Space: 1999
Episode by Episode

"Alpha Child"

From: Date: Sun, 1 Feb 1998 22:58:05 EST Subj: Space1999: ALPHA CHILD

Hello Alphans!

For the episode ALPHA CHILD, I give it a B+. Right from the start, the scene is set. Things are not normal on Alpha when the first child is born. I noticed that Cynthia Crawford is addressed by Helena as "Sue"? We also see the same blue ball from the previous episode. Helena's heavy breathing sets the scene as the Alphans try to cope with this oddity.

We are told that Jack Crawford died 7 months ago. He worked in the power station and he and Cynthia had their first child-little Jackie Crawford. I liked how Paul Morrow tries to keep everyones spirits up. It's interesting how all the Alphans try to entertain the little kid, giving him a BLACK SLEEVE just like Koenig's sleeve of command. Little Jackie stares at everything around him-learning. I thought Koenig led on too early in the episode with his "connection" thing. This shouldn't have been clear that early. We also see little Jackie put a commlock into a charger to recharge just like Bergman had done previously. I noticed the audio was awful as Alan is told to GET GOING. Strange.

Poor Dr. Mathias! Again, he's slapped around in another episode. Helena turns and chokes him via the alien's grip on her. He also starts convulsing as the aliens tell the Alphans they are all going to die. What I found disappointing was that Jarak said there were 120 of them. Yet we only see two. Perhps some more aliens would have made the show better. All in all, I thought little Jackie played his role very well. The way he curls up into a ball in the corner of Main Mission was great. The way Koenig looks at him in the corner made me think Koenig thought he was a little monster or something. Great buildup to the shockiscene when we see that the little baby is suddenly a 5 year old! Great!

From: Petter Ogland ( Date: Mon, 2 Feb 1998 10:16:50 +0000 Subj: Re: Space1999: ALPHA CHILD

Hi all,

The nicest thing about watching ALPHA CHILD after FORCE OF LIFE is the warm and emotional direction of Ray Austin. While not as flamboyant as in RING AROUND THE MOON and MISSING LINK, we get the feeling of being on Alpha, engageing in the problems of the Alphans' not coldly observing as David Tomblin did in FORCE OF LIFE and his other three episodes.

From what I've understood, ALPHA CHILD was conceived by Edward di Lorenzo, but elaborated upon by Penfold. To me it seems to be about problems concerning raising childern in modern techonological society, the world as envisaged through Alpha not being designed for raising childern make children turn out to sorts of Frankenstein's monster that turn back upon ourselves.

I'm not quite sure if this is what di Lorenzo and Penfold are trying to say, it's not a very clear episode, I think, and I miss both the more self-referencial style of writing di Lorenzo used in his two earlier efforts and the more expresionistic camera style the Austin found suited for those two.

ALPHA CHILD as it finally turned out, reminds me more of Penfold's LAST SUNSET, being close to devoid of the philosophical aspects of di Lorenzo's writing, and Austin being much more modest than usual.

Nevertheless, unlike LAST SUNSET, I feel ALPHA CHILD is an episode that has at least such a richness in characterization and directional style that it is worth watching over and over again. Austin seems to bring this about with his efforts. Even an incredibly silly concept such as the living stones in ALL THE GLISTERS, contains a certain amount of style in the way that it was made so that it makes worth while in the long run, I think.

While the idea of the Alpha Child is not a totally bad one, I think, there is always the problem of having to work with children. Under the circumstances the portrayal of Jackie is fair enough, I think, from what one could expect. The most impressive acting is by Martin Landau, however, looming over Jackie not unlike John Cassavetes in ROSEMARY'S BABY (1968). There is perhaps also a connection to THE OMEN (1979).

It is also nice to see Nick Tate being in top form, showing enthuseasm when playing with Jackie early on and confusion after being told twice by Koenig to get move on. Tate is excellent in this state, I think, some of these scenes are almost as good as the marvellously confused Carter in COLLISION COURSE.


From: "Petter Ogland" ( Date: Tue, 3 Feb 1998 10:18:45 +0000 Subj: Re: Space1999: In defense of Nitpicking / Alpha Child

Hi all,

Pat wrote:

... Since we started watching these episodes in order, I have found myself watching them with a more critical eye. Petter's , and other's posts have really helped me see them in different lights, and their views let me see new things in the episodes I may have missed.

Thanks for the kind words, Pat. What fascinates me the most with your mails, however, is the psychological insight in characters and style of portrayal. I remember your insightful comments on John as a person in WAR GAMES really sparked me off. I also remember watching THE LAST ENEMY over again to find out if Victor and Helena were displaying their emotions as vividly as you interpreted them in one of our discussions. Now I can't see that scene without thinking of those e-mails, certainly the highlight of that episode.

Another fond memory was the list discussion on the scene between Balor and Helena in the Medical Centre in THE END OF ETERNITY. Although one of my favourite episode, that I have seen a number of times, your description of how Helena lowers her voice in that scene made me have another go at it. A wonderful scene, by the way.

I have also enjoyed your medical comments on recent episodes very much. I don't know is those comments should be catalogued as nit-picks, I didn't feel they were meant as critizism of the series, but, nevertheless, extremely interesting and a great contribution to the on-going weekly discussions.

I hope we can have more discussions on characterization soon. FORCE OF LIFE was very poor on this aspect, I feel, no matter how technically brilliant it was in other ways. ALPHA CHILD focuses more on charater, I feel, as one would perhaps expect from a Ray Austin episode. As mentioned earlier, I felt Nick Tate got good opportunity to bring flesh and bones to Alan Carter. As I see it, one of his best performances with the exception of COLLISION COURSE were he really outdoes himself. COLLISION COURSE was the next Ray Austin episode of the series, so perhaps Austin used some of the rapport with Tate to more extent in that one, seeing the possibilities in ALPHA CHILD.

It would be very interesting to hear your views on Jarak, Pat. I found the way Penfold and Austin tried to humanize him in the end, when everything was lost, worked quite splendidly. Julian Glover goes for the British gentleman approach, which makes Koenig and the the Alphan's seem utterly confused, not knowing what they shall do. Certainly one of the highlights of the episode, I feel, but luckily the problem resolves itself.


From: David Acheson ( Date: Tue, 03 Feb 1998 18:17:16 PST Subj: Space1999: Moonbase Kid (Alpha Child)

I like this episode. Not that its one of the best but its enjoyable nevertheless.

