While exploring an apparently lifeless planet a member of Alpha's crew comes under the influence of an "anti-matter" being and suddenly all Alphans are in danger of having their futures swapped for the past...!
Young Shermeen Williams is helping Tony cultivate hops and barley in Hydroponics, for use in brewing his beer. During the course of their collaboration she has developed a crush on him, much to the chagrin of her co-worker, and would-be suitor, Eddie Collins.
After bringing the latest brew to Command Centre to be sampled by his unwilling compatriots, Tony takes a swig of his beer to find that it did not live up to his expectations. Frustrated, he inadvertently hurts Shermeen's feelings. She runs from Command Centre crying, much to Tony's surprise. In her quarters, she stops crying when she senses something in the room with her. She looks and sees a man's face staring at her from the corner of her room.
Helena, who followed her from Command Centre to check on her fragile emotional state, finds her disturbed by what she believes was a dream. She gives her a tranquilizer and lets her return to duty.
Back in Command Centre, a planet is detected. Koenig asks Helena to join them for a landing party but she is in the middle of some tests and can't go. She tells John about Shermeen, and when he says he wants her to join the team to go to the planet, Helena advises against it. Tony is elected to give the news to Shermeen. She assumes he told them not to let her go and tells him she never wants to see him again. He leaves and the face returns.
He tells her that his name is Vindrus, and he comes from the planet Sunim, and that she will see the planet soon. She tells him that she is not going, but he tells her that if she does as he says, she will. He has her bombard a seed with protons and plant it, then tells her to prepare to go to the planet. She leaves as Eddie Collins returns. The seed grows to maturity at incredible speed. Eddie notices the plant, and when he smells one of the flowers, falls unconscious. As the landing party prepares to embark, they find Shermeen who tells Koenig that Eddie was suddenly taken ill.
They fly to Sunim to check it out. They arrive to find a completely Earth-like planet, but with no animal life detectable on their sensors. Shermeen wanders off getting samples of the different plants. Vindrus leads her to a temple which has already been discovered by the rest of the team, but as they approach they are charged by a large horned creature. When John fires on it, the laser beam is deflected. They run for the cover of the woods. As they retreat, Koenig notices the creature has stopped at the obelisk at the edge of the wood.
They look for Shermeen who is told to enter the temple past the creature. Vindrus assures her that it will not attack. She enters the temple unscathed, where Vindrus tells her that he needs her help to cross over into our world, and asks her to take a cylinder back to Alpha. Bill finds Shermeen's footprints leading towards the temple. Maya changes into a fox to evade the creature, and get into the the structure to see if Shermeen is within. Maya finds her, and after recording the images on the wall, leads her out. Maya hesitates, when she sees the creature, but is told by Shermeen that the creature will not harm them. Unable to contact Alpha, Koenig decides to return to the base.
On the way back, he asks Shermeen why she was able to get past the creature. She tells him that no harm will come to her on Sunim. He asks how she knew the name of the planet. She becomes defensive and he backs off. On Alpha they review Maya's tapes, and come to the conclusion that the creature that they saw on the planet was made up of anti-matter. Vindrus appears to Shermeen and asks her to get a generator, that will fit the cylinder, to bring to the planet.
Tony walks in and sees Vindrus. He is knocked out and made to forget what he has seen. Shermeen gets a generator and, using a flower hypnotizes Bill into taking her to Sunim. Vindrus has her hook up the generator to a matter converter. Then has her step into one of two booths. Vindrus locks her in and trades places with her, sending her into the anti-matter world while he enters the matter world. Koenig, Tony and Maya who had followed them to the planet, arrive at the temple.
Vindrus exits the temple after Koenig figures out that the creature cannot harm them. They learn that he is no longer anti-matter. Koenig asks where Shermeen is. Vindrus tells them she is inside the temple and won't come out. He suggests they go in and get her. John and Tony follow him in and Vindrus seals the door to the temple. Tony remembers that Vindrus needed people to maintain the balance for the transfer into the matter world. Tony shoots Vindrus but the beam bounces off.
Vindrus demonstrates that he does have an effective weapon, and orders them into the conversion booths. Koenig throws his commlock at Vindrus, and he and Tony hide. While Vindrus looks for them Maya, who heard the commotion, has gotten into the temple as a small monkey. John tells Vindrus that Shermeen is coming back because he knew what Vindrus was up to, and set the generator to work at partial power. Maya transforms into Shermeen and enters one of the booths. She calls to Vindrus telling him that they need to try again or they will all be destroyed.
Vindrus approaches the booth, Tony pushes him in, and John bars the door shut. Maya exits and turns the converter on. She can't recall the controls of the one she had seen before, but Shermeen is able to guide her, and the conversion is reversed. John sets the reactor to overload. Tony finds the button to open the door and they head back to the Eagles. Before they can lift off, the generator explodes and the Planet is returned to anti-matter.
Back on Alpha, Shermeen returns Tony's hops, as she needs the room to test a theory Eddie Collins has on plant growth. Tony is dumbfounded at her sudden change of heart, but is soon distracted with musings of brewing beer with anti-matter grain and/or hops.
|Belgium (Flemish)||Een westie van Evenwicht (A westie of Balance)|
|Spain||Una cuestión de equlibrio (A question of balance)|
|France/Canada||Une question d'équilibre (A Matter Of Balance)|
|Germany||Die andese Seite (The Other Side)|
|Japan||Intruder from the Anti-World|
|Portugal||Uma Questão de Equilíbrio (A Matter of Balance)|
Amended shooting script dated 20th July 1976. Revised 30th July.
