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THE TOMORROW PEOPLE-The Blue and The Green


Chase - Posted on 08 December 2009

THE BLUE AND THE GREEN

 

1-An Apple For Your Teacher

 

We see students playing at PE outside on a nice wide open field on grass at a school (nice outdoor location shots and one of the first if not the first location work done for a British children’s show). In art class, Stephen and other students are called by the student teacher in training, Elizabeth M’ Bondo (the spelling of this seems to come from the novels but fans have spelled it other ways over the years). She asks them to look at another student’s painting. This student Robert, a blond boy, has painted “The Change of Weather on Rexell Four.”  Earlier, Liz told Stephen he was using too much water. The bells ring and class is dismissed, some students leaving via filmed inserts and some leaving via video. Stephen asked Robert how he knew about the name of the planet. Robert tells him that he just made it up. Robert asks if Stephen is coming home ..possibly  on a bus? Stephen tells him, “No, I go home a different way.”  Stephen re-enters the school and wonders how Robert knew something. He then lifts his shirt! And under his shirt is his jaunting belt. He pressed it and jaunts.

 

Cue new credits which do not have Carol (YEAH!!!) and Kenny but do show Liz’s face, which gives away the fact that she will be one of the TP.

 

John is shirtless and arrives back to the Lab from a jaunt to the Caribbean, Galleon Island (s?). Stephen says, “Some do have jam on it,”  talking about John’s ability to do what he likes when he likes. He was swimming there. Stephen tells John about Robert, the painting, and Liz. He seems to have heard some of Liz’s unspoken thoughts and they both wonder if she is one of them and also about Robert. Stephen has been to Rexell 4 and knows Robert got it just right. Stephen wonders if Liz has heard his thoughts or communications with TIM and John. Stephen calls Liz a smasher meaning good looking. TIM warns Stephen not to push Liz too far, it could be damaging. Stephen balks about going to school, thinks it is a complete waste of time. John tells him now that Carol and Kenny are no longer living on Earth (no explanation given here but in the novels there are full explanations and in later TV stories, there are some), a school is a good place to look out for new TP. TIM tells Stephen he has to go to school or the authorities will be after him. TIM submolecularizes coke drinks for them. John has found a way to jaunt without all those funny lights (the first season jaunting had funny lights around them). John calls it the hyper spatial zonal shift but Stephen says, “Yeah, well whatever it was called.”

 

In the school, the painting seems to change color and when it looks dark and purple and stormy, everyone acts mean and fools around. Liz sends one of them, Ray Burdis (apparently a big actor on TV at the time and later maybe a producer) to the Head Master, despite his balking at this and that it’s always him she sends. Liz quiets them down but only until the painting changes with a yell from Robert to help Liz out, do they stop acting like savages and throwing things. Liz is apparently taking over for a Mr. Tripnal or as the kids call him Ole Tripe (this is also in a novel of the Tomorrow People) and Robert appreciates that. If she didn’t, they might be outside picking up trash on the playground. Liz asks if they respect the Head Master and one kid says they respect his cane, not him. She thinks that they should respect each other mutually.  In the hallway, Stephen asks Robert, looking away, if he really did know about a planet called Rexell 4. Robert denies this and when Stephen asks if Robert hears voice, Robert tells him he’s not crazy. 

 

Class dismisses and Liz returns to the art classroom and catches Stephen “half way through a jaunt” as he puts it. On the commentary, Nick Young jokes that Stephen had his hands down his pants (it looks like that when he puts his hands to lift his shirt to reveal the jaunting belt and then down to press the button on it!)! TIM thinks her reaction will be interesting. He tries to tell her that he and she are the same. She tries to tell him that he does a good ventriloquist act, doing voices of two people he calls TIM and John. She tells him she’s sure the other students would laugh at him and is surprised they haven’t made fun of him already. The reason, Stephen tells her, is that they can’t hear him, only she can. He tells her John is like they are but TIM is a computer.  Liz doesn’t believe Stephen’s explanations and gets angry. She tells him not to include her in his fantasy life.        

 

Stephen and John arrive back at the Lab. Stephen is in Speedo and wet suit, which John helps him take off (the wet suit, NOT the Speedo, damn it!). They talk again about Liz. Stephen thinks tomorrow he will take an apple to his teacher.

 

The next day as Stephen (with an apple from Australia since they are out of growing season in England at this time of year) tries again to convince Liz—she tells him that perhaps this school should get a psychologist and she’d haul Stephen off in front of him. The painting changes color again and in the classroom older boys start beating on a smaller black boy. Robert is helpless against a wall, upset. Liz comes in and the boys turn on her, ready to beat her up. Stephen was going to use his special powers twice, once to help the black boy and the second time to help Liz but John tells him not to. The painting changes again and the boys stop.  Stephen tries to talk to Liz again but she tells him to stop involving her and to not call her Liz, she is Miss M’Bondo to him.    

