feeling vs. thinking issue, but how one handles the pains of separation. A good example of this is when Vanna says that the Zennites do not fear death because they believe in the continuing flow of life. However, when John is about to leave her, she is confused. Separation like this is also a lot like death. How does one handle a loved one now gone? Even Koenig's own people were having a lot of trouble dealing with the loss of their commander. They would have rather had him hooked up to a machine between life and death then to loose him. To give some handle on all this Koenig sums it up nicely when he says "... cross the bridge between your world and mine... as long as you think of me, feel for me, I'll be with you."

I know there are many who donít like this episode (uh hmmm, Hi Barry White sleeve #143 !) but for me this was the best! I guess it helps if you like Martin Landau which I do! I happen to love the great nightmare sequence. All the crazed aliens pulling at John and when John's covered with cobwebs pleading for Victor to help him great! Wow, the way he lifts his hands to clear his face, the weight of those cobwebs ( he edge of insanity. [sic.] Its wonderful! What more can I say Martin Landau is the best!

P.S. Thanks Petter for all you wonderful comments again on this episode!

Until Tomorrow,
Janet


From: "Petter Ogland" (petter.ogland@dnmi44.no) Date: Thu, 15 Jan 1998 17:34:27 +0000 Subj: Re: Space1999: Missing Link rant

I'm glad you mentioned this, because it brought up another point. Raan told Koenig that this was his first experiment. Since Koenig "knew" this was the first experiment; he quickly figured it out, and told Raan that he knew it wasn't the real Victor, I think this nightmare was a reaction to his kidnapping.

This sounds fair, but didn't Koenig say that he was fooled by the projection of Victor because he wanted him so much to be real?

I think the sequence with Victor was splendid. It was fascinating to watch how Koenig reacts to Victor's odd behaviour. Unlike how Koenig stood up to Simmonds, in the case with Victor he seems just to be feeling dreadful, withdrawing quickly out of the medical section.

Perhaps he is thinking that Victor must have a bad day. It seems, however, that he is not thinking at all, just feeling desperate to get away from the uncomfortable situation. Instead of parrying Victors shouting aggressiveness, he flicker his eyes nervously and backs out. Magnificent interpretation, I feel, from both actors.

The episodes induces a state of confusion almost matching the ongoings in COLLISION COURSE.

...I liked the Elephant Man also. Although Koenig values acting on emotion, allows an emotional component to influence his decisions (i.e., Collision Course), the sequence was overdone, too theatrical. If Landau had stared, or confronted Raan directly, eye to eye, face to face, screaming the lines at him, it would have seemed more in character for me.

He-he. It's interesting how Koenig treats Zantor and Simmonds so differently in EARTHBOUND. While he does not seem to show Simmonds any respect at all, he treats Zantor with the same respect that he has for Raan. Perhaps he feels that he knows Simmonds, and knows he can't trust him because of his prevailent opportunism. On the other hand he seems to have some kind of awe for the unknown, feeling there must be some reason while Zantor or Raan are acting the way they are. Neither show any kind of malevolence although we do not know who they are and what they represent.

It was rather interesting in EARTHBOUND, I think, that upon seeing how friendly Koenig was with Zantor and his companions, Simmonds tells Koenig to be careful. "They might not turn out to be as friendly as they seem". I remember this sentence made quite an impact on me as a child some twenty years ago, because maybe Simmonds was right? Were Koenig and all being put on by the Kaldorians apparent friendliness?

In a later segment, DEATH'S OTHER DOMINON, both Helena and Victor did not read the situation correctly, and it took time before John realised the drafulness of it all. The situation was somewhat similar in next weeks GUARDIAN OF PIRI, except in this case the Alphans were druged by the Guardian or by the promise of paradise. A wonderful episode, by the way, I think I'll watch it tonight in order to be prepared for next weeks discussions.

In the case of Zantor, Koenig seemed to be right in his judgement. His judgement of Raan seems to build on a similar intuition. Perhaps the appearance of Raan's daughter, Vanna, makes him think that this magician can't be all that bad, at least he seems to care for his daughter.

In some ways MISSING LINK resembles Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST, I think. In the play there is a similar relationship between the magician Prospero and his daughter Miranda. The play also opens with a ship wreck, like in MISSING LINK, and the survivors are guided to an island ruled by light and magic, but also by the wild Caliban conjuring up scenes like the sequence with Koenig's nightmare. One central theme in THE TEMPEST is the love affair between Miranda and Ferdinand from the ship wreck, very much like Vanna's encounter with Koenig, but while Miranda weds her beloved Vanna has to stay behind as John sets sail back to Alpha.

Peter Cushing is a wonderful actor. I'm glad they cast him in this role, because his sinister-like presence added to his performance. I would have liked to see his role deepened somewhat, made more meaningful. It just seemed so superficial, for lack of a better word, almost like a comic book portrayal of a mad scientist.

I liked both the role of Raan and the way Cushing did it. I didn't feel the role to be a mad scientist, although Cushing is an expert in giving life to such characters. His portrayals of dr. Frankenstein, which he did six or seven of between CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957) and FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL (1973), where among his most famous roles on the screen. Even in such roles, or perhaps in such roles in particular, he made an extreme effort out of giving the characters life, trying to be the character rather than to act him, as he explained for instance in his quite interesing autobiogrphy, written in the early seventies if I remember correctly.

The benvolent/malevolent characteristics of Raan is a nice example of his acting abilities, I think. It is particularily interesting to see how much Cushing plays his role by using an extremely well modulated voice while at the same time keeping an empty glance on his eyes, looking into the camera or otherwise, indicating that he is not quite there. A wonderful performance, I think.

Petter


From: "Petter Ogland" (petter.ogland@dnmi44.no) Date: Thu, 15 Jan 1998 18:23:06 +0000 Subj: Re: Space1999: Missing (the boat) Link

1. Dragon's Domain-
the pentultimate Space:1999- a man obsessed and enough space horror to be forever imprinted on my 7 or 8 year old brain. Great music!