Petter, funny you brought up ROSEMARY'S BABY and THE OMEN. How about THE EXORCIST? One would not think of this episode as "child possession" but the last two films came out around the same time (or shortly after)the series aired. And we do seem to have a kid taken over by an unknown force. Interesting connection.

David Tomblin, a cold director? I always found him to be quite the opposite - very imaginative and stylish. Ray Austin, in my opinion, does better with ALPHA CHILD than his first two episodes. This is not a slight against Edward di Lorenzo or even Austin but just feel Austin did better with the material this time.

The child actor (Wayne Brooks) did a marvellous job of playing the cute deaf-mute who steals everyone's heart but is really using the Alphans for other purposes. No overly dramatic acting here - just subtle. This is what makes the characterization believable. No glowing red eyes,evil smiles(except when he saw his mother go crazy upon looking at him)or evil tyrannical laugh! Just a kid being a kid. He fears Koenig - we later know why but its taken by the Alphans at the time to mean that Koenig is the scary dominate one in black. Victor is taken to be the kind grandfather which was nice to see. Alan is the uncle-figure. Nick Tate seems to have a natural ability with kids - he shows this again in THE MARK OF ARCHANON. On the other hand, Landau acted like this was someone else's kid and wished he would go home.

BTW, whatever happened to Wayne Brooks? Obviously an adult now but what is he doing these days?

What I like best about the episode is that it addresses a growing problem the Alphans find themselves faced with - their future. If a suitable new world is not found, could they continue to grow on the base? Jackie Crawford is the first new generation of Alphans but can they afford to keep others? The thought of continuing the species must weight heavily on their minds. If Alpha stops being a work site and becomes a community it is only natural for people to want to pair up and live what is close to a normal life. Some will want to have children. Can Alpha really be anything other than a work site? In THE EXILES, Helena states to Cantar and Zova that Alpha's life support system doesn't allow for an expansion of their population. The range of answers to their fates however may just be as just as confusing and controversial as the question!

Nitpicking time. Dig those ugly silver clothes Jarak and Rena wear. This time the woman wears the slacks while the man wears the hot pants. While not a huge star, didn't Julian Glover have a small role in one of the STAR WARS movies. I seem to think he did.

Someone mentioned that it would be more menacing to have many aliens shown rather than two. I disagree. The fact that we actually don't see them all but know that they are there hovering over the base is quite menacing. You are constantly left guessing as to what they are up to next. Its what you don't know that is upsetting.

Enough for now. I am at the office late and I should be heading home.


From: Keniji Watanabe ( Date: Mon, 02 Feb 1998 22:36:45 -0500 Subj: Re: Space1999: Moonbase Kid (Alpha Child)

He was in "Empire Strikes Back" as an Empire Land force AT-AT commander, also was in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" who was the rich philamthophist (sp) who wanted the Holy Grail and died drinking from a fake Grail in the end. Seen him also on Dr. Who. Just a few FYIs ;)

Keniji Watatnabe

From: Petter Ogland ( Date: Wed, 4 Feb 1998 13:00:22 +0000 Subj: Re: Space1999: Moonbase Kid (Alpha Child)

Petter, funny you brought up ROSEMARY'S BABY and THE OMEN. How about THE EXORCIST?

THE EXORCIST, yes. I still find THE OMEN closer, however, focusing on the birth and growing of evil, rather than the kid being taken over. You still have a point, though.

David Tomblin, a cold director? I always found him to be quite the opposite - very imaginative and stylish.

What I ment was "cold" in the Kubrick sense. In the Tomblin installments I often get the feeling of objectively watching, even if the cinematography is imaginative and stylish, which I agree it is. In the Austin episodes, on the other hand, the camera keeps wandering around, sometimes focusing on the one who is speaking, sometimes on the one who is responding, sometimes just looking around, much more like if the viewer was an inhabitant of Alpha rather than "cold" observervation. Both directors have very recognisable styles, however, which is nice.

Ray Austin, in my opinion, does better with ALPHA CHILD than his first two episodes. This is not a slight against Edward di Lorenzo or even Austin but just feel Austin did better with the material this time.

For me it's the other way around. I felt he was more creative in the first two, perhaps more engaged in the making. Nevertheless, it's interesting to hear that you think otherwise. ALPHA CHILD is more "down to earth" in style of direction, I suppose, and Austin didn't emphasize the experimental style from RING AROUND THE MOON and MISSING LINK too much in his later works such as COLLISION COURSE, THE TROUBLED SPIRIT, END OF ETERNITY and MISSION OF THE DARIANS either.

The child actor (Wayne Brooks) did a marvellous job of playing the cute deaf-mute who steals everyone's heart but is really using the Alphans for other purposes. No overly dramatic acting here - just subtle. This is what makes the characterization believable. No glowing red eyes,evil smiles(except when he saw his mother go crazy upon looking at him)or evil tyrannical laugh!


Just a kid being a kid. He fears Koenig - we later know why but its taken by the Alphans at the time to mean that Koenig is the scary dominate one in black. Victor is taken to be the kind grandfather which was nice to see.

I liked the "f-l-o-w-e-r" sequence very much. As in so many of the Austin episodes, brilliant, absolutely brilliant acting from Landau and Morse.

Alan is the uncle-figure. Nick Tate seems to have a natural ability with kids - he shows this again in THE MARK OF ARCHANON. On the other hand, Landau acted like this was someone else's kid and wished he would go home.

Nice way of putting it, David. Austin and Landau manages to get Koenig quite contrasting to Nick Tate's playful uncle. The underlit Koenig looming over the curled up Jackie is quite effective, and not unlike Cassavetes in ROSEMARY'S BABY, I think.

What I like best about the episode is that it addresses a growing problem the Alphans find themselves faced with - their future. If a suitable new world is not found, could they continue to grow on the base? Jackie Crawford is the first new generation of Alphans but can they afford to keep others?

In some ways I think ALPHA CHILD seems reminicent of Johnny Byrne's apparently lost script CHILDERN OF THE GODS, at least according to his comments in the FAB article to be found in Robert's Cybrary.

While I find ALPHA CHILD a bit unfocused in storytelling at times, it seems that one of the ideas it tries to discuss is about the future of Alpha, what kind of childern they might have. Just like CHILDERN OF THE GODS, the childern of Alpha turn against them. Would it be possible to rise childern in such circumstances, the script seem to ask, perhaps Penfold and di Lorenzo sere thinking more genereally about what kind of people would unfold being born around 1975?

