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Architect David Vincent is driving home late one night, in 1967 in the Midwest USA. He takes a shortcut along a deserted country road, and sees a flying saucer landing.
Our hero tries to convince people of what he saw. Friends, cops, doctors ... but everyone thinks he is insane.
Vincent investigates on his own, and finds himself targeted by murderous strangers. They are unable to bend their pinkie fingers - a memorable trait, which makes them easy to identify.
The Invaders are after a scientist who can prove they exist. They are even willing to take out an entire airliner just to get rid of him. He relies on his son (Roddy McDowell - Planet of the Apes ) to watch his back.
Vincent offers to take the scientist's proof to an ally of his - a CIA friend who lives in NYC. We are treated to a photo of the Manhattan skyline, featuring the Brooklyn Bridge. However, the relative emptiness of the skyline is because this show was made before the Twin Towers were built!
An exotic dancer ( Suzanne Pleshette ) claims to have seen a UFO land, in circumstances strangely reminiscent of Vincent's own first encounter of the Third Kind. She doesn't do modern-style pole dancing - her routine is reminiscent of Gypsy Rose Lee, so it should come as no surprise to know the actress once studied for that role.
A USAF investigator is also in town, nosing around. Is he an Invader, or a potential ally?
Vincent is hired by a millionaire Aerospace engineer. The aliens have been abducting top scientists across the USA. The engineer knows he is under surveillance, and he wants Vincent to help catch the alien abduction team. Unfortunately, the aliens seem to be a step ahead of them.
The aliens use human kidnapping techniques, nothing too high-tech or sophisticated, but the engineer's head of Security refuses to believe there is a threat. Can Vincent convince him to help?
A traffic cop performs a routine traffic stop. Unfortunately, he runs into a group of Aliens ... and ends up in a catatonic state. David Vincent arrives and investigates.
The comatose cop's best friend is a Detective Lieutenant who takes an instant dislike to Vincent. However, Vincent is not in town to win a popularity contest, and is glad enough to have a thug with a badge and gun lurking around.
The car the aliens were driving is traced to a local sealife place. Vincent must get there, racing against the deadline, but he misses the last ferry. Is there another way over? Well, there is a bridge about half a mile away. Bearing in mind a one-mile round-trip takes twenty minutes to walk, this is hardly an effective piece of nail-biting excitement.
It seems the usual way for the aliens to get discovered is if someone sees one in a transitional stage. It happened as the inciting incident of the previous episode, and it happen at the start of this episode too. A workman sees something sinister at a factory owned by Vikor Enterprises.
Mr Vikor (Jack Lord - Dr No ) is a veteran of the Korean War, as is David Vincent himself. Like Vincent he took advantage of the GI Bill, getting an education and entering a middle-class profession. However, Vikor became an engineer and started his own company, becoming a player in the US Military-Industrial complex. Like The Manchurian candidate , this patriotic war hero is part of an enemy plot!
Luckily, Vikor's wife is an alcoholic who keeps drink-driving. David Vincent gets himself hired as her chauffeur, so he can nose around the factory.
A woman in Kansas makes a report to a newspaper about how she saw her neighbours acting strangely in a barn ... just before she was attacked by a swarm of locusts. David Vincent turns up to investigate, and discovers the small-town people are quite unfriendly.
The aliens leave their secret HQ unguarded, so David Vincent can blunder into it. Their secret plan hinges on two things. Firstly, they can teach insects (even butterflies!) to eat flesh. Secondly, Kansas is at the geographical centre of the continental USA. Why the aliens’ attack is only limited to the USA is not explained. Are there other Invaders plotting in Europe and the USSR? In comparison, the Mortaxians in War of the Worlds have escaped from confinement in the USA so at least they have a reason for staying within its borders.
In a day or two, the US Army is about to detonate a nuclear test bomb in the Utah desert. The Major in charge of security is informed of a conspiracy, and realises that his own staff are implicated. He calls in David Vincent to investigate. Can they uncover the alien conspiracy before the bomb test is sabotaged?
This ep is an example of the show at its best. Typically, the Hayes-type code for television censorship means that nobody bleeds. However, this means that the show uses suspense to an incredible degree. The show’s signature music by itself is incredibly intense, a precursor to the Jaws Theme in the following decade. Also, the desert location means there are some impressive set-pieces in the great outdoors, rather than the cramped urban settings of more recent shows.
The USAF has files and investigations into the alien menace. Naturally, the aliens have infiltrated the investigation ... but when the officer in command gets suspicious, they try to kill him. And when he sees an alien die for the first time, he becomes a true believer.
The USAF need Witnesses for a Congressional hearing. The officer sends David Vincent to find a fellow witness, a town drunk who is also being hunted by the Invaders. Despite having access to intergalactic technology, the aliens resort to using Gangster tactics from a 1950s B-movie.