Very good episode indeed. Although one of the last episodes to be produced it was one of the first to be written, I believe. The use of Albinoni's Adagio in G minor is superb. While it's a sort of comment on Kubrick's 2001, the effect is quite different, I feel. Kubrick's witty use of The Blue Danube emphasizes some of the satirical aspects of 2001, while Albinoni's Adagio underlines the beauty and the tragedy that so often prevails in SPACE; 1999. The use of the Adagio is perhaps more reminicent of Visconti's use of Mahler in Death in Venice (1971).

2. Black Sun-
this IS Space:1999- speculative, erie, philosophical and religous in a story that goes beyond the Series

I was so surprised when I read Muir's "Exploring SPACE: 1999" that he rated this so lowly. Barry Morse mentioned it especially as a favourite in THE SPACE: 1999 DOCUMENTARY, and Martin Landau, in an interview recently added in Robert's Cybrary also comments upon this as his favourite, followed by BREAKAWAY, another episode he was very happy with.

3. Wargames-
great concept, great sfx, very moody, doomed episode.

Also one of the first episodes written, I believe, and yet turned out to be one of the later ones to be produced. This is certainly one of my favourites. I'm surprised, however, that you rate it so highly as it is so abstract in content and "illogical". Nevertheless, nice to see it on the list.

4. The last Sunset
Again, this IS Space:1999. The Alphans find what they've been searching for, right under their noses......and then lose it again.

Once again one of the eight first scripts in the series that was produced at a later stage. Although it is much of a paraphrase over ANOTHER TIME ANOTHER PLACE, I think, it is perhaps the other way around. Byrne may have been inspired by this rather focal episode for his writing of high hopes and deep falls.

5. Breakwaway
I actually think this is one of the weaker teleplays, but I like it because its the introduction to a show that is so different and unusual and groundbreaking.

For me this is the first and the best of all SPACE: 1999. It was the first episode I saw. In Norway they followed the line of production, the same sequence we are using for our discussions. I'm not quite sure exactly when it was aired, but I believe it may have been the autumn of 1975.

I remember the episode made tremendous impact on me. When I saw it for the second time, over twenty years later, I was surprised to find how enjoyable I still found it. Excellent story, magnificent acting and direction as I see it.

If you gave me six choices, I'd pick Testament of Arcadia as well, just for its beautiful music and tastefull narration. The Arcadia as Eden story I thought was crap though :-)

THE TESTAMENT OF ARKADIA was a nice way to finish it up, I think. That it was Johnny Byrne that got the last word was quite nice, I feel. The series had developed quite a lot from BREAKAWAY by now, but very enjoyable nevertheless. Perhaps being inspired by the effect of using Albinoni in DRAGON'S DOMAIN they used Serge Lancen to a similar effect here.

By the way, a very orthodox list, Mark, I would say. I believe it would be hard to find anyone who would not have these five on his/hers top 12 list.

You have a forceful way of expressing yourself when it comes to episodes you don't like too much, however. You remind me a bit about Ggreg there. What happend to Ggreg anyway? I miss him.

Petter


From: Tamazunchale@webtv44.net (South Central) Date: Thu, 15 Jan 1998 11:38:48 -0800 Subj: Re: Space1999: Missing Link rant

I personally find Missing Link to be a "beautiful" episode with an Alien world and culture that is truly "alien". However I want to comment briefly on what Petter said. I never noticed the dead on similarity to The Tempest!!! That was inciteful and cause for much thought. The fact that Koenig chooses to return to Alpha alone not only puts the Tempest in a future setting but it builds upons it. Rather than just transpose it from one time to another, it takes it one step further and asks,"How would the new times and the specifics of the new character affect the outcome of the story?" Very interesting.

Mateo

BTW I used to say Astheria too--why? I never saw press release material. Is it in the Technical Notebook that way?


From: "Mark Meskin" (plastic.gravity@newrock44.com) Date: Thu, 15 Jan 1998 19:25:07 -0600 Subj: Re: Space1999: Missing (the boat) Link

1. Dragon's Domain-
the pentultimate Space:1999- a man obsessed and enough space horror to be forever imprinted on my 7 or 8 year old brain. Great music!

Very good episode indeed.

My fiance hates Space:1999, well maybe hate is too strong, yet even she found Dragons Domain engrossing and mildly terrifying.

3. Wargames-
great concept, great sfx, very moody, doomed episode.

Also one of the first episodes written, I believe, and yet turned out to be one of the later ones to be produced. This is certainly one of my favourites. I'm surprised, however, that you rate it so highly as it is so abstract in content and "illogical". Nevertheless, nice to see it on the list.

a, oh, am I being slammed for not liking the "cerebral episodes"? JK. Actually, I don't find it illogical or abstract, its dialogue in the beginning could have been improved a little though. A lot of people had trouble with the Hawks on this list, and how Victor and Crter Knew what they were. I think maybe a little more clarification on this would have helped. John Koenigs falling toward oblivion monologue was timeless!!!

4. The last Sunset
Again, this IS Space:1999. The Alphans find what they've been searching for, right under their noses......and then lose it again.

Once again one of the eight first scripts in the series that was produced at a later stage. Although it is much of a paraphrase over ANOTHER TIME ANOTHER PLACE, I think, it is perhaps the other way around. Byrne may have been inspired by this rather focal episode for his writing of high hopes and deep falls.

I liked ATAP a lot, in fact at the beggining of Eagle One, the words "Another Place, Another Time" flash briefly before the game starts. So yes, it had a big impact on me. I just like Sunset better.

By the way, a very orthodox list, Mark, I would say. I believe it would be hard to find anyone who would not have these five on his/hers top 12 list.

Othodox...hmmm...I didn't know I was supposed to come up with an eclectic list? I find no problem with that, to me that means many others were drawn to this show in the same fashion, and they have almost as much good taste as me :-)

You have a forceful way of expressing yourself when it comes to episodes you don't like too much, however.

Bull! What the hell are you talking about, dammit! I never......

Seriously, I don't think being honest about my own feelings/views/opinions is being forceful. If I shunned or ridiculed someone for not agreeing with me, I think that would be forceful.

You remind me a bit about Ggreg there.

I am unsure how to take that.....:-\

What happend to Ggreg anyway?

Funny you should say that.....

I miss him.

