The Catacombs Episode Guide

The Metamorph

The Testament of Arkadia Year 2 - Episode 1 The Exiles

Writer Johnny Byrne
Director Charles Crichton
Guest stars Brian Blessed, Anouska Hempel
Original Titles The Biological Soul
The Biological Computer
Belgium (Flemish) De Metamorfose
Denmark Metamorfose Metamorphosis
France/Canada La métamorphose The Metamorphosis
Germany Die Metamorphose The Metamorph
Italy Psycon
Japan Escape! PSYCHON, the Planet of Metamorphosing
Poland Metamorfoza
Portugal Metamorfoses Avatars
Portugal A Metamorfose The Metamorphosis
Spain Metamorfosis Metamorphosis

Terror from a doomed planet -a planet of death, despite advanced scientific knowledge, but a new life for a beautiful girl who has learned the secrets of molecular transformation. ITC summary


The Metamorph

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Int. Command Centre
Int. Medical Centre
Int. Weapons Section
Int. Alpha Corridor/Reception
Int. Travel Tube
Int. Eagle Pilot Section
Int. Eagle Passenger Section

Int. Grove Of Psyche
Int. Corridor outside Grove
Int. Brain Transfer Unit
Int. Cave
Int. Cell Area
Int. Psychon corridor

Keith Wilson set design- click for larger image




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342 days after leaving Earth orbit (Sun 20 Aug 2000)

Alpha Personnel:

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Population 297. 3 fatalities, Ray Torens, Lew Picard, Eagle pilot. One addition, Maya, so the population at the end of the episode is 295.

Alpha Technology:

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Eagle 1 (Fraser, destroyed with planet); 4 (Koenig's rescue, with booster pod and spine boosters); 5 and 6 (combat). Three Eagles are destroyed- Eagle 1, the remote bomb Eagle, and an Eagle over a launch pad.

Maya transformations:

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Lion, Koenig (not a complete transformation in the final cut), Alsatian dog, turtle dove, kestrel, "gorilla". In the original cut, an orange tree (seen in her eye, a silver tree). Note that Maya transforms directly from the dog into the gorilla.

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Psychon. According to Bringers Of Wonder, it has a moon; although there is no air, a bipedal animal called the larren lives there.


Mentor and Maya, Psychons. In Dorzak we meet another Psychon. There are "diverse species" in the caves.

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The gas pipes used to create the fire effects can be seen on the floor in several shots. Thanks to Patrick Hill.


An earlier cut of this episode was shown in US previews in August 1976. See Year 2 titles and Metamorph cut scene.

  • The original scripted date for the episode was 108 days (on screen it is 342 days).
  • Freiberger probably picked the name Maya from the Central American Indian civilisation. By coincidence the name is also a Sanskrit word meaning wizardry or illusion, and a concept in Hindu philosophy and religion of divine powers used to make humans believe in illusions, and by extension, the illusory world of the senses.
  • There is also a Maia in Greek mythology, a mountain-nymph in Arkadia who was the mother of Hermes.
  • Mentor in Homer's Odyssey was a friend of Odysseus and guardian of his household; hence the modern form of a wise adviser.
  • Psyche in Greek mythology was the mortal wife of Eros; in Roman mythology the lover of Cupid. She is regarded as a personification of the human soul.
  • Maya's role is a more direct replay of Pocahontas (real name Matoaka, later Rebecca Rolfe, c.1595-1617). She was the daughter of Powhatan, king of the Algonquian Indian tribes in Virginia, North America. In 1607, aged 12, she stopped her father from killing the British settlers, in particular their leader, Captain John Smith. She married John Rolfe, another of the settlers, in 1614. They had a son in 1615, and in 1616 she returned with him to England. She died in 1617, aged about 22.
  • Changing into animals is scientifically dubious, but has a long history in myth and fiction, including Greek gods, werewolves, vampires and characters in Kafka, T.H. White's The Sword in the Stone, Terminator 2, Star Trek Deep Space Nine and the Harry Potter books (the Animagi). Koenig holding the rapidly changing Maya during the Psychon fire echoes a tale in Homer's Odyssey: Menelaus tells how he captured and held the god Proteus, despite the god transforming into various forms including a lion, a serpent and a tree.
  • The examples of metamorphosis demonstrated by Mentor (using Psyche) are very different to Maya's. We learn later in the series that Maya can only transform herself into organic beings, such as animals or plants, for up to an hour. Mentor never transforms himself, but he can turn a rock into a spaceship or a humanoid overseer, and make the lunar surface explode. His plan is to transform the volcanic surface into whatever Psychon looked like before. The transformations involve inorganic and organic forms and are not time constrained. Maya's transformations seem completely different.
  • The script has echoes of the first series (Mentor's "I only wanted to do good" recalls the hubris of Queller and other episodes) but has a strong humanist theme of the second series ("We'll determine our own destinies!")
  • Emma Porteous design for Maya's dress states: "Grey sheath dress of grey sequins - based on transparent net - re-embroidered with grey sequins - trimmed with grey ostrich feathers"
  • Lew Picard was Louis Picard in the French version of this episode
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Numerous publicity photos of Maya and Mentor in Command Center were taken by Michael Putland; in the episode neither visits Alpha

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Contents copyright Martin Willey