Vincent is abducted by the Alien conspiracy. He does not get anal probed, but he does get a face-to-face with their leader (Michael Rennie - The Day the Earth Stood Still ). Once again, the aliens use the threat of violence against civilians to coerce Vincent into undermining his own investigations and alienating his own potential allies. The question remains - why does he even bother?
Vincent investigates a tropical storm that mysteriously left a small town completely untouched.
The town priest is helpful, but he is being manipulated by a femme fatale. She is Kirk's woman from Star Trek: TOS Episode Mirror, Mirror!
There is an outbreak of unnatural deaths in West Virginia. People are being frozen to death. David Vincent, the architect, turns up to volunteer his services. He suggests the sheriff starts to look for Patient Zero, the source of the outbreak. Luckily, the deaths all happen in an easily discernible line .
Vincent discovers the source of the outbreak is an alien tweenager who is evading capture by The Invaders. Vincent and the alien boy encounter that old Appalachia cliché - the backwoods nympho. Naturally, her daddy is a shotgun-toting redneck.
For some reason, the alien tweenager wants to get to a Flying Saucer so he can go home. But he is being pursued by the Invaders, who presumably want to kill him. Why does he not think the Flying Saucer crew will be any different?
The Invaders use a helicopter and poison gas to assassinate a couple of off-duty astronauts. The only witness is Strother Martin from Hannie Caulder.
David Vincent realises the aliens want to put a ringer on the NASA moon-shot. Yes, this episode pre-dates Neil Armstrong's moonwalk! Vincent needs to gain the help of the NASA security chief (Peter Graves - Mission: Impossible).
The aliens have upgraded their tech, allowing their security staff to carry phasers. Their plan is to use the crystals for un-terraforming the Earth, removing the oxygen so the aliens do not need to regenerate.
Ralph Bellamy (Trading Places) steals a secret document from an alien's office. The Invaders were renting his factory, using it as an international communications centre. The stolen document is a list of their eleven leaders worldwide. This makes the old man their main target. He goes to ground, and is soon declared missing.
When David Vincent turns up looking for the missing man, the aliens try to assassinate him. Of course, this never ends well for the aliens. After their first plan predictably fails, they try to frame him for the missing man's murder.
The missing man's estranged daughter comes to town, and the police brow-beat her into identifying an unclaimed body as her father's. Then the aliens trick her into staying at the factory, where she becomes a hostage against her father. Can Vincent and the old man save her?
The aliens still have phasers for their guards. Vincent does not bother to pick one up when he has the chance. Not only would it deprive the enemy of a way of hurting him, and thus improving his ability to hurt them, it would also be an incredible piece of proof that he could show unbelieving politicians.
David Vincent goes undercover at NORAD HQ in Cheyenne mountain, Colorado. Despite having contacts in the USAF and NASA, he poses as a journalist. The NORAD Security team rumble him instantly, but let him look around anyway. He has a tip that the Invaders will try to compromise one of the Radar officers, so they can bring their saucers in through the system. Given that the alien saucers seem to come and go with alarming frequency, this is a bit redundant.
The officer's wife is an Invader, detectable only by the fact she does not have a heartbeat. The officer himself has never noticed this, but a Doctor did. Of course, the wife has accomplices nearby so the Doctor had a mysterious cerebral haemorrhage.
The alien security team are carrying disintegrator pistols instead of plain old revolvers. This is certainly a step up for them. Now they can match the humans in equal firepower - just as the aliens' bodies disintegrate very easily, now they can to the same damage to a human!
Dabney Coleman (who looks like a young Harvey Keitel) reports a UFO sighting to the local sheriff, but the cops find no trace of anything strange or startling. David Vincent hears about the report of a flying saucer, so he goes out into the desert to investigate.
Anne Francis and her paramour are eloping to Mexico. A Close Encounter of the Second Kind causes their plane to crash in the desert.
The Invaders take over a small, high-class motel. A millionaire Industrialist (Kevin McCarthy - Invasion of the Bodysnatchers ) is due to visit. His bodyguard is brutally effective, but only when the script requires it.
The Industrialist brings his blind niece. Can Vincent win the young woman's trust enough to convince her that the aliens are plotting against her uncle?
An Invader crashes his car, and rather than let his pulse get taken he murders a good Samaritan. This is a typically stupid move, because the Sheriff catches him before he can escape. So much for aliens blending in and keeping a low profile.
David Vincent arrives in town - it seems the murderer was fleeing him after a failed assassination attempt. He tries to convince the Sheriff that the killer is an alien. The only way to prove it is by getting the victim's widow - also a witness, and the town's only doctor - to perform a medical examination on the person she saw kill her husband.
