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THE TOMORROW PEOPLE-A Rift In Time
A RIFT IN TIME
1-Vase of Mystery
NOTE: throughout this ep, the floors are not shown clearly if at all. Nick Young, on the commentary seems to think this had to do with the strikes that plagued this series’ entire run—something to do with the fact that the floors hadn’t been painted properly.
In a hazy dream that Stephen is having, Peter, the Time Guardian seems to run through a forest; freeze framing and in trouble. Stephen wakes up in his striped bed with striped pillow case and wearing his collared yellow PJs. He shuts his eyes and seems to keep getting the images of his dream that won’t go away. He telepaths to John, telling him that he thinks he just had a dream that wasn’t a dream. John jaunts over to Stephen’s bedroom and wearing a brown night robe. Stephen tells him he didn’t have to come over to hold his hand and John tells him he was awake anyway (?). Stephen jokes that he should go on Hughie Green but John says this is serious: they’ve just had the same dream.
The theme song starts and …it’s a different arrangement. About the theme song: recently a CD of music was made and it has two versions of the theme song, both of them long and both of them seemed to have been edited for the first season and the rest of the run of the show. This ep seems to have been an experiment playing around with the arrangement, stressing some parts and distressing others, giving it an almost faster pace yet a calmer tone. It also ends faster and differently. It’s quite nice. On the commentary, Nick Young and others discuss how this theme song was lifted from some game show or other and that on that game show the contestants also vanish like a jaunt. Huh?
Also on the commentary, Peter Vaughn Clarke talks about how he looks like a monkey but Nick Young states that all of them look so beautiful. I’d have to agree with Nick. Earlier on PVC as Stephen had some kind of pimple on his chin and later he has some kind of cold sore on his nose or lip but either way, Stephen looks absolutely beautiful in this story. Ditto Liz Adare. Much is made on the commentary of her wig but honestly it looks fantastic and not like a wig at all. Nick says it’s very much like the Supremes. When Liz Adare notes his long sideburns and curly hair, he jokingly counters with “At least it’s my own.” Nick also makes some asides about Richard Speight’s acting and despite that I still like Richard Speight and the character. Nick also mercilessly teases PVC who is in good spirits all the time and has a good sense of humor and takes almost all of it.
Liz did not have the dream and it might be because she didn’t know Peter. Carol really knew him best, Stephen says. TIM tells John, Liz and Stephen that when Carol returned from her adventure in the future in 26th century hyper space, some 800 years into the future, he was able to probe her mind and create an accurate picture of what went on there. He shows them images of Peter the Time Guardian in a cell talking to Carol about who he is and what the Grand Eternal Order of Time Guardians is. John tells her that Peter is 163 and Liz, putting on lip stick in a mirror, jokes, “What kind of make up does he use?” John laughs, “This is serious.” TIM gets a transgalactic communication from Carol (and we laughingly see only a still picture of Sammie Winmill, although one of the credits in the end says Sammie Windmill!). She hopes that they will be able to figure out what is wrong and if Peter is in trouble, rescue him or help him somehow. John tells them Carol was very fond of Peter and would want them to help him. TIM tells them that transgalactic communication if very bad right now and that they can only receive, not send. Stephen figures that if Peter is in trouble, they have to not only figure out where but when he is. Liz doesn’t want to create more problems but she notes that since Time Travel is not yet one of their special talents, how are they going to get to him? TIM really has no ideas on this matter. He also tells them that he doesn’t dream as they do but he does sometimes have to switch parts of himself off in order to relocate information in a random way and that is a little like dreaming but he doesn’t dream in the normal sense. John, almost fatalistic, says, “No, of course you don’t.” He then smiles and tells them this is one time that sleeping on the problem really will come in handy.
Stephen dreams that night and sees Peter holding a vase up to him. When John jaunts over, Stephen smiles about putting flowers in it. On the commentary PVC says he wonders why he’s dreaming of young blond boys. Nick Young states, “No change there, then.” At the lab, Stephen is working in the dark room and we see a rare angle out of it into the Lab. TIM accesses the New York University Department of Antiquity’s records and they have 8427 items that he can show the boys. Stephen balks that it will take all night. TIM tells them it will help Peter and he assured Carol they will do all they can do to help Peter. Stephen says, “Still, all night.” They start.
