Pathfinders to Venus. Episode Six – The City

venus 06

In yet another remarkable coincidence, Margaret and the Venusian child locate Conway and the others.  That just leaves Brown to free from his polystyrene rock and then everyone will be back together.

Brown is remarkably noble (“save yourselves” he tells the others).  But they’re not prepared to leave him to the mercy of the approaching lava and after considerable effort (I wonder if they taught this type of acting – pretending that lightweight objects were very heavy – at RADA?) they manage to free him.

They’re all delighted to finally have emerged from the caves into the open air.  And I have to confess, so am I.  The city they can see in the distance is impressive.  Brown calls it “the creation of an advanced people with a sense of beauty of form”.  But how does that connect with the mute primitives they’ve already tangled with?

Eventually Conway decides that they’ll all take a look at the city.  But Brown can’t wait for Conway, so he sets off alone.  Hasn’t he learnt by now that bad things happen when they split up?  Tsk, he’ll never learn.  As Brown makes his way towards the city, we’re privy to his internal thoughts as he ponders the best way to make contact, which is a nice little touch.

For those keeping track of the Conway/Mary kisswatch, this episode he’s heading closer to her lips (via a peck on the cheek).  But maybe his close attention was something of a plot point, since he notices a mark on her face.  Made by an insect possibly?

This episode (and the final one – Planet on Fire) were directed by Reginald Collin (the other six were directed by Guy Verney).  This was Collin’s first directing credit, although he’d later be more prolific as a producer (notably on Callan).

All of Brown’s hopes are dashed after he learns that the city isn’t a city after all – instead it’s a massive tomb where the Venusians bury their dead.  It’s a pity that after all this effort the city turns out to be nothing more than a Maguffin.  Oh well.

But his disappointment quickly moves into the background as Mary begins to falter – the insect bite is clearly more serious than it first appeared and the others need to come up with an antidote quickly.

This T/R isn’t in a great shape – very notable tramlines throughout – but given that a good deal of this era of television doesn’t exist at all there’s no point in grumbling.

With Mary still weak, they have to improvise a stretcher to carry her (which they knock up very quickly and impressively, it has to be said).  Venus is a planet full of surprises – this week’s cliffhanger finds them menaced by flying dinosaurs!

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