The aliens are willing to kill an entire town of innocent civilians in order to keep their secret. Vincent is terribly vulnerable to this kind of extortion - he buckled when his brother's life was threatened in The Invaders [Season 1, Episode 16] Wall of Crystal. Why does he even bother to take on the aliens when they will always have innocent lives to use as hostages against him?
A flying saucer crashes on a remote ranch in Nevada. The sole survivor is Richard Anderson (no, not MacGyver, the other one, the boss in The Six Million Dollar Man ). The lonely widow who owns the ranch takes him in. She is a nurse who served in the then-on-going Vietnam conflict, and does not believe humans are automatically morally superior to the aliens.
David Vincent is looking for the crashed saucer. He blunders into the situation.
An old wartime buddy gives our hero a call, and points out a suspected alien. Yes, Architect David Vincent is a trained killer who served in combat in the Korean War. He does not look old enough, but there you have it. At least it explains why he is such an effective killer in the fight against the aliens.
The alien knows he has been spotted, and confronts Vincent's pal. The fight proves fatal, but when the alien burns up there is no proof he was an Invader. With a cop as witness to the so-called murder, the killer ends up on trial for his life.
Unfortunately, it seems to be a case of Guilty until proven innocent. It turns out that Vincent's buddy had a pre-existing grudge against the Invader.
A group of Invaders are transporting a briefcase filled with alien spores. The car crashes, and a local patrol cop witnesses the aliens' disintegration. He tries to convince people what he saw, to no avail.
Gene Hackman ( Superman ) is the sole survivor of the alien team, and he sets out to retrieve his property. This turns into a scavenger hunt, as the case is passed from one unlikely owner to another.
Meanwhile, Vincent teams up with the patrol cop. The cop is only a year away from retirement, so he risks everything by telling people what he saw. But once Vincent convinces him, he is eager to help.
The ending, as the alien spores begin to grow, is chillingly suspenseful. The only thing that lets the episode down is the unconvincing use of stunt-doubles when Vincent and Hackman have a fist-fight.
David Vincent investigates a case involving an ambulance crew who had simultaneous cerebral haemorrhages. The aliens have yet to learn that accidents are look a lot less accidental if a lot of identical ones happen at the same place and time. This time, the victims were helping a man with an apparently life-threatening case of Chicken Pox. Yes, the answer to alien invasion might come out of War of the Worlds . Well, you can't beat the classics!
Vincent infiltrates an enemy front-company, and stows away on a flying saucer. It flies him to a remote desert, avoiding NORAD radar interception, it seems. Has it taken him to the aliens' dying homeworld in another galaxy?
Vincent meets a geologist and his students, including Andrew Prine ( V: The Final Battle ). Prine has just completed his military service, reminding the viewer that this was shot in the Vietnam era when conscription was a fact of life. Thus, the combat readiness of apparent civilians like David Vincent is not a goof on the part of the writers, but a reference to a by-gone era.
The aliens have taken over a disused army base, where they hold the humans prisoner. They use various methods of interrogation on the group, including hypnotism and threats of execution. Strangely, they do not recognise David Vincent by face or name.
David Vincent is back at his day job - he is architect overseeing construction of a skyscraper. This explains how he has lots of spare time and disposable income, certainly enough to criss-cross the USA looking for UFO sightings. Since his business partner disappeared mysteriously in the pilot episode, David Vincent must pocket all his architecture firm's profits. And if he got a contract to do a skyscraper ...
Vincent is contacted by an Industrialist who he helped a year ago, when he uncovered an alien sabotage plot. This could be a reference to several different episodes, but the previous character the Guest Star played was a military officer, not an industrialist. Anyhow, this minor glitch in continuity can be overlooked.
The Earth is becoming radioactive, and in six months time all life will be dead. A scientist claims to have found the solution, but Vincent realises that the Invaders are behind it. The high-ranking alien Michael Rennie ( The Day the Earth Stood Still ) is back, presumably in charge of this new plot.
Vincent discovers an unlikely ally. One of the Invaders believes this plan is too ambitious, and will backfire badly. In order to prevent a shooting war that neither side is prepared for, and to continue the uneasy Cold War that currently exists, Vincent and the Invader must work together.
The aliens plan to launch a missile filled with the special compound. It will kill all humans on the island, leaving the aliens unharmed.
David Vincent investigates a Cult run by a charismatic leader who can make himself glow incandescently.
The aliens have developed a new way of killing humans. They can use the regeneration tube to induce a human heart attack.
David Vincent captures an alien long enough to get some x-rays taken of him. His plan is to hand them over - not to the CIA, because he tried that before and got false-flagged - or to any of his contacts at NASA or the USAF. Instead he goes to a think-tank at a prestigious University in Illinois. Of course, the Invaders try to false-flag him again.