 

Later, Stephen tells John what Liz needs is someone that she doesn’t see as a student/pupil, someone she sees as more than half human, someone closer to her own age: John. John shows Stephen a painting by another sci fi fan Gavin Watkins that also seems to change and that is of a planet called QX5—the Galactic Federation Code name for the planet and the picture is an exact representation of it. It was for a  Children’s Art Competition and it was in the Observer! And in that school of the boy, there have been reports of violence. In another place, a priest exorcized a painting at Kingsbenty. John and Stephen go to the school after school hours and look at the painting. John realizes how overt the influence of the painting really is, cannot detect anything unusual about it, and he starts to try to remove it from the hallway wall to bring it to the Lab. Stephen thinks that could be dangerous. Liz shows up before John can take it down. Their meeting goes well for a few minutes but Liz then realizes John is the voice Stephen spoke about so John tries to tell her the truth. He is a special powered being. Liz tells him that she looked up Stephen’s records and there is nothing there that shows him being  a special being. She believes Stephen is in need of serious help and that John is corrupting Jamieson. Liz storms off to tell the Head Master. John jaunts in front of her to stop her. She screams and starts to cry and have a break down…rather a break out. As John and Stephen flank her on both sides and help her to a chair in a room, she starts to break out and hears voices all calling her (what this means in TP history is curious…no one could call out to John when he broke out because there were no others; yet here, Stephen and John aren’t calling out to her…at least not consciously…is she hearing the thoughts of EVERYONE ELSE? Do TP before they break out here the voices of all? Sometimes it is suggested that they do and sometimes it is suggested that they only hear other TP; the novels and comics are no help either, they are inconsistent with the show as with each other and internally among their own novels and comics stories).   Liz wants to get away from them but can’t. They put her in a chair.  

 

Stephen tells Liz she is becoming one of them. Liz gets more and more upset and runs out. Stephen jaunts in front of her to stop her and she jaunts, screaming. Stephen feels at least this proves she is one of them. John says, “Ahh, perhaps was one of us. She’s jaunted indiscriminately and out of control. She could be anywhere.” 

 

Stephen says, “We’ve got to find her.”

 

John says, “Where do we start looking? On Earth or in space? We don’t even know if she’s alive or dead.”

 

REVIEW:  well now. That’s more like it. More location shooting, in fact a gamble for a kid’s show. And it pays off. Even though the film inserts are a bit off setting to the video shots and the Lab shots, it all pays off and looks rather grand and expensive in a way. Now that the awful Carol and the poorly conceived and acted Kenny are gone (thank goodness) we can get on with the characters we like and let the premise relax a little and spread its wings all at the same time. The whole “who is a TP” premise is a great one and here it is expressed for all its worth. Is Robert one? Is Liz one? Unfortunately the opening credits give us both answers and perhaps for this one they should have just had John and Stephen’s faces in the credits. It’s nice and not odd that the TP just relax and soak up the sun and swim and scuba dive.  There’s some gay references and interest here but why bother with all that? The story of the paintings is a good one and mysterious, something I’m not sure of how it would turn out.  Even though Liz Adare wears  a wig and not her traditional African hair style (back then…they wouldn’t allow it), she’s reams farther along in acting ability than Kenny or Carol’s portrayers. TIM continues to be charming and a leader in a way; John continues to be smug and a leader in a way.  Wow in trying to find out the planet’s name of QR7, it might be QXR7, I found many TP fan sites have vanished. There used to be one that had pics of all the TP, all the gear, all the aliens, all the planets, every character. How do sites just vanish? It’s sad really. Anyway a fine ep, this is. Liz is a welcome actor and character; Stephen just excels, Robert proves interesting already. There’s no sidekick like Ginge or Lefty! Yeah!!!! But that might soon change. Boo! Although Chris was so much better than Ginge or Lefty. Mike Standing might have broke his leg or ankle when a motorbike fell on it during filming something that might have been called APPLE. In any case, this story starts off well! And it’s so much better than THE VANISHING EARTH. And the funny lights for jaunting are gone. The show just got loads better.      

 

2

 

The Changing Picture

 

John and Stephen change into new improved felt, blue AE suits (Stephen with a dangling tube) and go after Liz since TIM tells them that she could not jaunt into outer space or under the ocean.  She is most likely at the norm coordinates of real space ---the area of the school but in hyper space. Stephen finds Liz floating in hyperspace (sometimes achieved by having the actors standing on a brick!) and he and John approach, taking their helmets off (Nick Young makes a rude joke about this on the commentary) so as not to frighten her. She jaunts again and TIM surmises she jaunted back to the school. Sure enough the pair find her there, finishing her break out, John telling her it is all over.  

 

Stephen, John and Liz arrive back at the Lab after a taxi ride where they told the driver they were doing an advert for Man In the Moon Milk Bars. (On commentary Nick Briggs—who really had no right to be there---says it would have been nice to see that taxi ride and indeed I agree). Liz looks around and says, “So, this is the Batcave.”  John introduces her to the word Lab and to TIM, whom she, at first thinks is the name of the cat. TIM tells her that he does not have spools and things but instead he has tubes and bubbles filled with living fluids and is capable of original thought.  Liz is glad: she’s not good with mechanical things, she tells him. John tells Liz that Carol and Kenny are two other TP who are no longer living on Earth. They have joined the Galactic Federation but John corrects himself and says they’ve joined Overmind, which advises the Galactic Council. John tells them that Kenny will pop in from time to time to visit but Carol has fallen in love with an Adensian counselor. (In one or two of the novels’ short stories, they name him and describe him as almost bird like and in time, Carol gets married and has a child with him, also named in the novel).  A spaceship had to come and collect Kenny’s mom to take her to the Galactic Trig. No one mentions or explains what the Trig is.

 

School starts the next morning (Pauline Quirk is there). The kids start singing, “Why are we waiting.”  They are rowdy. In the Lab, Stephen has to go and wake Liz up in a sleeping area of the open Lab. He tells her that she looks great, beautiful. He tells her that he always leaves at this time and is never late as Liz worries that she will be late for school. The picture has changed and the class unruly. Stephen tells Liz, as they jaunt into the school, that TIM checks if the coast is clear before letting them jaunt in.

