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"Moonbase 3" Behemoth (1973)

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Ahead of its time

Author: benkidlington from North West England
17 September 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This intriguing second episode of Moonbase 3 successfully keeps the pace up, with another tragic crisis to be dealt with by commanding director "Welsh Wizard" David Caulder.

This one focuses on Mare Frigoris (The Sea of Cold), where a series of unexplained seismic events result in the unfortunate deaths of base personnel. After a further unexplained incident in which an eccentric scientist and his seismology lab are blown up, the remaining moon-base staff become quite frightened. Particularly that is, after one colourful character starts to distress everyone with his pet theory of a provoked, malevolent life form terrorising the base. These ideas further seem to be backed up when it transpires that the aforementioned scientist had confided in a junior colleague the possibility of signs of life on the Moon and also a strange track is found in the lunar surface stretching from from Mare Frigoris to the destroyed science lab.

In the end though, the Moonbase 3 team finally decide to scout out Mare Frigoris. It turns out that there's just a simple scientific explanation for all of the tragedies and there was no malevolent life form after all. A shifting layer of permafrost is found to be the culprit after it had amplified the sounding charges used by the scientists, unexpectedly causing Moon-quakes with tragic consequences. Furthermore, mishandling of unauthorised explosives by the over-zealous scientists had allowed a further tremor to trigger the accidental destruction of the seismology lab.

What I like about this episode though, is that all loose ends are tied up, with all prior events explained neatly at the end. Also, the fact that in real life, in the 21st century, lunar probes have indicated the presence of abundant water-ice in permanently shadowed craters near the lunar pole, makes this episode seem somewhat prophetic.

Given that I did not expect this series to be very good, based on various reviews, episodes like this show how it strives for technical and scientific correctness, which is where it compares favourably to other, more stylised shows like "Space 1999".

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