Episode 12 – "Lunarville 7"

"We will not side with Earth against the Mysterons."

 

The Angels having an extended holiday, it seems, though this is another one peculiarly light on regulars in general with nobody else appearing in even cameo scenes.

 

"We have no quarrel with the Moon and we accept their offer of friendship, but we will continue to take our revenge against the Earth. We will be avenged."

 

The Controller of a colony on the Moon, Lunarville 7 – a community mostly under the automated control of the Speech Intelligence Decoder computer, which is controlled via miniature personal recognition discs - broadcasts a message to Earth announcing the Moon’s dissention from Earth. He has communicated with the Mysterons in regards to a successful peace arrangement between Mars and the Moon, stating that the human/Mysteron war has nothing to do with the Moon’s citizens. Disregarding the legality of all this, Spectrum is particularly interested in how the Controller managed to make contact with the Mysterons, and Colonel White sends Scarlet, Blue and Lieutenant Green to investigate. This, however, is only one of their tasks, as surveillance reports have noted the presence of an unauthorised complex being built in the Humboldt Sea on the far side of the lunar surface…

 

Perhaps uniquely, it’s possible that the Mysterons aren’t actually in this episode at all asides from the standard speech in the titles which doesn’t even detail a threat. Opposition to Spectrum comes in the form of the maniacal Lunarville 7 Controller and his assistant, Orson, but it’s never specifically stated that either are Mysterons; they could simply be fanatics (bearing in mind the context not even the customary "Earthmen!" proclamation means that they’re specifically Mysterons). It transpires that a Mysteron city is being built in the Humboldt Sea though all we see are a couple of machines toiling away in the dustbowl (one of which looks a bit like a Doctor Who Mechonoid). So there we are; the Mysterons are putting their feet up for once.

 

Despite the copious death threats, at no point are Scarlet and his compatriots in any danger from anything aside from the necessity of a sharpish exit from Lunarville at the end, so there’s no need for any pointless self-sacrificing.

 

Spectrum’s actually highly competent in this one, with its officers completing their mission without the loss of any innocent lives or machinery. You could point out that Scarlet never does find out how the Controller contacted the Mysterons but under the circumstances he didn’t really have the chance to ask.

 

Well, the Mysterons didn’t specifically fail at anything but Spectrum’s reconnaissance mission was successful, so:

Spectrum: 9 Mysterons: 3

 

CONTROLLER: "SID controls everything in Lunarville: the air conditioning, airlocks, power supplies, even the rockets and moon mobiles."

BLUE: "A very important piece of equipment."

CONTROLLER: "Assembled entirely on the Moon by our own technicians."

GREEN: "But designed and developed on Earth."

Quite a nice scene, this one, giving us the exposition in an interesting way thanks to Green’s scepticism.

___

Travelling in the moon mobile, Captain Scarlet exclaims "It’s certainly a novel method of transportation, and surprisingly smooth!" with the joie de vivre of a showroom salesman.

 

SCARLET: "We’ll do everything possible."

What, everything? Ooo. You kinky thing.

___

The moon mobiles look like little four-legged animals, so it’s quite disconcerting when the airlock tunnels connect through the rear of the vehicles…

___

ORSON: "The unusual motion can be disturbing until you become used to it."

 

No attempts at humour.

 

Towards the beginning our stoic Colonel says "I don’t need to tell you how important this assignment is…" before doing going on to do just that. The end of the episode gives us a textbook closing speech: "Well, we have won the round, but not the fight. This will continue until the Mysterons decide to end the war of nerves against the Earth."

 

WHITE: "As the Lunar Controller has banned personal radios and all other equipment…"

Eh? I don’t think you mean all other equipment, otherwise that means the Lunarville denizens wouldn’t even have any tools and computers. Or pens.

___

CONTROLLER: "May I welcome you to Lunarville 7?"

No, you can’t.

___

 

CONTROLLER: "Go and meet them, Orson. This is their first visit to the Moon."

ORSON: "And their last, Controller?"

CONTROLLER: "Yes, Orson, it could well be their last…"

"… If they try to come again I’ll refuse them landing permission just to be spiteful."

___

SCARLET: "Lieutenant Green, have you got that map reference?"

GREEN: "Yes, Captain Scarlet."

SCARLET: "Right. You will act as navigator."

"I’d do it myself, but I just find maps interesting…"

___

CONTROLLER: "Gone? They can’t have gone!"

