From: LKJ1999@aol44.com Date: Sat, 14 Feb 1998 19:27:17 EST Subj: Space1999: Voyager's Return
This week it's Voyager's Return...
You gotta love those Sidon Ship's.
If I'm not wrong. Jim Haines. Barry Stokes. Played in a episode of UFO. I think it was Subsmash...
Chas P. LKJ1999
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (B J Dowling) Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 11:30:09 +0000 Subj: Re: Space1999: Voyager's Return
If I'm not wrong. Jim Haines. Barry Stokes. Played in a episode of UFO.
I think it was Subsmash...
Er, I think it was. Also played in an episode of Doomwatch - "By The Pricking Of My Thumbs".
From: Ekmar Brand (Ekmar.Brand@t-online44.de) Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 12:48:54 +0100 Subj: Space1999: VOYAGER'S RETURN
The name of German version of VOYAGER'S RETURN is "Der Mann, der seinen Namen aenderte" ("The man who changed his name"). The name of the space probe VOYAGER 1 was changed into GALAXISSKOP 1....
From: LKJ1999@aol44.com Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 16:24:25 EST Subj: Space1999: Voyager's Return.
My comment's on Voyager's Return...
Eagle Action... Good in this episode...
NO. Of time Eagle was said (29)...
Liftoff's (3)... Eagle's that explode (1)...
Bloopers... On the close up shots of Voyager one.
You can see water DRIPPING. From the back of Voyager !
A blooper. Or not a blooper. What do You think???
Just before Eagle 2 blow's up. You can see Victor standing next to Kano. Just after the Commander said. Eagle's 1 & 2. Do You read Me. You can see a SHADOW CROSSING PAST VICTOR !!! Victor look's up very fast. As if to say WHO WAS THAT ?
The sidon ship's were in two other episode's. Dragon's Domain. & The
I also like the sound the Sidon ship's make...
This Episode. Is in My top ten. From Y-1...
Chas P. LKJ1999
From: South Central (Tamazunchale@webtv44.net) Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 22:03:12 -0800 Subj: Space1999: Episode by Episode
Sorry all! I am late this week--I simply FORGOT! This week's episode for discussion is Voyager's Return (featuring some fine music) from February 16-22.
From: Floyd Resler (email@example.com) Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 02:46:58 -0500 Subj: Space1999: Voyager's Return
My favorite aspect of this episode was the conflict between the characters in regards to what should be done to Voyager. Very well done.
From: David Acheson (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 03:19:11 PST Subj: Space1999: The Lost Episode!
"The Lost Episode" is how I will always think of this week's episode for discussion, VOYAGER'S RETURN. I went through the 1975-1976 television season believing I saw every single episode of year one. Then came all of year two and the eventual cancellation of the series. Thereafter, I was watching reruns of COSMOS: 1999 (the French version on Quebec television). To my surprise, an epsiode came on that bore no resemblance to anything I ever remembered about the series. It was VOYAGER'S RETURN! It was like discovering a lost episode since I never knew this one existed. Only problem, I didn't understand French - even though I was watching the French version of the series at the time. However, I was smart enough to get the general plot of the episode. It would be another year until I finally saw this episode in English.
So how do I rate this story? I would put it at average. It just doesn't hold me like some of the better written Johnny Byrne episodes but its not a completely bad episode either. Was Johnny Byrne trying to give us another man vs. machine storyline? Like GUARDIAN OF PIRI, man was trying to build something to better mankind but the machine did not actually take over in this case. It did, however, cause man to redefine himself and his place in the universe. As in typical Bynre fashion, I believe the moral is not to play God.
Considering the real Voyager probes launched 4 years after the series first aired, and without the Queller Drive technology, the episode became dated faster than most. (Funny how Roddenberry copied the Voyager idea for STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE.)
The directorial debut of Bob Kellett was lacklustre and unfortunately he remained that way through the rest of his stay with year one. Would it have worked better with a different director? Easy to speculate but hard to know!
What was outstanding about the episode? Jeremy Kemp guest starring as Ernst Queller/Linden. An excellent actor who was very believable as the scientist who meant well but had to fight his conscience all these years. One feels his self-inflicted guilt throughout the episode. He easily joins the ranks of the quality guest stars in earlier episodes like Roy Dotrice, Christopher Lee,Peter Cushing and Catherine Schell. Unlike the others (except for Dotrice) Mr. Kemp is still very active as an actor and can be seen in several movies and TV shows to this day.
Jim Haines, Linden's assistant could have easily been played by anyone. However, it appears most people on this list remember the actor, Barry Stokes,as an operative on an episode of UFO. I have heard more about Mr. Stokes on this list than Mr. Kemp.
The three Sidon ships? Although it was never mentioned, were these just scout ships of a much larger fleet or was this all there was following Voyager? Voyager One must have travelled a long way since destroying one of the Sidon home worlds and one presumes Earth was still far off. So could these three ships travel that long distance? They certainly don't look like they can. And could three small ships destroy the Earth? I believe there must have been a larger fleet following behind them.
Well gotta run but that's my say on VOYAGER'S RETURN. And yes, we manage to make it to the half-way point of year one. 36 episodes of the series still to go. Glad to see that the episode-by-episode idea hasn't died.
From: South Central (Tamazunchale@webtv44.net) Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 13:41:11 -0800 Subj: Space1999: Voyager's Return
I don't have a VCR anymore but I love this episode! Particularly that scene where Queller is in Medical Centre and Helena is telling him off about trying to prove a point that no one else cares about. That was fine acting from two fine actors! And great scriptwriting.
From: Petter Ogland (email@example.com) Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 13:11:50 +0000 Subj: Re: Space1999: VOYAGER'S RETURN / The Lost Episode!
When I watched the series for the first time, in 1975-76, they were aired in the order of production, the same order as used for our weekly discussions. VOYAGER'S RETURN is one of the episodes that I remember most vivedly, just like THE LAST SUNSET. Good episodes both, although neither are on my upper ten list.
I have watched some of the French and German adaptions of Year Two episodes recently, and find both adaptions quite fascinating. While I would miss the voices of such supreme actors as Roy Dotrice, Peter Cushing, Barry Morse etc. whose acting ability recides so much in the use of voice, the dubbing makes things more interesting in some of the Year Two episodes, I feel.
The German dubbing was the most well done, I feel, but perhaps the French version was more stylish and more subdued.
As in typical Bynre fashion, I believe
the moral is not to play God.
I feel the contrast between Byrne and Penfold very much in this episode. While both seem interested in religious awareness and technological alienation, Byrne seems to make a much more holistic Catholic approach contrasting the more individually orientated Protestant style of Penfold.
As Norway is mostly Protestant, like most of Northern Europe, I find Byrne interesting, although often different in approach than what I'm used to. My impression is that he is often more concerned with humanity as a whole than with the individual, and often more interested in Nature as a whole than in Mankind.
This is perhaps more apparent in episodes like ANOTHER TIME ANOTHER PLACE than VOYAGER'S RETURN where the contrast between the scientific individual Queller is played against humanity as a whole. I agree with David that the final moral of the episode seems to be not to play God, but perhaps also a statement about man's inherit hubris and how Queller, who is a very charming man with great warmth and intelligence, is a victim of his own nature.
