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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138
-at-popapostle-dot-com
UFO: Mindbender UFO
"Mindbender"

TV episode
Teleplay by: Tony Barwick
Directed by: Ken Turner

 

SHADO personnel begin losing their minds.

 

Read the episode transcription at the SHADO Library

 

DIDJA NOTICE?

 

After searching for UFO wreckage on the lunar surface, Straker orders Foster, "Home, James, and don't spare the horses." The popular idiom is believed to have originated in the late 1800s with Queen Victoria of England, who had a carriage driver named James Darling. Normally the surname would be used, but it might have been construed as inappropriate for her to refer to her driver as "Darling", so she called him by his given name instead.

 

At 9:16 on the DVD, Conroy runs past a painting in the Central Park area of Moonbase. The painting appears to be that of the Palace of Westminster and the Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben).

 

During his delusion, Conroy pulls a pistol out his discarded spacesuit in the Leisure Sphere and shoots Dale. Is a pistol standard issue for Moonbase personnel? It appears to be a fairly standard projectile weapon, which one would think would be problematic for defense inside the self-contained atmosphere of Moonbase, the danger being a stray bullet could potentially puncture the walls or a window to the airless lunar surface.

 

At 11:50 on the DVD, one of the Moonbase personnel is reading a book, the title of which is too blurry to fully make out. It appears to say something ending with "Star Atlas".

 

At 14:21 on the DVD, a number of what appear to be award statuettes are seen on the wall of Straker's office at Harlington-Straker Studios. Presumably these are awards for some of the films that have been made there.

 

At 18:47 on the DVD, an actor's mark is seen on the corridor floor. An unnamed SHADO operative stops right on that mark.

 

At 19:15 on the DVD, Straker holds up a floorplan of SHADO HQ.

SHADO HQ floorplan

 

This episode reveals that Straker has a small monitor attached to the underside of his desk in his Harlington-Straker office that can silently alert him to SHADO emergencies when he has a civilian in his office.

 

When Straker steps outside for some air, he sees two actors in period costumes at 23:36 on the DVD (a medieval maiden and a monk), another actor dressed as an Indian prince, and a large prop statue of a hand at 24:01. The actors and prop all later appear repeatedly throughout Straker's hallucination. The hand also previously appeared in "Timelash".

 

When Foster hands Straker a directive for him to sign for a replacement Interceptor for Moonbase, Straker wonders, "I wonder how much that's going to cost?" Shouldn't he already have a pretty good idea of how much an Interceptor costs? After all, Moonbase has lost Interceptors in battle before.

 

When General Henderson grows exasperated with Straker's lack of answers to give to the committee, he sarcastically remarks, "What do you expect me to do, give them a couple of choruses of 'Lover Come Back'?" Henderson is presumably referring to a song called "Lover Come Back to Me" from the 1928 Broadway play The New Moon. Barbra Streisand recorded a popular version of it in 1962.

 

During his hallucination, Straker enters Theater 7 where they are playing the day's rushes. At 34:47 on the DVD, the rushes that begin playing are scenes from the first episode of UFO, "Identified"! At 36:57, the rushes turn into scenes from another episode, "A Question of Priorities".

 

In his hallucination, Straker is referred to by the people he meets as Howard Byrne, an actor playing Ed Straker in a television series (Straker had met the real Howard Byrne earlier in the episode). Paul Foster, on the other hand, is referred to by the actor's real name, Michael Billington.

 

A stack of magazines and other materials sitting on the stage set of the Command Sphere changes from one shot to the next at 43:15 on the DVD. Of course, since this is taking place in Straker's hallucination, the change can be forgiven. 

 

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

 

How was Straker able to damage the control room in his hallucinating state (as revealed at the end of the episode) when the hallucination seems to be begin and end within moments in the "real world" with his confrontation with Henderson inside his office?

 

Whatever became of actor Howard Byrne's implied threat to ruin the TV show he was shooting for Harlington-Straker if he didn't get script approval?

 

MEMORABLE DIALOG

 

General all-mighty Henderson.wav

I'm really seeing you for the first time.wav

you take the coconut.wav

 

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