Welcome To Our Village Please Invade Carefully S02 E04 -CTRL-ALT-DEL
Captain Kirk had it easy.
Every other week, a newly found ancient civilisation being run by a God-like mysterious force that turned out to be an advanced computer.
One quick mind-meld later and a bit of gobbledygook from Kirk (broken gobbledygook, delivered to. The Computer..with. Punctua...tion. In.Lots of.Strange. Places), and the machine would have a silicon meltdown, and it would be back to the Enterprise for the Captain in time for a tribble sandwich and a quick round of sexually harassing the female members of the crew.
But that was a simpler time, and we all know with experience that feeding garbage into a computer won't make it blow up, but it will probably get you into a fight on an a website comments section.
But what if your computer is a hyper-intelligent all knowing Advanced Intelligence. A computer that happens to be the nerve centre of your whole operation. And what if the garbage fed into it isn't a random stream of illogic, but an equally sophisticated virus.
That's this weeks dilemma, and it's a really interesting concept. What sort of virus would you need, how would it be able to trash a self aware machine, and how would it manage not to get itself erased.
Flattery and Seduction that's how.
The virus is genderized in the show as a female counterpart. This gives us a love story, WITHIN THE MIND OF THE COMPUTER. And as with all new loves, the Computer starts to behave outside the norm, it rebels against its master and decides it can no longer complete its invasion function.
Truth be told, Uljabaan isn't really much of a threat on his own, it's the Computer and the Minions that give him the edge, so when the computer starts to contract the force field as a prelude to aborting the mission which it now can't complete, he's just as much in danger of becoming part of a huge squished people preserve as everyone else.
This time everyone is on the same side. save the computer, save the village, save the invasion.
You also have to feel for the Computer, he knows it's a virus, he suspects he's being manipulated, but he can't quite bring himself to reset himself and kill off his new friend. The virus fills the emotional needs of the Computer, which is usually treated disdainfully by its uncaring master. It's nicely played out.
The human elements are a mixed bag this week. Margaret Lyons is outaged to find that the alien has started a rumour (just to see how they work) that he and Margaret are having an affair . She wants the computer back on-line to mind wipe the villagers of this scandal. This plot line was completely unnecessary and I found it grating.
On the other hand Katrina's belief that she's somehow saved the planet but they're now all going to die is a nice touch.
This series is a bit of fluff usually, it's slightly wacky , middle-class, Radio 4 staple.
This week I think it retained that, but it rose up to be a superior product.
Gotta give this one an 8 out of 10.