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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138
-at-popapostle-dot-com
UFO: E.S.P. UFO
"E.S.P."

TV episode
Teleplay by: Alan Fennell
Directed by: Ken Turner

 

A man with extra-sensory perception comes under the sway of the aliens.

 

Read the story summary at SHADOpedia

 

DIDJA KNOW?

 

This episode takes place in the course of over one month.

 

DIDJA NOTICE?

 

At 4:42 on the DVD, an office of Sunway Blinds is seen across the street.

 

At 4:56 on the DVD, we see a number of businesses listed on the sign in the building lobby where Croxley goes to see his psychiatrist: H. Smart Solicitors, Arcon Products, Jetcar Hire Co. Ltd., Stanton Smith Inc., and Lamont Design Ltd. As far as I can tell, these were all fictional establishments at the time.

 

At about 21:27 on the DVD, notice that the shockwave of the exploding UFO causes cracks in the windshield of Mobile 2. 

 

Freeman states that the largest piece of debris recovered from the self-destructed UFO is just 6 inches long. But, just seconds later, in a shot at 24:33 on the DVD, we see that the whole base of the craft appears to be largely intact behind the damaged house! UFO crash site

 

As commented upon in the study of "Identified", Straker receives a package in our current episode, addressed to him at Harlington-Straker Studios, Harlington West, Wessex. There is no Harlington West in England and Wessex is only officially known as a former kingdom in southwest England ruled by the Anglo-Saxons in the 6th-10th Centuries; i.e. Wessex is not a recognized county in modern times. It is possible that the mention of Wessex is intended by the producers to be a nod to the novels of Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) in which he placed his stories in the fictional county of Wessex in southwestern England; additionally, he renamed real world cities in that region to suggest a slightly alternate history of his setting, e.g. Oxford becomes Christminster, Dorchester becomes Casterbridge, etc. Harlington could be argued to exist just within the boundaries of Hardy's Wessex, so it may be that Harlington in our world is Harlington West in Hardy's (and UFO's!).

 

After his hospitalization from injuries incurred from being in the blast radius of the self-destructing UFO, Foster does not return to SHADO HQ under Harlington-Straker Studios for a month, as he remarks on how quiet it seems there at 30:47 on the DVD. This tells us the story spans the course of about a month.

 

At 39:51 on the DVD, a monitor of some kind in the medical ward of SHADO HQ suddenly goes from a flatline display to fluttering with waves as Foster leaves the room. What is the meaning of the interference? Was it Croxley attempting to glean more information from Foster's mind? Was it Foster's own mind reacting in a psychic manner to his decision to return to the ruins of Croxley's home? Does Foster have latent psychic abilities of his own?

 

Apparently Croxley never recovered his and his dead wife's cat from the ruins of the house, because the pet is still seen hanging around the ruins a month later!

 

Croxley leaves a message with his psychiatrist to have Straker and Freeman meet him at the crash site at 10:00 that night. The two arrive early, 9:30. After entering the ruins of the house, they encounter Croxley who, after just a few minutes of discussion and threats, looks at his watch and announces it is four minutes to twelve and he'll kill them at midnight.

 

Near the end of the episode, Croxley seems to deliver a telepathic message from the aliens, explaining their interest in Earth: "Our planet is dying. Our national resources are exhausted. We must come to Earth! We must come to Earth to survive!" and "We mean no harm to peoples of Earth. Why do you attack us? We're fighting for existence. You must understand!"

 

At about 45:58 on the DVD, Croxley seems to gasp "Help" in between sentences of the aliens' purpose on Earth.

 

Notice that Straker seems to have a drink with Freeman at the end of the episode, though he normally abstains from alcohol. Freeman is known to enjoy whiskey and the color of the drinks he and Straker toast with appears to correspond to it.

 

In the end credits, Croxley's psychiatrist is referred to as Dr. Ward, but the sign in his building indicates Dr. Brunner. 

 

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

 

Do the aliens simply want to co-habitate Earth with us? The dialog spoken by Croxley, seemingly from the aliens, suggests they mean no harm to the people of Earth, they simply must come here to survive as their own resources are exhausted. But, by stealing human organs, they are certainly harming (i.e. killing) individual humans. They have also launched attacks that have killed humans, though it is interesting to note that their attacks are focused on SHADO bases and personnel.

 

Why was the UFO flying so erratically and why did it crash? Was the pilot evading its own people? Are there two (or more) factions of aliens vying for Earth with one possibly more malevolent than the other? This question of competing factions comes up in previous and later stories as well.

 

Since the aliens seemingly had extra-sensory contact with Croxley, it seems quite possible they learned much of, if not all, that he did about SHADO and its personnel from the reading of Foster's mind. Will they make use of that knowledge?

 

MEMORABLE DIALOG

 

red alert.wav

ESP sound effect.wav

we managed to scratch along without you.wav

ESP.wav

powers of perception.wav

we must come to Earth to survive.wav

we mean no harm.wav

fate and fear.wav 

 

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