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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr


TV episode
Teleplay by: Ruric Powell
Directed by: Ken Turner


Straker demands all the debris in Earth orbit be removed as a hazard to SHADO operations, but meets resistance from General Henderson.


Read the story summary at SHADOpedia




Since Commander Straker remarks in "Exposed", set in September 1980, that Foster's training for SHADO will take about 6 months, our current episode, with Foster now a Colonel and in command of Moonbase, must take place in 1981. I've thus placed it shortly before "Survival", which occurs on April 12, 1981, since it appears before that episode in the baseline Starlog magazine chronology for UFO.




This episode reveals that General Henderson's first name is James, his middle initial "L", he is now President of the IAC, and suggests he does not smoke when he rejects the cigarette box proffered by Straker ("You know I never touch them!").




The metal device used by the astronaut at 1:46 on the DVD may be a protractor, used to measure angles.


The astronauts have a patch on the left breast of their flight suits that appears to be a representation of Earth with satellite orbits depicted around it and the acronym IAC (later seen to stand for International Astrophysical Commission--a fictional institution).


The headset the astronaut wears at 2:03 on the DVD has a clear earpiece covering his entire left ear. These type of headsets are seen in use occasionally throughout the series.


The piece of space junk identified for destruction by the astronauts at the beginning of the episode is said to be Vostok 2, launched June 13, 1965. There was a manned Soviet capsule called Vostok 2, but it was launched in 1961, and successfully returned to Earth a day later. Also, the Vostok series of space capsules were spherical, not conical as seen in this episode. Most likely the producers simply wanted to use a spacecraft name that would be recognizable to viewers of the time (1969-70).


The depiction of the Apollo 8 stage floating in orbit is a pretty accurate representation of the real Saturn V rocket stage casing. The date of its launch given by the astronaut here is also accurate. Apollo 8 launched on December 21, 1968, a trip to orbit the moon and return, with the crew of Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders.


As the camera pans up the exterior of the IAC building at 5:51 on the DVD, a person's head can be seen peeking out from behind a window curtain of the building at the production crew below! (At 15:46, the same shot is repeated as a still, noticeable because the person's head is still visible in the window; the shot appears again in "Court Martial" and "Close Up".)


At 6:35 on the DVD, Freeman and an associate are setting up what appears to be something similar to Star Trek's 3-dimensional chess game in the Leisure Sphere! The game is also seen (with different chess pieces) in "The Man Who Came Back".
UFO 3-dimensional chess Star Trek 3-dimensional chess


This episode marks the first appearance of Paul Foster as a Colonel and commander of Moonbase. As the series progresses, Moonbase seems to be variously commanded by Foster, Lt. Ellis, Lt. Barry, and others, without explanation. I suppose as Colonel, Foster is the official commander, but others fill in when he's on leave or away on other missions for SHADO. In later episodes, Skydiver 1 is also seen with different captains, suggesting that SHADO rotates its personnel, perhaps so as to not become too dependent on any one person in any position...except Commander Straker, of course!


The control panel of the lunar module has a label reading "COMPUTOR" on it. "Computor" is a now-obsolete version of "computer".


At 11:43 on the DVD, the UFO limpet that detaches from the old Apollo 8 stage casts a shadow that looks similar to a spider on a web.


"Washington Square" is the code phrase for a ban on all orbital flights.


At 21:54 on the DVD, in the cockpit of the lunar module, an unexplained shadow appears briefly in the upper left corner of the screen; probably cast by a member of the production crew.


Looking at the analysis of Foster's nearly disastrous flight in the lunar module, Straker sees evidence of the UFO limpet that caused the errant flight characteristics, saying, "Looks like an SPS rocket of some sort." He's probably referring to the SPS (Service Propulsion System) rockets used on the service modules of the Apollo program 1968-1972.


Foster wears a light-purple jacket during his and Straker's meeting in Henderson's office. But, during the drive back from there, he appears to be wearing a brownish one!


As Captain Carlin grips the control sticks of Sky 1 at 46:58 on the DVD, notice that he is wearing a ring on the little finger of his left hand that appears to have the letters "PG" on it. These are the initials of the actor, Peter Gordeno! I guess the producers let him continue to wear it as the character he plays since the "G" looks close enough to a "C" that they could be the initials of Captain Peter Carlin!




you've already swung the commission against it.wav

I'm not going to swap dollar signs with you.wav

when James Henderson calls.wav

I won't take no for an answer.wav

let's be kind.wav 


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