An interesting little first for our blog in this episode: this is the first of a few teleplays that we’ll see to be written by Samuel A. Peeples. He wrote for the original Star Trek and worked for Filmation on both the cartoon version and some of their later science fiction programs, like this show and Flash Gordon, but he also put in a little more work with Trek producer Gene Roddenberry as well. The same year that he wrote for this series, he also wrote the TV movie pilot Spectre for Roddenberry. This was a period occult thriller that starred Robert Culp and Gig Young. I’d like to see that one of these days.
Another oddball first for our son: this is the first time we’ve run into retooling between the first episode and the rest of the series. Last week, we met Ty Henderson’s character, Paul Jerome, as “the guy who gets left back at the base.” This episode is clearly set some time after the pilot, as Loki is a uniformed member of Space Academy’s Blue Team, but Paul is introduced to the others as a new character who has just transferred to Blue Team.
The bulk of the episode is conflict between the three young male leads. Ric Carrott’s Chris is reckless and driven, and Paul is a loner who wants to follow orders, and Brian Tochi’s Tee Gar Soom is stuck between their squabbles. A black hole leads them to a planet with a screaming stop-motion dragon-like monster, so they are forced to quit arguing and work together quickly.
We paused the episode to explain about black holes to our son, as we thought this was his first exposure to this favorite trope of sci-fi film and TV writers. He explained after the episode ended that we’d unwittingly cleared up a confusing bit from an episode of Clangers that he saw recently.