Philosophically, VOYAGER'S RETURN is a story about hubris and guilt, very similar to the films of Ingmar Bergman, I sense. An episode which gives no clear answers, perhaps more interested in the questions than the answers, like many of the best SPACE: 1999 episodes.
It is interesting you mention GUARDIAN OF PIRI, David. In both GUARDIAN OF PIRI and THE LAST SUNSET Penfold seem to demonstrate some of his religious views, or perhaps he is warning us about what religious fundamentalism gone astray can lead to. In GUARDIAN OF PIRI, Victor turns into a dangerous religious fanatic, and Paul goes through a similar transformation in THE LAST SUNSET.
In the world of Penfold, one often get the impression that mankind is compared to bugs, ants or a virus, while man is represented through the individual that is an unbalanced creature who follow his primitive thoughts and feelings. WAR GAMES seems to one of the most persistent of his episodes in this line of thinking.
The directorial debut of Bob Kellett was lacklustre and unfortunately he
remained that way through the rest of his stay with year one. Would it
have worked better with a different director? Easy to speculate but hard
It was interesting to see and hear Kellett in the SPACE: 1999 DOCUMENTARY. He did not speak of VOYAGER'S RETURN, I think, but explained some the problems and frustrations about writing and directing THE LAST ENEMY and some of the more rewarding parts about directing THE FULL CIRCLE.
While Kellett stepped in for David Tomblin, his directorial style seems quite different from the visually stunning Kubrick style of direction. On the other hand, my favourite director is Ray Austin, a stuntman who turned director and did this with flamboyant emotional style during both seasons.
When looking at episodes directed by Charles Crichton I often feel the actors slightly below average and his visuals are often less than exciting, but nevertheless, for some reason, which I really don't understand too well, Crichton is constantly being praised as one of the main contributers to the style and success of SPACE: 1999. I even recognise most of the episodes he directed on Year One are on the top half of my list, in spite of the difficulty in understanding him as a director.
Bob Kellet, on the other hand, does not seem to generate very much discussion in neither terms of pro nor contra. While not bad, he has neither the intellectual style of Tomblin nor the emotional style of Austin, and as such, the direction becomes rather too conventional. He seems to generate better rapport with the actors than Crichton, though.
What was outstanding about the episode? Jeremy Kemp guest starring as
Ernst Queller/Linden. An excellent actor who was very believable as the
scientist who meant well but had to fight his conscience all these
years. One feels his self-inflicted guilt throughout the episode. He
easily joins the ranks of the quality guest stars in earlier episodes
like Roy Dotrice, Christopher Lee,Peter Cushing and Catherine Schell.
Kemp was very good, I agree, but did not leave the same effect on me as Dotrice did in BREAKAWAY, in EARTHBOUND he was less charismatic, I feel, or Cushing or Schell. In the scenes with Barry Morse, he did an outstanding job, however, very interesting to see Victor with another scientist.
Jim Haines, Linden's assistant could have easily been played by anyone.
However, it appears most people on this list remember the actor, Barry
Stokes,as an operative on an episode of UFO. I have heard more about Mr.
Stokes on this list than Mr. Kemp.
Jim Haines seemed naive enough to contrast Queller, but I kept asking myself what kind of people they were sending to Moonbase Alpha. Haines seemed to much of an apprentice to be working on the elite team, I think, but who knows what criteria people would be using for sending people to the moon, perhaps he was a relative of Simmonds or somebody else on the Lunar Commision?
From: Patricia Embury (Patriemb@sprintmail44.com) Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 20:31:26 -0500 Subj: Re: Space1999: VOYAGER'S RETURN / The Lost Episode!
Jim Haines seemed naive enough to contrast Queller, but I kept asking
myself what kind of people they were sending to Moonbase Alpha. Haines
seemed to much of an apprentice to be working on the elite team, I think,
I wonder if he was working on a degree, and serving on Alpha as part of an internship program? Now, now, I hear those Monica Lewinski jokes just rattling around in your brains. NO MOOOORE! :)
From: "Ellen C. Lindow" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 21:49:58 -0500 (EST) Subj: Re: Space1999: VOYAGER'S RETURN
I've been busy lately and didn't get a chance to comment on Last Sunset, so I'm just going to tell you my favorite parts of both episodes.
These two are among my favorites. They are good solid SF episodes, that seem to show the Alphans adapting to their fate. They accept what comes their way and deal with it much like they will deal with situations they encounter in yY2. The light-heartedness of Last Sunset during the brief time they have atmosphere is the only time the Alphans seem to have any respite from constant dangers, emergencies and harrowing experiences.
There are some little touches that give so much life to the characters. As the air is going in Last Sunset, Helena makes a move out of desparation that I just love. Without hesitating, or asking anyone else for advice, she opens up the only oxygen tanks they have and blows up their only chance at shelter, the Eagle. What a gutsy move.
In Voyager's Return she seems to be the voice of caution, as Victor tries to persuade John to take a more dangerous course of action, she is adamant about destroying Voyager before it can harm anyone on Alpha. She has very little compassion for Queller--it almost seems personal, did she have to inspect the bodies of the people who died from fast neutron radiation? Or did she have friends there too? You never find out, but she's constantly insisting that this won't work and Voyager needs to be destroyed. At one point she does the Alphan equivalent of slamming a door in someone's face by opening the door with her commlock, then clicking for it to close before she even steps through.
As usual with a 1999 story, there are layers of the story that remain unexplored. Just how did Jim Haynes end up as the assistant to the man responsible for his parents death? (Keep in mind that everyone on Alpha can't be a top level researcher. Even on Alpha, someone had to be chosen to wash the test tubes and feed the lab rats) Another failed space mission, how did the space agency keep any funding at all? Is there more to Paul's story? How about Helena's almost obsessive opposition? It seems to go well past that of a concerned physician. It's things like this that keep me watching this show over and over.
From: "Petter Ogland" (email@example.com) Date: Thu, 19 Feb 1998 09:31:00 +0000 Subj: Re: Space1999: VOYAGER'S RETURN
In Voyager's Return she [Helena] seems to be the voice of caution, as Victor tries
to persuade John to take a more dangerous course of action, she is adamant
about destroying Voyager before it can harm anyone on Alpha. She has very
little compassion for Queller--it almost seems personal, did she have to
inspect the bodies of the people who died from fast neutron radiation? Or
did she have friends there too? You never find out, but she's constantly
insisting that this won't work and Voyager needs to be destroyed.
It's interesting that you bring this up, Ellen, I've also wondered about Helena's behaviour in this one. In fact, I think Victor is perhaps showing Queller too much of a cold shoulder too, but Victor's behaviour is perhaps a bit more sophisticated than Helena's.
