U.F.O-( guide 2) Full Disclosure ( fandom written " full plot" episode guide+ new pics)

michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
22. THE PSYCHOBOMBS
A trio of innocent civilians, Linda Simmonds, Clem Mason and Daniel Clark are captured by aliens using a hypnotic signal and imbued with superhuman powers. Straker encounters Clark, who overpowers him and leaves him unconscious. When he comes round, Straker is given an ultimatum by the aliens. Unless SHADO ceases its operations, the trio will be sent in as suicide bombers to destroy it.—

I’ve previously mentioned how a number of UFO stories have the same basic premise – the aliens take over a human being and force them to do their biding. It seemed to be a particularly popular story device during production block two.

Is The Psychobombs any different from these and other stories? Well, one innovation is that there are three human agents, rather than the more normal one, so this allows several different threats to be carried out at once. And all three of the controlled humans are played by decent actors, so this is a plus point.

A UFO lands in a deserted woodland and sends out a hypnotic signal. Three people answer the call – Linda Simmonds (Deborah Grant), Clem Mason (Mike Pratt) and Daniel Clark (David Collings).

Clark is straight into the action and flags down Straker’s car. Given that the aliens have attempted to kill Straker before they miss a golden opportunity here. Instead, Clark knocks Straker unconscious and puts a note into his pocket. The note is an ultimatum – all SHADO operations must cease, otherwise Fairfield Tracker Station, Skydiver 3 and finally SHADO Control will be destroyed.
Clark manages to destroy the tracker station and Mason deals with Skydiver 3. That leaves Linda Simmonds and SHADO HQ. Whilst SHADO attempts to track Linda down, Dr Jackson shares a theory with Straker –

Dr. Jackson: I have a theory. But I must warn you, it’s pretty wild. A human body – muscles, brain – operates in a series of minute electrical charges, flowing around a complex of low voltage electrical circuits – the nervous system. Sometimes the electrical balance is disturbed. Imagine the situation where, for some reason, the balance swings violently off centre. The body becomes supercharged. Like a thunder cloud before a storm. If such a charged being could exist, it may be able to draw on all the primitive forces of the universe, attract them to itself. Space, time, light… electric potential, energy… they are all related. The result …
Straker: A human bomb.
Foster locates the girl and Straker orders that she be brought to SHADO HQ. A rather rash act, you might think – and it seems to have backfired after she escapes from custody and is poised to blow up the building. However, Sky 4 manages to destroy the UFO controlling Linda, though given the way previous stories have gone, I’ll leave you to decide if there’s a happy ending.

As I’ve said, there’s nothing particularly original here, but the number of threats posed by different people is an intriguing twist. There’s also interest in spotting some faces that would become familiar television faces years later (Peter Blythe, Christopher Timothy and Oscar James, for example).

Trivia fans may notice that the rather nice red dress worn by Deborah Grant is also worn by Susan Jameson in The Sound of Silence. It makes another appearance in the upcoming Timelash, so they certainly got their money’s worth from it!
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michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
23. MINDBENDER
SYNOPSIS:
Two members of an interceptor crew go berserk and try to kill their colleagues. Yet they believe they are killing their enemies . . .

Why should a UFO get within three miles of Moonbase and then destroy itself? This is something Ed Straker wants to know, and it is why he and Paul Foster go to Moonbase to investigate. But little can be found, and two members of an interceptor crew, Conroy and Dale, who have been searching the area, return empty-handed except for a diamond-like rock which Conroy has picked up and decided to keep as a souvenir. When the two men return, Conroy goes into the Control Sphere and stops dead in his tracks with a look of utter disbelief and horror on his face when he sees, instead of the usual personnel, three dirty, unshaven cowboys. As one of them goes for his gun, Conroy lunges at him, and then takes on all three. He then runs out of the Control Sphere leaving behind him, not three cowboys as he has believed he has seen, but the actual Control personnel. One of them, Nina, immediately gives the internal emergency alarm. Before Conroy can be found he has shot his friend Dale, again believing him to be an intruding cowboy. When Straker and Foster catch up with him, he turns on them and Foster has no alternative but to shoot him.

