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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138
-at-popapostle-dot-com
UFO: The Final Climb UFO
"The Final Climb"
Countdown #67-70, May 27, 1972 - June 17, 1972
Writer: Unknown
Art: Jon Davis

 

The aliens seek some prime human specimens from among an international mountaineering expedition in the Himalayas.

 

Read the story summary at Technodelic

 

DIDJA KNOW?

 

This is a 4-part 8-page story serialized in Countdown #67-70, May 27, 1972 - June 17, 1972

 

DIDJA NOTICE?

 

The Interceptors in this story are depicted without the front landing gear normally seen.

 

The aliens engage in a new tactic of sacrificing one of their UFOs in an explosion in front of a trio of Interceptors to blind their sensors and visuals so the two remaining UFOs can make it safely to Earth.

 

For some reason, Straker is wearing sunglasses in SHADO HQ in part one of the story.

 

In pursuit of the two UFOs on page 2 of the story, Sky 1 emerges from the Indian Ocean to give chase. Soon, Captain Carlin reports to SHADO HQ that he's getting a little worried about how close he's getting to the Chinese border. This would tend to suggest that he has flown over India and is approaching the Himalayan mountain range, which forms the border between those two countries. This is confirmed in part two of the story (page 3 of the complete story).

 

The events of this story would suggest that China is not part of the central world government revealed in "The Alien Ally". China must be one of the few unnamed states mentioned in that story as still shunning membership in the world government. The peace breakthrough that the general claims SHADO has nearly ruined may have been part of negotiations for China to join the world union.

 

Straker and Freeman speculate that the aliens may be after some prime human specimens in the form of an international expedition scheduled to climb several mountains in the Himalayan range, including two in Chinese territory, a week later. Freeman goes on to remark on the subzero temperatures available for the aliens to work in. That the aliens are able to better manage their bodies' metabolisms in frigid air was established in "Arctic Affair".

 

Straker makes a visit to the International Mountaineering Club in his capacity as the head of Harlington-Straker film studios to arrange a deal with the head of the upcoming expedition to film the adventure. The International Mountaineering Club appears to be a fictional organization, but may be based on the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation formed in 1932 and still existing today.

 

The airplane Straker and Foster take to Katmandu for the expedition is a SHADAir Mobile Transporter, seen in several episodes of the TV series. Katmandu is the capital of Nepal, a nation engulfed by the Himalayan mountains.

 

Upon seeing the SHADAir Transport plane, one of the expedition members exclaims, "Sacre bleu! It is magnifique!" Sacré bleu is an old French profanity meaning "sacred blue", a reference to the color associated with the Virgin Mary. The exclamation is not in frequent use among the French, but is widely assumed as one by English-speakers through the popularity of Agatha Christie's novels of the French-speaking detective Hercule Poirot, who was known to use the phrase frequently. Magnifique is French for "magnificent".

 

When three more UFOs attempt an Earth penetration, two are destroyed by Interceptors, while the third is damaged, but makes it to Earth at half speed. The lower speed allows Moonbase to track it to a landing 30 miles west of Mount Djhoubli, at the base of which the mountaineering expedition has its base camp. Mount Djhoubli appears to be a fictional mountain. Page 5 reveals the peak to be in Chinese territory. 

 

This story introduces a SHADO helicopter not seen in any of the TV episodes. SHADO copter

 

When a storm requires Foster and Straker to set down their copter on the mountain, they find an old building that Straker speculates may be an old Buddhist monastery. Buddhism is prevalent religion in the Asian countries. A monastery is an abode used to house Buddhist monks.

 

A previously unseen type of alien surface craft is depicted in this story.

alien surface craft

 

On the last page of the story, Straker tells the Chinese captain, now aware of the alien intrusions on Earth, that, given the chance, the aliens would "enslave us all." But we haven't seen any evidence of alien interest in enslaving humanity in any of the UFO stories. Rather, they are interested in taking appropriate human bodies for their organs or, possibly, as hinted at in "The Cat With Ten Lives", for full body-possession.

 

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