It seemed to me that Johnny Byrne tried to use different characters from the regular cast in order to play out the ethical dilemma in this episode without too much concern for how the characters had been build up during the previous eleven episodes. To me Helena seemed a bit out of character, but your suggestions make sense, I feel. Obviously Linden is a very different character than Queller, and if she related to the consequences of the work of the younger and more ambitious Queller perhaps this would explain for some of her attitudes. Perhaps she had been even more ambitious than Queller for this project, and now projected her frustration with this upon him?
As usual with a 1999 story, there are layers of the story that
remain unexplored. Just how did Jim Haynes end up as the assistant to the
man responsible for his parents death? (Keep in mind that everyone on
Alpha can't be a top level researcher. Even on Alpha, someone had to be
chosen to wash the test tubes and feed the lab rats)
I Year Two there are even aspects of class struggle in episodes like THE SEANCE SPECTRE, but also Y1 episodes like THE FORCE OF LIFE illustrates that Moonbase Alpha is not fully computer managed like the case with HAL-9000 in 2001.
While I have sympathy for Pat's suggestion that Hains may have been a student working on a degree, my impression is not that he is the type of student that would have been sponsored by NASA or whatever prestige institution at this time. I assume they wouldn't assign just any student to live on Alpha. I think it seems more reasonable that he would be one of the people working on the floor with an interest in science that is, for some reason, being used as an assistant.
Obviously Linden is becoming something of a father figure to him, which makes it even more difficult for Hains to accept Linden as Queller.
Another failed space
mission, how did the space agency keep any funding at all? Is there more
to Paul's story? How about Helena's almost obsessive opposition? It
seems to go well past that of a concerned physician. It's things like
this that keep me watching this show over and over.
Yes, I think I'll be watching the episode over again tonight, perhaps along with next week's COLLISION COURSE, an episode I find perhaps even more fascinating.
From: Patricia Embury (Patriemb@sprintmail44.com) Date: Thu, 19 Feb 1998 14:08:54 -0500 Subj: Re: Space1999: VOYAGER'S RETURN
I think Helena's adamant behavior comes from the recognition of the threat the Quellar drive posed to the population of Alpha. I tend to agree with Ellen, in part, that Helena had some significant prior knowledge or experience of the effect of the drive. However, Helena's response also partially comes from the activation of her "survival mode". Helena's life is endangered as well as the rest of the Alphans, and she doesn't want to see the Alphans incinerated. Another rationale for her behavior comes from a feeling of being cheated. The Alphans have been through quite an ordeal, surviving alien encounters, strange planets and other phenomenon. To die, essentially from a piece of familiar, earth technology, instead of dying in order to defend the base,or some other noble cause, is a real kick in the pants, and may be considered a wasted death. It would be a death without meaning. If anyone watched Babylon 5 last night (it will be repeated on Saturday at 7pm), the Minbari Ranger were discussing this very effectively at the bedside of the Ranger cadet who had been injured.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (B J Dowling) Date: Thu, 19 Feb 1998 21:35:55 +0000 Subj: Space1999: "Lost" episodes
I've had so little time just recently thanks to work, it makes me wish I was a student again. Comments on The Last Sunset and Voyager's Return to come soon. If some of us fall behind with our viewing, how about a week after the end of Season 1 where those of us who didn't post about an episode at the time get the chance to catch up?
Given that we find out so much aboout the recent history of the Space:1999 timeline in Voyager's Return et al, it does beg the thought that perhaps some of our talented fan fiction writers might want to turn their efforts towards one or two mini-prequels to the series.
I for one do wonder just how MBA was justified to the authorities, given the assorted failed missions they had. Maybe we were a bit too harsh on Simmonds and his like. Slimy they may have been, but I think that perhaps their efforts kept the whole space program going.
From: "Petter Ogland" (email@example.com) Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 10:36:59 +0000 Subj: Re: Space1999: VOYAGER'S RETURN
I think Helena's adamant behavior comes from the recognition of the threat
the Quellar drive posed to the population of Alpha.I tend to agree with Ellen,
in part, that Helena had some significant prior knowledge or experience of the
effect of the drive. However, Helena's response also partially comes from the
activation of her "survival mode". Helena's life is endangered as well as the
rest of the Alphans, and she doesn't want to see the Alphans incinerated.
Knowing the effect of the Queller drive, perhaps Victor's response is more puzzeling than Helena's. Victor seems to go into a high pitch, just like he did in THE GUARDIAN OF PIRI and later on DEATH'S OTHER DOMINION. Victor getting overtly enthusiastic about something often seems to be a bad omen.
Paul also holds strong opinions and in this case shares the views of Helena.
I don't think the group discussions in this episode are the best of the series. Perhaps if they were singing their lines, instead of shouting them, it could have made nice opera. Mozart had I great liking for this sort of thing.
Focusing more on Helena's emotions rather than her rationale seems like a better approach to understanding, I sense. The way I see Helena, she is basically an extremely emotional person, just like John, but using a much more subtle register to communicate, and in my opinion sometimes a more interesting character because of the obvious limitations she puts on herself.
I wonder what influence Sylvia Anderson had on Barabara Bain's interpretation, it seems to fit perfectly with the mode she wanted John Koenig to be played in, focusing less on the superfluous heroic side of the character.
Your points about fighting and noble causes does make sense, Pat, but perhaps more within the structure of Year Two, I feel. Perhaps to the contrary I feel that Year One is almost completely void of heroic battles, dying for a cause, and the sort of morale associated with RAMBO and friends. On the other hand, VOYAGER'S RETURN is perhaps one of the Y1 episodes that comes closest to Y2 in this respect, and I can see why the question of "wasted death" can be raised, but I do not feel this particularily congruent with the feel of the series.
Perhaps this is why the episode VOYAGER'S RETURN has stuck to my mind after so many years. I've always felt that Kemp played Linden in a very sympathetically, and found it difficult to accept the Alphans harsh judgement of him, anyway. Although he was the inventor of the Queller drive, the Voyager project must obviously have been run by more ruthless people, people like Simmonds. To hold Linden responsible for the effects of the Queller drive makes as much sense as holding Victor Bergman responsible for his ideas in BLACK SUN or COLLISION COURSE if they had worked less well.
From: David Welle (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 15:20:05 Subj: Space1999: Voyager's Return
One of my favorites of the first season -- top ten definitely, maybe even fifth or so.
Well, it starts out with two Eagles approaching another "strange ball of light," this one artificially powered. Only when the two Eagles are close does everyone find out what it is. A message comes
"This is the voice of Voyager One. Our ship is unmanned and unarmed. We come on a mission of peace and goodwill."
It's a human ship! Except... all the command staff on Alpha get panicky and order the Eagles away with haste. What's up? It's already an interesting twist and mystery. One Eagle can't pull away, and it's relatively calm pilot has his ship shaken apart -- totally destroyed.
"... Greetings from the people of the planet Earth." Oh boy. This would not be the best emissary from Earth, to say the least. Excellent irony.
Nit: "Both men under severe stress," Helena says in between. Somehow, I found this line unnecessary to the scene; perhaps it was an anticlimatic moment of sorts.