Unfortunately, this means there is a leak in the scientists' team. Vincent suspects the boss-man's thirty-something daughter ( Sally Kellerman ), who has a suspicious scar on her pinkie finger as if it were surgically altered to make it bendable.
An alien breaks into the Russian mission to the United Nations. Their country mansion does not look like anywhere in New York State, it looks more like South California.
David Vincent is still working as an architect. The Russians recruit him - without offer of pay - as their consultant on Alien affairs.
The Aliens will blow up the entire Russian mansion, just to prevent their own man being interrogated. As in many previous episodes, Vincent must help the Aliens destroy evidence that would prove he was telling the truth. In all fairness, he does not have much choice. The Russian security includes an electric fence, while the Invaders have energy pistols that can disintegrate the entire fence!
Vincent has a team of supporters - The Believers. They teleconference a meeting, three of the members in the same office as Vincent and the other three in a different city. Unfortunately, Vincent and his friends get ambushed. The aliens interrogate him, first with hypnosis and then with Beware of the Dog. Of course, he is much too good for them ...
A beautiful young woman, also kept prisoner in the aliens' underground lair, helps Vincent escape. She has the aliens' new plan - an attack on Los Angeles. Vincent must call the other Believers in to help him ...
Vincent and one of the survivors of the previous episode raid a disused ski lodge in Vermont. They capture an alien VIP, and plan to take him to Washington DC. Unfortunately, the aliens pull out all the stops to prevent this from happening. Vincent and his friend get within 12 miles of an army base, then have to hole up in a remote cabin with a wheelchair-bound pistol-packing reclusive poet and his granddaughter ( Karen Black ).
While we know Vincent is invulnerable, there is genuine threat towards the other human characters. Also, it is nice to see Karen Black playing a good girl before she found her career speciality of playing hookers.
Vincent and his team (they still claim to have seven members, despite the events of previous weeks) make a deal with the owner of the largest magazine publishing company in the USA. Unfortunately the company is targeted by a financier who is secretly one of the Invaders. The owner is old (and thus vulnerable to the heart attack machine) and his nephew is too smitten with the executive office assistant ( Nancy Kovack ) to stand up to the aliens.
Miss Kovak's role, as a career-woman almost fifty years ago in the pre-Feminist era, is a nice contrast to the repressive patriarchal atmosphere of revisionist shows like Mad Men.
The Invaders' hit-squad do not use the eponymous energy blaster. Instead, they use revolvers ... fitted with silencers!
Vincent gets a call from an old friend. By great coincidence, the friend's brother is a scientist who helps the aliens to brainwash people by radio remote-control implants. Vincent's friend is turned into a Manchurian Candidate.
One of Vincent's friends is on the brink of insanity. Vincent tries to help the man and his wife, who is also a scientist. Yes, fancy that - a married career woman in 1967!
The aliens use sleep deprivation to drive people insane. Shockingly, this is the one aspect of the TV show that actually has a bit of scientific reality.
David Vincent teams up with a USAF Colonel, and they capture an alien. They manage to convince the local USAF boss, an elderly General with a gung-ho attitude. The General, apparently answerable directly to the US President, orders Vincent to offer the aliens a deal. Threaten them with a doomsday device, but also offer them a peace deal.
The Invaders call in their boss from the Siege episode. He agrees to enter into negotiations with the General, along with Vincent's team. The Invaders' leadership will be gathered in one place at one time ...
This episode asks a number of questions. Firstly, why is it that every time Vincent has the power to do serious damage to the aliens he buckles to their threats and sabotages his own side? Secondly, is a B-52 bomber necessarily the best aircraft to use against an isolated farmhouse? Thirdly, can the aliens continue their war without those specific leaders? Since Vincent's seven are regularly in need of replacement themselves, is it not worth sacrificing them all at once in order to stop the aliens? And finally ... why would a USAF General intent on double-crossing someone at a meeting not expect the other side to have taken precautions of their own?
Alien VIPs Barry Morse ( Space 1999 ) and Diana Muldar are in a hurry - they must get to a regeneration facility. Their car is stopped by a patrol cop, and a shootout ensues. The cop ends up in hospital, where his story attracts Vincent's attention.
Can Morse persuade the alien rulers to stop the invasion?
Vincent and his Believers try to convince a US Senator. They are unsuccessful, but things get even worse when the Senator is assassinated. Naturally, Vincent and his men have been framed.
Vincent has an unlikely ally - a lady journalist ( Susan Oliver ). He gives her a guided tour of the Believers' HQ - the basement of a suburban house.
The US Attorney launches a full investigation of The Believers. Yes, despite all Vincent's contacts in the US Government it seems he is the one it will target, not the aliens!