 

After the entire school day, Liz and Stephen jaunt in, Liz glad that this beats the underground. It was a tough day for Stephen and the picture stayed stormy all day. Liz believes in the young but that belief took a battering today. John wants to go back to the school and Stephen balks, “What now?”  The trio return to the hallway to look at the picture. John thinks there might be a picture under it but Stephen thinks that is stupid. John wants to take it back to the Lab to do what Stephen calls a microscopic examination of it. When Liz tells him no, John tells her she can just say she entered it into a competition or something but Liz tells him that they know it is not just a picture and that it could be like the Trojan Horse. Perhaps someone wants them to take it into the Lab. They jaunt out and a caretaker or some man comes in and says, “Who the hell left these lights on?”

 

At night, Liz is in the Lab in a bed and talks to TIM. TIM tells her John does not have a job. Liz tells him that John doesn’t really need one. TIM is glad that she will stay in touch with real people and that John is out of touch with ordinary people. Liz believes that being a teacher will help others but that also she might be able to spot new potential TP. She likes her job but wouldn’t mind it being a bit easier. She says good night but hopes that the picture will stay clear tomorrow. Liz is very kind and likable but that statement shows that she’s accepted the wild: and the creepy: the painting is in control of the day!

 

The next school day, Robert asks Liz if he can out badges he made at home. She lets him and takes a blue one. Stephen (in nifty crushed velvet blue jacket) takes a green one. Note: Liz calls most of the students by their last names except Robert.

 

At the same time, Chris Harding, Ginge’s younger but tough brother, comes into the Lab, allowed in by TIM. He has his shirt torn so we can see a lot of his bruised chest and his lip is bleeding. In what is a strange way to introduce a new character, Chris is wearing a green badge. Ginge chose to be a blue so they had to fight. John asks if that means Ginge has joined the Conservative Party. Chris tells John that Ginge is always on about how clever the TP are but he begins to wonder and acts angry. John takes the badge off and Chris tells John that Ginge is in hospital. In the TV show, Ginge fell off his motorbike. In reality Mike Standing’s motorcycle fell on his leg. Chris puts his badge back on. (On the commentary, Nick Young says that Mike Standing is now passed on.) John will go see Ginge in the hospital and before he leaves, he tells Chris to take the badge off.    

 

Back at school, the picture changes and a strange noise happens but no one seems to hear it. Everyone wearing blue badges starts to fight with everyone wearing green badges. Stephen and Liz tangle with each other but Stephen tells her to take her badge off and she does. He takes his off, too or something. Two wrestling kids knock into Stephen from behind. When the fighting clears, a student is on the ground, hurt. Seth Barlett is unconscious it seems. The picture has changed back to clear again. Liz orders Jonathan and Andrews or Andrew to get help. She tells Seth he will be all right but he looks in a bad way.

 

Later, Stephen says goodbye to Liz and he asks what has happened. Liz tells him that she is not in trouble because as a student teacher, she shouldn’t have been left in charge of the class alone anyway. She is going to visit Seth’s house to see if he is all right. Stephen tells her she will be the best teacher. They part.

 

In the Lab, John tells Stephen, who’s eating a melon (and he was eating spaghetti in the last ep), that he wants to take a video of that picture. Stephen knows that means another trip back to the school. “Oh no.” Stephen feels he might as well be in boarding school for all the time he spends there now.   John moves to get the camera (which looks like a peep show device) but Stephen remains behind and teleports the melon into his hand and eats some more of it. Before they leave, John asks TIM to take care of Liz while they are gone. TIM says, “It will be my pleasure.”  John says, “Careful TIM, don’t get your tubes in a tangle.”   They go to the school and set up the camera.  

 

Liz leaves Mrs. Barlett and her house after thanking her for the tea and is glad that Seth will all right and she will see him in a few days. Liz starts to walk home at night. It’s a strange, creepy and menacing walk. She sees two boys wrestling on the leaves below the apartments (the council estate). They ignore her to stop. As she moves across the second floor but outside the apartments, two girls block her way and laugh at her. She has to push through them and go down steps. They purposely, from above, drop a flower pot just behind her  as she gets to the street level, and the girls laugh.

 

Stephen alerts John that the sunny, bright picture has changed to the stormy one.

 

Liz, inadvertently followed by a gang of boys who seem fine one moment and evil the next, stops outside an pawn/art shop. She sees a similar painting to the one Robert drew. It is in the window of the shop. Suddenly, she finds herself surrounded by the group of boys, their faces distorted (by close ups and the camera lens)  and mean now. The sound of the picture tingles out, almost bell like. One boy seems to lick his chops as if he has evil intentions…                

 

REVIEW: Just amazing. Despite the fact that both Chris Chittel and Nick Young are good actors, they don’t quite pull off the Chris-badge entrance scene. It’s very…stilted and strange. Liz Adare continues to shine and her interplay with PVC is outstanding. The plot thickens and the fear is that it will not be lived up to in the following eps but it sort of is. The strangeness of it all is apparent. Stephen continues to be an engaging and charming character and PVC lives up to that as well. There’s something creepy about Liz going to sleep wishing the painting will stay clear the next day AND her long walk home as the chill in the air is more from the approaching violence. The last scene of her being nearly attacked seems almost like a near rape with long camera angles, close ups and distorted lenses to make the boys look really menacing…and it all works. In addition, Liz and John, Liz and TIM have great rapport, too. The ep is just about perfect and a nice sense of sci fi, horror, and adventure. The film stuff works just as much, if not more than the video stuff. True, the chromakey could be better but why complain when you’ve got a cracking mystery and a good looking cast who can act…and stuff to look forward to. Too bad the series couldn’t stay this way for…well, forever. As it is, it stays this way for a few years. Oh and on the commentary, we hear Nick Young say something like, “We never do find out what John’s predilections are, do we?” Hmmm.      Of note: PVC seems to giggle during a Hyper Space scene and it looks as if he’s just standing on a floor being Chromkeyed in!          

