Space: 1999

Season 1 Episode 20

The Last Sunset

Aired Unknown Mar 05, 1976 on
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Episode Summary

When the moon approaches a possibly habitable planet, probes launched from the planet miraculously give the moon full gravity and atmosphere. However, the new gifts also have a dark side, causing Eagle crashes and making Paul delusional.

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  • The Alphans are given an unexpected gift by an alien race - a lunar atmosphere!

    This is one of the most memorable and charming episodes of the series, where -after long drudgery and peril- the Alphans actually get to have some real fun that isn't a cannibal-alien induced hallucination: tennis and picnics on the moon's surface!

    Terraforming the moon is one of sci-fi literature's most enchanting ideas, but as far as I know, this episode represents the only time anyone has actually tried to depict it on film.

    Approaching a promising new world to colonise, Alan Carter's Eagle is apparently attacked by a guided missile, which then proceeds to attach itself to the pilot module; when the strange alien device is bought back to Alpha, it begins to emit huge amounts of oxygen and is promptly joined by thousands of others like it, sent up from the planet. Improbably quickly, the moon is terraformed, and the Alphans are quite literally singing in the rain.

    Realising that Alpha itself sits in a crater which will become a deep lake in a few months, Koenig sends out Sandra Benes, Alan Carter, Paul Morrow and Helena Russell to find a new spot for the Alphans to relocate.

    The exploratory Eagle crashes in a bad lunar-dust-storm and though all four survive the crash, Sandra is badly injured and they are a long way from Alpha and stranded without food - until Morrow finds a strange and hallucinogenic mushroom growing at the base of a lunar rock formation...

    Well, is it any spoiler to say that what with one thing and another, the party can't last? Space 1999 is an 'unordered' 1970s series, so you know by the end of the show that the lunar surface will be bleak, airless and hostile again.

    But the final shots of the episode, where the warm light of the 'Last Sunset' fades to the familiar cold lunar pallor is one of the most touching and affecting moments in either of the 2 series of Space:1999, a 'gloomy' ending that genuinely tugs at the heartstrings rather than being forced just so they can play that poignant music that closed each episode of series 1.

    If you watch no other episode of the series, watch this one, though don't necessarily imagine that the quality will be maintained for either of the two runs of Space:1999....moreless
Barry Morse

Barry Morse

Prof. Victor Bergman (Season 1)

Prentis Hancock

Prentis Hancock

Paul Morrow (Season 1)

Barbara Bain

Barbara Bain

Dr. Helena Russell

Martin Landau

Martin Landau

Commander John Koenig

Nick Tate

Nick Tate

Capt. Alan Carter

Clifton Jones

Clifton Jones

David Kano (Season 1)

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • Throughout the episode, the buttons on Keonig's commlock are misaligned.

    • Kano orders Eagles 9 and 19 to landing pad one, but there is only enough room on the pads for one Eagle at a time.

    • In one exterior shot of Alan's Eagle, it shows only one pilot, but Alan has a co-pilot with him.

    • The close up shots of the Eagle front module show the Ariel probe to be in a slightly different position than it is in the longer shots.

    • A false assumption is that Alpha's windows could all be slid open, which would have made no sense on the airless moon. But only one window had a visible handle to open with, and Koenig used it after the atmosphere had been established and Alphans were frolicking on the surface. So the window could easily have been retrofitted afterwards, rather than having existed all the time. All of the windows visible in the last scene showed no handles.

    • As the Eagle is loaded with supplies, people are entering from both port and starboard docking ports, but the exterior shots of the Eagle show it is only docked on the starboard side.

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (0)