"Ordeal" is placed some time in 1982, under the assumption that
SHADO personnel would be required to undergo a physical examination
about once a year, as Foster is called in for here, having
graduated from SHADO training in March of 1981 in
"Survival". I am basing this on the
UFO timeline at
I suspect this episode was intended to subtly imply that Foster had
taken some kind of drug at the party. Though we only see him
drinking Scotch, there's a lot of the party we don't see and his
vivid dream which makes up the majority of the episode seems more
like a drug trip than an alcohol dream. And this was shot in the
'60s, after all.
Various sources refer to the SHADAIR vehicle seen in this episode as
a SHADAIR Kingfisher Helicopter (SHADOpedia
The song playing at the party attended by Foster is "Get
Back" (1969) by The Beatles.
During the opening party scenes showing dancing female
bodies, there are a couple of instances where the pink
panties of the girl in the short silver skirt are visible.
Later, the hostess of the party shows hers off as she flops
onto the couch with Foster. I've almost got to believe the film editor picked these
At 5:00 on the DVD, a number of alcohol bottles are seen on
the countertop. I've been unable to confirm Justina as an
actual brand of the time, though there is a St. Justina
wine. Grove Gin is another I've been unable to confirm as a
real brand, though there are Old Grove and Oak Grove gins. A
bottle of Squires Gin is also seen; this is a real world
The alarm clock seen at 6:57 on the DVD that awakens Foster
is a Presta brand. This was a real world brand of clock at
the time the episode was made, but I can find no evidence
that the company is still in business.
The morning after the party, Foster checks in at the SHADO
Research Center for a required 2-week-long
check-up and physical. He meets with the head of the center,
Dr. Harris. I suspect some names got mixed up in this script
because the actor seen playing "Dr. Harris" here (Basil
Moss) plays Dr. Frazer in several other episodes! And a
character called Dr. Harris at SHADO HQ in
"Identified" is played by
another actor (Matthew Robertson)! And, at one point in this
episode, Straker asks Lt. Ford to get Dr. Frazer at the research
center on the radio (not Dr. Harris).
During Foster's flashback at 11:13 on the DVD, we see Han
Solo dancing at the party.
This episode is the first appearance
of what I call the Type 2 alien
spacesuit. The Type 1 suits seen in
earlier episodes have a red collar
and a chain-like cross-hatch on the
torso. The Type 2 have a black
collar and a solid silver
stripe and a larger faceplate
on the helmet.
|Type 1 alien
||Type 2 alien
At 26:12 on the DVD, when Captain Waterman slides down the
chute to Sky 1, it can be seen that his descent stops
while his head is still visible in the chute!
The aliens wear lenses over their eyes to protect them from
the liquid-breathing mixture in their spacesuits. But Foster
is not given any lenses, so would his eyes, or his sight
while immersed in the fluid, be hindered? Of course, since
this all turns out to be just Foster's nightmare, it doesn't
At 29:46 on the DVD, we see that the chute that leads the
pilot to Sky 1 also delivers the pilot back up to the
control room of Skydiver when he returns.
At 35:05 on the DVD, something appears to be fluttering on
the right-hand side of the Moonmobile (left side of screen).
It may be meant to be seen as venting gas or smoke.
While discussing how to safely remove the recovered Foster
from the liquid-breathing environment of the alien
spacesuit, Dr. Jackson remarks that when they've done it
before with captured aliens, none have survived more than a
few hours afterward. Since this is part of Foster's
nightmare, we don't know how much truth is in this
statement, but it does seem to fit with what we've seen in
Straker remarks (again, within Foster's dream) that Foster
is an expert skin diver.
Dr. Jackson remarks that Foster is being injected with
petrocol to try to ease the transition to air when they
remove his liquid-filled helmet. As far as I can tell,
petrocol is a fictional drug.
Though not seen previously, at 43:07 on the DVD, there is
suddenly a blobby scratch mark on the side of the alien
helmet worn by Foster.
When Foster's helmet is removed and the green fluid drains
out, his face isn't stained green like that of the aliens.
Of course (again!), this is just a dream.
All of the scenes through the moment Foster falls asleep in the
sauna are real. The scenes afterward (until he wakes up
again at 44:17 on the DVD) are from Foster's dream.
As Foster goes into the sauna for the second time at the end
of the episode, he sings "Beautiful Dreamer" from 1864,
written by the "father of American music," Stephen Foster.
Of course, the "dreamer" part of the song is a reference to
his own previous spell of dreaming in the sauna. In
addition, it's possible Colonel Foster has an affinity for
Stephen Foster's work because they share the same last name
or maybe the colonel is a descendent of the songwriter?
see you in the fun palace.wav
giggle a nanosecond.wav
Control to Skydiver.wav
what gentle means of persuasion.wav
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