I miss his onlist commentary, however, Gregg's opinions are sometimes too stong for vertain people, although they never bugged me. I'm in this list for the long haul, even if I drift into lurk now and then, I still love the posts and the show.


From: djlerda@juno44.com Date: Fri, 16 Jan 1998 00:50:03 EST Subj: Space1999: Missing Link

Here's my $1.999 cents worth:

1. Goofs / Nits: The most obvious - Koenig's name is spelled wrong on the medical center monitor. Or did they do it that way on purpose to show Raan is fallible?

Kano's desk appears out of nowhere. I don't recall seeing it in any of the earlier episodes up to this point. I checked and it wasn't in "Another Time, Another Place" or "Ring Around the Moon."

Dr. Mathias gets bonk... er, beat up again, two episodes in a row!

Security really needs to get their people in shape when one pilot who crashes every Eagle they've got can kick the crap out of three security men.

Was all the music for this episode composed by Barry Gray?

2. Plot holes: I know we discussed this before but it appears they don't have a command hierarchy on Alpha. This doesn't make sense to me. Every organization has a structure so that if the top dog is disabled or leaves the organization doesn't collapse. Yet, for the third time in seven episodes we are shown that this doesn't exist for Alpha. In "Matter of Life and Death" and "Another Time, Another Place" John puts Victor in charge. Now, I like Victor as much as the next guy but he has no official capacity on Alpha. He's a visitor as indicated by his lack of a sleeve color. This is a clear bypassing of proper chain of command. John could put Victor in overall charge of a project but he shouldn't put every facet of the base under his care. This is something I don't think they really thought about that they should have. Just picking nits.

3. Artwork / Visuals: The scene of the Zennite city on the Main Mission big screen is beautiful. The other shots were less effective due to the blobby orange light around them. Does anyone know if a good *.JPG file exists of the Zennite city?

The cinematography and direction in the opening sequence were great. They gave a very ethereal, dreamlike quality to the proceedings. I disagree that Koenig's walk through Alpha was too long. The shot in the travel tube was dark and scary. The look on Martin Landau's face when he saw Koenig's name on the monitor with the flat life sign reading was great. I could just hear Koenig thinking to himself, "Am I dead? And if I am, where am I?"

The first encounter scene between Raan and Koenig was also good. One minute their on the other side of the room, the next shot they are right next to each other as Raan says, "I hope you enjoy your stay here on Zenno, Commander Koenig." Just the WAY Cushing delivers that line is priceless.

The whole episode had a kind of dreamlike quality about it that I liked.

4. Model work: Good Eagle crash and animation of Zenno. The Cargo Eagle makes its first appearance since "Breakaway." The cardboard cutout command module nearly ruins the sequence, however.

5. Dialog Triumphs: "Tanya, you have the most beautiful voice in the world!" "The mind is master of all things." "How does it feel to play God every day?!" "Love is the bridge between all worlds."

6. Dialog Disasters: "I still feel it is more important to feel than to think."

I hated every word of this as a kid. But now I can't make up my mind what Koenig is trying to say. Is it, "We got so high and mighty and full of ourselves with our technology and put out feelings on the back burner and where did it get us? Blasted out of orbit of our home world and wondering all over the place in a universe we never made. Let's go back and have some emotions. Maybe it's what makes us human." Comments anyone?

10. The bottom line: B-. Cinematography and direction are good. Acting from Landau, Cushing and Morse is excellent. Barbara Bain, on the other hand, leaves something to be desired. Her weepy dronings are almost laughable. She is totally unbelievable as the doctor who has to pull the plug on the man she loves. She must have been having a bad day or hadn't quite figured out where Helena and John were in their relationship because she just doesn't do her usual good job. The show also got a little draggy in spots.

11. Misc: Barry Morse's portrayal of the "evil" Victor is superb. We had seen him as an "alternate" Victor before in "Another Time, Another Place" but he was playing essentially the same character in the parallel universe: Victor Bergman, scientist-philosopher speculating about man's presence in a universe he doesn't fully understand. This Victor was played perfectly. Just the right level of nastiness and evil without going over the top and degenerating into self-parody.

In the novel, the evil Victor told John that a spaceship had been found that could take a small number back to Earth. Kind of blended parts of "Earthbound" with "Missing Link."

The nightmare sequence scared the hell out of me when I was a kid. And when Martin Landau wound up covered in cobwebs it was very creepy. He also did a great job in that sequence as Koenig hysterically pleaded for Victor's help. We never saw James T. Kirk so weak and vulnerable and this scene made Koenig come alive for me in later episodes. He wasn't a cardboard hero who solved all the problems and could catch bullets in his teeth, but a real flesh and blood human capable of being pushed to the brink of madness.

Thankfully, 1999 did not rely on the lead characters falling in love every other week as seemed to happen on the third season of the original Star Trek. "Matter of Life and Death" was Helena's "lost love" story and "Missing Link" was John's. And that was it.

I wish they had kept Vanna's line from the novel about reading an ancient book and experiencing the feeling they once called love. It would have helped emphasize the point that the Zennites had lost their emotions as their intellects evolved. It would have also given a motivation to Raan rather than just the old cliche of Earthmen used as guinea pigs by aliens that has been done in every TV SF show since Captain Video.

I like Peter Cushing's hat. Puts those "Cat in the Hat" hats that are popular with the young kids around here in the summer to shame.

Who was the other Zennite that appeared? His character name was uncredited and the actor was not listed in the ending credits. Anyone know who he is and why he wasn't given credit?

Whew! Sorry to be so long. :-P

Now time to take a break and prepare for "Guardian of Piri."

David J Lerda, djlerda@juno.com

"Just because we haven't experienced something
doesn't mean it doesn't exist" - John Koenig


From: "Petter Ogland" (petter.ogland@dnmi44.no) Date: Fri, 16 Jan 1998 09:58:22 +0000 Subj: Re: Space1999: Missing Link

The cinematography and direction in the opening sequence were great. They gave a very ethereal, dreamlike quality to the proceedings. I disagree that Koenig's walk through Alpha was too long. The shot in the travel tube was dark and scary. The look on Martin Landau's face when he saw Koenig's name on the monitor with the flat life sign reading was great. I could just hear Koenig thinking to himself, "Am I dead? And if I am, where am I?"

