Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Ark II: "The Lottery" (November 20, 1976)
Captain Jonah’s (Terry Lester) mission is to render aid to the community and help with the resource shortage. In particular, the society has run out of water.
Now, the community's authoritarian leader, Kane (Zitto Kazann) exploits that old old experiment, ordering dissidents to “face the lottery.” If they lose the lottery, they are sent off across a plain…where they disappear into another dimension…a rip in the fabric of reality.
Ruth (Jean Marie Hon) volunteers to travel inside the pocket dimension – a zone of mist and darkness – to rescue the dissidents, while Jonah and Samuel deal with the despotic Kane and his trickery.
And yet, the depiction is not entirely ineffective. It’s actually frightening in a way, and the fact that we see so little of this "other world" contributes to the narrative's sense of anxiety, especially when it looks as if Samuel and Jonah can’t rescue Ruth.
The moral of the story -- and Ark II remains incredibly didactic in nature -- is that when faced with shortages, some planning is necessary. Jonah delivers a lecture to the villagers that they “should have planned instead of doing nothing” when water first became scarce, while reminding Kane and his minion, Borg (Eric Boles) that they are not off the hook; that they set out to deceive and obfuscate rather than tell the truth about the lottery. In fact, they discovered a new water source and were keeping it for themselves...
Often times on the series, the Ark II crew seems free from peril. They possess the technology and the vehicles and the know-how to always carry the day. So the fact that Ruth is almost trapped in a dark dimension adds a new layer of danger to the storytelling this week.