A little later, there is another dramatic development when Captain "Beaver" James of S.H.A.D.O. runs amok in S.H.A.D.O. Headquarters, attacking one of the operatives and shoots a guard in the belief that they are aliens. During the search for him, he shoots another guard and then shoots at Straker, who is unable to prevent him entering Control and getting hold of Virginia Lake. Using her as a hostage, Beaver calls for Straker, saying he has got the alien's leader. To the crazed Beaver, everyone he sees is an alien, and he believes that the aliens have taken over. Between them, Straker and Paul Foster succeed in tricking him and saving Virginia, but in doing so Beaver is fatally shot. Tragically, Straker too has touched the deadly moon rock which Conroy found - and now it is Commander Straker's turn to come under its evil influence.
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michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
24. KILL STRAKER
A lunar module, piloted by Captain Craig and Colonel Foster, is about to land back on the Moon when a UFO is spotted close by. Straker orders an emergency re-entry, but it’s too late – unknown to SHADO the UFO has intercepted the craft. But the module is not destroyed, instead the aliens (sounding rather like the Mysterons) subject Craig and Foster to a psychedelic light show and a subliminal message – “Kill Straker!”.

Straker and Freeman arrive at Moonbase to debrief Foster and this is where the fun starts. When you consider the plans of Craig and Foster, it has to be said that they go about things in very different ways. Craig favours the direct route, dropping into Straker’s bedroom at night with an empty hypodermic syringe (Craig planned to inject him with air).

Foster plays the longer game. At first he doesn’t seem to be affected too badly, he’s annoyed about Straker’s override of the lunar module, which put both Foster and Craig’s lives in danger, that would be a natural reaction though. But he gradually grows more argumentative and begins to question all of Straker’s orders – which raises an interesting issue. The aliens instruction was “Kill Straker!” not “Kill Straker! But first criticise his management skills”.

You have to admit that some of Foster’s points do make make sense. Straker is pushing for a huge investment – he wants another four Moonbases set up over the next ten years as he forecasts increased UFO activity. Foster asks what evidence he has to back this up, and Straker doesn’t have any – it’s just a feeling. The question of finance was covered in the episode Conflict, where Straker and Henderson butted heads over the subject. Straker could be right and there could be more UFO’s heading to Earth, but equally there might not be. Foster accuses Straker of empire building and this is an area that maybe could have been explored a little further in another story.

Freeman returns to Earth and is called to see Henderson. Foster has advised Henderson that Straker is unstable and needs to be removed from duty immediately. Straker, who is still on Moonbase, confronts Foster and the two face off before Foster is eventually overpowered and returned to SHADO HQ.

Foster’s brainwashing is revealed, but how to snap him out of it? As ever, Straker favours the direct mode, goading him beyond breaking point, as he tells Foster:

“I think you said it pretty well yourself. You told me you were going to push for a change of command. A change of command. Ten years. I’ve given ten years of sweat and sacrifice to get SHADO running the way I want it. I won’t let some young punk like you mess things up. You’re a threat Foster, a trouble maker, Now, I can’t fire you and I can’t shelve you, so……”
As Straker later admits, if Foster was going to kill, then it would have been then, under such heavy provocation. Foster comes close, and the two come to blows, but Foster can’t kill him. Once Straker has established this, then he’s happy to have him back on the team and tells him that he’ll listen to any reasonable arguments about the Moonbases, provided they do things his way!

Kill Straker! is a very decent episode with some good Moonbase action, the chance to see Straker in pyjamas and a stand up fight between Straker and Foster that looked very real, probably with good reason. At 44:20 into the episode, Straker hits Foster several times and really drew blood. Billington instinctively wiped it away, and a mark on Bishop’s white jacket can be seen shortly afterwards.
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michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
25. TIMELASH
SYNOPSIS:
Time stops still - and Commander Straker runs amok. A lot can happen in a fraction of a second! An attack of madness seems to have struck Commander Ed Straker. Astonished members of S.H.A.D.O. Control reel as he savagely smashes equipment, knocks Paul Foster across the control room, and then rushes crazily out of the building, hitting at anyone in his way.

He is caught at last and when a dead body is found he is suspected of being a killer. But what has happened to him? The only clue comes from his secretary Miss Ealand, who says that Straker had gone off to the airport that morning to pick up Virginia Lake. But Virginia cannot remember what has happened, and it is a long time before Straker himself can piece together the mystery, which he does after being given a powerful truth drug. He is able to recall driving back with Virginia and seeing a green flying saucer which tries to destroy their car. They escape and arrive back at S.H.A.D.O. headquarters to face another shock. Above ground, in the film studios and on the studio lot, life seems to have come to a halt. Everyone and everything is in a state of suspended animation.