As the digital evolution unfolds, who knows what kind of world our children may grow up in, for better or worse, it is certainly different than the world of our grandparents. Penfold's warning seems milder in ALPHA CHILD than in the more technophobic GUARDIAN OF PIRI, however, and the ending of ALPHA CHILD with mother and child reunited makes for an optimistic ending.

Nitpicking time. Dig those ugly silver clothes Jarak and Rena wear. This time the woman wears the slacks while the man wears the hot pants.

If this was made about five years later I would have guessed it was a reference to ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1977?). Rena looks very much like Frank'n'further and Jarak like the creature. Perhaps it was directly inspired by this? I assume musical ran for some years before the film was made.


From: Patricia Embury ( Date: Wed, 04 Feb 1998 15:48:31 -0500 Subj: Space1999: Alpha Child

When I saw this episode for the first time, I didn't really like it. And before I watched it again, I had the same feeling that I wouldn't like it. Happily, I can say I appreciate it more, and found it to be quite enjoyable.

I, like Petter and some others, was reminded of the child possession type movies, although I think it was more in the style and feel of Omen, with its premise of the evil child, than a straight posession. If the child had been taken over when it was a little older, and "gone alien" more quickly, I think I would have bought the Exorcist-type premise. The child who played Jackie was able to express so much malice, and show how he was learning about the functions of Alpha through his facial expression.

Maybe it was just my copy, but the lighting was quite dark, which added to the aura that something was terribly wrong. The camera angles, especially of Koenig towering over Jackie when he sent Carter to intercept the aliens the second time, seemed to emphasize how big Koenig was in relation to Jackie. I like this episode better than Missing Link, because the background, lighting, camera angles, seem more subdued, more sinister, and doesn't overwhelm the story. The whole aura of expectancy in the opening when the base anticipates the birth, gives way to shock, then dismay and acceptance of a child who is different. The crew in main mission discussing the incident reminded me of "Waiting for Godot", the sense of everyone sitting there, talking, saying so much without really doing anything. The sense of betrayal is palpable in the command staff meeting after Carter's crew fails to intercept the additional ships.

Barbara Bain really shines for the majority of this episode. Her absolute shock at the sudden growth spurt was superbly acted, and she was really ready to shoot Carter. She seemed very maternal and nurturing towards young Jackie. Her controlled readiness to shoot played better than a wooden , "Oh lord I don't want to shoot, but I'm possessed".. action. I wasn't crazy about the strangling Bob sequence, but I don't know what could be changed to make it better.

Nick Tate was wonderful. Carter made the first move to accept Jackie, flying him around Main Mission, which really broke the ice for the rest of the base. He also had his arm around Tanya when everyone was congratulating each other after the birth. Carter was confrontational, but you could see the respect he had for Koenig in both their first confrontation, and during the command meeting. He looked like a whipped puppy when Koenig called him incompetent. If Koenig had called him this in earlier episodes, I think Carter would have decked him.

Martin Landau was excellent as always, and it was nice to see more from the other supporting cast. It was also nice to see the generating area again.

From: Patricia Embury ( Date: Wed, 04 Feb 1998 16:18:25 -0500 Subj: Space1999: Alpha Child part II Julian Glover

Julian Glover's performance was wonderful. Trying to get used to being in a new body, then seemingly without remorse when begging Koenig for mercy. Anyway, Glover, as mentioned before, appeared as General Veers in the Empire Strikes Back. I may be wrong, and I ask other list members to take a look, but I think it is his picture on the back of the Kenner AT-ST action figure. The picture is gold tinted, so it makes it difficult for me to tell if it actually is him or not. The AT-ST was featured in the Endor battle during Return of the Jedi, in the ESB, Glover commanded an AT-AT (the big one). I'm interested in hearing your opinions.

From: Ekmar Brand ( Date: Wed, 4 Feb 1998 23:00:23 +0100 Subj: Space1999: ALPHA CHILD

Hi Alphans!

I think the STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION episode (and also the never filmed STAR TREK II episode) "THE CHILD" was a remake of "ALPHA CHILD".


From: Date: Wed, 4 Feb 1998 17:29:37 EST Subj: Space1999: Alpha Child.

My comment's on A- Child...
This episode. Is in My top 10 best liked episode's from Y-1...

Eagle action.
NO. of times the word eagle was said. (5)...
Lift off's (1)...
Landing's NONE...

Blooper's NONE. That I could see...
I liked the three alien ships. Also I really liked the sound they make! My Favorite scene & music. When the very big alien ship shows for the first time.

By the way this is My favorite ship. From Y-1...

Chas P. LKJ1999

From: "Petter Ogland" ( Date: Thu, 5 Feb 1998 12:36:37 +0000 Subj: Re: Space1999: Alpha Child

Pat wrote:

Maybe it was just my copy, but the lighting was quite dark, which added to the aura that something was terribly wrong.

Ray Austin uses the same kind of play with light and shadows in MISSING LINK and THE TROUBLED SPIRIT, too.

I like this episode better than Missing Link, because the background, lighting, camera angles, seem more subdued, more sinister, and doesn't overwhelm the story.

It is perhaps more subdued, but I think many of the early sequences in MISSING LINK were sinister enough, the eagle crash, the rescue and Koenig walking around on an mysteriously empty Alpha.

While I also enoyed the sequences on Zenno very much, I was too, perhaps a little overwhelmed by the nightmare sequence, though I felt MISSING LINK emplied a style more common with my Ray Austin favourite, RING AROUND THE MOON, to a much greater extent than ALPHA CHILD. ALPHA CHILD has more in common with his later work on SPACE: 1999, I think.

The whole aura of expectancy in the opening when the base anticipates the birth, gives way to shock, then dismay and acceptance of a child who is different. The crew in main mission discussing the incident reminded me of "Waiting for Godot", the sense of everyone sitting there, talking, saying so much without really doing anything.

He-he! This reminds me of earlier discussion of Austin's work where Beckett, Ionesco and surreal painters and filmmakers have been brought in for illustrating his style.


From: David Acheson ( Date: Thu, 05 Feb 1998 14:44:54 PST Subj: Space1999: Julian Glover


Recently someone wrote that Julian Glover appeared in a Doctor Who episode. I don't remember the name of it but I now do recall such an episode. It was during the Tom Baker years. He played a Count who was really an alien. Now for the trivia part. The role of his wife was played by Catherine Schell.


From: Date: Thu, 05 Feb 1998 15:40:59 -0500 Subj: ALPHA CHILD

Although I haven't seen Alpha Child since the seventies, I do remember it well.

