UFO Series Home Page synopsis | Episode Review by Anne Collins Smith





UFO: THE MAN WHO CAME BACK

(television series, 1970)

Mirrored with permission from The UFO Series Home Page

Guest Cast: Gary Raymond as Col. Grey, Derren Nesbitt as Craig Collins.

Synopsis: During a UFO attack, SID is disabled and a reentering spacecraft piloted by Captain Craig Collins dissappears. When Collins is discovered on an island weeks later, Straker immediately assigns him to the SID repair mission. However, Col. Lake and Col. Grey both notice that Collins' behavior is different than it was before. Grey recommends that Collins be dropped from the mission, but does not have enough proof to convince Straker. During training, Collins injures co-pilot Foster, and insists that Straker is the only person qualified to replace him on such short notice. Once in space, Straker realizes that Grey was right -- Collins is under Alien control and plans to kill him!

[Spoiler]

Writer: Terence Feely.
Director: David Lane.

Review: A very good episode featuring a great guest cast, great special effects, and an interesting plot. Grade: A-


From Sergeant to Colonel in 3 Short Years!
Gary Raymond's appearance as Colonel Grey in UFO: "The Man Who Came Back"
Review by Anne Collins Smith
Reprinted from The Rat Patrol Dispatch by permission of the author

UFO was a British television show produced in 1969-1970 by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, who also produced Thunderbirds, Space: 1999, and others. The show is set in the near future, 1980, when a special force has been set up to ward off hostile aliens who are trying to find a way to invade Earth. This special force is commanded by Ed Straker, who is not an entirely sympathetic character; his obsession with defeating the aliens has cost him his marriage and his cold-blooded, unemotional style of command leads to many conflicts with his staff.

The episode "The Man Who Came Back" opens with an alien attack; they disable the satellite designed to detect their approach, and apparently cause the death of astronaut/satellite expert Craig Collins, a close personal friend of Straker. Eight weeks later Collins unexpectedly turns up alive and is assigned by Straker to work with Colonel Grey (Gary Raymond) on fixing the satellite. There is some unexplained antipathy alluded to between Grey and Collins, apparently resulting from some past event (a scene explaining this may have been cut for commercials). Although Collins seems to be himself, Grey notices a number of details in his behavior that seem "off," but cannot convince Straker that anything is wrong.

Col. Grey is a complex and interesting character; he is originally presented as a strict, traditional military type who behaves professionally despite his dislike of Collins. As Collins' behavior becomes more and more bizarre, the audience's sympathy swings more and more toward Grey and his suspicions. Grey is both intelligent and intuitive; his observations of the clues to Collins' change in character are frequently expressed not in dialogue but in subtle changes of facial expression or body language. The showdown with Straker, where Grey tries to persuade him that something is wrong with Collins, is an unusual one for this series, since Straker is rarely in the position of letting feelings interfere with judgment. Grey does not succeed in convincing him, but he does manage to plant a seed of doubt in his mind. Grey's tenacity and Straker's reluctance make for a very intense scene.

I enjoyed Gary Raymond's performance in this episode. UFO was made only a few years after Rat Patrol, so he looks much the same, though he is beginning to lose his hair and seems, if possible, a trifle thinner. His role is quite substantial. The character he portrays is significantly different from Moffitt: more serious and more of an authority figure. Grey holds his own in tense discussions with both Collins and Straker, and the actor also uses nonverbal means to communicate effectively Grey's intuitions about the ongoing situation. Collins makes two attempts on Grey's life, as he recognizes that the Colonel poses a threat to his plans: Raymond does a very nice impression of someone being suffocated when Collins drains the air from his cubicle on Moonbase; and after the second attack, Moffitt fans will be relieved to hear that he still looks good in bruises and bandages.

This episode ends, as UFO so often does, virtually without any denouement, and some plot strings are left hanging. As UFO episodes go, however, it is suspenseful and enjoyable, and I would rate it among the better ones. A good show for fans of UFO and of Gary Raymond!


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