 

3-The Trojan Horse

 

John and Stephen rush to Liz’s aid, scaring the rough necks into running away. Stephen says, “Bullying yobs. I wish we weren’t so peaceful, then I’d show em.”  On the commentary PVC says that he couldn’t remember his lines and it was late at night when they were filming and everyone was getting mad at him so he changed them slightly and to be honest, it sounds better his way. The line was supposed to be different at the start and at the end, which said something like I wish we weren’t so non violent. In any event, John takes Liz back to the Lab and starts telling her that in those instances just jaunting away is the best way to deal with those situations. Liz tells him that it is all so new to her and she just didn’t think of that. Stephen finds the video recorder smashed and the tape gone. He comes back to the Lab with it and John starts to scold him about it but he tells John it wasn’t him. They discuss that it might be Robert and that Robert might be an alien, something Liz accepts after what she’s been through the last few days. It could have been someone the picture controlled, too. TIM shows them a news report about riots in Tokyo. The police took sides in a battle of blues and greens.  The blue and green madness seems to be happening all over the world.

 

The next day at the shop, John arrives to try to buy the picture and finds an old man there just as the old man kicks out a customer. The old man seems cheap and not quite in his right mind at times. He tells John that his grand son, Robert, is not really his grandson, he’s adopted. After bargaining, the old man sells the painting to John for 3 pounds. John wants to talk to Robert but the old man says that his grandson is away at school and ushers John out. 

 

Back at the Lab, John wants TIM to examine the painting. He hears the same news he found out about Robert from Liz and Stephen, who’ve found out the same thing. Robert has invited Stephen over to his place after school. The grandfather gives money to Robert for having sold the picture, calling the money shillings. The old man starts to examine and wipe down Stephen’s jacket, seeming to want to buy it. Robert ushers Stephen away and into the colorfully lit cellar. There, four more paintings hang over an arch and there is another one on a table. When Stephen claims Robert has been busy, Robert mentions help from friends. Robert also has green and blue badges. Robert admits to Stephen that he is adopted and that money comes every month but he’s not sure from where. Robert mentions he has parents, sort of  or that he can hardly remember them. Stephen tries to make it sound great, telling him at least his grandfather doesn’t turn the telly off in the middle of a good horror film. On the commentary, PVC tells us that his favorite show was LOST IN SPACE!  GREAT TASTE! Nick also tells us that at that time PVC also liked horror films, of the type that were gory. PVC tells us that he liked all the Dracula films. Nick claims that horror movies of that time were not gory and disgusting like they are now. Granted, that is true but he’s never seen the 1970s BLACK CHRISTMAS (which had another name, too and starred Olivia Hussey and Kier Dullea).  Robert tells Stephen he doesn’t watch TV and Stephen thinks he’s a strange one, all said. Stephen tells him that he does not approve of the blue and green sides thing and asks him to stop. He notes about Northern Ireland but Robert yells that this is nothing like that. He asks Stephen to help him move some boxes but Stephen sees a door covered by what looks like a bars and behind it may be a cell. Why Robert won’t let Stephen in there is never revealed…but later it’s used as a cell.

 

Lab: Stephen returns with a new painting from Robert. TIM does a neutron examination of the painting John bought, starting out with the lightest of rays. The picture reacts and seems to have a defense against such a thing. If the defense fails, the picture has a fail safe that will destroy it and this is what happens when TIM steps up the ray examination. Stephen wonders if they should try the picture he brought back from Robert but TIM feels that the same result will happen. He also finds out that there is no Robert. Officially, Robert does not exist. Liz wonders if he is a mirage but TIM tells her nothing so exotic. Somerset House has no records of him, and he does not figure in on the returns to County Hall. From the cellar, and using a new painting to key in on the Lab via the painting Stephen has brought back, possibly, Robert spies on them. His face turns colors.

 

Later, TIM talks to Liz at night, just before she goes to bed.

 

The next day at school, kids are dropped off and a white van is around. Inside, there is a shot from a long lens, distorted. The students have paired off into blue and green factions, on either side of the classroom. Liz tells them to stop this, there are enough color problems in the world.  She gets Johnson and Todd to face each other, knowing that they are the best of friends most of the time. Todd spits in Johnson’s face and they fight. The entire room breaks out into a fight. The picture changes but Todd is on the floor. After Johnson tells Liz he didn’t know what he was doing, Johnson is taken away by police.

 

As Liz, Stephen, and John eat dinner, John hopes the rest Liz’s teaching career is not going to be like this. TIM tapped into the medical computer and found out that Todd is okay and will be released but Johnson, they figure, will be charged. Stephen noticed that Robert stared at the picture and it changed. As Teacher in Charge (I thought she was not supposed to be?) Liz will be a key witness. John tells her to watch what she says or they will think she is mad.