One thing that still goes around in my mind is how Voyager found the Moon. Space is huge, after all, and what is the chance this unmanned probe could meet up with Alpha? It seems like a sublight vehicle, yet is said to have been sent to explore other star systems. We know the Moon has fallen through at least one black hole and has undoubtled (but without mention) passed through other "warps" or "holes" to have visited several worlds. The series rarely seems to be aware of the light speed issue, though. Yes, I can suspend disbelief, but I do tend to prefer some explanation, however science-fictional, over it being utterly ignored; and Voyager's appearing does tend to stretch credibility to -- or beyond the edge -- of my suspension of disbelief.
Yet it is right on the edge, and after a few previous viewings, I realized this could probably be one of two things (not necessarily mutually exclusive): 1) a different set of space warps or whatnot could have eventually ended up putting both the Moon and Voyager in the same tiny part of space; or 2) the "Mysterious Unknown Force" at work -- the destiny Arra stated but did not detail, implying there were greater force(s) at work on the Alphans.
They did meet up with a remarkable number of Earth-born people and ships out in space, throughout the entire series. This is the case with episodes such as "Matter of Life and Death," "Voyager's Return," "Dragon's Domain," "Death's Other Dominion," "Brian the Brain." Additionally, "War Games" and "Bringers of Wonder" present images of the same; while "Earthbound" presents an alien ship heading to Earth, while "Another Place, Another Time" and "Journey to Where" put Alphans back on Earth. In nine episodes, the Alphans see some aspect of Earth technology or people. It seems they see aspects of their "past" to learn from, before they can fully accept their future. Helena said "A history like that, who wants to go back to Earth, anyway" in "Journey to Where." A bit flippantly said, perhaps, but it points to an interesting thoughts on Alpha's existence, and Alphans' slowly adjusting.
Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself, though there is at least a little tie-in, in that Voyager is another reminder of Earth that proves as unwelcome and outright unfriendly as many of the others.
One other thing with the constant reminders of Earth is that together they demonstrate a curious form of consistency -- a theme of sorts -- through the series, albeit one that can appear either ridiculous or sublime, depending on the viewer's perceptions of how well the individual episodes and/or whole series presents it/them.
I sometimes find them to be both.
Coming back to the episode itself, we rejoin Alan, inside his rotating Eagle, as he regains consciousness and takes control.
Complaint: "Incredible speed." Again, they don't address the light speed issue at all, one way or another, and that will bother me throughout the episode and elsewhere, and this time don't even bother with unitless numbers, but only vague and essentially meaningless phrases.
"To make man's presence known in the galaxy." Voyager, however, would merely be a showcase for Man's arrogance -- particularly one man's, as we later find out. Victor has an almost boyish, if not fully responsible, enthusiasm for the data it might contains; Paul and Helena are much more concerned about the damage it could do; and John listens to all views. That is a particularly nice scene, actually, for it, like the more formal round table meetings, demonstrates the value of hearing many viewpoints.
Nit: Why does Victor have to get such basic information as the mission premise, from Main Computer? I'd think he'd know something about Voyager One himself.
Victor argues steadfastly to find some way to regain the data, and they hit on the possibility of remotely getting Voyager to switch off its main Queller Drive, so the Alphans could retrieve Voyager's data bank.
"It would take one hundred years to learn what Voyager already knows." A remarkable amount of information about worlds and lifeforms (though I don't know how it would have "medical" information, as Victor states). This would likely include information on alien languages, as some on this group have pointed out in the past, to possibly address part of the whole language issue.
Ernst Linden hears from his protege that they are trying to "play games" with the Queller Drive. "Just like Voyager Two all over again," the younger man says. "They remember nothing!"
Nit revisited: Hmmm, why is so little remembered about this mission? Well, maybe the world war mentioned in "The Rules of Luton." A little later in this episode, though, more people remember more about Voyagers One and Two, so it still leaves me wondering why Victor needs to look up the most basic information.
The command staff tries to shut down the Queller drive, but Voyager acts like any other computer, requiring exact input, input in the correct way.
The older scientist, Ernst Linden, reveals to the command staff that he is Ernst Queller, having taken another name, obviously in shame and to hide his identity, at the disaster of Voyager Two, which started its Queller Drive too early and killed hundreds. The saddest irony is that Jim Haines, who works for Linden, lost both his parents to the Voyager Two disaster; but Koenig decides it will not do anyone else any good to find out who Linden really is.
Linden starts setting up a transmission system to operate the correct protocol to communicate with Voyager to get it to shut down
"Doctor, I hope you're not trying to prove something," the commander says. Everyone is relying on knowledge Linden hasn't used for 15 years -- but Koenig and Carter are forming a backup plan to destroy Voyager One if necessary.
Nit: "Intercept positions," Alan orders. The SFX scene that follows for a moment afterwards is rather silly, for the Eagles move a couple dozen more meters apart -- what is the point? I suppose if one Eagle blew up, the others would be less likely to take damage, but it's such a small move that it still looks silly.
Jim Haines is not stupid, and eventually figures out that Linden simply knows far too much about Voyager to be any other than its creator, Ernst Linden. Haines attacks Linden/Queller, his pent up, long carried grief turning to rage within seconds, and knocks Linden out -- as well as the system they were both working on. Haines looks shocked, probably at both his realization, and what he did. Haines is repentant, but Koenig is angry. The latter is ready to order the destruction of Voyager, but Linden insists he can repair and complete his machine, despite his injuries.
Sandra announces that "three objects" are approaching, Kano announces that Main Computer has found them to be spaceships, and Paul realizes the ships are following Voyager.
Voyager One enters the red zone, starts shaking the Eagles and then Alpha, but Koenig waits awhile longer, and Linden's machine finally gets Voyager to shut down and land on Alpha. One little scene I always liked is how the landing pad partially retracts to gain access to the tall ship. A similar scene occured in "Dorzak."
The inside of Voyager is noticably huge and empty for an unmanned ship, and that is explained shortly. Ernst Queller's signature is marked within the ship.
Then an image of an alien, Aarchon, appears within Voyager. Koenig takes responsibility for Voyager One, and for it, hears a horrifying story. The Sidon people welcomed Voyager One, but two of their worlds were destroyed.
Nit: "of the outer galaxy." I've always thought that S19 bantered around the word "galaxy" with too much ease.
One thing that bothered me about the beginning of this scene was Koenig's accepting responsibility for Voyager. Though noble at its base, which is an action I appreciated, the feel of the words and the scene made it seem like it was done without thought or too casually. Also, both Koenig and Linden hit too strongly on the positive intent, instead of immediately acknowledging or apologizing for Voyager's dark side -- which would have been noble itself. However, this is readdressed later in the episode.
The Sidon's mission, however, is one of simple revenge, to destroy both the Moon and the Earth which Voyager One originated from.
Koenig: [softly] Revenge. Aarcon: We do not recognize this concept. Victor: We believe that revenge, sanctioned by authority, is also a sign of a debased culture.Fine words.
