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SPACE:1999 #21: The Infernal Machine [Title Image] Previous Next | Votes: 13 | Points: 8.08 | Log On to vote
The Infernal Machine
(Helvedesmaskinen)
SPACE:1999, episode 21 (1.21)

Last Modified: 29 Oct 2015 20:47:26

         
Cast:
Martin Landau   IMDB   Commander John Koenig
Barbara Bain   IMDB   Doctor Helena Russell
Barry Morse   IMDB   Professor Victor Bergman
Nick Tate   IMDB   Alan Carter
Gary Waldhorn   IMDB   Winters
Clifton Jones   IMDB   David Kano
Zienia Merton   IMDB   Sandra Benes
Guest Cast:
Leo McKern   IMDB   Companion/Gwent
Sarah Bullen   IMDB   Operative Kate
Published
Laser Disc   SPACE:1999 LaserDisc Volume 08
DVD   SPACE:1999 DVD #06
VHS   SPACE:1999 VHS #01
Teaser

A huge spacecraft, breaking every known law of aerospace propulsion, appears in the sky and is given permission to land on the Moon. Koenig, Helena and Bergman are admitted to the craft, where they meet an extraordinarily ancient man, Companion. He explains that the whole craft is a living machine named Gwent, which he serves. But Companion is sick and soon dies. Gwent, also, is weakening, and when he demands that Koenig and Helena act as replacements for Companion, they launch a grim battle of wits against this machine with a human personality.
Synopsis
A strange craft approaches Alpha, and Computer is unable or unwilling to provide any relevent data. It sends a transmission consisting of audio only, asks for help, and permission to land. It comes into visual range and appears on the main screen.

Koenig agrees to let it land, on the stipulation that it does so away from the base. It continues to approach until Koenig says that is close enough. The Alphans offer to receive a small, un-armed delegation from the craft. An offer which is refused, but an invitation is extended to John, Helena and Victor to come aboard, "armed... of course". They hesitantly agree, and take a moonbuggy out to the ship.

They are guided to the control room by the voice. When they arrive they enter a massive, seemingly empty room. They look for the source of the voice and find an elderly man sleeping in an adjoining chamber. He awakens and seems confused by their presence. They ask what kind of help he needed and he seems to have no idea to what they refer. He introduces himself as "Companion", and tells them that he and Gwent occasionally have to interrupt their endless journey to aquire items necessary to their well-being, and surmises that is the reason for their being summoned.

A list of provisions seems to print out on it's own, and Companion begins to chastise his absent friend for interrupting. Victor looks at the list and says that they might have some of the items. The voice of Gwent replies that he has consulted their computer and they have everything on the list.

Koenig is allowed to contact the base to verify this, but Companion tells him that Gwent is the ship around them, and controls their computer, which will tell them whatever he wants. He suggests they give him what he wants and leave... while they still can.

It becomes apparent that Companion is dying. Koenig agrees to send the supplies when they return to Alpha. Gwent demands he get the supplies first. Koenig orders an attack, and Gwent retaliates.

Companion collapses as they reach a truce. He tells them that Gwent has never lived alone. With his dying breath, he confesses that he is Gwent, but the machine outgrew him and became his master. He dies and Gwent lifts off. A service is held for Companion and his coffin is launched into space. Gwent demands the supplies be delivered, and warns that there is no one to restrain him now.

Gwent "goes away" and leaves his captives alone in the dark. Victor stumbles into a forcefield that drains his artificial heart of energy. Gwent returns at that moment, but cannot see what is happening. He has John and Helena seperate so he can see. He revives Victor with a bolt of energy.

It has become apparent to Koenig that Gwent can see only with the use of a spotlight-like probe. He informs Helena and Victor in writing. In order to use the element of surprise, he contacts Main Mission, says nothing, but writes out "Attack!".

Alpha launches Eagles and dispatches laser tanks to try to incapcitate Gwent. They fire upon Gwent to no avail. And Gwent's counter attack is devastating. As Koenig watches the death and destruction he suspects that he and his people are outmatched by their opponent. He is is ultimately convinced when Gwent fires a beam that causes incredible pain to the entire base.

Koenig surrenders and orders the supplies delivered. Gwent tells his captives that he will release Victor when they arrive, but John and Helena will remain as his companions. The Eagle docks and the supplies are unloaded. Gwent detects the Alphans weapons and decides to keep Victor as punishment for their treachery.

Koenig orders them to fire on the door separating them. This has no effect and Alan and the security team are forced to leave. Gwent instructs John and Victor to get the power core from the supplies and install it. Koenig decides to destroy the core and Gwent by depriving him of energy.

Gwent is taken aback by their actions. He becomes regretful of his actions and realizes the inherent flaw of transferring his personality into an all-powerful machine. He needs companionship. He sees that his vanity was his greatest sin and welcomes the release of death.

His systems shut down and John Helena and Victor are trapped within the dead machine. As the air thins, Koenig places a small piece of the smashed fuel core into the chamber and the lights start to come up. John tells him they need oxygen, not lights, and oxygen starts to fill the room. Gwent opens the door and lets them out.

Koenig stops to say goodbye to Gwent on the way out, feeling pity for this lost, lonely creature. When they get back to the base, Gwent lifts off. He is heading directly for the base, and not gaining altitude. The Alphans watch as he barely clears the base and flies into a mountain, and is destroyed... a blind, lonely creature looking for his death.
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