The second part of Ray Bradbury's epic mini-series about the colonisation of Mars.
It is some years since the original expedition to the Red Planet ended in tragedy. Colonists from Earth have arrived in droves, such as Rafe ( Wolfgang Reichmann ) and Anna ( Maria Schell ) Lustig. One night, in the midst of a storm, they are awoken by what appears to be their dead son, David ( Michael Anderson Jr. ). He offers no explanation for his apparent resurrection. The lonely couple are so glad to have him back they do not press him for answers. But, whilst on a trip to a nearby town, he goes missing. Various people see him as whatever they want him to be. Father Peregrine ( Fritz Weaver ) sees him as 'Jesus Christ' ( Jon Finch ), replete with crown of thorns and bleeding hands. Rafe is so keen to have back his son he is prepared to accept even a Martian lookalike. But 'David' finds himself surrounded by people and, unable to cope with all their thoughts, dies.
Along with Father Stone ( Roddy McDowall ), Father Peregrine ventures into the mountains to investigate a claim that an old prospector who fell from a great height was saved by three glowing blue spheres. The story is true. The father offers to start a new church in their honour, but the creatures respectfully decline, pointing out that they were human once but are no longer.
Elsewhere on Mars, Sam Parkhill ( Darren McGavin ) and wife Alma ( Joyce Van Patten ) have opened a café, hoping to cash in on the influx of people whom they hope will be coming from Earth. But none will be. A war has broken out between the super powers, and Earth is obliterated in a nuclear holocaust. Martians chase Sam ( who is dressed in cowboy clothes ) across the desert in sand-ships. When they catch up with him, he is presented with a deed entitling him to ownership of half the planet...
As with the previous instalment, this is engrossing and intelligent science fiction. Fritz Weaver is excellent as 'Father Peregrine' whose life-long wish to meet The Messiah comes unexpectedly true ( sort of ), as is Michael Anderson Jr. as 'David'. Again the special effects let it down ( the shot of the colonists' ships travelling to Mars looked rubbish even in 1980, while the sand-ship chase unfortunately resembles something out of 'Michael Bentine's Potty Time' ), but if you are prepared to suspend your disbelief long enough you'll find this a rewarding experience.
Some U.S. networks thought Father Peregrine's encounter with 'Christ' might offend some viewers, and deleted it before broadcast.
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