While disembarking from a space station with a group of earth’s survivors, Buck encounters a woman fleeing from a group of thuggish aliens known as Dorians. The woman, Asteria, is invited on the shuttle headed back to the Searcher, but the Dorians seize the spacecraft and alter its temperature from one extreme to the other, in an effort to get the woman back, whom they charge with the murder of one of the Dorian’s brother. Buck attempts to negotiate with the unyielding aliens, and demands to see the evidence of her crime. Unconvinced by the evidence they show him, he is even more horrified to discover that the other human castaways, outraged by the harsh temperatures and inactivity, discover who Asteria really is and jettison her off to the Dorians. At the very last minute, her innocence is proven by a Dorian confession and the race decide that their justice system, and long standing practice of concealing their identities, needs a major overheal.
Solid if somewhat complex (by the show’s standards) story is intriguing, with a nice in-media-res opening and a subplot extremely reminiscent of Twelve Angry Men and the “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” episode of Twilight Zone. The “shuttle” setting is a bit odd, as if they were trying to capitalize on the success of The Love Boat and Airplane! (Wilma is already dressed to approximate an airline stewardess), but, like most episodes of late, there’s a good message to be found when all is said and done.
They clearly didn’t know this would be the final episode of the series, and it’s too bad the writers’ strike abbreviated this season. One does tend to imagine what a final episode would be about (I envision it to be some kind of time-travel conceit in which Buck gets the opportunity to go home), but as far as I know no “reunion movie” was ever consider which would wrap up the saga in a satisfying way. Well, one can always fantasize. For now, Buck stays in the 25th century, having a platonic relationship with Wilma, with Twikki his loyal sidekick.
Not a terrible way to go out.