"It's here now. In this place. It's waiting to kill again - to kill us all!"
While attempting to communicate telepathically with his plants, botanist Dan Mateo collapses and a strange force sweeps through the base. Investigating, Koenig learns that Mateo believes that man has some affinity with plants, an affinity that can be exploited by tapping into certain wave patterns in the human brain that are identical to those generated by plant life. Mateo quickly recovers, but is forbidden from conducting any further experiments by hydroponics head Dr. Warren. A heated argument ensues and later Warren is confronted by a horribly scarred ghost figure that oddly resembles Mateo. Warren is found dead shortly after and Bergman realises that Alpha is being terrorised by a psychic manifestation which seeks atonement for a death which has yet to take place!
While off-duty Moonbase personnel are enjoying a concert in the Recreation Centre, four scientists, lead by Dan Mateo are working on an unusual experiment in the Hydroponics Lab. They are trying to communicate with vegetation via amplified brain wave patterns similar to those given off by plants. When section head James Warren interrupts what he considers to be a dangerous experiment, Mateo collapses.
Suddenly the temperature drops and a cold wind blows through Alpha. Mateo is brought to Medical Centre and soon regains consciousness. He tells Helena that he sensed a coldness in his mind, then fear and pain before he collapsed. Meanwhile Koenig and Victor investigate the unexplained drop in temperature recorded by Computer. Although it originated in the Hydroponics Lab where the experiment took place, Victor can find no equipment present capable of causing the effect. Koenig interviews the people present to see if they have any explanation as to what happened. They can offer no insight as to what happened, but James Warren tells Koenig that he warned Mateo not to continue with his experiments because he felt they were dangerous. Laura Adams (Mateo's assistant) counters that it had only gone wrong when he interfered. Helena keeps Mateo in Medical Centre overnight so he can get some rest. While Mateo is sleeping, Helena sees a disfigured Alphan lurking in the shadows.
When security arrives to investigate, they find nothing. She tells John that she experienced the same feelings of cold and dread descibed to her by Mateo. When Mateo is released he heads towards the Hydroponics Lab. On his way, he sees a shadow move accross the interior of the travel tube. As it approaches, he arrives at the terminal and quickly exits the car. When he gets to the Hydroponics Lab Warren tells him that he no longer wants him in his department. Mateo threatens to kill him, then storms out. A chill wind blows through Hypoponics and Warren senses a presence. A disfigured hand reaches out and grabs him.
His body is found and an autopsy reveals that his spinal column was shattered. Stating that no blow could have caused that kind of damage, Helena attributes it to "fear generated to an unimaginable intensity". Laura takes a circuit board from Mateo's equipment after failing to convince him to discontinue his experiments. They fight, and as she leaves she is is confronted by the disfigured spectre. Her body is found, having died the same way as James Warren. Mateo blames himself, believing that he released the spectre stalking the base. Victor wants to re-create the experiment so that they might find a way to battle the entity. Koenig feels it is too dangerous, but grudingly accedes.
The experiment is recreated with the command staff, and the spectre appears. It is Mateo! He has returned to seek vengeance for a death that has not yet occurred. A death he blames on the Alphans. When Mateo sees his own ghost, he goes into shock and the spectre fades away. Victor has an idea of how to contain it, so they sedate Mateo and strap him into a chair, with an energy barrier around it, in an observation chamber. Once secured they give him a shot of Methadrine to bring out his violent tendencies, to summon the entity. When it does appear it tries to attack Koenig but is caught in the enrgy barrier. Mateo, afraid that it will get free, attempts to stop it and breaks lose of his bindings. They struggle and Mateo is forced into the barrier and killed. When Koenig Victor and Helena enter the room to investigate, they see both bodies on the floor. The spirit is consumed by an unearthly glow and is absorbed by Mateo's body. When Koenig turns him over, his faced is burned in exactly the same fashion as the troubled spirit's was.
Koenig Holds himself responsible for Mateo's death. Helena tries to tell him that it was not his fault, that it was pre-ordained in some way, and that Mateo was simply beyond their kind of help... that life and death are still the greatest mysteries of all.
Wednesday, November 20th - Wednesday, December 4th, 1974
Original UK Airdate
Saturday, January 5th, 1976 (ATV Midlands)
- The distinctive sitar music which features prominently in this episode was specially composed and recorded for Space:1999 by Jim Sullivan, the artist seen performing the sitar recital in the pre-credits sequence.
- Giancarlo Prete was the first of four Italian guest actors to be cast in the series to fulfil the terms of the co-financing contract between ITC and RAI. Each well-known in their native Italy but unheard of by audiences in the UK and the USA, the others were Carla Romanelli (in Space Brain), Gianni Garko (in Dragon's Domain) and Orso Maria Guerrini (in The Testament of Arkadia). Prete and Romanelli both also guested in Return Of The Saint when a similar deal was struck between ITC and RAI to co-finance that series too.
- The Bassett Sweet Cigarette Card of this episode (No.42) was withdrawn from circulation shortly after issue following complaints about its depiction of the scarred Mateo - consequently it is extremely rare and valuable to collectors.
Giancarlo Prete was originally cast in Space:1999 in the regular role of Italian chief Eagle pilot Captain Alfonso Catani, but at the eleventh hour it transpired that he could not be released from his contract for the Italian film La Nottata which would be filmed at the same time, so the role was recast with Nick Tate as Alan Carter. Prete made his film debut in Mister X (1966) and appeared extensively throughout the 1970s and 80s in Italian films such as The Price Of Death (1971), Confessions Of A Police Captain (1971), Three Musketeers Of The West (1972), Con Men (1972), Snow Job (1972), The Black Bellied Tarantula (1972), Massacre In Rome (1973), La Nottata (1974), The Anonymous Avenger (1974), The Loves And Times Of Scaramouche (1975), Messalina! Messalina! (1977) and The New Barbarians (1982). To English-speaking audiences, however, he is perhaps best-known for his roles in the Return Of The Saint episode The Village That Sold Its Soul, the mini-series War And Remembrance (in which he appeared as Dr. Castelnuovo) and the films Tornado (1983), Escape From The Bronx (1985), Detective School Dropouts (1985) and Ladyhawke (1985). More recently, he became a dubbing director preparing American television series such as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The X Files and Northern Exposure for screening on Italian television. He died in Rome on March 8th, 2001, aged 58.
Hilary Dwyer made her film debut as Sara in Witchfinder General (1968), but had previously been seen as Number Seventy Three in the Hammer Into Anvil episode of The Prisoner. She went on to appear in Two Gentlemen Sharing (1969), Thin Air (1969), The Oblong Box (1969), Wuthering Heights (1970) and Cry Of The Banshee (1970) before landing the role of Jennifer Hadleigh in the second season of Hadleigh.
Anthony Nicholls is fondly remembered for his role as Commander Tremayne in the ITC action series The Champions. He made his film debut in The Guinea Pig (1948) and went on to appear in The Hasty Heart (1949), The Franchise Affair (1950), The House Of The Arrow (1953), Dunkirk (1958), Victim (1961), Night Of The Eagle (1962), Othello (1965), A Man For All Seasons (1966) and If... (1968). He also guest-starred in episodes of The Saint, Man In A Suitcase and Callan. After The Champions, he appeared in The Battle Of Britain (1969), The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970), O Lucky Man! (1973) and The Omen (1976). His role in Space:1999 was one of his last - he died in March 1977, aged 69.