When it first aired, I was in high school. My sister, my best friend's sister, and every other female who watched it was totally grossed out by the opening sequence---the baby in the incubator and then when the mother screams there is a five-year old crammed into it. I always wondered why girls found it so disturbing. I could never get a reply other that an EEEEWWWWWW!!!!

Any theories?

From: Date: Fri, 6 Feb 1998 13:19:34 EST Subj: Re: Space1999: Alpha Child

First of all I'd like to thank Marcy and David for all the work they have done to try to make everyone satisfied. I go away for a few days, and come back to find not only has there been a tornado, but that the mess has already been cleared away. Thanks for not taking the easy way out and dumping the whole thing. Although I am mostly a lurker, I'll be doing my lurking on this list.

Although I do like y2 a bit more than y1, I do like both years. I tend to watch tv from a more emotional than intellectual view point which may explain it my reasons for liking Alpha Child. I enjoyed the comparison to Rosemary's Baby etc. I hadn't looked at the episode from that view before. Isn't this what the list is all about?

So from my point of view, I find this a tale of loss and betrayal.

Loss of hope & innocence:

A betrayal of love and friendship:

I especially like the contrast of the beginning and ending of the episode. They all wait anxiously, baby pool, Helena glowing, showing off the new 'perfect' baby no feared defects, Sandra crying tears of happiness. Then the end. They are standing in a doorway, doubtful, full of suspicion, Mathias is weeping tears of relief? fear? They are never going to be able to look at that baby, or birth, in the same way again. It makes me think of the phrase from Macbeth, "death hath murdered sleep", that complete joy is wounded.

Although the book gives reasons that this one birth was allowed, the episode does not refer to the 'no more births' policy on Alpha. Koenig says they can barely support themselves, but nothing about more births. What was the first episode that states the policy? And how long after Alpha Child is this?

just rattling around an opinion Lynn Allard

From: (B J Dowling) Date: Sat, 7 Feb 1998 00:51:54 +0000 Subj: Re: Space1999: Julian Glover

Brian the repository of useless information strikes again...

David wrote

Recently someone wrote that Julian Glover appeared in a Doctor Who episode. I don't remember the name of it but I now do recall such an episode. It was during the Tom Baker years. He played a Count who was really an alien. Now for the trivia part. The role of his wife was played by Catherine Schell.

Julian Glover has appeared in 2 Doctor Who stories: as King Richard in the William Hartnell story "The Crusades" (1964, I think), and the one David mentions above is "City Of Death", first transmitted in August 1979.

In this story Glover plays Count Scarlioni, who is in fact an alien, Scaroth of the Jagaroth. His ship was splintered in time in an explosion some 400 million years ago and he is one of 12 splinters trying to guide mankind to a point where time travel is possible so he can go back in time and prevent the destruction of his ship, which would stop man from evolving.

It was part of a season for which Douglas Adams was the script editor, and there were some amusing moments in most of these stories. I recall a scene with John Cleese and Eleanor Bron in the Louvre where they are admiring the TARDIS. The Doctor, Romana and Duggan rush past them into the police box and it dematerialises. Can't remember the dialogue, but it was funny. I'm sure it was released on video.

From: Date: Sat, 07 Feb 1998 13:09:15 -0500 Subj: Space1999: Alpha Child

While watching this I got up and started fixing one of the machines in this crowded apartment...not because I wasn't enjoying the episode or paying attention to it, but because I realized half way through that there was very little for me to write down...which in my way of doing these critiques is the mark of a good episode.

Overall I think this episode had a lot of real humaninzing values, reactions and just plain real and decent dialog...which at times has been missing from other first season episodes. I think this episode could have been the key to "humanizing" as was tried during year two. (For instance, I love the whole scene when MM is celebrating the birth: Alan is feeling proud while Sandra is noticing this with the "as-usual-the-man-is taking-the-credit-while-it-was-the-woman-who-carried-the-child-and-went-thro ugh-the-childbirth-pain" reaction...and then Koenig's reaction to Sandra's happy crying with a look of "oh these women." It just doesn't get any better then that.

I have to agree with critics at the time that there was just too many strange balls of light. If they didn't want to reveal the alien ships right away, they could have had everything happen as it did, without the occassional shots of the ball of light, which told us, the viewers, already what was happening, when I think it would have been more effective if we were in the dark as much as the Alphans as to why the baby mutated as he did....until the ships revealed themselves.

It is charming to see Jackie in a little uniform, but then I wondered about that. Wouldn't you rather put a child in nice looking kids clothes then in a service uniform? They are worried about the kind of life the kid will have on Alpha, so they start by putting him into a uniform that is the very symbol of their being marooned?

It is odd that Victor is not in the episode until 12 minutes have gone by. All of his scenes were in his lab...I wonder if Morse was doing a film at the time and was only available for one or two days of shooting.

Not a lot of discipline in MM if everyone leaves their post to crowd around a viewport to stare at the alien ship hovering overhead.

A five year old kid, who as far as the Alphans know has not had the chance to learn what a regular five year old would have, is wandering around the base by himself? Even a regular five year old who had grown up on Alphan would not be let out of sight like that on a space base with the potential dangers that exist. And how is Jackie getting in and out without a commlock? (I already know someone out there is going to say he's using the powers we see him use later on. But that doesn't explain why when Alan sees him out in the corridor his first reaction isn't "Why are you out here by yourself?" We don't see a transition in Alan to see that Jackie has zapped him.)

The one bit of dialog that I felt was bad was Koenig saying Carter was incompetent attacking the ships. If his using manual control in firing was supposed to be his being effected by Jackie, then it wasn't made very clear...we've seen many instances when Carter has learned to use his own senses and skills, and have reasons to not trust the computer. The dialog made more sense referring to Carter's freezing in MM, but including the attack made no sense.

Another slight problem is Jarek's line at the end "They are only stunned." If he is referring to the bodies in the're telling me Dr. Russell could not tell they were still alive when she and Paul examined them? (She replied to Jarek's line "They will recover," and she was giving a reaction of "wow...they're not dead.) If she and Paul thought they were dead, then why did Paul stay with them, rather then join in the pursuit and fight to keep more Alphans from dying? It is a little bit of silly, unnecessary dramatics at the expense of logic.

From: David Welle ( Date: Sat, 07 Feb 1998 22:34:28 Subj: Space1999: Alpha Child


"Alpha Child" is, in my opinion, a fine mix of science fiction and horror, and certainly one of the most memorable episodes of Space: 1999.