 

TIM tells the TP that similar fights have broken out in Glasgow, Leeds, and Bristol and in some incidents, boys have been killed. In Birmingham, blue badge wearing boys knifed a teacher who joined the green. Liz comments that it kind of serves him right but earlier didn’t she join in???  And if they are being controlled, what kind of a thing is that to say? Robert spies on them again, his face full of colors. He seems to smile an evil smile.  John thinks Stephen cannot get more info as Robert is probably suspicious of him already.

 

The next day (?) John returns to the shop just after the old grandfather finds a bird cage that he mentions the bird has flown the coop. The old man gave it to a woman he calls Mrs. Endthistle and she leaves. John enters and the old man dodders on about there being no room for rent and something wrong with pipes or something like that. He also says there are no refunds when John asks about the picture. When John wants to see painter and tries to go down to the cellar, Robert seems to control the old man hypnotically, from downstairs. The old man will not let John go down.  He kicks John out and Robert says, “Now leave him to me.”

 

In the Lab, sitting around the link table, Chris, John, Liz, and Stephen discuss what is going on. The picture changes. Chris gasps, “Cripes!”  Liz, summoning up her Trojan Horse idea, thinks they should get rid of it. Stephen and she rush to it but suddenly, John is controlled by it and turns on them. John grabs Stephen, who yells, “Hey, watch it, John!”  Mentioning something about them being non violent,  Chris intervenes and throws John off Stephen, “All right, kid?”  as if he doesn’t know Stephen that long. Next, John uses his telekinesis to throw things around the lab. As they watch, John yells and vanishes in a strange alternating light that is not a jaunt… On the commentary, Nick Young tells us how the whole crew laughed at him when he attempted his first yell…it came out all girlie and high pitched.

 

REVIEW: Truth be told, while I like this story a great deal, there’s a great deal about it that…just sort of lingers on too long and this episode is where that starts and is part of the problem. We already saw a class brawl and we see another one. That ends the same way. Liz cites a teacher joining in and sort of says he got what he deserves when this same ep says that…they can’t help it but she does help it in this ep but didn’t earlier in the last ep. Stephen and Robert’s friendship is nice and deserves more attention. Chris is just about a cameo here. The cliffhanger is nice and there is some nice imagery but maybe it would have been more menacing to have the old man a bit…well, more menacing or something. He slows down the entire thing IMO. Not that this is a bad ep, it’s not and it’s not embarrassing. It’s just…that this story could have been shorter at four parts. As it stands, it’s good but not the classic that ALMOST EVERYONE  seems to think it was. It is probably remembered more for being the time that the show takes off in characterization and gloss and deeper scripts compared to THE VANISHING EARTH and as it stands that is true. There’s also more and more of Price’s pontificating about things and he’s pretty good at it without making it sound too preachy. PVC is better at these kinds of lines than Nick Young frankly and that might be perhaps because Nick and Roger Price’s views were or might have been polar opposites. Still, this moves fast and isn’t terrible. The cellar is a good set and Jason Kemp is a good alien/enemy/maybe bad guy. He also played the boy under the waterfall in BOX OF DELIGHTS with Patrick Troughton where…he wears very little. Not Patrick, Jason. I’m not sure he appears  with Troughton though. That is a very good children’s serial btw, long but good and very very holiday.     Of note, I always thought the male customer was Roger Price and the female Ruth Bozewell, the two behind the show’s production and direction but there’s no proof of that.                                                           

4-Cuckoo In the Nest

 

Another difference between this show and DW is that there is a very short opening credit theme and then the reprise of last week’s cliffhanger and then the main theme. The main theme is played over—and the theme song is one of the best TV ever came up and rivals DW’s theme song---over images that represent breaking out and the faces of the TP cast are inside some of the images which include, a hand opening, a flower, an embryo, a building construction site, a honey comb and other images. Then the fade into this week’s story… in any first ep of a story there is a prolog and then the theme…  

 

Chris complains that he thought the TP was supposed to be non violent. Stephen tells him under normal circumstances they are. Stephen insists that whatever happened to John, he did not jaunt. John is in a cell in the cellar  of Robert’s and he looks out and sees Robert turning all colorful and negative with lights superimposed over him. TIM tells Liz, Stephen, and Chris that all the young people like Robert are being cared for by elderly people of the same sex as the child/teenager, none of the elderly can remember a time when they were not caring for their ward or how they came to be caring for them. Every week money arrives from a trust fund in a numbered Swiss bank account.

 

On the commentary, Nick Young tells us how he felt that there were too many TP and that it was difficult to find things for all of them to say and do and for lines to be given to more than three. Five he thought was too many but at the same time, he also says that the premise was that more and more of them should have broken out but that the show went on longer than anyone knew it would. PVC didn’t realize it went on that long.

 

TIM tells Liz, Chris, and Stephen that these children are in schools but that there are some people in colleges using the paintings and the blue and green badges. TIM has an idea but he tells Liz that Stephen will tell her that he doesn’t like to commit  himself  before he has all the facts. Liz taunts him to do so since John’s life is in danger and so are many other lives. TIM’s theory is that aliens in space have many ingenious ways of transporting themselves through space and that non telepaths may have found a way to transplant their offspring onto other planets. Stephen wonders if that is true—then how can the transplanted ones get off the planet. Liz has a theory, too but doesn’t want to share it. She thinks it is impossible. Stephen tells her to share it, “No, nothing’s impossible.”  Liz compares the alien offspring to cuckoos, that can fly away from the nest, leaving the planet they’ve been sent to be born on. She thinks it is ridiculous but  TIM calls it ingenious. Stephen straps on a stun gun holster under shoulder and rather butch, decides he doesn’t care, “Whatever Robert is, he’s got John.” 

