Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Ark II - Omega


***/****



Jonah, Ruth, Samuel, and monkey Adam arrive to find an old man named Marcus (Harry Townes) laid out injured on the barren ground located near a commune of white-gowned folks where the old are under the rule of the young due to the mind control of a powerful machine within a towering black monolith (I couldn’t help but think of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001, and surely that had to have been an inspiration for the Omega computer) that has three buttons. If you are within the range of its seductive signal the monolith named Omega will eventually take over your mind. Marcus was able to get away before the signal took control of him but his commune wasn’t so lucky. Marcus tells Jonah and Ruth that his commune was responsible for activating Omega, feeling desperate, hoping it could help them. The commune lives in basic poverty, off the land, without the technology needed to assist in bettering themselves. Instead Omega has total influence with Jonah encountering the machine, feeling that it must be deactivated or else it will reign over anyone unfortunate enough to fall prey to the monolith’s signal. In order to even get close to Omega, Jonah will need to pattern his steps across a “chess board” located in front of it. Ruth will have to assist Jonah in this, having extracted the information needed in order to do so, but Omega will use its influence over Samuel (who has fallen under the machine’s signal) and overpowering signal (gradually overcoming Ruth and Jonah, trying to resist but losing their will) to try and stop them. Adam will have to save the day and climb up a weakened Jonah (with some assistance from Samuel who has somewhat fought the influence of Omega) to push a remaining button too high for the others to reach.

You get all the toys of the show in this episode: Jonah goes up in the jetpack, Sam drives the Roamer when under the influence of Omega, and plenty of the inside of the Ark II as Ruth tends to Marcus is given screen time. The monolith, at least I thought, was a nifty visual as Jonah stands before it with quite a mission ahead of him if he is to defeat it. The chess board sequence is a nicely developed bit of suspense as Jonah, gradually succumbing to the signal, must not make a wrong step or be vaporized. A young Helen Hunt, as the little granddaughter of Marcus, gets time on screen as Jonah follows her to Omega. Omega sure seems to reach quite high and has an intimidating height to it.

When my uncle and I were watching Ark II together, this was a favorite of ours. We both found Omega to be quite a sight to behold and Jonah’s initial confrontation with it establishes the weight of what lies ahead. If Jonah and Ruth don’t undermine Omega it will obviously attain more and more followers, attaining the young easily and eventually influencing the old as well to obey. Visually this was one of my personal favorite episodes, and it was cool to see all the sci-fi devices Ark II is known for put to great use.








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