Down below, in S.H.A.D.O., everything is similarly motionless. Straker tries to contact Moonbase, but nothing happens. And then he and Virginia realise that they themselves are slowing down. Desperately, they make for the medical centre and Straker is able to reach for an injection which speeds up brain, muscles and coordination and returns them to normal. They realise now that an alien power has succeeded in breaking the time barrier.

Then a voice rings out. It is a challenge to Straker, mocking him. And the owner of the voice reveals his identity. He is a radar operator named Turner. Turner is the aliens’ instrument in this latest to smash S.H.A.D.O. and he has been given the power to cheat time. And how can you catch a man who has time on his side? The chase is grimly eerie, and its outcome the explanation for Straker’s extraordinary behaviour when time returns to normal without anyone realising that it has even stopped . . .

It’s tempting to draw parallels between the final episodes of UFO and the final episodes of The Prisoner. Although hopes were high at the time that another series of UFO would be made (eventually the concept of UFO series 2 mutated into Space 1999) there must have been some inkling that the series’ days were numbered.

Is this the reason why we had episodes like Timelash and Mindbender, which both pushed the series format in ways we’d never seen before? This also happened on The Prisoner, where the final few episodes (The Girl Who Was Death, Fall Out) were very strange indeed.

Whatever the reason, Timelash has one of the most arresting openings of any the UFO story. It seems to be a normal, humdrum day at SHADO HQ, but out of nowhere a disheveled Straker appears and starts smashing the equipment. He then beats up a dozen or so SHADO personnel (it’s amusing that Foster seems to be cowering the corner, unwilling to take a pasting!) before running onto the studio backlot. Foster and company eventually corner him, just as he discovers the unconscious form of Colonel Lake.

Taken back to SHADO HQ, Straker is injected with a drug which starts to bring him back to normality and since we’ve now seen the conclusion, we rewind back to the start of the story. Straker and Lake had been returning to headquarters when they noticed a UFO on their tail. Attempts to raise the alarm with SHADO get no response. The reason why becomes obvious when they enter the grounds of the Harlington-Straker film studios. Somehow, the aliens have managed to time freeze the whole area.

Every person is completely immobile and unresponsive (some lovely camera tricks here – a chair suspended in the air, smoke from a cigarette, etc) with Straker and Lake seemingly the only people not affected. Watching the two of them in action, had UFO gone to another series they could have formed a very impressive partnership. Ed Bishop and Wanda Ventham worked very well together and it’s a pity we didn’t get to see more stories with them paired up.

As they explore, Lake notices that one person has moved. Turner (Patrick Allen) is a traitor who has sold out to the aliens. Straker and Lake tool up with some impressive hardware and hunt him down through the studio backlot. This is where the story takes on even more of a surreal edge, as Turner has the ability to move in time and therefore is able to stay a couple of steps ahead of them.

He also has a nice line in mocking taunts as he attempts to pay Straker back for every slight, either real or imagined, he’s suffered over the years as one of SHADO’s foot-soldiers. And when Turner and Straker chase each other around the lot in children’s sports-cars you definitely know this isn’t a typical episode!

Eventually Straker works out a way to stop Turner and also manages destroy the UFO (although this is where there’s a little lack of logic – if the aliens are so powerful that they can freeze time, why send only one UFO?
This niggle apart, everything ties up by the end of the episode as we understand exactly why Straker was smashing up the equipment at the start of the story. A complex, imaginative and ultimately satisfying tale, Timelash is a cracking episode.

And Wanda Ventham looks absolutely gorgeous, which is the icing on the cake!
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michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
26. THE LONG SLEEP
SYNOPSIS:
A dead case has come back to life with a vengeance. Somewhere in a derelict farm house is a bomb of some kind planted by aliens ten years ago. But where is the farm? Catherine cannot remember. But there is one man who could help: Tim. She knows he is dead, yet when she catches sight of the male nurse in charge of her, she recognises the face. It's Tim! He is real. He has been brought back to life and he too, wants to know something that Straker is equally anxious to find out. What happened to the piece of mechanism Catherine took with her? He gives her an injection which, he says, will bring back her memory and the next thing that happens is that Straker receives an urgent call to see her. She recollects now where she dropped the mechanism, but Tim has got there first.

Where, though, is the farm? Straker has to give her another injection to recall that memory. He does so reluctantly, realising the danger and the terrible results that might, and do, come from it. Already, he is more than a little in love with her. Now it is a race against time to prevent the alien-controlled Tim exploding the deadly bomb.

Straker and Paul Foster reach him, but there is even more macabre drama ahead.


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