 

Stephen jaunts straight into the shop at night and goes to the door to the cellar. He has to use his special powers to unlock the door and he goes down stairs. He looks at the badges but then finds John in the cell behind the cell bar door. John tells him that something down here is keeping him from using his special powers. Stephen cannot contact TIM or Liz. He tries to open the cell door but John tells him to get out of there as Robert comes down the steps, lit up and looking very alien. He knows Stephen is down here. Stephen fires the stun gun but it has no effect. Robert’s power starts to affect Stephen’s head but following John’s advice, Stephen makes a run for it, past Robert and up the steps and out the shop door.

 

As he runs down an alley way, Stephen is plagued by the sounds of dogs barking and howling, bins crashing, and birds screeching. Leaves blow all over the place. In a rather effective sequence, this is shown to be Robert’s power coming up against Stephen, who flees for his life. He reports this to Liz and Chris in the Lab. Chris tells them it is time he pays this Robert character a visit with two of his mates. Night: Chris opens the shop door, picking the lock, and he and two pals (one of them with very long hair and looking like one of the thugs who tried to “attack” Liz in the cliffhanger at the end of ep 2) sneak in, Chris holding the bell on the door. One of the mates tries to take something. Chris tells him  that there will be no nicking things until after the job is done. The trio sneak down the cellar. The mates seem to have what PVC calls Holloway (Mike?) hair. And tight trousers and flares!

 

Downstairs, the 2 mates start to steal blue and green badges, fight off Chris when he tries to stop them, and generally knock about the place, wondering what is behind a wall of shelves. This happens as Chris makes contact with John who is still behind the cell door and open window in the door.  John tells Chris that it is probably the pictures affecting is friends and tells him to get out. The two mates leave the cellar and get out the door. The grandfather comes down from up steps and bed, with an old rifle. He calls to Robert to call the police and he accidentally shoots the ceiling, pieces of which fall down. As Chris emerges from the cellar, the grand father points the rifle at him but tells Chris to wait until he reloads. Chris makes a run for it. The grandfather fires at him. Chris runs down an alley. The grandfather fires and falls onto his back at the same time.

 

Back at the Lab, Stephen gives Chris full marks for trying but he and Liz and TIM didn’t expect Chris to succeed. They believe the mates were controlled by the paintings. Liz thinks it fantastic that anyone could hold John in a cellar and that they wouldn’t be able to rescue him. She plans on taking the picture in school down and destroying it.

 

The next morning, early, Liz tries to take the picture down but Robert arrives early also and with four other boys. As the bell like sound occurs, Robert warns her not to do that. He walks off and the four boys stare at Liz, threateningly. If she took it down, she later telepaths to Stephen and TIM, she thinks they would have killed her.

 

Robert leaves school, walks through a gate and down steps in what looks like an old field or park. When Liz calls what happened to Stephen, who appears to be taking the day off of school (!), Chris runs out of the Lab and to his jeep (in some scenes as PRX53L and in some as PRX534 or something). As Robert walks, Chris pulls his jeep up alongside him and grabs him, telling him he wants to talk about John. Robert pulls free, hits Chris, and runs, dropping a few books. Chris picks them up. Chris starts to follow Robert again but Robert has stopped a police car (HOB939L).  The police chase Chris since Robert told them he was bothering him. Chris takes his jeep off road and gets away. He flees to the Lab where Stephen covers his face when he hears that Chris threatened Robert, “Oh Chris!”  He shows Stephen and TIM the books. It is THE RISE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE by Gibbons. When TIM asks Stephen if he’d read it, Stephen says no, it is 6 volumes. In the 6th century factions nearly destroyed civilization and took down the empire---wearing blue and green badges. TIM feels he should have made the connection earlier than this.  

 

In school, a blond student named Howard sits next to a black student and tells Liz that there is a smell near where he sits. Liz tells him there is no smell. Howard tells him it is the smell of blue. The black student and Howard start to fight, egged on by the girls (Pauline again) and others. Others start to fight as well. Liz telepaths to Stephen, who rushes to the jaunt pad and jaunts to school. Upon entering, he finds everyone fighting. He manages to pull Liz out just as two older men rush in, one of them with a cane. The man with the cane hits a few students and hits a desk, too.

 

At the shop, Robert tells his grandfather that is leaving him. Hypnotically, the grandfather will obey and tell the police that Robert has disappeared.

 

TIM tells Chris that violence has erupted all over the school and he fears Liz and Stephen need his help. Chris was hiding out in the Lab, laying on one of the beds. Chris rushes out.

 

The cell room: Robert comes to John, wanting to find out what he is. He tells John they are going on a little journey.  The grandfather informs the police that his grandson has vanished.

 

The police spot Chris and chase the jeep through the streets, the city and what looks like an empty suburb. We hear the action music from THE SLAVES OF JEDIKIAH for the first time in what seems awhile.

 

At the school, Liz tells the police that Robert is only gone for what seems like four hours and maybe he’s gone to the cinema, some kids do leave school, skipping out on it. Chris arrives, to help Liz and Stephen but sees the police and runs. Students in the hall block the police from Chris by accident as the police spot Chris in turn.  There is a huge chase and at first, Chris seems to have the upper hand, going the opposite direction from the police but they soon catch up. Chris smashes through a barrier and down a hill and is knocked out for a short time. An old policeman gets out of his car and goes down to the hill and pulls an awakening Chris out of his jeep.

