In the second episode we have two parallel storylines; firstly there is a freight ship heading towards the Mars colony, which has suffered an engine blow out that has sent it of course condemning the occupants to their death, and the other is the brutal murder of Nathan’s girlfriend Lee whilst in Nathan’s home. In the former case there is a possible murder despite the fact that there are no victims, and the possible victims are technically still alive, just not able to be rescued.
At first the murder of Lee made no sense and just seemed to be an opportunistic murder, albeit one that was well planned and thought through as they managed to get her in the right place at the right time in order to do the job and do it with the minimum fuss.
We are introduced to Colin Devis in this episode who was the detective assigned to the murder of Lee who was at loggerheads with Nathan for most of the episode.
We also went to the Moonbase in this episode for the first time and saw some impressive modelling work from the effects team for both the freight ship and the moonbase itself which looked really good and quite impressive for nineteen eighties british science fiction.
Nathan was really rocked by the death of Lee even though he didn’t really seem that bothered about committing to her in the first episode and their relationship did not seem to be that strong from that episode alone, but this episode showed that he did really care.
Devis himself seemed to be a rather generic career policeman type from the seventies and eighties who spoke his mind and didn’t care who he offended quite similar to a lot of characters of the era who also usually gets the best lines.
Despite the fact that Nathan has had all of his training he still hasn’t got his space legs so to speak in this episode and the scenes when he tried to disentangle himself from the sleeping apparatus was amusing not only to the more seasoned astronaut Theroux but to the audience as well. This is a good little character quirk for someone who is the head of a space police force.
The International Space Force soon decide to base themselves on the moon base rather than on a space station which means artificial gravity, much better for some one of Nathan’s disposition.
This episode continues the theme that being in space is very dangerous and is not for the faint hearted and that things can go wrong, and the way that this type of enclosed environment can have on people, kind of like it might be in a submarine one might expect, with lots and lots of tension between crew members.
As I said earlier the model work on this episode was first rate and there were quite a few scenes featuring the doomed freighter drifting in space with only the disembodied voices of the crew over the top of it.
The fact that you never saw the crew themselves made these scenes of the crew chatting away and the people on the moonbase talking about them even more poignant, and showed that it was just them two on their own in the vastness of space which really makes you think, and what makes this series different from the other police procedural shows and a lot of science fictions shows as well. This plot strand was far more interesting than the death of Nathan’s girlfriend which just really meant that he had less reason to stay on Earth and a way to introduce Colin Devis into the fold, but the other plot thread was the better one.