The Catacombs Production Guide
Observations: The Metamorph

We see two different versions of Moonbase Alpha during the opening titles. It's almost the same angle, with the same launch pad in foreground. The first shot shows Alpha as it appeared in the first series. In the series logo shot the launch pad has a thin "boarding tube".

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In The Metamorph the new version of the launch pad appears in the opening shot (exactly the same shot opens Seed Of Destruction and Space Warp). A different pad, also with added tube, appears later in the episode. However, one shot shows the original launch pad without the tube.

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In Medical Centre, one of the panels of the communications post is partially transparent. As the bed can be seen through it, it is clear the communications post has no opposite side.

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On Annette Fraser's clipboard, you can see a commlock identity panel (where a photograph would normally go), plus the flat buttons also seen on the computer panel in front of her.
The computer panel under the Big Screen is angled- and from this angle we can see the gap at the top is open. Thanks to Al.
The TV screen has the label "Fraser". We saw in previous episodes the name labels over TV screens for pilots, monitoring their life signs (Ring Around The Moon, Missing Link). There are no life signs here, and no screen for the co-pilot, Torens. Apparently the name plate just identifies the pilot's image, in case Annette forgets who he is. Thanks to Thomas.

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The remnants of the supernova from Into Infinity are seen. They also appear in the Year 2 opening titles and The Beta Cloud. Thanks to Marcus Lindroos.

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Fraser's Eagle 1 and Koenig's Eagle 4 change between the two Eagle models from shot to shot. Initially, Fraser's Eagle 1 is the mark 2 Eagle. Later it is the mark 1 Eagle.

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Eagle 4 is the mark 1 Eagle on Moonbase Alpha and when it fires its engines in planet orbit.

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Eagle 4 is the mark 2 Eagle in the Psychon crater and certain space shots.

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The reason may be that Eagle 1 was damaged at some point, losing two rear connecting pieces from the spine. The Eagle is normally held by wires attached to these bars. The broken spine is only seen in publicity photos such as below and in close-up. Thanks to David Sisson.

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The detail image of the Eagle 2 rear leg below shows the bracket on the back of the leg has broken off from the top support and has dropped down lower onto the pad. Thanks to David Sisson.

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In the Eagle hangar, the Ultra Probe command module is visible on the right (the Ultra Probe insignia is visible on its side).

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The Eagle is not positioned centrally on the launch pad - the boarding tube is parallel with the front leg pod.
Eagle 4 has a booster pod which is not (and cannot be) docked to the boarding tube. Yet in studio shots the crew enter an apparently standard pod
How is the booster pod going to dock with Mentor's ship? The Psychon ship has no obvious docking point.

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Wires are seen as Koenig's Eagle launches.

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When the Eagle launches, the shot of Picard and Helena shows a hole through the passenger module wall, with wood planks seen beyond.

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On the Command Centre Big Screen there is a view of the Psychon ship rising out of the clouds. How could the Alphans view this camera angle?

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As Mentor's ship tries to draw the Eagle down to the planet, we see close-ups of the immense G-forces on the faces of the Alphans (repeating an effect first tried in Gerry Anderson's Into Infinity). Helena and Picard are standing in the Eagle doorway at the time, which is hardly the safest position during turbulence, and despite the stresses remain standing throughout. Thanks to Tim Washburn. The close up of Helena's face reveals the air hose (bottom right). She is holding on to red plywood- not the padded doorframe of the Eagle. Thanks to Mark Spalding.

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When Koenig's Eagle escapes Mentor's ship, one of the stars is clearly seen superimposed through the bottom rear leg.

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Mentor's screen shows Koenig in the Eagle. As well as blacking out the background, it removes Helena standing in front of him. Also his front zip is zipped up.

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Pilots normally wear orange sleeves (Reconnaissance Section). Torens has a yellow sleeve (normally Service), Fraser a red sleeve (normally Main Mission) - although his ID badge does read "Pilot". The colour-coding seems to be forgotten about. Thanks to Richard Totis.

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Picard is wearing Adidas trainers- the 3 stripes are visible. Thanks to Fergus.

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Fraser and Torens are brought into the room as Mentor talks to Koenig. Mentor says "Don't be alarmed", but having Fraser interrupt- and be shot- while Koenig watches makes his whole pretence pointless. He might as well threaten them overtly.
Presumably the plan at this point was for the minds of both pilots to be fed to Psyche. Fraser is only stunned. Why can't his mind be used when he is unconscious?

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When Maya enters the Grove Of Psyche after Torens's brain has been drained, she seems to stumble slightly as she steps through the door. Thanks to Thomas.

