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In this episode, we learn that even beekeepers should be put to the torch when possible.

One of the Ark's domes is devoted to the study of bees (which may seem a little unfair to the people left on Earth to make room for the bees but the Ark does have to consider that it may need bees and other insects to establish a human-compatable ecology when it finally gets where it is going). Like most other domes, this dome has managed to stay on-mission, in large part due to the efforts of Doctor Peter Marshall (Played by William Hutt apparently channeling Walter Pigeon's Doctor Morbius). About the time the trio discover the dome, Marshall's research is on the verge of accomplishing what all scientific research on the Ark tries to accomplish, the painful deaths or mass enslavement of everyone on the Ark.

We soon learn that something is up with the bees Marshall and his companions have been studying. One of Marshall's subordinates has been trying to figure out how bees communicate, something he claims is a complete mystery and one of his attempts to build a device to monitor bee communications has seemingly enraged the bees. In the course of wandering aimlessly with third-tier supporting character who won't live to see the end credits, Garth and Rachel discover a previously undocumented population of bees who are each roughly the size of a hatchback. Happily the pair do not encounter the bees directly, less because Marshall is careful about keeping the bees contained and more because the special effects budget only extended to grainy stock footage of honey bees.

It takes some prodding to get the truth out of Marshall but he admits these are some mutant bees he has been working with. He is quite enthusiastic about their potential and extremely hostile to any other person's attempts to ask questions like "what is the giant bee queen's agenda". Eventually everyone but Marshall decides that the mutant bees have to go. Unfortunately for them, they then discover the bees can understand them and know exactly what is being planned. Worse, Marshall is actively working for them.

The good guys do their best to kill the bees despite Marshall's resistance. The dumpy assistant is exposed to insecticide and collapses. Despite the scientists' best efforts to save the man he dies. Once he is dead, it occurs to his companions to open his jacket. Inside is the least convincing portrayal of a mass of bees ever seen on TV or cinema, something that makes the killer cockroaches from Damnation Alley look cutting edge by comparison.

The protagonists soon discover that the mutants were too strong to be killed by the insecticide (In fact, very few of the regular bees appear to have been killed). Marshall admits that the queen bee is likely to be too hostile to humankind to trust now that the humans have tried to kill her and offers to use the queen's trust in him specifically to administer a syringe of concentrated poison. In fact, Marshall is a complete puppet of the queen and he has no intention of killing her.

Sadly for the queen, Garth and Devon are not complete idiots and they make sure the job will get done by going in in person. The queen does try to buy her safety by offering the humans a role as her enslaved minions in her grand war of conquest across the Ark but Garth and Devon decide that it would be better just to freeze her. The queen dies, Marshall is freed from her mind control and the four Buick-sized worker bees are left to die in the absence of their queen.

Comments: Even taking into account that this is Starlost, the sf/x for the giant bees is beyond lame.

Speaking of lame, the budget apparently did not extend to buying actual beekeeper's hats. Instead they have safari helmets with veils open at the bottom, perfect for trapping angry bees in front of the beekeepers' faces.

Karl von Frisch apparently lived in vain.


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