Magnificent. This is also how my mind goes when watching these early scenes. It is interesting how Koenig doesn't seem the least bit scared, yet quite perplex. To me it doesn't seem like he does very much thinking, it seems more like "What is this? Where are everybody? Why isn't Paul answering? Why is this place empty?"

Janet wrote some quite wonderful lines about these scenes the other day, I remember. For her the tricks with mirrors reminded her of "Alice in Wonderland". She wrote:

In the beginning scenes where John is walking through the Medical Center he passes a mirror and turns to see himself in that mirror.

For me the scene with the mirror reminded me of the similar scene with Lee Russel in MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH. Lee seems to be looking into the mirror to see what he looks like. Does he look like Helena's Lee? Is he in fact Helena's Lee?

Perhaps John is thinking along similar lines in MISSING LINK. As everybody seem to have vanished, is he sure that he is still there? Perhaps he checks in the mirror to see if it will show his normal reflection.

Regarding the eerie scenes in the beginning, perhaps Austin found some inspiration in Nicholas Roeg's DON'T LOOK NOW (1973). In Roeg's famous horror film there is a little red dressed character running around in Venice, filmed in a very similar manner to how Austin lets Vanna run around.

It's also a bit similar to the little rabbit in Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" (1865). In Tim Heald's book on SPACE: 1999 director Charles Crichton explains Lewis Carroll to be one of his main sources of inspiration for handling SPACE: 1999.

My over all take on the show was not the obvious concentrating on the comparing of the feeling vs. thinking issue, but how one handles the pains of separation. A good example of this is when Vanna says that the Zennites do not fear death because they believe in the continuing flow of life. However, when John is about to leave her, she is confused. Separation like this is also a lot like death. How does one handle a loved one now gone?

Very nice put, Janet. David compared MISSING LINK to MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH in the way it handles the loss of a loved one. I also think RING AROUND THE MOON touches upon this quite nicely, the scenes where John realiess that Helena has been abducted. Quite wonderful in all three cases, I think.

I happen to love the great nightmare sequence. All the crazed aliens pulling at John and when John's covered with cobwebs pleading for Victor to help him great! Wow, the way he lifts his hands to clear his face, the weight of those cobwebs (fear) looks tremendous.

I've felt a bit like Pat here, that the effects where becoming a bit too noisy, but as you point out, Martin Landau uses the opportunity to express extreme fear in a rather convincing manner. It is almost as if all the latent anxity from the empty Alpha sequences, the loneliness and the insanity of it all, are suddenly released upon Koenig. Landau's acting is excellent.

David wrote:

6. Dialog Disasters: "I still feel it is more important to feel than to think."

I felt it a bit distracting that they needed a moral at the end of the story, but, just like in RING AROUND THE MOON, the stated moral puts the development of the story so far into a new light, at least it did for me. In the case of RING AROUND THE MOON, the moral was about the reason we are searching knowledge. In MISSING LINK it is the conflict between thoughts and feelings it seems.

My impression is that the moral of MISSING LINK is very similar to THE GUARDIAN OF PIRI and partly the premise of THE END OF ETERNITY. On their path of evolution the Zennites seem to have developed enormous intellectual capacity, but emotions have been somewhat lost during the way. Raan is therefore using Koenig in order to try to understand the function of emotions, Koenig being a primitive driven mostly by his feelings instead of following his intellect.

In this particular episode, the problem of escaping Zenno is solved emotionally, as it turns out. Koenig lets all rationale go and falls in love with Vanna. He acts by pure instinct, and perhaps without knowing it, saves his own soul from an eternal life under the microscope.

Petter


From: Tamazunchale@webtv44.net (South Central) Date: Fri, 16 Jan 1998 11:11:25 -0800 Subj: Re: Space1999: Missing Link

In response to djlerda's comments on Missing Link, the best image of the Zenno City is in the "This Episode" section, full-screen and no "blobby orange border".

I loved your description of Victor--it was "perfect". You described him as a "scientist-philosopher speculating about man's place in a universe he doesn't fully understand".

Great post!

Mateo


From: djlerda@juno44.com Date: Sat, 17 Jan 1998 00:10:54 EST Subj: Space1999: Missing Link (continued)

I also forgot to mention that in the novelization of "Missing Link" it is Paul Morrow who gives the order to pull the plug on Koenig. He is also written as a stronger character and clearly Koenig's second in command. Just thought I'ld pass that on...... :-)


From: jcg@vh44.net Date: Sat, 17 Jan 1998 14:15:38 -0500 Subj: Space1999: Missing Link

Very few comments on this one.

I went back to double check this, but Koenig and Carter are not wearing their seatbelts when the eagle crashes. Gee, if they had been wearing them, there would be no episode.

I've always liked Kano's spinning console, and this is its first appearance.

It looks natural, but it is wrong to be on the surface of the moon and talking into your commlock. First, the suits have radios in them. Second, if the suit radio was not working, you would have to hold the microphone part of the commlock up against your helmet so it can pick up your voice carried by the vibrations through the helmet, since there is no atmosphere to carry the vibrations made by your voice. Anyone who has read any amount of SF has seen astronauts touch helmets to talk when the radios didn't work or they needed privacy.

It is interesting to see Koenig's name spelled wrong, on purpose, since it is spelled right in the real Alpha.

Koenig's trip through the fake Alpha was nicely done in a dream-like state that I find I don't feel like quibbling with minor details. They can be excused in a dream-like situation.

Raan says Koenig is right thinking he was brought to the planet in a ship. Hunh? Neat trick being able to swip him from the eagle and leave a duplicate, swipe Sandra out of Medical and leave a duplicate, and then return both without anybody seeing it happen...all using a ship. I have an easier time believing in matter transference in this case. I know some will say it was Raan continuing to manipulate Koenig, but that's weak. I then have to ask why Koenig didn't question it himself. I know this whole business always bothered me, and from the first time I saw this episode. I, for some reason, always seemed to think that Koenig and Sandra's spirits were on the planet, and their physical forms were on Alpha, or that's how I would always remember it.

If Koenig is vowing in one scene to keep on fighting, even to die if necessary, then why in the next scene is he in his robe and jammies? "I'll fight you and die if I have to...but first let me get comfortable." I don't think so.