ORSON: "I assure you, sir!"

CONTROLLER: "When? How?"

ORSON: "I don’t know. I went into their room-"

CONTROLLER: "I’m not interested in details!"

You berk.

 

Another mission for Lieutenant Green, taken along, as before, for technical support. And so, in his absence, and as Captain Blue is out on the mission too, technical control of Cloudbase and all of its communications equipment and manual systems has been handed over to… Captain Magenta. "Colonel White! XK3 is in orbit around the Moon!" He only gets two lines and he sounds absurdly enthusiastic for both of them.

 

As said somewhere above, the jury’s out on whether the Mysterons even bothered to show up, so no hapless innocents get done in over the course of the episode.

 

I don’t know if Spectrum will be held responsible for the destruction of one of her Majesty’s Lunarvilles (and fortunately we’re told that the colony is completely evacuated by the Controller before then), but they don’t lose any of their own equipment.

 

No cars in this one and Captain Blue proves quite efficient at piloting a moon mobile on his first try.

 

I was OK earlier on when it was just the odd rocket blast here and there, but by the time SID and Lunarville 7 blew themselves to the furthest reaches of the galaxy via a succession of well over twenty explosions I pretty much decided to stuff the counting lark.

 

No first names.

 

The Colonel only gets about three scenes but he seems quite pleased with the fact that he’s received a message from the World President at the end. By the way, you may recall that in my "Guide to the Guide" at the beginning of this venture that I said that this section was for every time the Colonel White "smiley" head was used. Following Zillak pointing out to me that that particular puppet was only used about twice, I’ve sort of turned this it into a "note down whenever Colonel White seems quite happy about something" section. It’s the paragraph which gives you a fuzzy and warm feeling every day and in every way.

 

"Since man’s first successful landing on the Moon, back in the 1970s…" Not too far out, really, considering this series was made at roughly the same time that Patrick Troughton was scurrying around a Moonbase himself, 1967. And by the time Captain Scarlet is set, it’s said that 4000 people are living quite comfortably in assorted Lunarvilles around the Moon.

Considering that the rocket that Scarlet et al are travelling in to the Moon is going at 6.5 miles per second, they don’t look particularly uncomfortable, being able to wobble their heads around as puppets do quite happily (and they’re not even wearing astronaut’s gear – that’s real men for you). But how come their chairs aren’t tilted back at an angle so that they can face the G-force face on rather than head on? Shouldn’t all their necks be broken? And the pilot sounds exactly the same as Captain Magenta, so in my mind this jaunt should have been doomed from the start.

Some interesting puppetry when Captain Blue gets to karate chop Orson. And the scene where Scarlet finds the bugging equipment in his room, keeps silent and then shouts into it, blasting Orson’s ears, is quite a nice one.

The Mysterons are building their new complex in a place called "Crater 101". Who knew that they enjoyed Orwell?

I’d have thought that the Controller would have hidden his recognition disc – which, through SID, controls everything in Lunarville 7, including the exits – before he went to bed. It would seem an extremely sensible thing to do, especially as he didn’t want his Spectrum guests to escape and cause trouble. A very sensible thing indeed. However, Captain Scarlet didn’t think that, and a good thing too as he then simply broke into the Controller’s bedroom and nicked the disc.

I feel really sorry for SID as the Controller goes mental and shoots him to bits at the end. "I… am… sorry…" Woe!

 

A weird one. "Lunarville 7", the first of a gradual and not entirely exciting trilogy, feels and proceeds like a very solid episode despite its almost total lack of incident. The Controller never comes across as a genuine threat and everything is remarkably easy for Scarlet; as noted above he’s able to gain control of the base within seconds via stealing the Controller’s disc and the Controller brings about his own downfall when he bizarrely refuses to accept this very fact, shooting SID in an incandescent rage and exploding everything in sight. The plot is very slight to boot, padding itself out with far too much footage of the bloody moon mobile (the slowest vehicle since somebody decided to ride a Penny Farthing without the wheels on) and when Scarlet, Blue and Green find the Mysteron base… they just go home again, deciding to deal with it another day (six episodes down the line, in fact). And yet, despite all this, it’s an engrossing twenty-five minutes with an intriguing central premise. I like it.

 

A moon mobile, earlier this afternoon.

A typical Mysteron complex. Freudian psychologist not shown.

Oh my God. They’ve given him power.