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As Koenig and the others enter the caves, the mind of Torens is drained. After an on-screen time of 3 minutes, the Alphans find the miners, and then Torens coming down a ladder. Torens looks like he has been in the working in the caves for weeks or months, not minutes. His uniform is dirty, torn and burned; his face bruised. The mine may be dirty, but Torens seems to have been subjected to violence, not a short period of heavy labour. Thanks to Fergus.
Before Torens appears, the Alphans hear a scream. Torens and the miners appear mindless and impassive- why would they scream? Perhaps at the top the ladder, Mentor is beating, burning and torturing his miners.

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When Torens descends the ladder, we see the Alphans beyond. A reaction shot shows Koenig, Alan and Helena, but Helena is in a different position, behind the two men rather than alongside Alan.

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Torens's ripped uniform in the caves is a Year 1-style uniform, without a collar, stitching or ID badge. In the Brain Transfer Unit, the uniform has a collar and ID badge (but no stitching). Thanks to Andy.

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When we see Koenig taking a stun gun from the Eagle weapons rack, all the guns are clearly the standard type, without the stun/kill slider on top. When the steaming gun is dropped to the floor of the cave, it has a stun/kill slider, and more buttons on the handle.

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Are the overseers other Psychons, mind-drained aliens or rock transformations? Maya ignores their presence, as if they were slaves.

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Mentor's hologram is reversed (note the pack on his right shoulder). This is possibly intentional, as it is consistent when seen from behind. It may be a simple camera trick. The camera films through an angled sheet of glass. Brian Blessed would stand to the side of the set, brightly illuminated against a dark background; the glass shows his reflection (reversed) with the cave set beyond. Thanks to David Sisson.

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Why is there an energy shield protecting a hologram? Why do they want to break through it?
The reflected laser from Picard's laser rifle makes him completely disappear. Koenig was shot and killed by the same rifle in War Games, which left his body intact with a black burn wound. The most severe effects of stun guns include combustion (Alpha Child) and severe burns over the whole body (Force of Life); this is the most radical effect seen in the series. Thanks to Fergus.

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Maya is apparently unaware that Mentor is draining the minds of aliens ("My father would harm no one."). Yet she is transformed into a lion when Koenig wakes up, which obviously alarms him. She doesn't seem to think anything is untoward about his being unconscious, or being in a cell with a forcefield ("Oh, I'm sorry, I should have warned you. About the forcefield."). Yet she asks him "Why are you so unfriendly?" Thanks to Thomas.
Maya was present (in the form of a lion) when Mentor tells Koenig they will rendezvous in space, and one of the pilots has minor injuries. She does not ask why the plan changed. She did not try to see the "injured" pilot, or see the pilots after they have been "in rapport" with Psyche. Where does she think all the other aliens have gone? Presumably the "minds and bodies of our people who survived the disaster" were also Psychons, fed into Psyche. Mentor has committed genocide against his own people, and Maya hasn't noticed that everyone else has disappeared. If she is completely innocent, why does Mentor allow her to talk to Koenig? Thanks to Fergus.

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When Koenig orders Tony to implement Directive 4, his hair is different on Psyche and on the Command Centre Big Screen (note the odd tuft over his left ear). Note on Psyche, we see both the overseer behind him, and Helena and Fraser in the brain-drain chairs, but on the Big Screen there is just a plain orange background visible. Thanks to Thomas.

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When Alan recovers in the cell, Fraser is close to him in close shots, but a little further in long shots. Note also the shadows behind them are different. Thanks to Thomas.

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The Weapons Section set is impressive, apart from the exposed wood and nails exposed top left.

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Petrov says "When that Eagle hits Psychon there will be nothing left of the planet.". He pronounces "Psychon" with an extra "l": "Psy- klon" instead of "Psy- kon".
Destroying an entire planet with a single Eagle is a capability the Alphans never previously had (Collision Course) nor be able to do later (The Seance Spectre).

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Before the image of Alpha appears, the captive Alphans gather to look at the blank wall. How do they know where the "screen" will appear? Thanks to Fergus.

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Koenig attacks Psyche. Where have Mentor's overseer's gone? They were quick to immobilise Fraser and Alan previously, but they have now disappeared. Thanks to Fergus.

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Top left you can see some scaffolding beyond the white pipe. This may be the studio scaffolding- although with the other girders and cables as set decoration, it is arguably valid in the Psychon caves. Thanks to James. C

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At the end, we see the Command Center staff beaming happily at the Big Screen. Tony tells Sandra to "raise Eagle 4". Have they not been in contact with them before? If not, they would not know if everyone had escaped (Torens and Picard had not). Thanks to Fergus.


Space 1999 copyright ITV Studios Global Entertainment