Prisoners of Planet X
Review and Media by Jon T
Episode #9 - Prisoners of Planet X
Notes: Based on "Prisoners Of Kurrgo, Master Of Planet X" from Fantastic Four #7 (October 1962), written by Stan Lee, art by Jack Kirby.
Original Airdate - October 14, 1967
A U.F.O. appears over the Earth, and after the air force attempt to intercept it, the craft's robot pilot abducts the Fantastic Four from an awards ceremony. Inside the spaceship, they are told by the robot that they are to be taken to Planet X by order of Kurrgo, the planet's master. Kurrgo tells the team that his planet is due to be struck by a rogue planet. In order to prevent his slaves from being killed, Kurrgo asks Reed to find a way of saving his workforce. The Four refuse his request, but Kurrgo forces them to work in his lab. There, Reed determines that the other planet is due to strike Planet X in less than a day. Reed decides to use a shrinking gas to reduce all of the population in size so that they will all fit on the two available escape ships and be saved. Reed shows the gas to Kurrgo, and promises to develop an antidote before the planets collide. As Planet X's population is shrunk, the Four have to return to Earth and end the dictator Kurrgo's rule.
Review: As with the previous episode, the Fantastic Four are abducted and taken to an alien world. The twist this time is that the tyrannical (and comical-looking) Kurrgo wants their help to save his people.
After taking a few minutes to actually get to Planet X and explain the plot, Reed comes up with an ingenious solution to saving the planet's entire population by simply shrinking them all down to fit in one rocket. Lying to Kurrgo about a restoring gas, and thus dooming him, was a harsh move on Reed's part that is simply presented as being his only choice. I doubt whether such a choice would have been allowed on a show in the 70s or 80s, so it's an interesting change to see it in this episode.