The episode starts with the Main Mission personnel are quietly yet obviously anxiously waiting for something, Morrow -- and especially John -- pacing. The music in the background doesn't hint at immediate danger, yet gives no indication what is going on. Then a beeping tone, signalling something -- but what? "That's it," John says. "Alan, cut the alarm."

"A day to remember," Alan says. Before there's any time to interpret what that means, we find out. It's a beautiful little baby! Amid the harshness of space that we've seen, in a closed base of machines and seemingly endless white walls, and surrounded by blinking lights in the viewscreen is new hope, something which brings tears of joy to Sandra.

"We made it!" Paul says. "We." The whole base's emotions are involved in this, the first new life on an Alpha that had been filled with death and horror on so many previous occasions.

Then, a blinking blue-green is seen moving through space. Whether the viewer has seen prior episodes or not, that seems to spell trouble -- but the exact form is startling. No one sees this light approach.

The medical monitors start going wild, alerting Helena, who immediately starts rising. The Sue Crawford screams, and screams again and again, piercingly, in obvious horror or terror. Suddenly, there is a much older child scrunched up in the incubator where moments before there had been a baby.

As a child of six in 1975, I'm sure it scared the living daylights out of me. Years later, when I'd finally see it again in 1992, I remembered essentially nothing, and the buildup and sudden shock sent shivers down my spine. Even now, knowing what will happen, I still get shivers on the back of my neck.

Incredible beginning.

Sure, there's another of the well-known "strange balls of light" (SBOL), which, in this case, is a funny bit of deception on the part of the writers, for we immediately start jumping to conclusions that won't quite be correct, for this ball of light will eventually be shown to be something else entirely.

They give something away immediately, though, and that's that it seemingly must be connected to the child's transformation. On one hand, this lifts a bit of the mystery (only a bit, though, because we still don't understand the actual connection and more importantly intent); but on the other, it does replace it with something that plays well too. That is the sense that we as viewers know just this bit more than the Alphans do; while we watch them wondering what happened to little Jackie, we can both know a little more yet still be wondering about just as much ourselves. I may fault parts of the series for overplaying the mystery and strangeness at the cost of simple logic or human reaction, but they do well by changing perspectives over different episodes, IMO. That, of course, is due to the different writers and directors. Also, the sense of mystery in this episode does not, unlike in "Force of Life," come at the expense of simple logic and continuity. All in my opinion, of course. But I'm getting ahead of myself, here.

Poor Sue Crawford mutters "what happened to my baby," in shock. She was all prepared, psychologically and instinctively, to care for her baby; yet suddenly, she's robbed of that. It's not even that her baby was still-born, which while horrifying to a mother, does happen. No, here, her baby doesn't die, but is suddenly replaced, in an instant, with a five year-old. Shock indeed for someone whose emotions are, by far, the most involved of any of the Alphans.

Koenig, in Medical Center, on first sight of Jackie, has this intense stare, as if he's trying to pierce through the mystery. He glances over at Sue too. Well played use of body language and facial expressions, including when he starts smiling at Jackie when the boy opens his eyes, as if John drops his guard to greet Alpha's youngster.

(Amazing what you spot after having seen an episode a few times, because I spotted John and Helena with the same pose as each other for a few seconds, right hands over on the left side of their belts. There's maybe a hint of something here, for their seemingly mimicking each other's actions.)

The child is responsive, reaching out in response when Koenig extends his hand.

Helena is confused and shaky about the whole thing. She states how (and why) it is scientifically impossible, and she is frustrated. Something else the Alphans have to figure out.

And yes, they give a nod to currently known science, indicating this goes beyond what's known. Yes, this seemingly disobeys the Law of Conservation of Energy -- of which mass is a form of energy -- just as Maya does, but the questions become an interesting "how?" and why?" for the characters and audience.

The conversation includes this:

John:   Helena, we knew there could be a problem.
Helena: Yeah, psychological problems, medical problems!
        Things we could deal with!  But this!
Which in then leads to a thought that maybe the father, working with nuclear material, may have been exposed to radiation's mutating effects. It wouldn't be surprising, considering Alpha's history with nuclear material -- but initial checking seems to deny this, though they are going to check further. It is still left as a mystery to the Alphans, who remain unaware of the approaching SBOL.

The Alphans, after their joy at the birth, are left depressed at what has happened. Sandra expresses their feelings: "You mean we cannot ever expect to have normal children?" Alan states how the Alphans lead such a strange life.

A number of smoothly flowing scenes follow, showing Jackie in various locations, with various people, around Alpha. All the adults like taking up the parent role that the shocked Sue Crawford cannot, including that of teacher (Victor is especially good in the teacher role while also being very grandfatherly). They have an obviously bright and intense student, despite the discovery of Jackie's deafness and lack of speech. Again, simple logic is used by one S19 character, stating there'd be no reason for him to know language yet, and why. This use of logic is actually consistent with Helena's previous use, stating why it was impossible for Jackie to have jumped in size; in one case, the impossible happened, in the other, it didn't, but there is full acknowledgement of our current level of knowledge and logic facilities.

In these scenes, we as viewers become privy to what the Alphans themselves don't fully realize immediately. While the Alphans get caught up in being part of the child's life, we see how thorougly he takes everything in. Kudos to the child actor, Wayne Brooks, who played this role, for how he looks at things carefully, runs his hands over everything, smiles at times but who also has these intensely serious stares, which combined with the camera shots at the things Jackie is studying (for we can guess he's studying everything of importance on Alpha), make it clear, for those viewers who are looking, that there's more than just intense curiousity, but seemingly a very active intelligence who already has a purpose -- while not making it SO obvious that we want to hit the Alphans for being stupid. The cut-off people, in their enthusiasm for taking part in a new life, largely miss the subtle signs. Victor is showing him the basics of drawing a flower, while Jackie stares at the equipment around him. Jackie even makes use of the commlock to open a door.

Interweaved in between those scenes are short views of that ball of light, a reminder that there is something different about this child (not that we necessarily need it, but it is gently used.)

Koenig, with his suspicious nature, does spot some of the signs in Jackie's behavior, but really can't be sure what they mean, just as we the viewers see them but do not know (well, on first viewing anyway) what really is going on. Jackie seems to sense this, and generally shies away from him.

In the scene with Victor and Jackie, this is again repeated, and for a moment, while John expresses his reservations about Jackie, literally behind the child's back, Jackie pauses in his drawing, cocking his head ever so slightly, as if listening to the words -- or maybe the thoughts -- of the two.