The Stockholm syndrome aside, why does Koenig suddenly decide to go for Vana and leave behind his command? It's third season Captain Kirk stuff, and Freddie isn't even producing yet! In part it is weak story structure. I feel they spent too much time on the mechanics of getting the injured Koenig back to Alpha, so they had no time and you are left with Koenig defiant one moment, and hot to trot the next, ready to stay where he vowed he would leave even if he had to die.

It's time for all of you to groan cause I'm going to mention it again. Whispering. This time Koenig is whispering his lines, and the guest stars are speaking normally...in the same scenes. There is just no reason for it. I feel there is a difference between being soft and expressing awe, and whispering, which can be used for dramatic effect, but only if used sparingly.

By the way, I enjoyed the answers and discussions my comments sparked last week. The only thing more healthy than people agreeing is people disagreeing.


From: Tom Miller (tmiller@northnet44.org) Date: Sat, 17 Jan 1998 15:31:00 -0500 Subj: Space1999: slowly reading all

Hi everyone!! I have been ofline for almost a week, and I am glad to read the mail!!

Kind of off topic, I live in St. Lawerence County, in upstate NY, and we were hardest hit by the massive ice storm last week. I just wanted to say from the entire community, thanks to anyone who donated to the red cross or other disaster funds. I was fortunate not to need assistance during the disaster, but many were not so lucky. Also, if any of you know the power crews from all over the US, including Hawaii, thank them for us. Many are still without power, but it helps. Also, the national guard was called in and this was very helpfull. Please be generous when the Red Cross calls, it could happen to you.

Anyway, I received my third video from columbia house, and I agree with the missing Link episode being a bore. And by the way, who is Supposed to be in command in the event of Koenig's death?

The A-B crysalis episode was one of the poor ones from year two. Freddie did make it into a saturday cartoon.

Tom Miller, Still cold but in the light.


From: LKJ1999 (LKJ1999@aol44.com) Date: Sat, 17 Jan 1998 16:21:22 EST Subj: Space1999: Slowly reading all

Well I have to say I love A-B crysalis. It is in My top five from Y-2 !!!
I love the part when Maya is a chlorine breathing monster.

And the Commander yell's change back Maya change back!
As Maya fall's to the floor trying to breath.

Chas P. LKJ1999


From: South Central (Tamazunchale@webtv44.net) Date: Sat, 17 Jan 1998 13:31:35 -0800 Subj: Space1999: Missing Link comlock

Maybe the comlock IS linked to the suit mike and Koenig was just activating it. He might have expected to see a person's face on its screen and that's why he appeared to be speaking at it.

Just a theory.

Mateo


From: David Welle (dwelle@online.dct44.com) Date: Sat, 17 Jan 1998 19:19:26 Subj: Space1999: Missing (a few) Link(s)

All,

Or maybe I should say, "Missing a Lot," because I have been missing a lot lately, especially the "Episode by Episode" metathread. I've had a chance to read some of it, and have found it enjoyable, but haven't had the time to rewatch episodes and put in my own 1.999 cents. I finally have some time, only to find the episode in question is Missing Link, one of my least favorites from the series, but this isn't all rant by any means (though there is some). I haven't read any of the other notes this time, so this is all my thoughts, so hopefully I won't be wasting time with things others have already discussed, especially with one of my (usually) long treatments.

Okay, here's some of the things that stood out, for good or bad, and my thoughts and feelings and whatnot. This is not split up into analytical sections, but is instead "rolling analysis" that goes, more or less, with the flow of the episode, capped with some summaries near the end....

The Alphans are nearly pulled down by a strange force, then attacked by another that drains their power. Nice shots of the Eagle tumbling through space and towards the Moon -- one of the scenes that I had always remembered vividly in the 15 years between 1977 and 1992 where I didn't see the series, and forgot most of it. On this viewing, I couldn't help but notice that the direction of tumbling was consistent on all shots (yes, I admit I was looking for continuity errors). Some sort of control of the Eagle was apparently gained near the end, though, because while it crashed, it came down unrolled. Then, another very memorable shot was a close-up of the downed, shades-of-grey Eagle on the grey moon, black space with the bluish world hanging there -- an effective use of a single splash of color.

The "This Episode" shots, were, as usual, a nice spoiler-free tease.

Koenig on the Moon's surface, trying to flag down an Eagle: like trying to hail helicopter or airplane search teams, not easy -- even harder for the speed and height of the Eagle as it flies straight for its destination.

As an aside, I abruptly realized that orange is a great color for the spacesuits: try stand out brightly on the almost uniformly dull grey surface of the Moon. Of course, this time, he wasn't noticed, and seeing his injured, unconscious double still aboard the Eagle explained why.

Nit: How'd Koenig know it was Eagle *FOUR* flying overhead? Sure, it had medical markings, but the Eagle 4 designation, like the Eagle 1 designation and others, are variable, so Koenig really had no way of knowing, as best I can figure.

"Tanya, you have the most beautiful voice in the world." Well, she does have a great voice, and the line was so perfectly used.

The medical monitors watching the people aboard the Eagle: I certainly remember the medical monitoring going on the astronauts in "Breakaway," but were there other uses made of this on Eagle pilots in other episodes? This obviously isn't something I remember that well, probably because I don't take much notice of it normally, but here, when Koenig reaches "Alpha" and sees his own monitor, it's an effectively chilling moment.

Helena, when she was viewing the same flat line and dot earlier, of course knew that it might have been a monitor failure.

The alien's visage in the wall of the travel tube was a curious hint (to the viewer) that John was being manipulated, but I really liked the use of the mirror in the nearly silent Medical Center -- especially Koenig's pausing after passing it by, as if he not so much as "seen" the visage out of the corner of his eye, but had sensed something. Then the alien woman running silently across the corner in back of him. Something was afoot -- literally.

Shoot to images of Helena arriving in the noisy (suspending disbelief about noise in space, as usual) rescue Eagle, then back to a very dark, eerie base, then to Alan and Helena talking, now almost loud in their otherwise calm voices (as compared to the silence of the "Alpha" Koenig is one. Very nicely done.

