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Saturday, December 22, 2012

From Beyond Television: Ultraseven Episode #6

Episode Six: THE DARK ZONE ****

Upon returning from investigating a mysterious light source, Dan is called to agent Anne Yuri's quarters after a strange shadow like figure appears there. Claiming to be injured, Dan and Anne sit and talk to the shadow shaped figure, although the alien is equally shadowy about answering questions. Meanwhile, central control receives an alien signal from the planet Pegassa asking that Earth adjust its orbit to avoid a collision that would destroy both the Earth and the Pegassan metropolis. In an effort to avert total annihilation, Commander Manabe orders the city of Pegassa destroyed. But the aliens have plans of their own as well.

Episode six poses another riveting idea; this time regarding interplanetary race relations. This is the best of the early episodes up to this point. It's not high on monster action till the end, and even then, neither Pegassa nor Ultraseven go Giant. This is more of a suspense programmer. The Pegassans are highly intelligent, if reticent. It's easy to figure them for antagonists considering how they avoid answering questions especially once they realize Earthlings aren't as technologically advanced as they thought.

It also paints a picture that, despite having faced many galactic foes up to this point, the Terrestrial Defense Force is openly naive, almost gullible in their trust of the mysterious alien shadow. This is diametrically opposed to the pretentiousness of the Pegassans who are pleaded with to evacuate their city as the Ultra Garrison has launched nuclear missiles to destroy them to prevent the collision. 

The Pegassans, believing themselves to be superior, do not accept that an inferior race such as human kind would be capable of destroying them. One could say the Pegassans represent the Japanese military in WW2 and the Terrestrial Defense Force the Allied Forces.

The episodes finale is also enthralling once the sole remaining Pegassan finally reveals his intentions were to destroy the Earth all along should the Pegassan scientists not divert their vast city's orbit. Both sides had the same goal of destruction, it just amounted to which one would get there first. Showing his true form, the Pegassa Seijin tells Anne to take Dan and leave as quickly as possible as he plans to send a bomb straight to the Earth's core that will destroy the planet. 

Upon confronting Ultraseven, Pegassa realizes his people are all dead. The creature escapes, Ultraseven removes the bomb and the Earth is safe once more. An unusually poignant episode, although fans looking for lots of effects and monster action may wish to skip this episode entirely.

It's worth noting the plot point of a devastating collision between the Earth and an enormous alien city recalls the plot of Ishiro Honda's obscure (in America) GORATH from 1962 about Earth's scientists coming together to devise a means to change the Earth's orbit to avoid colliding with a runaway planetoid dubbed Gorath.

MONSTERS: Pegassa alien

WEAPONS: Ultra Hawk 1

To be continued with Episode Seven: SPACE CAPTIVE 303!!!

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