He's even finishing a drawing of a ship, which he refuses to show. We the viewers get to see he's drawing something that is definitely not Alphan, and can guess some other intelligence is inhabiting him.

The ball of light is eventually found to have a ship at the center. That did make me wonder why a ship would put out such a firmly-defined sphere of light in the first place, but I can guess at two ideas:

1) It's a method of deception that can mask the ship's identity within a huge sphere of light, until the "tiny" ship is close enough in the vastness of space to be seen for itself. (It's like a the incredibly tiny nucleus in a atom that is mostly empty space.) Used very sparingly, it's certainly a good method of disguise (used too frequently, and the ships will obviously become known for their giant spheres of light -- unless other spacefaring cultures in the area use the same method). Or,

2) It's simply the way the ship travels. I've speculated at length about possible means of faster-than-light travel in S19, but for brevity here, I'll instead compare it (sorry) to the "warp bubble" idea in Star Trek. Here, to get real picky, I figure the ship was actually travelling slower than light, but its drive system may still work by creating a pocket of faster travelling space, and throw out pulses of light within that spherical region, illuminating "it."

The ship moves directly to Alpha, and Alan is sent to investigate. On board, he says, "I'll let you know if they fire," then looks at his co-pilot. A little in-joke between the two characters, and a nice touch.

Things are tense in MM. No one is sure about the ship's behavior, particularly the lack of communication.

A nit: "The laser charge is at maximum rate." I'm not sure why he uses the word "rate" instead of "power" or "force."

Jackie shows up in Main Mission. Either he's been left unsupervised and wandered over to MM (which wouldn't be surprising considering how thoroughly he's been soaking everything in), or had previously come with one of the people now in MM.

The commander sees him. They lock gazes for a second, and Koenig suddenly recalls the Eagle. He gives a convincing speech about the Alphan actions possibly being misinterpreted, and it's just right, IMO, to make one think "maybe, but maybe not." There's the strong hint that something more is going on here, but it's not made obvious at first (though it will be shortly).

Koenig:  Ignorance is no reason to start shooting.
         After all, we're... we're all afraid of the unknown.
         Let's take Jackie Crawford, for example.
         I can't understand him, but I'm not about to shoot him.
Excellently written lines.

Change to Medical Center, where Jackie is standing near his mother Sue Crawford, and she is screaming franticly to get him away from her, that he is "killing" her. It is a curious line, for knowing what we do know, and what we are speculating about, it is a chilling indication that he isn't just psychologically "killing her" with his shocking transformation earlier on, but that there may be some form of literal killing going on -- or at least a first hint of that. She is in obviously bad shape, and we now suspect there being more to that.

Then, the most horrifying part is that little smile that Jackie gives, that just sends chills through everyone, including me as a viewer and Helena as a character. "So knowing. Almost as if he were... mocking his mother's death." Now, John orders Paul to find and watch Jackie, and John's suspicions otherwise harden. "I think he's fooled all of us." Three more ships are arriving, and John has a hunch (likely a strong one) that there's a connection between them and Jackie.

Anther fine scene follows, where the three additional ships are approaching and are watched from Main Mission. Jackie is in the corner, and his stare seems to pierce into Alan's back, freezing him zombie-like for quite a few seconds. I also liked the way Koenig only caught Alan's stillness out of the corner of his eye. Then John approaches Jackie, and the camera is low, looking up at the commander while down at Jackie, who is, curiously enough, in command colors as well. That is an irony, considering what has just appeared and what is to come -- that Jackie (and later as Jarak) is in a remarkable amount of control. Here, though, Jackie curls up under Koenig's wilting gaze.

There's a little pitched battle between three Eagles and the three new ships. There's some talk about manual override, which while being a bit appropriate in light of "Guardian of Piri," seems a bit labored here. The Eagles aren't effective, and are downed by a draining force.

I've never been able to figure out John tearing into Alan for "incompetence." I think now it might have something to do with that whole "manual firing" business, but for me, it doesn't work until John admits it probably wasn't Alan's fault at all, that it might be Jackie.

Jackie is now in Medical Center, and his cells are growing again.

Koenig:  Look, you've got to stop calling that Jackie.
         We might have to destroy it.
Helena:  John, it's a human being.
Koenig:  Is it?  It had a human form, that's all.
Helena:  If he's their instrument,
         how do think they'll respond if we kill him?
John heeds the warning in Helena's words, and considering that and the Eagles effectiveness, decide for another approach against the ships which have taken up positions around Alpha (I liked the way they were arranged in the special effects shots too, BTW).


More in a moment....

From: David Welle ( Date: Sat, 07 Feb 1998 22:34:51 Subj: Space1999: Alien Adult

("Alpha Child" review, continued...)

Meanwhile, Jackie is found to no longer be a child. He has again shown remarkable growth, and is now a full-grown man.

Though human-appearing, with a curious hairstyle, he is dressed in obviously non-Alphan clothes, which pretty much ends doubt he isn't an Alphan.

The clothes are curious too. Where'd they come from? Did he, in his incredible cell growth, somehow grow them? Or are they an extension of some greater power he has? Season Two's Maya wore clothes which never seemed to be an actual part of her (unlike DS9's Odo, whose clothes are actually part of his body), but which she could "hide" or change when she transformed. Maybe "Jackie"s transformational abilities included some ability to create clothes. OTOH, maybe the clothes were "beamed in" from one of the ships. Most likely, though, as with aspect of Maya's abilities, this bit wasn't thought out. It's very minor though.

The man now can hear, speak (though it takes a few moments to get going, apparently learning, very quickly, how to use his vocal chords), and has a name -- Jarak. As the episode progresses further, we discover he has a great deal of knowledge about his alien life, and I think he had that in him all along, even as he grew within "Jackie," and that his main point of being a five-year-old was to gain that general (if not universal) acceptance that allowed him to learn so much about Alpha.

Okay, there's the language thing again, but since it is so universal to the series, and I've discussed the problem and possible explanations before, I'll leave it be here. :-)

Jarak immediately starts taking control, using violence (forcing Helena to choke Mathias) to gain information on whether Jarak's ships are being going to be attacked, and then to have Helena recall John and the others.

I enjoyed seeing the Alphans on the Moon's surface, taking up positions to fire at the ships. Also displayed good camera angles in the effects, to show they weren't going to shoot from directly underneath the ships, which could have crashed on top of them. Actually, come to think of it, they could have crashed right onto Alpha. Hmmm.

