I’ve seen a couple episodes now where the different members of the crew each need to do something unique to save the day. This episode here is probably the first one where the move that ultimately saves the day is some kind of weird accident that no one was really intending. Beyond that, the whole crew seems outmatched.
A brief rundown: the Liberator finds what appears to be a lifeless artificial planet. Over the objections of some of the others, Avon wants to investigate. Something about that giant disco ball in space entrances Cally, so she teleports down alone. Tarrant, Dayna, and Avon follow, leaving Vila behind. Vila prefers that. The planet turns out to be a living supercomputer of some kind. The three “ultras” working for this Ultraworld say they are helping Cally rest up from some trauma and she is just sleeping it off. The others get suspicious, but these guys have the whole place monitored, and their “rest” is really draining Cally’s mind and memories for Ultraworld. They’ve done this a lot. Strong physical bodies are used as menial but mindless labor. All others are more or less fed to the giant organic brain inside Ultraworld.
Now, the Ultras already have Cally, and they have enough menials to eventually round up the others. They strip off the communicator wristbands that allow for teleportation every time they catch someone, and for all his smarts, Avon is next. He’s able to resist the machines to put him to sleep longer than most, but that’s all. Tarrant tries to stand up to the baddies, but he freezes at a key moment. He and Dayna spend most of the episode fleeing various minions, finding out how things work, and when they’re captured, they can delay things a bit because the Ultras want a record of how human copulation works.
Of course, no one really has a plan to save the day. It comes down to Vila. And this time, he isn’t trying to do much of anything except teach Orac something.
He’s teaching Orac how riddles work.
Sure, Orac would normally do something useful if you asked him the right question. However, Orac is finally figured out wordplay, and his insistence that Vila keep tossing them out even as Vila is clearly terrified and perhaps having his mind probe leads to VIla almost panicking. But Orac is just sending the riddles to Ultraworld, and since they are illogical and silly, it’s more than enough to completely ruin Ultraworld as the giant organic brain starts to pop like an overripe fruit.
Oh, and fortunately Tarrant put the stored memories of Cally and Avon back in the correct bodies. That could have been…interesting.
So, a silly thing Vila was doing at the start of the episode ended up saving everyone’s lives.
Plus, wherever they were filming the interior of Ultraworld scenes? Kinda cool looking. But if I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s that artificial planets are never built by the benevolent.