It took John a long time before he tried using the computer to try calling someone. Then he called Paul, just once, failed, and didn't bother anymore, apparently knowing something was wrong. He takes it all very calmly, and even walks slowly, which has always made me curious. I suppose if something had jumped out of the corner, he'd have probably had a heart attack at that point, which on one hand makes it suspenseful to some degree, especially when you have aliens afoot that he hasn't seen, but his calmness has always nagged at me a bit.

Then he turns on the monitor and sees an alien landscape. Nice surprise -- in fact, it still surprised me on this viewing, since I didn't remember that since the last time I saw the episode (probably three years ago).

Then the room starts spinning, slower and more rapidly, and he starts blurring. Up to this point, it's been enjoyable, including the light, perfectly atmospheric music, and we finally meet Raan and later Vana.

5,000,000 light years: the Moon has jumped to another galaxy somewhere in its journey.

"This is not a dream. It is all very real, I assure you." Hmmm, this makes me wonder. His body is back in the rescue Eagle and Alpha, in a coma. Did they duplicate his body and mind, and leave the other to die? That's the only sense I can make of this.

They can read his mind. "The mind is master of all things." They don't use mechanical devices. "This is my home. It is made of light."

"I want to know your mind. You are our missing link." (More on the last later.)

Golden- and silvery-colored aliens? That always makes me wonder if there's some subtle statement being made by the producers here. Is it their natural color (and if so, are the two colors a sexual difference?)? Or did the Zennites make themselves up like this, as some sort of status symbol?

More nice shots of the damaged Eagle, the Rescue Eagle, and the grappling Eagle, and later to the separation and hauling away of the command capsule. Excellent sequences.

John: "Fattening me up for the slaughter." "To use me as an experiment."
....
John: "What's not harmful to you may be to me."

Vana: "You will remain here until the end of your life." John: "Then that day will come much sooner."

Yep, he's a lab animal, and not happy about it.

There's a lot of cold talk, and then he is "returned" to an Alpha he eventually finds is a fake. Sandra, sadly, is said to be dead, and Victor gets extremely angry. "When are we going to stop kidding ourselves. We're never going to get off this rock. This is our tomb!" It was pretty fun to watch Victor, apparently going off the deep end.

Koenig: "If you want to check yourself out, that's your affair. Open any airlock."
Victor: "No! I want to LIVE!"

I didn't really get this the first time, since I thought Raan was being literal when he said he was returning Koenig to Alpha.

Then we get the beast and open-brained creatures attacking John, and then the webbing, and it goes into pure horror, which isn't exactly my thing, especially with Victor running and John screaming "Victor! Help Me! VICTORRRRRRRRRRRR!" Lots of hysterics that grated.

Then Raan talking to an image. Is it he talking to himself, or another Zenite? For some reason, I always thought it was the former, because the image is not distinct enough to tell.

Speaking of images, another case of aliens displaying an image on something other than a technological viewscreen. A technique used effectively in several episodes of both seasons, and I approve. It especially fit with the non-technological Zennites. Minor negative: sometimes crowded the actual image too closely with the orange fuzz (like the "screen" was too small).

"It may simply be... John's time to die," Helena says it slowly, almost calmly.

Vana: "it was very wise to realize that your friend was not real; but I do not see how you knew." How could she not realize that the deception might be so great. "We are not capable of deception," Vana says. What? I have no clue how she could say that. She talks a lot, but her words are not very believable. They always sounded self-deluded. Maybe that's the point, but this is, in my feeling, the point where the episode started getting hard to take.

Kano yells at a woman who accidentally drops a tray. People are getting tense (and I doubt the woman would care to get to know Kano after that). Koenig's "real" body nearly dies, and afterward, Helena leans against a wall.

Vana: "But... you can learn nothing from the commander, because... whatever image you present to him... is unreal, so that his reaction, though honest, is unreal as well." That is, finally, a very intelligent realization on her part -- and one of the best lines in the episode.

"His blood is our blood." Huh? The whole "missing link" thing is something that *I* am missing. Is Koenig a man from their past, an offshoot of the Zennites, another species that's at an earlier stage of development, as the Zennites once were? I, to this day, still have no clue as to the exact manner of Koenig's being a "missing link."

John: "You're able to project music with your mind?" That was a great little play to draw attention to the background music. From there, however, it gets corny, with the first of the love scenes between John and Vana, and I simply do not believe it. Worse, for the Zennites are supposed to be able to read minds, so either he's being extremely deceptive, or he's really has fallen in love; there's no hint of the former, so it seems like it is supposedly real -- but I don't believe it. Then they're going to get married, and later kiss again? When Sandra is "brought" to Zenno, Vana pulls close to John, as if fearing her father's actions will split them. Vana certainly seems to be in love. I simply cringe in disbelief. Sure, there can certainly be "love at first sight," but there is absolutely *no* hint of chemistry between them, at any point in the episode! None!

John mouths words of love, as does she, and the words are like cold fish flopping about on a dry floor.

Sorry, but even on my fourth, and most intensely careful viewing, I still don't believe it any more than my earlier, more casual viewings. John even asks her to come to his world, and kisses her hand! It is being played seriously, and it sounds and appears so totally fake!

Nit: the Moon never seems to move in relation to the planet over the course of the episode, either from the space shots or the scene from Zenno.

John is brain-dead on Alpha, and they're about to shut him off, and Helena is frozen. First, she seems coldly emotionless about it, but then she's crying, and worse yet, others try to interpose during her own confusion, and fight it out -- that's very believable.

Raan: "Please take my gratitude with you."
John: "I'll be taking much more."

Yeeech.... In fact, that whole little chat was awful. It was too abruptly casual and friendly, as if -- in a metaphorical sense of Zennite to Alphan -- /Homo sapiens/ walking off with Ogg of the Cave by the River and having a chat about metaphysics. Yes, I'm sure Raan, as Vana had in her own way, had come to realize John was more than just a "missing link" (whatever that meant, which as I said, didn't seem that clear to me), but it just seemed too abrupt, just as the "love affair" did to me. Maybe that's part of the problem with the love aspect: that there was no sense of time, no real sense of development. Sure, "no sense of time" fits in some other ways, but it makes the supposed love seem hollow. Or, it may simply be what I said before: that there was no chemistry to speak of between the two of them.

