The Catacombs Production Guide
Observations: A Matter Of Balance

A Matter Of Balance

On the shelves on the right is the grey water cans that we see being drained in All That Glisters. It is odd that there are large computer banks in Hydroponics- the plants need water, but moisture is not good for electronics.

At several points, Shermeen's voice sounds like it is dubbed by an actress with a stronger American accent than Lynne Frederic. Thanks to Fergus.

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In the opening scenes in Hydroponics, Eddie Collins is not wearing a jacket. We see him go to his desk as Shermeen and Tony leave ("See you, Eddie."). The next shot shows him sitting ("Yeah, sure."), but now he wears a jacket. Thanks to John Day.

A Matter Of Balance

The orange chair that Eddie Collins will sit in has a seat cushion.

A Matter Of Balance

There is a nurse's uniform hanging in Shermeen's cupboard. While we might reasonably expect Shermeen to have a white lab coat, this is a nurse's dress, with the medical badge on the shoulder. Does Shermeen have a second job, or are her quarters shared with a nurse? Thanks to Richard Totis.

A Matter Of Balance

When Helena comforts Shermeen, a faint shadow moves over the wall behind them. It is the shadow of the microphone. (Note Shermeen is not wearing her name badge in this scene, understandably as it is in her quarters.)

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When Maya says "No signs of animal life" she is looking down. We then cut to a wider shot, which shows her looking up. Thanks to Thomas.

A Matter Of Balance

The rota for planet expedition botanist seems to consist solely of Eddie Collins and Shermeen, as if they are the only botanists on Alpha. Admittedly the staff in the Hydroponics department were severely reduced by the events of The Troubled Spirit. Thank to Fergus.

A Matter Of Balance

What is a propogatoscope? The prefix is derived from propagation, so it's something to do with breeding and growing plants. The suffix denotes a viewing instrument- thus something to observe plant growth. Bombarding something with protons is something done in particle physics, not biology, and it is implausible that a hydroponics lab would ever have such an instrument.
Now they have discovered that proton bombardment of Magnus Lilarium seeds causes (somehow) rapid growth and the release of a narcotic scent, will the Alphans use this ability? Perhaps this is Eddie's "interesting theory on plant growth" that Shermeen mentions at the end- they are experimenting with narcotics.
How does Vindrus know that Eddie Collins will approach the plant and smell it? He could have gone straight to the Eagle, instead of returning to Hydroponics. Thanks to Fergus.

A Matter Of Balance

Fraser has "disembarkation readjustment". There is a common condition of sea-legs, the illusion of movement after a sea or air trip, and a more serious medical problem called disembarkment syndrome. Like Koenig's shudder, it seems to be hinting at ghosts and the supernatural, but the story quickly drops this and takes another direction. Thanks to Richard Totis

A Matter Of Balance

There are some very bad lines in this episode. "That structure. Obviously built by intelligent life.".
Koenig asks Fraser to locate a landing site on the planet. By chance, Fraser manages to find a landing site near the alien structure, without detecting it until they stumble through the trees to find it. It would have been understandable to have seen the structure when they were surveying the planet from orbit or high altitude, and then land close by. Thanks to Fergus.

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When Vindrus first appears to Shermeen on the planet, her bag is on her right side. When she starts to follow Vindrus, the bag is on her left side, with the strap across her shoulder. Thanks to Thomas.

A Matter Of Balance

Koenig states the creature won't go past the obelisk. In fact, the shots before and after show it with the obelisk behind. Thanks to Thomas.
We learn later that the creature is an illusion. Yet here it brushes past leaves.

A Matter Of Balance

When Koenig and the others run away from the creature, we see Koenig's commlock on his belt. When they notice it has stopped, his commlock is tucked into his pocket. Thanks to Alice.
When they realize Shermeen is missing, Fraser and Maya walk off shouting out her name. Koenig tries (unsuccessfully) to call Alpha on his commlock. Why don't they try to call Shermeen by commlock? Thanks to Thomas.

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The fox head seen in the transformation scene looks like a stuffed animal. The fox seen in the field looks like a domestic dog. Foxes cannot be easily trained, so filming a real fox would have been impractical.

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Tony moves to the alarm button on the wall. In Matter Of Life And Death Mathias used his commlock, but the Alphans increasingly ignore their commlocks and use wall panels instead. Thanks to Fergus.

A Matter Of Balance

Earlier in the episode, we see the same wall. The alarm button isn't there.

A Matter Of Balance

The equipment room doors open before the button is pressed (in fact her fingers don't seem to touch the buttons).

A Matter Of Balance The Beta Cloud

Koenig says "Our sensors showed no life forms on Sunim. So it had to be antimatter." It could also be a robot (the Thaed costume is adapted from the Beta Cloud robot, but the resemblance doesn't register with the Alphans). Thanks to Chris Moore

A Matter Of Balance

When the Thaed runs through Koenig, both Koenig and the Thaed are transparent.

A Matter Of Balance

The painting of Vindrus in the temple shows a much more tanned and muscled version than Stuart Wilson.

A Matter Of Balance

The commlock prop that Koenig throws at Vindrus. It's a much cruder version than most props, to survive being thrown, but the keypad numbers are better than many, to distract the eye during the brief frames of this close up.

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The monkey's lead and collar are clearly visible in several scenes. Spider monkeys live in South American forests up to 35 metres above the ground, and can leap or drop 12 metres between branches. Here it survives a sheer drop from the top of the tower to a hard floor, with no obvious items that could have broken the fall.

A Matter Of Balance

By putting herself in the booth, wouldn't Maya be in danger of being converted? Wouldn't the antimatter people have moved Shermeen from the booth in the other side? They could have put the "real" Thaed in the booth, so when Vindrus is converted, the Thaed would appear and overpower the Alphans.

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As Maya fiddles with the dials, the Alphans before and after are standing immediately in front of the converter. One cut away shows the converter on its own.

Psychon has an antimatter converter so presumably they were in contact with the antimatter dimension.

A Matter Of Balance

At the end, Shermeen is back doing experiments in hydroponics as if nothing occurred, despite conspiring with an alien to banish the Alphans into the antimatter world. Koenig is obviously very forgiving, until he encounters Sanderson in The Seance Spectre. Thanks to Fergus.


Copyright Martin Willey