I was all set to point out that a young Helen Hunt is the main guest star of this episode, and then the show pulled the rug out from under us and presented this big plot twist. The village in trouble this week is ruled by someone called Omega, and Omega turns out to be one of those evil supercomputers that were omnipresent from the late ’60s through the mid-’80s.
To modern adult eyes, it’s ridiculous, of course. You’ve got more power in your hip pocket than one of these things that can only be transported in an eighteen-wheeler. But it’s actually a pretty good example of the genre, as befits the Star Trek-lite nature of the show, since I think Trek had about six or seven evil supercomputers on that show. I actually really like the impractical and silly design of Omega. The grid in front is actually the shutoff circuit, which Jonah has to move across in a series of chess moves, and sure, this would be indefensibly ridiculous if it weren’t such a dramatic success.
And it absolutely was a success, because this had our son on the edge of his seat, extremely worried about Jonah and Samuel. Omega has mental powers as well, of course, because all evil supercomputers do. This was an extremely tense situation for him, and he handled it like a champ.
And yes, Helen Hunt is in it. She was about thirteen years old at the time.