Wow, this episode is creepy. It’s set at a remote base in the Himalayas, where three scientists are trying a couple of plans to get some close-up shots of Mars. Since the Mysterons destroy every satellite that comes anywhere near their planet, they launched two at once, successfully faking them out by landing a small one on the moon Phobos. This will transmit pictures to Earth at those distant intervals where it, on Phobos, is in sight of the base on Earth.
So, yes, this does suffer from the Supermarionation problem of puppets sitting around, looking at countdown clocks, and asking each other to check some readout. But it gets increasingly fun since we know so little about the Mysterons and what their powers actually are. It turns out that the baddies know exactly what the Earthmen are up to, and have grisly fates for them. I hate to spoil what happens, because it’s so amazingly strange, but I don’t know that anybody in fiction dies in quite the same way as Dr. Breck.
Helped by its weird electronic music, the episode is the most sinister and strange to date, and I didn’t even mind that most of the other Spectrum characters make just minimal appearances in favor of the scientists. At one point, Captain Gray and Melody go out in a helicopter to hunt down Breck, but that’s pretty much it. Captain Scarlet and Captain Blue are present, but mostly powerless to prevent anything from happening.
Daniel was less engaged in the usual way, since there’s not much action or violence in this one, but the outer space stuff had him interested, which is even better. He asked me questions about retro rockets and the planet Mars, and also the Himalayas. I’m really happy to pause an episode and explain a little bit of science. I hope that I got it all right!