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Doug and Tony are transported to a mysterious laboratory in Cliffport,
Maine, on 10 September 1978, and sooner they discover that the local
population has been frozen by aliens that intend to steal the oxygen of
the atmosphere. Meanwhile, the connection of the time tunnel complex
with Doug and Tony is locked and the oxygen in the complex is also
drained jeopardizing the personnel.
"Town of Terror" is a deceptive and flawed last episode of The Time Tunnel that uses the idea of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" with aliens possessing the bodies of humans. The screenplay is flawed and for example, the first alien vanquished by Doug and Tony explodes and vanishes in a different way from the others. The conclusion (or lack of conclusion) with the return to the first episode is awful and the producers show no respect with the viewers and fans of this cult show. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "O Túnel do Tempo" ("The Time Tunnel")
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It is said that when some TIME TUNNEL writers tried to put some
personal drama into an episode, Irwin Allen would nix the idea by
saying that this was a "running and jumping show." If so, he probably
enjoyed this episode, because running and jumping is about all there is
to it. The plot is simple: Doug and Tony escape from an alien
laboratory set up in a small town (Cliffport, Maine) to begin to siphon
oxygen from the Earth's atmosphere. Then, they try to break back in to
the lab and destroy it. Along the way, they must outrun or fight the
purple-faced, black cloaked alien invaders. They are aided by two young
lovers, who so far have avoided being paralyzed by the touch of the
aliens, which has left the remainder of the townspeople in suspended
Meanwhile, the Tunnel complex is pretty much out of commission. After first rescuing Tony and Doug from the alien's paralyzing touch (by transporting them a few feet away in space), an alien invades the complex, planting a device that seals off the Tunnel area and begins to suck the oxygen out through the Tunnel itself. The Tunnel personnel are left to slowly get weaker and General Kirk has to plead for Tony and Doug to break the deadly connection at the alien's lab. So there's not a lot of excitement in that area, as compared to the previous episode. On the plus side Heather Young, who played Betty in LAND OF THE GIANTS, guest stars as one of the young lovers mentioned above. I always thought she was cool in LOTG, and here she gets a chance to let her hair down a little, literally. And of course, there's plenty of fight scenes for action fans. But, this is the third episode in a row to feature aliens, and the second consecutive one where Tony and Doug have to save the world.
It is also the series' last episode. There is no conclusion, as the series was initially renewed and they were expecting to return the next year. But on the bright side, the signal on the two men is so strong at episode's end, it's not hard to believe that rather than simply being transported to another time period, that they were in fact retrieved back home to the Time Tunnel.
All through this episode, there are bizarre and confusing events, starting with a fight in the teaser where Doug punches a man and apparently kills him. Then the "dead" man rises up like a zombie, sets off a control panel and vanishes in a puff of smoke. We find out later on that the aliens can possess a human, which is what happened there. But during later fight scenes, an unconscious possessed human merely vanishes, leaving the alien in his original form before he also vanishes. That is, except for one later fight where, after knocking out one alien, the alien commander says, "Multiply Andro Two." The alien vanishes and is instead replaced by two aliens. They get up and fight with Doug and Tony only to be knocked unconscious again and disappear for good this time. That whole scenario seemed like just an excuse for another fight scene, as if there weren't enough of them already. And very early in the show, Tony looks through a door and sees the alien for the first time from a distance, sitting in front of a control panel. He closes the door and says to Doug, "An Android." Indeed, the aliens are from the planet Andro and are called Androids, but how did Tony know that from one look? (Perhaps he was originally supposed to have overheard the alien's communication as well.) I won't even start on the whole concept that aliens who can travel in space and time can't find another way to produce oxygen other than stealing it from a planet light years away.
There's one final bizarre element to this episode. Originally, it was followed by a repeat of the pilot episode, where Tony and Doug ended up on the Titanic. So the episode ends with a cliffhanger to that episode, starting with Tony and Doug floating in limbo and then followed by a series of scenes from the next episode rather than the usual recap of the first few minutes of the next show. (The first few minutes of the pilot episode featured Senator Clarke arriving in the desert by plane and being met by Doug in a black suit. That would have confused the heck out of a casual viewer of the show.) That in itself isn't strange. But unfortunately, this unusual cliffhanger has led some other websites, and a couple of books, to the bizarre conclusion that this was an "ending" for the show implying that Tony and Doug actually went back to the Titanic a second time and then were doomed to relive their previous adventures over and over again forever. That conclusion is a pack of nonsense; it was simply a cliffhanger to a repeat episode, something that had been done in the past on LOST IN SPACE as well. No, the only place Tony and Doug will be repeating their adventures over and over again is in syndicated reruns.
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