Then Sue Crawford opens her eyes and locks her gaze on what her child has become. Does she realize that as now kills her? (Effective use of strange sounds here, as in much of the episode, BTW). "You killed her," Helena says simply. It's horrifying, yet she soon revives, in slightly altered appearance and clothing, and is referred to as Rena by Jarak, who kisses her. It's all freaky in another way as well, for how mother and "son" have been transformed into lovers of some sort.

They quickly take control of the base, after which they speak of being wanders like the Alphans, but running from "genetic conformity, rigorously enforced." There's a moment where one can feel a bit -- a little bit -- of sympathy for their possible situation, that maybe they have a genuine grievance. But the means they take are violent, overpowering a baby's biology, killing the mother to take her over too, and now proceeding to willing all 300 or so of the Alphans to death, so they can take over 120 of them, for they want to not only find a new home like the Alphans are searching for, but a new biological form. Theirs native forms (which we never see or even hear described, which works well) obviously have a considerable array of powers -- some (or all) of which can still be expressed in human form -- include the remarkable ability to invade another's body at birth or death. A remarkable way to hide, indeed. They apparently believe that they will appear, to their enemies, to be a band of aliens (humans in this case) on an alien base on a small, travelling planet.

One wonders why their own people wouldn't be able to recognize them anyway, but maybe the "genetic conformity" was possibly over not using some of these extra abilities. They could have been criminals on their own worlds, who would kill others of their kind and "jump" into them to try to hide. Since we never see the aliens or hear much about them, they are left a mystery, an intriguing one at that, where we can wonder just what their story really was.

In any case, they seem to display particular interest in whose bodies might be taken over. Which of the Alphans seem the most intelligent or curious. We don't know how much of Jarak's form is what little Jackie Crawford might have become, but Rena clearly took over Sue's body. There wasn't much immediate choice for them, but now, with only 120 aliens and 300 or so Alphans, the ones on the ships now have considerable choice available to them. Unnatural selection.

Koenig: You won't kill us until you are ready.
Jarak:  We are ready.
Jarak:  The designated will die.  The designated will die.
It sounds like they can't quite kill all 300 at once, especially if they're going to be taking over the human bodies at the same time. They'll likely kill the remaining Alphans afterwards. Don't want any "loose ends" able to tell stories to any of Jarak's enemies. They want to present a convincing front. Meanwhile, one Alphan dies horribly from a laser shot, and the rest soon start dying of what is almost like an invisible hands at their throats (kind of like when Helena was forced to attack Mathias).

They'll even destroy their ships, reducing their own level of technology, to disappear into the cracks of the universe by hiding in plain sight! It is a well-thought out, if horrifying plot, and the only flaw turns out to be simple timing.

Another ship is approaching, a veritable giant (in how it's visually presented, as filmed). This is the well-known and frequently discussed one based on the Discovery of "2001: A Space Odyssey." To me, it's a respectfully done "homage" of sorts, and in both its similarities and differences, is a stunning-looking starship -- beautiful, actually. It soon attacks one of the four other ships.

"They found us," Rena cries; she and Jarak flee. Their lethal control -- part of which might have been coming from the beings in the ship who stood poised to take over (i.e. the 120 others may have been doing part of the killing) -- is broken as one ship falls, crashes (hitting the ground like a dead bug), and then explodes -- its remains left glowing behind a lunar mountain near Alpha.

It immediately begins shooting down the very different ships of the renegades. They try to flee, but cannot outrun a swiftly-dealt fate, one they might have been sentenced to a long time before.

The Alphans start picking up their lasers while Jarak and Rena flee down the corridors in desparation. Despite their state, and what they say later, they still use similar means as before to take over Medical Center. There's a curious symmetry here, in that they both end up exactly where the two of them started.

Jarak:   We wish to negotiate.
Koenig:  Make your demands.
Jarak:   Requests.  We are no longer in a position to make demands.
Yet in the beginning they still try to act from a position of control, instead of giving themselves up. For awhile, they continue to spout about how glorious the combination of their minds with Alphan bodies would have been. Eventually, though, they appeal for mercy.

The Alphans seem to think about it, but as the large warship takes up position over Alpha, Jarak screams how Alpha will be destroyed -- which turns out to be mere deception, a last bit of desperation, but also a sign they still aren't trustworthy.

In the end, though, it doesn't matter, for the large warship soon takes up position over Alpha, and a beam from its underbelly slips right through Alpha's "hull" to envelope Jarak and Rena, and drive them both back to their original, Alphan forms: Sue Crawford and her baby Jackie, whom she is holding happily. Very touching, as much as the original birth was!

Does Sue remember any of what took place? Not likely, I'd guess; at least not the part about being Rena, since she was actually killed for that to take place.

Helena:  Do you think they [Jarak & Rena] gave themselves up?
Koenig:  It's a nice thought, but I don't think they had any choice.

**** Summaries ****

I'm going to skip most of the breakdown ratings because this review has already taken longer than expected and I have no more time, except to say I thought John characterization was very good here (except for the way he tore into Alan), Helena shined (probably her best role and one of Barbara Bain's best performances). Jackie (as a five year old) was very well written, directed, and acted -- while Jarak and Rena were appropriately chilling.

Overall, while I don't generally like horror much, this episode does have the great benefit of having the pre-1980s sensibility of knowing that horror does NOT equate to gore. Far too often in the 1980s and '90s, movies and, to the degree they can, seem to "think" that to be horror, there has to be lots of blood, guts, and gore. This merely reduces it to the highest -- and more "importantly" (to separate "horror" from "action") messiest body count possible. I'm not always fond of "cleaner" horror either, for other reasons, but gory horror is probably the greatest turn off for me of the genre. It's just my opinion, and I may not even be right, but that happens to be my observation.

My point, however, is that "Alpha Child" is one of those S19 episodes that involves one in a sense of horror without resorting to gore, while still being very effective and chilling. It is well written, with consistent plot events, characterizations, continuity, logic -- along with good music, effects, and so on.


P.S. Hmmm, four reviews of mine for the "Episode by Episode" metathread, and it's been a roller coaster of sorts, up and down as far as my episode opinions go. It's been very interesting. I especially enjoy writing about the episodes I like more (thus the greater total length for this and "Guardian of Piri"), but it's still very interesting to write about the other episodes as well, for figuring out just why I like or don't like about all of the episodes.

Thanks, Mateo, for such a wonderful idea. I'm not always the quickest writer, but having these weekly "deadlines" of sorts has been good for getting the writing going.

