Sunday, 2 February 2014

EPis0dIC! - UFO - "The Square Triangle" (S01E09 - 1970)

...SHADO mobilises its space interceptors after S.I.D detects an incoming UFO whose trajectory indicates it will land somewhere in southern England. Commander Straker hurredly calculates a rough landing point while Colonel Foster waits for the order to intercept, however at the last minute Straker orders that the UFO be allowed to pass through and land unmolested.

Meanwhile, as S.I.D reports that the UFO has passed through SHADOs outer defence cordons, a woman drives seemingly alone along a deserted road.

The UFO lands in the middle of an area of dense forest, so Straker orders Foster to lead a team of SHADO mobile units to track down the UFO and capture it intact.

The woman is not alone in her car, a young man is with her, she continues driving as he nonchalantly smokes a cigarette.

The SHADO mobiles are deployed into the search area, and begin looking for the alien craft, meanwhile, the woman and the young man reach an isolated cottage, which the man begins looking around suspiciously. The man, "Cass" (Played by a very young Patrick Mower ) tells the woman, "Liz", to "go and get it", she returns from the bedroom carrying a gun.

Straker monitors the mobiles progress, while Alec Freeman enquires why Straker hasn't simply "asked the aliens round for drinks". Straker, in private, explains that he has let the UFO through because as an organisation, SHADO knows very little about the aliens or their spacecraft, therefore, in this instance, he allowed the UFO through in order to capture it intact and learn its secrets.

Cass and Liz are lovers, and Cass has planned that Liz's husband is to die that very night, killed by his own wife in what will look like an accident as he comes in the front door. His planning is meticulous, every detail has been worked out, nothing can go wrong.

In the forest, a security guard and his dog stumble across an alien, the dog attacks the alien while the guard runs off, but is then later killed when another alien shoots him with its machine gun, before dragging his corpse away back to their ship.

The SHADO mobiles close in on the UFO, but, they are too late, the UFO has spent too long in Earths atmosphere, and it spectacularly explodes before they can capture it.

Liz and Cass lie in wait in the darkened house, the front door opens, and, after some cajoling, Liz empties the gun into the figure that enters the house, except, to their horror, the figure that came in the door was not her husband, but instead was the other alien, who had escaped the clutches of the guard dog, and had managed to find his way to the house after damaging his helmet.
Cass panics and tells Liz to go through with the plan as they worked it out, he then leaves in a hurry and tells her to contact him later.

SHADO searches the wreckage of the UFO and finds the security guards body, and then finds his dog, which follows the scent of the alien and leads them to the isolated cottage, where they find the dead alien and a terrified Liz, whom Colonel Foster arrests and has taken back to SHADO headquarters. The SHADO operatives also pick up Cass as he flees, and take him along too.

Later, Lizs husband arrives to find Foster still in his house, after a tense standoff between the two, Foster orders the husband away and says he will be contacted later once they have completed their investigation.

Cass and Liz are reunited and informed of what has happened by Straker himself, initially they don't believe him, but as he points out, whether they believe him or not is irrelevant, as they have been administered an amnesia drug, which will completely erase their memories of the past 12 hours.
Straker knows what they were up to, as do Alec and Foster, however as Foster ironically points out "unfortunately for them an alien walked through that door instead of her husband", Straker acknowledges that although they can erase their memories of the, albeit brief, encounter with an alien and SHADO, it will not erase their intent to commit murder, and also unfortunately, they cannot warn the husband about his possible impending death, nor can they tip off the local police without raising suspicion about themselves, Straker regrettably states that any future events will have to take their course, and Liz and Cass are to be released as soon as their memories are erased.

The episode ends with Liz standing over her husbands grave, before then walking away hand in hand with Cass....

Of all the episodes of UFO, this one is probably my second favourite, (My overall favourite being "A Question of Priorities") simply because in this storyline, SHADO and its ongoing battle against the alien threat is secondary to the story of a murderous love triangle, but then both storylines crash together when a one in a million chance event occurs. I also like how Straker finds himself in a moral dilemma over whether to compromise the worlds safety simply to prevent the murder of one man, but finds himself having to make the difficult decision to allow the man to die so that SHADO can continue operating in secret, even though his two closest friends disagree with him.

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