The Saturday morning adventures continue in Jason of Star Command’s swashbuckling episode “Secret of the Ancients,” first aired in late 1979.
Although it lacks a stop-motion monster, “Secret of the Ancients” is a fun episode in terms of characterization. Parsafoot must make a choice between helping Jason and sacrificing his principles, or letting Jason die. Jason — though alive — is disappointed at his final selection.
Even more interestingly, Jason continues his unofficial tutorship of Matt Daringstar (Clete Keith), turning the conflicted boy from the dark side, as it were, and towards the light. Jason does so, largely, by asking Matt if he’d rather be rich, or have friends who really care about him. In the age of President Carter’s “Crisis of Confidence” speech, this is not a small concern, and Jason of Star Command does a nice job of depicting Daringstar’s choice. Would he rather be rich, in the service of a monster, or be his own man; one that he can take pride in?
Alas, despite the fast pace and excellent outer space effects for the age, Jason of Star Command showcases the limit of its budget this week.
When Jason escapes from prison, he leads one of Dragos’ spaghetti-monster aliens on a merry chase down a high-tech corridor. One hallway is seen again and again, from different angles during the chase, and the re-use of the set is plain. Also, when Jason disables one of Drago’s computers, it’s not clear what he precisely has done to it. He just stamps his feet behind the console, and it explodes!
All in all, this episode is a pretty good build-up from last week’s arc opener, but it’s a disappointment that Samantha (Tamara Dobson) continues to be sidelined when there is so much more to explore regarding her “amnesia” and character background.