John: "I still believe that it is more important to feel than to think."

What?!?! Yes, that is almost a what a "caveman" might say. 'I feel. Who care think? I feel want kill, so do, who care think?' Sorry for the sarcasm, but Koenig's line is horrible. It is important to feel, yes; but it is important to think too. What was Koenig thinking when he said that? (Oops, I guess it was more important to feel!)

Raan: "The perfect balance between the two that must be achieved. Both of our worlds have yet to learn how."

Ah, that's better, even if it's coming from Raan (his methods were, curiously enough IMO, thoughtlessly callous and manipulative), and even if "perfect" is questionable too.

Okay, I can almost believe John would say something like he did, but it is almost the same callous sort of thing as the "Who needs nature?" line in another episode. John often has great, philosophical lines, but that definitely was NOT one of them.

And what's with the "until tomorrow" phrase Raan used in parting? Who's tomorrow? What tomorrow?

Then John's life support is shut off, he stays silent, then whispers Helena; she spins around in surprise and relief, and Sandra sinks back in her bed, quitely satisfied and happy. Nice touch to end an episode I simply missed or outright disbelieved so much of.

The first twenty minutes and the last minute were actually pretty good, while the middle was, and still is, hard to take.

BTW, to back up for a second, was it ever made clear whether the Zennites caused the Eagle crash? It seemed they did, but I never could pin this down as a certainty.

Breakdown Ratings

Character development:

John: fair/D; traded a few great lines with Raan and Victor,
but had too many clunkers, and lacked chemistry w/Vana.
Helena: good/B+; showed a lot of subtle and sometimes overt emotion, including some I had not noticed before. Other Alphans: good/B
Raan: fair/C-; pretty much across the board.
Vana: poor/F; except for one line, I believed nothing about her.

Plot:

Experimentation theme: mixed/D+; interesting idea with often poor execution.
'Missing Link' theme: huh?/F; Essentially didn't get it, an odd mix of insufficient exploration and poor execution.
Alpha's reactions: mixed/C+; realistic regarding John the person, but seeming to lack something -- command stucture maybe?

Other:

Cinematography: excellent/A, all the orange fuzziness got a bit irritating after awhile, but only a little.
Special Effects: excellent/A+
Music: excellent/A
Makeup: fair/C+; The makeup itself is not unattractive, but they always appeared sweaty-looking. It's probably more reflection than anything.
Clothes: good/B; I liked these flowing, fairly colorful, and regal clothes

Miscellaneous Details:

Eagle Crashes: one; Eagle One likely totalled, but with usable parts.
Deaths: none, though Raan momentarily deceived Koenig into thinking Sandra was.
Injuries: one serious (Sandra), two minor (I think)
Quarters: Koenig's; apparently realistic reproduction by Raan.

In Summary

I seem to have missed a lot, or perhaps more accurately, did not believe a lot of this episode. Parts of this episode were great, and parts were awful in my mind, so badly and in too many of the basic premises and key characters of the episode, that my overall rating, on the scale of 0-4 of this episode is still a 1 (or on a grade scale, say a D+). The premise, while it could have been interesting, was, for the most part, atrociously written and/or acted (in this case, both, I think, especially both the in the supposedly romantic scenes, which lacked believable development and utterly lacked chemistry between male lead and female guest).

It had some redeeming features, though: the episode had great cinematography and effects, great use of sound and color, the attractive Zennite city, and some of the scenes Victor and also Helena were in. There were, however, not enough to pull it up beyond a 1 or D, IMO -- though it was enough to save it from being a totally zero failure.

<Sigh> Not the best start for me into the "Episode by Episode" metathread, but I'm already enjoying the analysis, if not this week's episode, so this will be great fun when it gets to a better (IMO) episode. What is it next week, "Guardian of Piri"? If so, excellent, because that would mean going from one of my least favorites to one of my favorites!

My 1.999 cents,

----
David Welle


From: David Welle (dwelle@online.dct44.com) Date: Sat, 17 Jan 1998 21:28:32 Subj: Re: Space1999: Missing (a few) Link(s)

Oops, minor correction, regarding something in the middle of my very long note on "Missing Link."

At 07:19 PM 01/17/98, I wrote:

pulls close to John, as if fearing her father's actions will split them. Vana certainly seems to be in love. I simply cringe in disbelief.

I meant to say:

pulls close to John, as if fearing her father's actions will split them. This would be a motion she might make if she were in love, but I simply cringe in disbelief.


From: David Acheson (dkach@hotmail44.com) Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 10:18:54 PST Subj: Space1999: Missing Link

Alphans:

Am I ever late this time. I honestly didn't think I would make it in time to put my two cents in before MISSING LINK week was up. I have worked over 50 hours so far and am spending a beautiful Sunday afternoon at the office. I decided to take a break and add yet another review to the list.

Overall I would rate MISSING LINK in the same category as EARTHBOUND. Average to slightly above average. Not one of the best but not a clunker like I think RING AROUND THE MOON was. Edward di Lorenzo, in my own opinion, has fared a bit better with this script and Ray Austin 's direction was greatly improved. I just did not get the feeling that this was a five or ten minute story stretched to an hour like their earlier effort. In a way it was too bad di Lorenzo left the project at this point because we just don't seem to have a fare assessment of his overall quality. I know some here have also heavily criticized this episode but that is okay. We all have different tastes! Di Lorenzo's departure marked the end of the early attempts (in year one) for ITC to get American writers and directors. He is American isn't he?

What worked best for me in the episode is the study of the Alphans' reactions to Koenig's near-death situation. We clearly started the series off with a bunch of strangers who were like lost sheep in the cosmos after the Breakaway event. Mistakes were made (especially by Koenig)which made the situation (on a human level if not on a scientific level)realistic. But after time we would expect a community to be forged. MISSING LINK shows that this new community has clearly started. The Alphans see Koenig as their natural leader (for good or bad) and can't fathom replacing him with someone else so soon into their journey. Although not in the scripts, I would suspect that after this episode Koenig and his staff would lay out procedures for a new command structure - A made-on-Alpha set of rules to replace the ones created on Earth.