Aarchon, through the rest of the episode, appears cold (essentially emotionless, actually) and closed-minded. While the alien anger is understandable, the Sidons are meting out a judgement by a simple, ancient formula: an eye for an eye, or in this case, a couple of worlds for a couple of worlds -- the magnitude has jumped extraordinarily, beyond anything we've experienced on Earth. But the basic concept is still old. This episode, as it continues, demonstrates revenge does not equal justice. It's certainly not a new story, but it is fairly well done in "Voyager's Return."
Linden nearly collapses from all this. Then, in Medical Center, there's this exchange:
Helena: How do you feel? Ernst: Very upset. Desperate really. All these years believing I had helped to further the boundaries of man's knowledge. And now this.. this.. catastrophe. Helena: Doctor. Many.. many people have put science before responsibility. Ernst: Yes, of course, I know that, but.. the responsibility for what Voyager did to the Sidons, I must bear alone. Two worlds made lifeless. Millions of people dead. I had no wish to harm them.. to harm anyone. Helena: They say the road to hell.. Ernst: Is paved with good intentions.This too, is well known concepts that are frequently forgotten in the heat of passion. Science has a lot of benefits, but can be dangerous when used improperly or by irresponsible people (not to mention when put in the hands of people who have ill intent from the beginning). Queller did not have ill intent, but he and those who released this mission into space certainly forgot about responsibility for their actions and creations.
Not surprisingly, this episode reminded me of the real Voyagers that went to the outer planets of our solar system. They, and more recently Galileo and Cassini, are powered with small nuclear generators, power packs driven by the fission of plutonium. Even with the small quantities involved, huge safety measures were taken with these, from the moment of inception and through construction and beyond, to ensure the chances of dispersal in our atmosphere would be vanishingly small. Too bad NASA got more casual and careless with the Space Shuttle program, leading to the Challenger explosion. The fictional Voyagers, however, were, in basic design, incredibly dangerous; indeed, Voyager Two kicking in its Queller drive too early, and killed hundreds. I doubt Simmonds was involved with V2, but with "Voyager's Return," it becomes apparent that Simmonds wasn't the only foolishly shortsighted person in control of alter-Earth's post-Apollo space program.
Exploration is a risky business, for by definition it is exploring new and largely or completely unknown territory. Things will happen and most explorers are fully aware about it, and take measures to be prepared and cautious. Yet there is a huge difference between this common approach and the folly of Voyager One, and I do have some problems accepting that anyone on alter-Earth would unleash this thing into space. At least it was clear Voyager Two was the one that killed humans (if it had been Voyager One that killed on launch, even alter-Earth's permissiveness wouldn't have allowed allowed a second launch -- I hope).
Linden begins to realize this aspect and stops trying to tout the positives of Voyager, and decides to take full responsibility, despite knowing this can only end badly for himself. He heads towards Voyager, though Jim Haines curiously tries to stop him, as if Haines has at least partially forgiven Linden, or at least set that aside to some degree.
This is in stark and effective contrast to the Sidons, whom Queller contacts after he launches Voyager...
Ernst: You people have suffered greatly. Therefore, punish me. Do not condemn an entire world for the crime of one man. My purpose was to unite a divided world. To reach out in the name of science and humanity. To illuminate the mysteries of space. To seek out other worlds. And to offer the hand of friendship. Aarcon: There can be no discussion, Ernst Queller. Ernst: Aarcon, I am guilty of pride and arrogance. It is I and I alone who is responsible for what my Voyager did. These other people are innocent. Aarcon: This plea is dismissed. John Koenig, Prepare to witness the judgement of Sidon. Ernst: Than you, Aarcon, are no more worthy of life than I.Though I had quibbles with earlier parts of this episode, it built to a very powerful climax in the above exchange, and what followed.
Queller propels Voyager One towards the Sidon ships, and, apparently before they're in range to destroy Voyager, Queller destroys the Sidon ships, himself, and his creation, Voyager. Besides being something of a battle of wills, it is one of the more enjoyably unusual visual battles as well.
An irony that adds to this is in how repeatedly Aarchon refered to Voyager One as primitive. One irony is in how this primitive ship manages to destroy their more advanced ones. A subtler irony is that for how often they used "primitive" to refer to the ship, they also seemed to be refering to the humans by extension -- yet can't the Sidons' desire for revenge be considered primitive too?
In the final scene, Haines takes out his frustrations and confusions on the very equipment he helped Linden build to access Voyager's computer system. This and his conversation with Koenig are very effective and well done, as is the touch of giving Haines something potentially important to work on, something that represents the only silver lining of the tragic 15-year sequence of events: the data aboard Voyager (all stored in such a small box), which could help the Alphans greatly in the future.
As for Queller/Linden, the story is ultimately about attempting to redeem oneself and at least partially atone for the mistakes of the past, even if it necessarily cost his life.
My only final quibble isn't even with this episode, in that the rest of the series didn't, at least as far as I saw, didn't make some sort of reference to this data bank and what knowledge may have been derived from it. Did they make any use of it, develop any new approaches or technologies from the information? Actually, this isn't so much a quibble as something that can get one thinking; yet it is disappointing that it wasn't picked up. I know it has to do with the semi-intentional non-continuity of episodes to each other (so there'd be no worry about eps getting reordered in syndication).
** Summary **
A fine episode, with only a few minor exceptions. It was one that built tension and had unconventional twists to some conventional (but important) themes such as revenge vs. justice. It vaguely reminds me of (and I'm going to be killing spelling pretty badly here) Aeschylus's Agammemnon/Orestia/Euripides (or is it Eumenides?) trilogy that I read back in college some eight years ago (a Greek tragedy, written a few centuries B.C., that some say laid the foundation of modern concepts of justice and courts as a replacement for often blind and neverending cycles of revenge.
The concepts were well presented, and in an engrossing, tension-producing way, also with generally strong characterizations (for the most part) from the guest and regular characters.
A very good episode. One of the most memorable, certainly.
** Breakdown Ratings **
Overall: B+/3.0 Characters: Linden: A/4.0; very well-written and -acted guest performance. Victor: B/3.0; generally good, though I found his initial enthusiasm about Voyager while ignoring the negatives to be a little too much like Linden's -- I thought Victor was a little more responsible than that, and that he'd balance his view a little more, even through his desire to get Voyager's information. Helena: B+/3.5; one of her better performances, with a lot of good and well-delivered lines. Haines: A/4.0; another good performance, and an important character in his own right, and treated as such, as a foil on Linden. Aarchon: A/4.0; Koenig: C+/2.5; I wasn't really satisfied with some of the things he said. Plot: Voyager: B/3.0; I have trouble imagining even an over-permissive space agency would release such a craft into space; but given that, it was otherwise an effective story-telling device. Sidons: A-/3.5; their judgement, which amounts to close-minded revenge, is a major part of the story and is done quite well, become half of the center (Linden being the other half) which is about that revenge vs. justice, and the final step at redemption Linden has to make to counter the Sidons' cold, primitive idea of justice. Other: Effects: Effective Ships: A-/3.0; loved both the very Earth-like look of the Voyager, and the sheer contrast to the very alien look of the Sidon ships, which also looked a lot like big-eyed bugs from the front. Cinematography: C/2.0; average, but nothing extraordinary. Music: Didn't really notice it, which could be either good or bad, I suppose. Makeup: Clothes:
Miscellaneous: Eagles: one destroyed (by Voyager); three in flight Other: three alien ships, destroyed; Voyager One, destroyed Deaths: Abrams (sp? first name?) aboard the destroyed Eagle, Ernst Linden; plus many aliens, both before this episode timewise, and aboard the three ships seen here. Injuries: to Linden, from Haines. Quarters:
From: Tamazunchale@webtv44.net (South Central) Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 13:19:43 -0800 Subj: Re: Space1999: Voyager's Return
In a season two episode (I believe Brian the Brain) the Alphans are going through the data recorded by Voyager--at least in the novelization IIRC. Can anyone substantiate this?