 

In the Lab, Stephen balks at TIM’s list of Chris’s illegal activity: driving recklessly, assault, robbery…Stephen tells TIM that is just because Chris was helping them. TIM tells Stephen that Chris cannot say that. But yet that’s exactly what Chris does. He tells the police about a friend named John with Special Powers! Of note in the lab  are two farther red doors, two view screens, one of which shows the end credit DNA symbols or genetic code like bubbles and squiggles. The entire set is better lit and colorful and looks great. On the commentary, we note that Stephen seems to be taking on the John role. PVC laughs that it didn’t work out that way.

 

Chris brings the police to the shop to search it. As the police go down the cellar with Chris, the grandfather takes a statue out and mumbles about hiding the stolen property, putting a cap over the statue’s head. Chris has told the wry, sarcastic and somewhat ineffective police inspector about his friend John with the special powers and how he was hidden behind a cell door. Which now seems covered up by shelves and maybe even bricks. The inspector says stuff to Chris about Chris trying to pull the old Tweetie Bird act on the bike (is this a left over from when it was supposed to be Ginge? And the motorbike? Perhaps originally it was supposed to be Ginge chasing Robert on his motorcycle?). He also asks Chris is he were to kiss him (!) would he turn into a princess. He has had enough fairy stories and tells Chris to come along. Chris seems to go crazy and starts pulling at the shelves, yelling, “John! They sealed him up! They sealed him up”  or possibly, “They pulled him out! They pulled him out!”  A very uneven and ineffective cliffhanger.

 

On the commentary as the ep ends, PVC balks that this is not the finale ep of this story and he curses. Nick Briggs purposely didn’t tell him that. PVC is bleeped out on the UK version of this commentary but on the Australia version of the commentary. It’s very funny. I wonder what he said but I’ll have to check the Australian version. Probably something that starts with an s or f.                          

 

REVIEW: Welp, this furthers the story along but…again we have more of the same and what is different is centered on Chris. John is out of action for a long time; Stephen is still great but he’s relegated to remaining in the Lab while Chris gets most of the action. There’s some atmosphere in the alleyway as Stephen runs for it, Robert makes a great villain. BUT the Chris stuff dominates and frankly, he’s not a great character here. He is much better in A RIFT IN TIME, THE DOOMSDAY MEN, and SECRET WEAPON. Here, he comes off as a criminal, not very smart, not very kind and also, in telling about John, not very loyal, despite the fact that he is in trouble thanks to the TP. Liz does very little here too but does come up with the theory. There’s more grandfather stuff and it’s somewhat funny but not for belly laughs. But good God, the show looks gorgeous. Adare and PVC look SO very PRETTY, even Chris looks good. The chases are well done, even if they don’t involve the TP at all. The Lab looks good and the ideas are still coming..cuckoos indeed. Not a great ep but entertaining and original but again, this story is one ep too long and this one might be the ep that is too long although ep 3 was also a bit of filler retreading the same things over and over and over. It’s not hard to see how this is the last 5 part story.     

                       

5-The Swarming Season

 

So after the reprise, the Police Inspector tells Chris that there is dust on the shelves and its been there for years. The grandfather comes down and recognizes Chris from the other night. The inspector muses that if it were a murder investigation they would have given it to someone from Scotland Yard and not to him. As he does this, Chris runs past him, up the steps, and locks the door. He calmly disposes of the key into the cash register and leaves.

 

In a strange psychedelic room with purple walls, white ceiling with black lines and other oddities, John sits. Robert, in a cape and alien outfit, walks down steps and talks to John, ready to tell him what is going on.

 

In the Lab, Chris returns, telling Stephen and Liz that he’s not known as Houdini Harding for nothing. TIM tells Chris that when the current blue and green crisis is over he will destroy all the computer records pertaining to Chris in the police computers and one of the TP will erase the memories of the policemen involved.

 

Robert tells John he and his kind are born on Earth and are from the Earth but not of it. John doesn’t understand. Robert goes on and tells him that he never knew his parents. Their kind fly through space freely like birds but need to be hatched on other planets. What John thinks of as eggs are made to look like the dominant life form on the planet they are on: in this case the “eggs” are Robert his fellow aliens who are ready to hatch and begin a life as the true forms…after they hatch they swarm into space, away from Earth. The problem is that they have to channel energy to do this: violent energy that comes from fighting and other violence.  Robert’s mother was the only one on Earth in the past and she caused the blue and the green business in Constantinople in Rome and brought about the fall of the Roman Empire. And that was just one hatching. It is unclear if she was born or if this was when she gave birth. It seems to be the former. John tells Robert they can’t do anything to harm the Degenitelli or whatever they are called: the TP have no violent energy. Robert believes him because he expected John’s friends to come and try to release him using violent energy and that didn’t happen (it didn’t? Didn’t Chris try some violence?). John tells him they will try to find some way of getting the violent energy Robert needs and save the Earth at the same time. Robert lets John go free.

 

In the Lab, Liz asks TIM if it is perhaps time they contact the Galactic Trig to ask for help in freeing John…when John appears and tells them the situation. TIM tells them that the Trig and his records have no information on this alien species.