Most memorable scene - the coffee cup falling and Kano yelling at the girl in Main Mission. Don't ask me why this scene sticks out! I suspect the coffee wasn't decaf. Paul should have hit the Red Alert alarm to really make it dramatic. And maybe a few security guards running in with their lasers drawn. Would launching an Eagle be too much? Smile.

Peter Cushing was great as the alien Raan in my opinion. The story about capturing Koenig's soul was a bit silly but the idea of us being a missing link to an alien species was quite interesting for 1970's sci-fi. Makes sense too if we take into account the later episode THE TESTAMENT OF ARKADIA. Could the Arkadians be the forerunners of both Earth and Zenno. Hmmmmmmm............. As for the comments about Raan being somewhat sinister I believe the comment that di Lorenzo was trying to make was this: The Zennites may just not be all that different from humans after all despite their self-acknowledged superiority. Raan gets jealous and Vana falls in love.

For trivia buffs, Joanna Dunham who played Vana was in the Gerry Anderson pilot THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW.

The Zennite city was spectacular considering it was a matte painting. But for 1975 this was a great improvement over the poorly painted cities seen in the 1960s. Just too bad the logistics wouldn't allow for a walking tour of the city. I believe with today's effect that would be possible. Just watch STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION to see such effects.

Before I go I have a question to the list. My cousin claims that the love music played in this episode (when Koenig and Vana fall in love and kiss) was music from the movie JOURNEY TO THE FAR SIDE OF THE SUN (or DOPPELGANGER as it is known in Europe). He says it is in the scene where the astronauts are sleeping during the long flight to the other planet. I suspect he is wrong but wanted to see what others on this list say.

David Acheson


From: South Central (Tamazunchale@webtv44.net) Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 10:54:30 -0800 Subj: Space1999: Missing Link/Doppelganger music

He is wrong about the music. I had that music on tape and all the 1999 episodes on cassette tape too. I used to listen to them as a kid. The music is not even similar, neither in melody nor istrumentation. You can safely bet on this one.

Mateo


From: Petter Ogland (petter.ogland@dnmi44.no) Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 10:49:40 +0000 Subj: Re: Space1999: Missing Link

Hi all,

David Acheson wrote:

Am I ever late this time. I honestly didn't think I would make it in time to put my two cents in before MISSING LINK week was up. I have worked over 50 hours so far and am spending a beautiful Sunday afternoon at the office. I decided to take a break and add yet another review to the list.

None of our discussions are finished before you have made your contribution, David.

Overall I would rate MISSING LINK in the same category as EARTHBOUND. Average to slightly above average. Not one of the best but not a clunker like I think RING AROUND THE MOON was.

Apart from the more dreamy style of MISSING LINK, as compared to EARTHBOUND, I also find these somewhat similar, perhaps because of the presence of Cushing and Lee in respective episodes. For me these two are the epitome of Hammer Pictures of the sixties, and makes me automatically link them. The long white wigs they both use also make some visual similarities.

I know your not a great fan of RING AROUND THE MOON, David. That's OK. For me, however, RING AROUND THE MOON and MISSING LINK seem intrinsically interrelated, both being written by Edward di Lorenzo and directed by Ray Austin. The intense use of yellow does perhaps make the episodes emotionally related in some way. For me, at least, I get some of the same feeling from watching these two episodes.

Edward di Lorenzo, in my own opinion, has fared a bit better with this script and Ray Austin 's direction was greatly improved.

I feel both the di Lorenzo stories to be extremely inadvert and interesting both from a psycological and philosophical point of view. I find it difficult to say which one is the better, but subjectively I find RING AROUND THE MOON more enjoyable, although MISSING LINK may be a bit clearer on the philosophical aspects.

Regarding Ray Austin's style of direction, I find both episodes rather experimental and fresh, but once again perhaps RING AROUND THE MOON a bit more stylish and surprising. RING AROUND THE MOON was marred with a few special effects that didn't seem too convincing, thinking of the ray of light forced against the eagles. Other aspects of Brian Johnson's work was rather good I felt, like the spinning eagle in RING AROUND THE MOON and the eagle crash in the beginning of MISSING LINK.

Di Lorenzo's departure marked the end of the early attempts (in year one) for ITC to get American writers and directors. He is American isn't he?

From what I've read di Lorenzo was an American writer living in the UK at the time. I've also understood that he left the series and let Byrne and Penfold take over the par of script editors. I'm not quite sure when he left. In THE GUARDING OF PIRI he is still credited, I noticed when watching that episode the other night. As a matter of fact, Penfold is not credited writer on this episode, but appears on the introdcution lables as "story consultant". I wonder who was the real brain behind THE GUARDIAN OF PIRI. Perhaps it was di Lorenzo? Or can it have been Charles Crichton, the director? Or were there any other reasons for giving Penfold such a modest credit?

[....]

I get more and more impressed by some of your writing, David. Have your read John Kenneth Muir's "Exploring SPACE: 1999"? My impression is that we are now going far deeper than Muir ever did in his, in many ways, thought provoking and interesting book.

I hope you managed to write something more of an introduction to THE GUARDINA OF PIRI, if time allows you. As I see it, you have an incredible ability to absorb some of the most striking ideas on this list, adapt them into your persoanl interpretation of the series, and then, as it seems, present the results clearly and interestingly in your weekly contributions.

Although we do not alway agree on every detail, I feel you are becoming more and more a spokesman for the dedicated reader/writer on this list. I really enjoy your posts.

The Zennite city was spectacular considering it was a matte painting. But for 1975 this was a great improvement over the poorly painted cities seen in the 1960s. Just too bad the logistics wouldn't allow for a walking tour of the city. I believe with today's effect that would be possible. Just watch STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION to see such effects.

I think the Zennite city looked OK. Wasn't there a sequence with a space ship passing over the purple sky of Zenno? As matte paintings go, however, I was far more impressed by Keith Wilson's work on MISSION OF THE DARIANS. Some of the interior shots of S.S. Daria created a quite more convincing alien landscape than painting in MISSING LINK. The matte paintings with the eagles in ANTOHER TIME ANOTHER PLACE and TESTAMENT OF ARKADIA were also excellent, I think.

Petter


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