Shooting schedule dated 30th July 1976, revised shooting schedule dated 16th August. Filmed 6th August- 24th August 1976
A "Double Up Koenig" script, filmed simultaneously with Space Warp
Martin Landau's wrote comments on the script as follows: "I'm not going out on a limb for this show because I'm not in accord with what you're doing as a result...etc"
"I don't think I even want to do the promos - I don't want to push the show anymore as I have in the past. It's not my idea of what the show should be. It's embarrassing to me if I am not the star of it and in the way I feel it should be. This year should be more important to it not less important to it....I might as well work less hard in all of them"
- Int. Command Centre
- Int. Hydroponics
- Int. Shermeen's Quarters
- Int. Tony's Quarters
- Int. Alpha Corridor
- Int. Travel Tube
- Int. Eagle Pilot Section
- Int. Eagle Passenger Section
- Int. Equipment Room (revamp travel tube reception) with attached Nuclear Generator Room (revamp travel tube)
- Ext. Planet Surface (location)
- Ext. Planet Surface- Temple Clearing (location)
- Int. Temple (studio)
Sunim is represented by a blue monochrome version of an Apollo 11 photograph of Earth. It was taken on 16th July 1969, about 10,000 nautical miles from Earth, and shows portions of North and Central America under swirling clouds. The picture is also used as Planet D in Brian the Brain. Thanks to Marcus Lindroos.
Antimatter is also used as a plot device in Matter of Life and Death. Antimatter is not a parallel dimension that is transparent to ours. The explanation that Koenig and Maya give Tony is wrong in every respect.
Feynmann in 1944 suggested time was reversed for antimatter, a theory that became popular in pulp science fiction but was found in the 1950s to be wrong. [N 1]
The planet is said to be an illusion, but the Alphans breathe the air and walk in gravity. How does an illusion reflect the stun beams? Editor's Note: That could be part of the illusion.
This is another planet with a constant even surface temperature- this time 78 (25 C). It would be impossible to evenly warm a planet surface.
Maya strides through the forest declaring "no life forms" despite being surrounded by vegetation.[N 2]
The episode establishes there must be a balance between antimatter and matter. The ending, in which Koenig states only matter was destroyed, not antimatter, contradicts this.
Why do humans have to be exchanged to balance matter? As antimatter is on the subatomic level (protons-antiprotons; electrons-positrons) Vindrus could have exchanged a matter rock for each antimatter person he brought across.
The stun ray is called "an electrical beam". Lasers are not electrical beams. However, stun guns being developed in 1999 used a laser to ionise a path through the air, then discharged electricity along the path to disable the victim. This technology closely matches the capabilities of the Alphan stun gun.
"They depict the whole evolutionary process of man. Emerging from a sea of primeval slime, then advancing through all stages of development...Simian, Australopithecus, Neanderthal, Cro-Magnon, to modern." The illustrations skip a massive amount from jellyfish to ape-man. Simian means ape; an ape species living about 15-20 million years ago was an ancestor of the hominid species which include humans. The australopithecines included several species of hominids between 4 and 1 million years ago, and were bipedal. About 2 million years ago homo erectus appeared and spread throughout Africa, Asia and Europe, with more sophisticated tools and using fire. Homo sapiens, modern humans, first appeared 230,000 years ago with the Neanderthal, now generally regarded as a subspecies of modern humans rather than a separate species; they co-existed with modern humans who appeared about 120,000 years ago and probably interbred. Cro Magnon culture appeared about 40,000 years ago with a wide range of tools and art work. The Alphans regress to Cro Magnon society in The Full Circle.
Chronology: 1702 days after leaving Earth orbit
Alpha Personnel: 0 fatalities.
Alpha Technology: We see a mobile nuclear generator (see props)
Shermeen is said to have been collecting specimens from every planet they've visited. Strangely we have never seen her amongst the landing parties before.
A propogatoscope, with the unusual accessory of a proton bombarder
Eagles: Eagle 1 (Koenig); 2 (Shermeen)
Maya transformations: Fox, spider monkey, Shermeen
Aliens: Vindrus from Sunim; humanoid. Thaed, bipedal semi-intelligent animal, presumably from Sunim.
Props: Maya uses the Eagle remote control to operate the Big Screen video shots.
The space warp scanner from Space Warp is in the Eagle 1 pod.
Taybor's pyramid plan from The Taybor appears in the equipment room
The gun Vindrus uses is a Darian gun from Mission of the Darians.
The propogatoscope also appears in Weapons Section in The Beta Cloud
The mobile nuclear generator is also seen in The Lambda Factor and the Pigs In Space segments of The Muppet Show!
- Logically, if time is reversed, Vindrus would know the Alphans would defeat him before the episode started.
- There are no animals. The forest seen could not exist without animals mixing the soil, pollinating flowers, dispersing seeds and nutrient cycling.
|The Metamorph I The Exiles I One Moment of Humanity I All That Glisters I The Mark of Archanon I Journey to Where I The Taybor I The Rules of Luton I New Adam New Eve I Brian the Brain I Catacombs of the Moon I The AB Chrysalis I The Beta Cloud I Seed of Destruction I A Matter of Balance I Space Warp I The Bringers of Wonder - Part 1 I The Bringers of Wonder - Part 2 I Dorzak I The Seance Spectre I Devil's Planet I The Lambda Factor I The Immunity Syndrome I The Dorcons|
|Episodes are listed in the order suggested by Andrew Kearley.|