Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Starlost, Episode 4, "The Pisces" (1973)

The Starlost, Episode 4, "The Pisces"

While hanging about the Ark, our protagonists are on hand to see a ship arrive. This ship, the Pisces, had left the Ark many years before, and failing to rendezvous in a timely manner, had hit relativistic speeds. For them, only ten years had passed.

How did they greet these newcomers on realizing that they were actually crew members? Did they reveal the accident immediately? No, they went along for a while, not asking questions, not providing answers, until the protagonists finally told the newcomers that they 400 years had passed.

Even stranger, the newcomers were hit with a relativistic dementia, whose only cure was to go back into deep space. In service to that, the two junior crew members, both women, hijacked the ship and set course for Earth because they didn't want to die when the Ark collided with a star. (And who could blame them? They tripled the number of available men on board.) Eventually our trio of tedium broke up the mutiny and got dropped back on the Ark, whereupon reset button was pushed and the Pisces left the Ark to preserve its crew members.

What did our protagonists learn? They had learned that a few reactors had blown up. That's it.

I'm pretty sure the navigator got some nookie. Given who her crew mates had been, a big strong blacksmith who could go for longer than 30 seconds must have seemed like an irresistible opportunity.

On the whole, this episode felt like an acceptable 22-minute plot stretched into 50 minutes. Almost every bizarre storytelling decision of the plot can trace itself back to this overstretched plot.