Liz arrives in the Lab the next morning and finds the two almost asleep; Stephen stretches. They have been up all night looking at vases. TIM tells them it is time to get started again and he shows them one that John believes they have already seen. TIM tells them he has not shown them this one and only repeated ones that they requested they see twice. John realizes this is the vase in the dream. Liz tells them she brought them luck and that maybe next time they should have called her in. John agrees. The gladiator vase is in a sealed case after having been found by archeologist Professor Freda Gardner. John feels that they will have to steal it but Stephen has an idea…
In a university across from the House of Parliament (and we see out the windows and for all the great location shooting, it looks like a still photo, Thames and all!). Honestly, the location work is great but the poor filmic quality does not hold up as well as the video stuff in this ep and there’s little to no movement outside the windows. In addition, PVC believes this was shot across the street and maybe at St Thomas’s Hospital or something like that. On line there used to be so many TP sites and now there are few and they are not great and in addition there were location guides. In any event, Freda comes in to the university room which has a large series of windows overlooking the Thames and the Houses of Parliament. She seems to know Professor George (more on his first name later) Cawston’s work and is familiar with it but she says, “You must be Professor Cawston.” This implies she’s meeting him face to face for the first time. She calls his parapsychology work mumbo jumbo and wonders if she has been brought her to have her time wasted. Syliva Coleridge plays this woman and she plays a similar character later on in DOCTOR WHO-THE SEEDS OF DOOM. She’s very funny, wide eyed, high pitched voice and old. Cawston tells her that Stephen is a psychokinetic subject who’s been tested and…we hear the chimes, possibly of BIG BEN. Cawston tells her that the gladiator vase picture that Stephen holds when being tested seems to amplify his powers…of course this is a ruse by Stephen. Subjects studied at Duke University showed remarkable abilities. Using an old fashioned type writer type computer, Cawston will test Stephen’s ability. The computer will randomly pick a number between 2 and 12 and Stephen will use his mind to manipulate the dice to make that number. Stephen does this three times: the numbers 7, 5 and 12 are rolled. Cawston and Stephen wonder if holding the picture yields this much success, what would holding the real vase be like? It might be imbibed with some mystical energy that will give the holder more power if they can tap into it, Cawston figures. He convinces Gardner to bring the vase to them.
Later, she does. Stephen touches it and is genuinely surprised that he feels nothing. When Gardner wonders if this is a ruse, and gets all upset about it, Cawston takes her aside and tells her that psychokinetic subjects should not be made upset themselves because they are very sensitive. Gardner puffs this off as Cawston hiding behind a school boy. Stephen inquires about the lid that is in the picture. There are markings on it that haven’t been deciphered yet and she’s reluctant to give it to them. Cawston convinces her to do this…it’s in her handbag/brief case bag. Stephen holds it and then vanishes right in front of them with the lid.
Stephen appears in the Lab. John thinks it is a good thing Stephen got it and adds, “You were smart enough to do so without attracting a lot of undo attention.” Stephen tells him it wasn’t really like that. He’d like to see their faces when he jaunted, that’s all. When John inquires who and Stephen tells him. John calls Stephen an idiot. Stephen tells John that Cawston seemed such a nice man and he wanted to give him a little encouragement, that’s all. John balks that given enough encouragement and Cawston will be led straight to them. He tells Stephen that he’ll end up in a cage but that might be the best place for him. Stephen makes a face and is sorry. John tells him that soon the Professor will have them on telly bending forks and fixing watches. Stephen tells him they can much more than that. John says he knows that but he doesn’t want every Tom, Dick and scientist knowing that, to. Stephen is told by Liz that it was silly of him and Stephen apologizes. John doesn’t think much will come of it this time but then Liz wonders how if Stephen displayed TK and jaunted in front of them. John states because of the way the scientific mind works, if they can’t reproduce their results, they will not go about making a fuss of it or they will be laughed at. Stephen says he’s sorry, it seemed like a good idea at the time. John is convinced Cawston will keep quiet this time. They look at the lid and find markings on it. TIM asks, “If I may be permitted to have a look.” Stephen apologizes and puts it on the table. TIM’s light lights it up on the table and he says, “Mmmmm, yes.” They ask what he’s finding. He tells them that the markings display a way of making something that has neutron infraton diagrams—a circuit diagram of atomic particles used instead of transistors in making a device. Stephen flubs a line about this. It sounds natural to me but the commentary commentators find it very funny.
In judo lesson, Chris Harding feels he’s made some progress after getting tossed a few times. He manages to throw the instructor…a smaller kid with headband and from afar he looks not unlike Dean Lawrence who will play Tyso later on (and years later star in a small part in with Tom Baker—possibly not sharing any scenes in LIFE AND LOVES OF A SHE DEVIL and years after that, Dean will open up an adult store!).