Also did anyone notice that Alpha continues to shake under the effects of the Queller drive even after the drive is turned off/destroyed. This is as it should be as the effects of the drive would be radiating out from te ship at the speed of light and so would continue to affect Alpha even after cessation.
From: email@example.com Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998 13:38:48 -0500 Subj: Space1999: Voyager's Return
My nit summary:
Alan is strapped into his Eagle seat, and the ship didn't hit anything, so why is he bleeding down the side of his face after his encounter with Voyager? (Actually I came up with an answer to this: The neutrons break down cell tissue so a weak blood vessel broke and he bled out the ear.) Of course the real problem here is now instead of having other list members go at my nits, I'm now doing it to myself. Gee, maybe this means I never have to leave the house.
A damaged eagle is coming in with a potential injury victim onboard. So the chief medical officer is not at the launch pad waiting to treat the victim, she is having a command meeting in the commander's office. This ties in with another nit where they learn Alan is down safe, and Koenig says take him to med center. This is something that would have been done without anybody having to give an order. It is one of those bits of dialog that exist with out logical reason...you want your command lead to say something. It also means that no other med staff was at the launch pad...going back to my earlier complaint.
Koenig's dialog in that same scene in the office is rather strained as he is figuring out what to do...it dawns on him that a computer is running Voyager? What did he think was running it? A monkey? A dolphin? His Uncle Seymour? Again this is dialog trying to show the characters working with a problem, but not in a way real world people would. These people would automatically go on the assumption that a computer was running things...otherwise it never would have been launced in the first place...not with a functional propulsion system on board to keep it going...as well as recording equipment and sensors. The problem here is that the conclusion the scene reaches as to what they need to do is something they would have come up with five minutes earlier. So hearing such intelligent professionals go " what runs it?...gee, it must be a computer!!!...I wonder if a computer can be given different instructions?...etc" makes them sound dumb. The scene is for us to hear the thought processes involved...but it is such elemental stuff that it sounds silly. I love Victor lost in the scientific possibilites that Voyager is bringing them...but I kept yelling at the tv for him to point out that they might be able to send instructions to shut down the drive. Or I can hear Koenig saying: "Helena, I share your concern, but we do have some time before it becomes critical. Victor, can we send commands to Voyager's computer to shut down the drive?" There's the entire latter part of the scene in two sentences...we don't have to see the smoke coming out of Koenig's ears as he brings the pieces together. And I can see Landau doing a breathing pause between "Victor" and "can" which would show the entire thought process.
Why is Linden not concerned about an approaching Voyager ship until Haines says they are trying to shut down the drive? Oh no!...give the wrong command and the ship will blow up and nothing will happen. Do nothing and it will pass by and we will all die (but that's all right, let me get back to my work.)
Linden approaches MM from upstairs?!?
Why does Voyager have a destruct mechanism? Except for the end of the episode, what is the purpose? I think the notion of a "self-destruct mechanism" is an overused cliche. I am sitting here and thinking of the number of different stories over the years where that was used at the end to wrap up the story. Does Alpha have such a "sdm? Do the Eagles? It makes sense on sensitive war ships, but on a peaceful space probe? And does anybody out there know if real life sensitive military and intelligence ships of today have an sdm?
I understand Paul being against Linden, but I question Helena's doubts. Voyager Two was a terrible accident, but it wasn't the work of a madman. Why does she question it as if he's a nut job, and not look at him as a possible source of information needed?
This is very minor, but Paul knows Jim Haines personal history? The controller of MM is on personal terms with a young tech assistant? (Although I would accept this if Paul had said his line, paused and noticed everyone looking at him surprised, and remarked that he had learned Haines' history one day during casual conversation.) I think of the recent Babylon 5 episode that followed the two maintence workers through the episode...they are all but invisible to the main characters as they go about their business.
I am mixed on the issue of Queller saying he thinks he knows what happend with Voyager Two, and therefore he has to go on that assumption with Voyager One. My reaction was "how about just sending the command 'stop engines'"? I'm mixed because maybe the problem was that the drive was not responding to proper commands. But that's not clear. It comes across that Voyager Two turned on it's drive too soon by itself...not that it would not accept proper commands.
Voyager is sending out its deadly particles out its rear. So how can the eagles and the moon be feeling the effects from way in front of Voyager? If its effects were that strong so they reached in front of the ship, then the ship would have been destroyed by the same particles it itself was sending out.
Finally, how stupid are these aliens? They are following a ship with such a destructive potential, and yet they do nothing when it approaches them at the end of the episode. Let's have a show of hands...who here would have blown Voyager out of the sky if it had approached our ships after we announced we were going to exterminate everyone connected with its creation?
Yeah...that's what I thought.
From: Patricia Embury (Patriemb@sprintmail44.com) Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998 15:01:08 -0500 Subj: Space1999: Voyager's Return
I've posted a couple of times on this subject, but finally got to re-watch the episode this afternoon. I find this to be an enjoyable episode, in my top ten of the series. The special effects were well done, although I recall watching what appeared to be water dripping from the Voyager after the Quellar drive was shut off. I know this was discussed on the list at one point, and was attributed to freon(?), or something else from the rocket engine. (If I recall correctly). I also liked the views in the Eagle cockpit instruments. Does anyone know what those symbols are from, or what they mean?
It was generally well written, and I have to differ with David in some aspects. I found the lines given to Koenig to be appropriate. Although he wanted to maintain the safety of Alpha, he wants the information the Voyager's memory banks hold. He knows the importance to the future explorations and the possibility of finding a new home. Helena's line of the pilots being under severe stress, was an immediate forshawdowing of the trouble encountered by the Eagles. It was probably better to keep it in, than edit it out, because it compounded the threat the Alphan's faced. The rest of her speeches, and her interactions with Quellar, were superbly acted. I still love the way Barry Morse acts when he tells the others that he doesn't know if he can stop the drive in time, and his frustration at the computer in the Voyager when he can't crack the delete code. I think Victor went to computer to refresh his memory. I'm sure he knew the basic mission, but as he said later in the episode "I never studied fast neutrons" or something to that effect. His research at that time may have been directed elsewhere. I noticed a bit of a snicker on Koenig's face when Victor was trying to break the code. Paul was passionate as usual. However, the style, and passion he uses to deliver his speech about the lead and concrete in main mission reminded me of the Monty Python sketch when the men were sitting around talking about their horrible living conditions, and each speaker outdid each other with the horrendousness of the situation.
