This was the one of the episodes I missed from the original run here. My
parents forced me to go with them on vacation and I never forgave them,
until a few months, when I saw the episode for the first time, that is.
For me, this is by far the worst episode of the series. It tried to continue
the matter of interpersonal emotional relations from "The Computer Affair",
has an interesting premise, but is poorly executed. There is no suspense
where it should be, episode drags on forever and guest stars are problematic
at best. Darren Nesbit is not bad an actor (although he overplays a bit,
sometimes), but is so ugly that he makes the premise unbelievable. He was a
good choice for No. 2 in Prisoner, though. Gary Raymond is so uninteresting
that you don't care if Col. Grey lives or dies.
There are a few inconsistencies: Why would Col. Gray go to Craig and warn
him that he discovered his change, virtually pleading for his own death? Why
would SHADO need Doppelgangerian rocket for repairing SID when they have
their own Lunar Modules and Carriers (if not only to re-use the footage from
Doppelganger)? How could Foster answer Col. Grey's phone call at SHADO
Headquarters only a few days after doctor ordered him to stay in bed for two
weeks because he was injured on Moonbase? Also, why would Craig spare Grey
and Jackson? And, we have a character that would have been a major for his
accomplishment (god forbid-watching Nesbit in all of UFO) that haven't been
even mentioned before. Probably there's more...
This episode also suffers the weakness we could find a lot in UFO. In normal
dramatic structure, the resolution should be followed by the epilogue
("Close Up" first comes to mind as an excellent example of what should be
done), and everything feels resolved. Here we end with resolution only and
we feel that episode is only stopped, not really ended.
Personally, I didn't like Moonbase personnel not wearing their wigs in a
majority of the episode. Perhaps the director wanted to show characters
differently in their off duty hours, emphasizing their personal lives, maybe
Wanda Wentham didn't want to wear the wig throughout entire episode (doesn't
suit her anyway, especially compared to wonderful Gabrielle Drake), maybe
they hadn't enough or there was something else.
The interesting thing about the episode is guest starring of Rona Newton
John (Olivia's sister) as a Nurse, although I couldn't recognise her ( I
only saw her pictures from the late seventies).
Perhaps my attitude towards this episode would be different if I hadn't go
to that vacation, after all...
All the best,
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Thanks Branko, for keeping our episode discussions on positive track! :-)
You are of course correct that there are several
odd/unbelievable/inconsistent things about this episode. However, on
the whole, I still like this episode... I think it's well done, with
good acting and some good conflicts...
Col. Grey is kind of an odd character... we only see him in this one
episode, and yet he acts as if he's a regular character like Col.
Freeman! Of course, perhaps that's the way the episode was scripted
-- after George Sewell was found to be unavailable for the final 9
episodes, the producers had intended to use Gary Raymond's Col. Grey
character as a replacement for Freeman. However, Ed Bishop suggested
Wanda Ventham takeover that role, and the rest is history...
Interesting to think how the final 9 episodes would have differed
with Col. Grey instead of Col. Lake... hard to imagine Timelash this
way, although perhaps they could've used Nina?
Rockets vs lunar modules and wig wearing protocols are really trivial
issues for me. They can be explained away or just overlooked.
At first this episode bugged me because the Alien control didn't
make sense. I assumed that the Aliens just wanted the destruction
of SHADO and wouldn't have had reason to be distracted by all the
interpersonal issues. Additionally Collins takes the round about
way to kill Straker and disable SID.
But I now wonder whether the Aliens figured to make Collins a
"loose cannon" and simply assume that he'll eventually reap havoc
over SHADO. This would better explain his foul personality vs the
robot behavior of the Psychobombs.
> So, does anyone have any additional comments on our episode-of-the-week,
> THE MAN WHO CAME BACK? Anyone else rank this episode as their least
> favorite, or perhaps just the opposite?
Well, I have yet to view my bootleg copy of the episode in it's entirety,
but my recollection from the SFC airing a couple of years back was
not very favorable. There were too many things that did not hold up
under scrutiny, both in terms of the story line and the casting.
To begin with, the concept of a "lost" astronaut re-appearing unscathed
should have aroused suspicion within SHADO. Especially when the
British were so masterful at the spy game during WWII, what with the
planting of bogus D-Day plans on a corpse, etc.
The fact that nobody, not even Straker, is properly suspicious of Craig
Collins indicates that personal relationships are overriding protocol.
After the Nina-Bradley institutionalized interrogations of "The Computer
Affair", this strikes me as hypocritical.(SIC)
From a production standpoint, while this episode does not "flow" nearly
as well as "Conflict", neither is the editing as helter-skelter as
Instead, I thought that it ranked toward the rougher side, which is only
to be expected if this was indeed the first episode filmed after the
studio-changing hiatus. Unlike Branko Vekic, I find ambiguous and
non-closure endings appealing, since they mimic real life. In fact, one
of the biggest appeals of "Miami Vice" were the grity endings in which
the bad guys got away.
But I will agree with Branko in that the rocket launch was
unneccessary given the existence of the SHADO lunar module.
Therefore I have the feeling that this was added to pad out the
story to proper filming length.
Branko also wrote that
> Gary Raymond is so uninteresting
> that you don't care if Col. Grey lives or dies.
and I would tend to agree with him. My memory
fails me as to whether or not the character lived
by the end of the episode. But if the Grey character
was indeed the replacement for Col. Freeman, then
I would expect that the character would have to survive.
And as Marc posted on 23 Apr 2000,
> Interesting to think how the final 9 episodes would have differed
> with Col. Grey instead of Col. Lake...
Indeed. And since the Lake/Grey characters were receiving some
of the lines designated for the Freeman character, I can see that
Yuchtar and the other slashers are probably licking their lips over
the possiblity of a Freeman-Craig romance.
And since I just skewered the gender-persuasion of one of my
favorite SHADO characters, I will stop here before commiting any
further sacrilege to my UFO recollections.
> > Interesting to think how the final 9 episodes would have differed
> > with Col. Grey instead of Col. Lake...
> Indeed. And since the Lake/Grey characters were receiving some
> of the lines designated for the Freeman character, I can see that
> Yuchtar and the other slashers are probably licking their lips over
> the possiblity of a Freeman-Craig romance.