As John works, using a microscopic device on the lab table and coming from the ceiling possibly, TIM tells him to cross hatch that interton into the beta modulator. Okay. As Chris enters with a red shirt and sweat pants, some very stylish music plays. The boys ignore him but Liz tells Chris that they are making something and don’t know what it is or what it will do once they finish it. Chris tells her he’s heard of some crazy people…Liz feels the same way and is glad they are not all round the twist (good show ROUND THE TWIST btw, strange though). They explain about Peter. Chris knows of Peter from things Ginge told him. Ginge is mentioned a few times by John and Chris. Chris tells them if this is to help Peter, he wants to be counted in.
In 1AD Peter is facing down a short but hairy bearded man named Guthrun. He is fighting with a sword and seems to be trying to tell the man that he can’t use a sword or kill or do any violence. (Later we find out that Guthrun is just training the boy). Guthrun tells ruler Gaius that the boy has no strength. Gaius tells him to put Peter up against the boy Bludrush, who Guthrun feels will kill the boy as Bludrush is a savage barbarian. Lothar brings Bludrush who attacks Peter before the signal is given. He is held back but then the signal is given and he attacks.
In the Lab, the disk is completed and if they followed the instructions correctly, it should work. TIM fits the pieces together in a last move, a final assembly, asking the others if they want to back out of this now as it could be dangerous. John doesn’t want to back out of it and Stephen agrees. Even though it could be unstable, they agree to try it out. TIM figures it has something to do with the disruption of time flow. Coming from a Time Guardian that makes sense. Chris picks it up figuring that if it came from Peter, it can’t harm them. It has no effect on him. Liz picks takes it from Chris, TIM telling them that the real test is when it passes into the hands of a true telepath. Liz just feels a slight tingling and that’s all (the commentary makes fun of this). They put it on the table and wait. It seems to be lighting up the table or maybe the music just makes it seem that way.
Bludrush knocks Peter down and is about to strike him dead.
In the Lab, time has passed. Liz is drinking coffee or tea; the others have sandwiches around and drinks. Stephen feels they can’t just leave it on the table so he reaches for it, touches it and vanishes in a puff of black smoke. John looks, “He didn’t jaunt. What’s happened to him? Where’s he gone?”
REVIEW: Writing this out took so much time. If anyone is reading this, let me know as it takes a lot of effort and time and I don’t know if I can continue this way. Also writing this out makes me realize how much of this is talk, talk, talk. Lots of good and fun talk but talk. It also furthers the characters’ personalities in ways that I felt STAR TREK and DOCTOR WHO never did. We know a great deal about how each of them will react and think. Too bad we didn’t get more background, family, and other personal stuff. I can’t help it: A RIFT IN TIME is just a wonderful story and this ep is just great anyway despite all the talk and back and forth. Nick Young on the commentary thinks that the shifting scenes is done to cover a lack of plot but honestly how can ANYONE think that of this story? There is so much plot and so much going on that it’s hard to ignore how genius this story really is. It’s amazing that a kid’s show can not only have a lid of a vase be sending a message after over a thousand years but to have the whole subplot of Cawston AND Chris and the dream…is just amazing. Carol doesn’t really return but Peter does and seeing her makes one wonder why they linked Carol into this so soon after Liz’s brilliant start and Carol’s poor…well, entire run, really. I guess it’s because Peter is linked more to Carol than anyone else. Honestly though, the start of Prof Cawston is just awesome, Gardner adds some nice comedy touches, PVC is GREAT, John is smug, Liz is funny and cheeky, Chris is…well, confused as usual. Looking back we get Peter and looking ahead, we get Cawston. I saw this story possibly last in the run on Nickelodeon and wasn’t disappointed. My first story was the DOOMSDAY MEN, the end of part one with Stephen facing swordboys and this story was the last one I saw so it was fitting. This is also the only time the TP traveled in time to the past. MEDUSA STRAIN was the only time they traveled to the future. Sadly, the show didn’t do more time travel, possibly to save money or to keep it different from DOCTOR WHO but frankly, this show cannot be more different from DOCTOR WHO and to be honest, although it might sound crazy, this story shows how much more cerebral THE TOMORROW PEOPLE was from DOCTOR WHO. In DW characters just get out of a box and have adventures. In this, the characters have a detailed purpose and instructions to follow and the parallel world that results has a reason and cause and effect…brilliant.
On Cawston’s first name. I have to pay attention to the shows. Fandom and fan fic in general will have us believe that Cawston’s first name is George. It tends to fit him and I like it and for years I believed it was George and am willing to accept it as such. Another fan told me that there is no evidence from the series that that is his first name. A fan made guide book (a poor one at that) told us that it was George. I still wonder about that. Anyway nice performances, nice location work, nice music and use of stock music during the gladiator fight(s), nice set in the gladiator school in Roman England…and nice costumes again, the return of Peter, mention of Carol, nice costumes for Liz and John and a cheeky bit for Stephen and some great adult guest stars…what more could one ask for? A 10/10.