Upon viewing this episode, it seems that Jim Haynes has been out of school for a bit ("remember your school days" when discussing the drive with Quellar)but is probably only recently graduated. It is interesting to discuss how he ended up on Alpha, and the selection criteria used for posting to the base.
There were a couple of surprises/nits. Why did Carter have to yell "We're under attack!" and ask "What hit us?", when he could hear it was a Voyager ship? With his experience in space flight, he should know about the Voyager and the effects of the Quellar drive were. One of the Eagle pilots looked a great deal like Jim Haynes. I had to reverse the tape to double check. Also, why was there a big number 8 on one of the panels in the Voyager ship? Does anyone know who did the voice for the Voyager recording? It wasn't credited.
From: Patricia Embury (Patriemb@sprintmail44.com) Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998 15:10:54 -0500 Subj: Space1999: Re: Carter's injuries
Carter's injury was probably a head laceration from some piece of flung debris. He was awake, alert, oriented, had a patent airway, so Helena really didn't need to meet him at the launch pad. The medics from the crash unit could administer first aide at the scene, and evacuate him to medical center. I think Koenig deliberately ordered Paul to order Carter to the medical center. I think he knows how stubborn Carter could be, especially in the face of an emergency. Remember in the episode where Helena disappeared, after the crash, Carter climbs into the cockpit shortly after regaining conciousness. It also sends a subliminal signal to Helena, to "get lost, we're going to save Voyager with or without you"
From: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998 16:25:51 EST Subj: Re: Space1999: Voyager's Return
In a season two episode (I believe Brian the Brain) the Alphans are
going through the data recorded by Voyager--at least in the novelization
IIRC. Can anyone substantiate this?
Don't know about any Year 2 novelizations but in the original Year 1 novelization "Android Planet" by John Rankine the Voyager tapes are referred to.
David J Lerda, email@example.com
"Just because we haven't experienced something
doesn't mean it doesn't exist" - John Koenig
From: Tamazunchale@webtv44.net (South Central) Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998 16:35:28 -0800 Subj: Re: Space1999: Voyager's Return
I checked the Y2 novelization and there is no mention of Voyager. I must have confused the books or just "retconned" the whole thing!
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (B J Dowling) Date: Sun, 22 Feb 1998 00:32:59 +0000 Subj: Space1999: Voyager's Return pt 1
I loved this episode. Plenty of strands telling us of this timeline's past, how the Alphans suddenly become divided over one issue, passion (perhaps hatred), redemption, and some great hardware.
Start looks good when the realisation of it being a Voyager Ship reminds us of Earth. Something friendly to relate to, perhaps. But no, panic sets in - this timeline has a different history of events surrounding Voyager.
Carter turns his Eagle back - the only time in the series I can recall him making a retreat. Why if the pilots are wearing spacesuits, aren't they wearing helmets and air packs? It wouldn't have saved Steve Abrams in these circumstances, but it points to a lack of coherent policy when flying an Eagle.
Abrams' death is one of the most distressing sights in the series for me. He sees the Eagle falling apart and knows he can't do anything to stop it. Instead of the ship blowing up, we see him sucked towards the blown out Eagle viewport to his death. It still makes me shudder, four years after seeing the episode for the first time.
Nitpick: where does this lack of knowledge of previous space flights come from? If Carter knew it was a Voyager craft, he must have known about the Queller drive. So must have the Main Mission staff. Helena knows, but Victor doesn't? Seems odd to me.
Was Voyager programmed to return to Earth at some point? The odds of it meeting MBA are very very slim, so I must question Victor's statement that it is "coming home". Certainly it must have valuable information on board, but its presence is splitting the command staff.
After Paul's cracking performance in The Last Sunset, we see here more passion coming from beneath the usually controlled personality. One way only to deal with it - destroy it. Helena agrees with him, again with some passion and perhaps venom. Victor knows the potential value of the information on board Voyager, and his suggestion that it has medical data on board is simply to try and get Helena to agree to trying to bring it down. It doesn't work.
In the novel, I recall Koenig looking through the personnel files for an expert on fast neutrons and finding Dr Ernst Linden. In this version, we first see Dr Linden working in his lab. While not everyone might know at first there's a potentially lethal craft outside, word would get around eventually. Jim Haines passes this info on to Linden perhaps out of shock that earlier events may happen again.
We know that another failure in the space programme took the lives of 200 people in a horrible way. Count up all the failures mentioned in the series and wonder what it took to keep the space programme going...
This news spurs Linden into action by revealing his true identity to Koenig. What a massive wrench that must be. Having been reviled for an accident for which he must surely have held himself responsible, he has taken a new name, rebuilt his life and career and gained acceptance as a scientist once again. To now have to throw that aside and relive those events is a very courageous thing to do.
At this point I'm nearly sleeping on my keyboard, so I'll finish this off tomorrow.
From: "Ellen C. Lindow" (email@example.com) Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998 21:13:25 -0500 (EST) Subj: Re: Space1999: VOYAGER'S RETURN
Although he was the inventor of the Queller
drive, the Voyager project must obviously have been run by more ruthless
people, people like Simmonds. To hold Linden responsible for the effects
of the Queller drive makes as much sense as holding Victor Bergman responsible
for his ideas in BLACK SUN or COLLISION COURSE if they had worked less well.
Don't you think that was exactly what happened with Tony Cellini? I find it interesting that the Powers-That-Be gave Queller an alias and supported his continued research. Alpha was obviously created in an incredibly ruthless political environment.
From: HNoll@t-online44.de (Horst Noll) Date: Sun, 22 Feb 1998 11:54:58 +0100 Subj: Re: Space1999: Voyager's Return
Voyager is sending out its deadly particles out its rear. So how can the
eagles and the moon be feeling the effects from way in front of Voyager?
If its effects were that strong so they reached in front of the ship, then
the ship would have been destroyed by the same particles it itself was
Voyager has recognized the moon as a new stellar object, therfore it's trying to investigate. To be able to do this, it has to slow down. To slow down it has to change the direction of it's propulsion system and has to activate it. This means, that Alpha is in the direct way of the particles sent out by the drive.
But I think this is silly, too, because after the horrible experience of Voyager 2 they couldn't realy be so silly to sent a ship which destroys the objects it should investigate. What interesting thought ! Voyager has to have made a line of destruction throughout it's way !
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (B J Dowling) Date: Sun, 22 Feb 1998 15:01:02 +0000 Subj: Space1999: Voyager's Return pt 2
Now, where was I?
This news spurs Linden into action by revealing his true identity to
Koenig. What a massive wrench that must be. Having been reviled for an
accident for which he must surely have held himself responsible, he has
taken a new name, rebuilt his life and career and gained acceptance as a
scientist once again. To now have to throw that aside and relive those
events is a very courageous thing to do.