 

Two more aliens join Robert in his alien room as Robert starts to paint a picture of the Earth. The hatching is about to begin. Philip Gilbert, who joins the commentary for this episode only, remarks that they are meant to be androgynous and it doesn’t matter what the other aliens are. They all look like alternately boys and/or girls. With long blond hair like the children in VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (both versions, the original which was followed by CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED, who had different color hair). Here in the TP ep, these new aliens obviously wear wigs in this ep.

 

John, Liz, TIM, and Stephen discuss the world situation, which is worsening with riots all over. John tells them if they try to stop the riots, thousands of the aliens will die; Liz counters that if they don’t thousands of human beings will die. John broods, “People are gonna die whatever we do.”  As riots continue, Stephen notices Chris sleeping and fidgeting in his sleep. Stephen calls it Rapid Eye Movement sleep. Stephen (his hair suddenly a mess on the right side) wakes him up and finds out that Chris was dreaming  of violence, what he will do to that Robert kid if he ever found him. “Chris, do you often dream of violence?”  Stephen asks him as if he doesn’t. Liz is negative about this info…all they have to do is put everyone in the world to sleep and make them dream of fighting. She asks if she comes back next week can she be given the winning number to the jackpot. About that…?

 

Two more aliens join Robert’s group as he continues to paint the Earth. Riots continue. Some of it seems to be stock footage from riots in Paris in 1968.

 

Stephen has his head on his hands as he muses in the Lab. He has an idea: stun guns. Liz is negative again: “all we have to do is run up and down every street in the world stun guns blazing.”  Stephen argues, “No giant stun guns out in space.”  John and TIM are keen on the idea. They do not have any other ideas. They can use the WatchDog Satellite to make a stun gun but they will need a bunch of other stuff that John gives them on lists. They have to obtain this stuff. Chris tells them if the whole world is going to break out in one big fight, he’s going to do where he can be of some use. He leaves in his jeep.

 

NOTE: The Watch Dog satellites are explained more in the novels and possibly a few of the comics. They seem to be a series of satellites originally set up by the United States and possibly other countries including Russia that have been abandoned and/or taken over by the Galactic Federation who helped the TP convert them to watch for any aliens that may come to Earth.  John later also calls it SKYLAB. WTF?

 

Two more fem/male aliens arrive at Robert’s. The painting of the Earth is almost complete.     

 

Stephen (for some reason on the commentary, everyone thinks it is John but to be fair, it’s hard to tell who is who when they are wearing the AE Suits) appears inside a trash metal container as a trash man is using a crane and a magnet on the end of it to move garbage. Stephen uses some kind of device to transport it out of the air and into space. Once in space, he and John go about using it to make the giant stun guns needed to put the world to sleep. Liz, John, and Stephen hurry to do other things to convert the Skylab/WatchDog into the stun gun.

 

While they do this, Chris’s jeep goes under an archway but comes out backwards, trying to avoid police cars. Chris’s jeep seems to read PHX534. The police, after a chase, block Chris from two sides and they all stop. The sky is gray in the back. They will charge him for kidnapping and maybe murder. One frisks Chris against the front of the jeep.

 

As the hatching happens, the alien glow and turn into balls of light energy. The TP jaunt into the gravity deprived Skylab and continue operations. It works and they fire the stun gun. Chris and the police fall down. TIM divides the Earth into square regions and they continue to fire. Robert and the others get their energy as the whole world falls asleep. Everyone down is dreaming. There is a priest, too. In what seems to be 1960s nuclear warning tests, people are laying on cars and seemingly playing dead…and some of them are moving. There is a banner in the back of one of the cities that says Charles Pending or something or other. TIM is emotional, “You did it, kids! The whole world is asleep!!!”   Robert and the Degeneratelli (or whatever) balls leave the Earth, thanking John and the others. John says, “You’re welcome, only don’t come back.”  Robert tells them they have all of space to roam. A nice ending.

 

Only…in the Lab, Liz tells John how quiet it all is. Everyone is still asleep. They wonder how long it will last. Stephen, in the first of his skin tight sweaters or shirts with long sleeves, and a flatter hair cut, arrives, telling  them he erased the policemen’s memory of Chris. Everyone laughs, John getting a bit too over the top with his laugh..which continues into the next scene. Which is Chris waking up, the police inspector’s arm wrapped around his shoulder and neck. They don’t know him and want to know what he is playing at. “Who are you?”  Chris gets into his jeep as the police recover. They all drive away.

 

REVIEW:   Not the embarrassment that some other eps get to be later on.  It all could have gone so wrong. It doesn’t. This ep ends the story in style. If you think about it too long, it might not make sense. I mean just because someone is stunned, doesn’t mean they will go right into REM sleep. REM are short at the start of a night’s sleep and longer toward the end with maybe five or six times a night and possibly totaling 90 minutes or 120 minutes. In any case, it is a good solution to an almost unsolvable problem. In ANY OTHER tv show, including DOCTOR WHO, the idea would have been to kill the aliens. The TP cannot do that. Thus the solutions to their problems have to be more complex or simpler. The location work here works well including the magnet stuff. The Chris storyline gets only a small part here, thank goodness and we see the last of the grandfather in the opening of this ep., also thank goodness. The floating effects in space, the gravity less atmosphere, all of it really works, despite limited effects, sets, and money. I can see how others think this story is brilliant and in some ways it totally is but for me, it’s not as good as the next two or three that follow especially A RIFT IN TIME, THE DOOMSDAY MEN, and SECRET WEAPON, all the epitome of great TP stories.          

 

 

              

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