From: (B J Dowling) Date: Sun, 8 Feb 1998 16:55:03 +0000 Subj: Space1999: Alpha Child

Hi y'all,

David wrote:

"Alpha Child" is, in my opinion, a fine mix of science fiction and horror, and certainly one of the most memorable episodes of Space: 1999.

As I'm going through this episode per week thing, I'm finding more and more to enjoy and comment on in each episode - more stands out now than when I first watched most of these stories over the last 5 years.

I couldn't agree more with David's assessment here, not only because of the storyline but also because Julian Glover guests in it. Another Shakespearian, like Patrick Stewart, who I think would have made just as good a Captain Picard. His presence in live theatre is simply awesome.

We've had a couple of new fathers at work recently, so I can relate in some small way to the anxiety that everyone is feeling, waiting for the birth. It isn't immediately obvious what they're waiting for but the lack of dramatic music and red alert sirens suggests that it's something of importance within Alpha rather than an external event or threat. Even Paul is walking around anxiously!

The news is good, and everyone can relax. This story reminds us that this small, isolated community is as human as you and I, with the same emotional needs and worries. None of this Star Trek stuff where everyone's been through an academy, been prepared for stuff they might meet and all thinking the same set of rules and regulations.

This birth is significant - children on Alpha may well be a possibility. This would bring problems of its own, but this good news could be the precursor to something even better...

Cue strange ball of light... tacky perhaps, but you just know something is going to go wrong...

Screams worthy of a Doctor Who companion shatter the atmosphere of happiness which has been built up in the last two minutes, and the horror is realised - the infant is no longer a baby but an older child. The psychological effect on Sue Crawford is going to be massive - this has shattered Dr Russell's comfort line "He's perfect" and now we know this is no ordinary birth.

Incredible beginning.

Ditto. An opening to match Doomwatch at its most horrifying.

Sure, there's another of the well-known "strange balls of light" (SBOL), which, in this case, is a funny bit of deception on the part of the writers, for we immediately start jumping to conclusions that won't quite be correct, for this ball of light will eventually be shown to be something else entirely.

At this point, I started seeing comparisons with John Wyndham's "The Midwich Cuckoos", filmed twice as "Village Of The Damned". Premature perhaps, but that influenced my expectations rather than the SBOL. This little kid could be trouble...

John looks at him, and Helena's almost horrified reaction here is well acted. And cue the first clutch at straws (well, we think it is...) and why the boy's father is nowhere in sight. The bit where Helena calls Koenig in the technical area and reports Jackie to be a normal 5 year old boy just after Koenig is asked if there's something wrong with the baby doesn't work for me - surely she would tell him privately rather than start gossip over the base?

Alan's statement that perhaps they had no right to expect the birth to be normal with the crazy life they lead reminds us all that they are, despite all efforts they may make, at the mercy of whatever forces come their way. Human error blasted the moon out of orbit (Hey, haven't I heard that one somewhere before?), they're not prepared for a lot of what will happen to them.

Paul, ever the realist, tries to remind them that life isn't so abnormal as they are thinking.

Here is another "Midwich Cuckoos" similarity - over the next few scenes the child takes in everything, and doesn't show any obvious outward signs of taking advantage of the Alphans' sympathy toward him because he's deaf.

Alan cuts the ice with Jackie in Main Mission with his picking up Jackie and flying him around. Everyone then starts to accept him, apart from Koenig who has spotted him running his hand over the command desk. I still expected his eyes to glow...

More scenes follow with Jackie having a good look around Victor's lab, the power room and an Eagle. Both Alan and Victor are great with children, Alan as the father and Victor as grandfather, perhaps. Victor's point to Koenig that "He senses that you're not as willing to be charmed as the rest of us are" is spot on. And that drawing makes us suspect a little more that things aren't as they might be.

Alan's joke to his co-pilot - there's obviously good camaraderie between the pilots, despite their decreasing numbers... :-)

Jackie comes into Main Mission, and just as Koenig is ready to order Alan to take action, they lock gazes. Is he exerting some kind of influence? Great lines here as Koenig justifies his action to Alan and Paul.

Jackie's smile in the Medical Centre is chilling (what _is_ he doing to Sue?) ... as is his freezing Alan just as he's off to the launch pad. Koenig's intense stare at Jackie afterwards is almost a declaration of war...

Alan asks the other pilots to select manual override - he still doesn't trust the computer, and prefers gut reaction and manual reflexes. It has no effect and the Eagles are taken out quite cleanly. With Alan being back in the command meeting, one can assume that there were no casualties.

Koenig calling Alan incompetent smacks of his impotence in the current situation. During the Eagle attack run he tells Carter to turn around and hit the alien ships from behind. Like Carter isn't going to know that? Head of Recon, Chief Pilot, whatever, he's the top guy when it comes to flying Eagles, Koenig isn't. When Koenig says that it might well have been Jackie influencing him, that doesn't lessen the first comment in any way for me.

Enter Jarak, obviously having a bad hair day. Now we know that the ships and Jarak are connected. And Bob gets abused again. How effective would one guy armed with one of those single rocket launcher things be against a ship the size of those?

More chills - Jarak kills Sue with a gaze, and then brings her back to life. Jarak clearly explains the problems he and his people face, and the quite gruesome way they intend to put their plan into practice.

Sympathy, perhaps, for Jarak and the plight of his people, but his methods are quite unpleasant and not justified from our point of view. If 120 of them take over 120 Alphans, and the other 180 odd are killed, how will the base function? Over half the base gone, Alpha would not fare well.

One security guard dies very nastily, and other Alphans start to choke a la Darth Vader. Then a huge ship appears, which looks a bit like the bomber in War Games; it takes out the others with ease. Jarak and Rena panic here, and takes Bob hostage on Medical Centre. Now they try and negotiate their integration into Alpha, before the ship above sends down a beam and eliminates them.

Was Koenig slow to respond in this situation, and not contact the aliens?

Their efforts fail, and they are trapped by the beam from the ship. When Koenig et al break into Medical Center, Mathias and the nurses are okay, and Sue Crawford is sat on her bed with baby Jackie.

We see no more of Sue or Jackie in the rest of the series, and I wonder where the decision is made that there can be no births on Alpha (as per The Exiles?). This and Jack Crawford's death could be parts of extra stories.

As good a story as there was in the series, well written and with some great dialogue. I enjoyed watching this one again!

Brian Dowling - Birmingham, England
Online Alphan #144

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