It's already been mentioned that Alpha seems to have been built and manned in a very unpleasant political environment. I've got to agree there. Someone made the decision to give Queller a new identity, and possibly for his own safety, assigned him to Moonbase Alpha. Begs the question what other skeletons are in cupboards waiting to be chanced upon - a security guard or a cook who's ex-SAS or CI5? Hang on, that's Under Siege. Anyway, could be more fan fiction material there...
We get the distinct possibility here of politicians pushing well-meaning scientists into finishing a project before it has been fully tested and is totally ready. Nothing new there, perhaps. But if it can happen with Voyager, and then with the Meta probe, why not with Alpha itself?
Paul, Alan and Helena are against Queller, Voyager and any attempt to land the thing anywhere near Alpha. I can't blame them and in Paul's position I would no doubt think the same. Hell, I'd volunteer to fly the Eagle which blows the thing up.
Queller's honesty - "fifteen years ago I would have given you my word... now I can only say I will do my best" - is perhaps why Koenig decides to go ahead with the attempt to land Voyager. Now we find out where Jim Haines fits in to the scheme of things. In a sad twist of fate he's helping the man who he would most likely hold responsible for the death his parents. Koenig's decision to keep Queller's identity a secret makes good sense - we don't know how many others on Alpha had some kind of "involvement" with the Voyager Two disaster. One senses that the discovery of Queller's identity is going to happen...
Victor's chat with Queller in that lab next to his work area was a bit dodgy - Jim was right next door and within earshot. If he'd heard all of that conversation, he would probably have known Queller's identity there and then. Whoops! As Queller gets more and more involved with the task in hand, the "facade" of Linden gradually drops away. Haines is uncertain what's happening but seems to keep his faith in Linden/Queller until the doctor says "security codes irrelevant".
What horror Jim feels now must be near indescribable. His trust, his faith and belief in what may well have been a father figure to him is shattered by the discovery that he is the man responsible for the death of his parents. He loses it, and I honestly can't blame him at all. Under those circumstances, wouldn't you?
Now we start the redemption theme. Despite his injuries, Queller lands Voyager successfully. Three insectoid looking ships follow in its wake...
Great hardware, and good continuity with it - something season 2 sadly lacks when dealing with earlier spacecraft from Earth. Note the countdown font on the panel signs, and similarities with the Ultra probe fromDragon's Domain. Queller seems almost renewed with energy as he shows Helena, John and Victor around Voyager, then comes the message of bad news...
Voyager has been responsible for mass death on two planets. Those affected seek revenge. Great line from Victor about revenge sanctioned by authority being the sign of a debased culture. Poor Queller, the whole Voyager thing is becoming one massive nightmare. It's all too much for him.
Alan wants to get in first, for what it may be worth. Queller feels that it is he who must bear the responsibility for the Sidon deaths, even though it isn't explained how those deaths occurred - it might not have been the Queller drive. Deliberately, Queller makes his way to Voyager.
Jim's request to come with Queller seems to me to be a showing of his forgiveness, and realising he was wrong to lose his rag. That moment where they just look at each other says more than any words could. He makes his intentions perfectly clear to Koenig.
If Archon had been a little more reasonable, the destruction of the Sidons and Voyager might have been avoided. It is typical of those seeking revenge that they are so narrow minded and see nothing else other than achieving their objectives whatever the cost. Perhaps the same is true of that mix of politicians and well-meaning scientists which seems to cause us so much trouble in real life and in fiction...
Koenig's words to Haines at the end strike me as some of the most motivational things he says during the series. His handing the Voyager memory bank to Haines with the urging "Get to it" gives the young assistant a target to aim for with the motivation of keeping the memory of his mentor alive.
Overall, a fine episode which deals with the theme of creator trying to redeem himself for the destruction he has unintentionally wrought very well. Jeremy Kemp is outstanding as Queller, giving one of the finest guest performances in the series.
Good to see other pilots rather than Alan and co-pilot doing all the work, and some of the technical areas. I sure wondered what they get up to during the quieter moments! Some of the dialogue I might nitpick over, but one or two others have already done that. Paul, Victor and Helena become almost peripheral in the second half of the story, but their contributions in the first half lay some very firm foundations for the second half.
Victor gets the one really outstanding line in the story, though Queller's plea to Archon is eloquent and emotive, and Koenig's words to Haines are encouraging and motivational.
Could well be in my top six, this one. It would be interesting to see other folks' story rankings after we've finished season 1.
From: David Acheson (email@example.com) Date: Sun, 22 Feb 1998 10:31:45 PST Subj: Space1999: Jim Haines/Byrne and Penfold/Music
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Relevant parts only.]
Interesting that Petter and Patricia (say that ten times fast) brought up the idea of Jim Haines being an intern on Alpha. This seems to make some sort of sense. Top notch scientists would most likely have assistants who would earn their wings by training under them. I never thought about the believability of Jim Haines being on Alpha. Who I did always wonder about was our favourite target: Shermeen Williams. She does not seem to be emotionally mature to be assigned to a posting on Alpha. More about her when we get to A MATTER OF BALANCE.
Petter, I agree with your analysis of the differences between Byrne and Penfold (sounds like a British comedy troup). I always felt a religious aspect to many of their episodes but I think you hit the target. Penfold stories are more involved with individuals while Byrne takes a more holistic approach. I never thought of a Protestant versus Catholic approach but what you say makes sense. Byrne does seem to write a lot about sins. Queller coming out of hiding and announcing who he is was much like the person who walks in to a confession booth.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Sun, 22 Feb 1998 15:38:47 EST Subj: Re: Space1999: Voyager's Return
This is very minor, but Paul knows Jim Haines personal history? The
controller of MM is on personal terms with a young tech assistant?
Paul's father and Jim Haine's parents both died on Voyager 2. I'm sure some type of organization for families and friends of the tragedy would have been formed and perhaps that's how they met prior to the events depicted in this episode.
David J Lerda, email@example.com
From: Petter Ogland (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: Tue, 24 Feb 1998 09:46:00 +0000 Subj: Re: Space1999: Jim Haines/Byrne and Penfold/Music
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Relevant parts only.]
Top notch scientists would most likely have
assistants who would earn their wings by training under them. I never
thought about the believability of Jim Haines being on Alpha. Who I did
always wonder about was our favourite target: Shermeen Williams. She
does not seem to be emotionally mature to be assigned to a posting on
Alpha. More about her when we get to A MATTER OF BALANCE.
I look forward to this. A MATTER OF BALANCE was one of the first Year Two episodes I saw. I wonder what you and Year Two expert David Welle has to say about this.
Petter, I agree with your analysis of the differences between Byrne and
Penfold (sounds like a British comedy troup).
I always felt a religious
aspect to many of their episodes but I think you hit the target. Penfold
stories are more involved with individuals while Byrne takes a more
holistic approach. I never thought of a Protestant versus Catholic
approach but what you say makes sense. Byrne does seem to write a lot
I feel religious themes are prevailent in many stories. Apart from Byrne and Penfold, Terpiloff seems to be quite focused on aspects of faith and belief, COLLISION COURSE, our next entry, perhaps being one of the most illustrative examples.
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