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  • Warning: Spoilers
    Buck (a typically solid and likable performance by Gil Gerard) and Hawk (a fine Thom Christopher) transport refugees from a planetary disaster to a new home. Buck allows a fugitive woman named Asteria Eleefa (a sympathetic portrayal by the attractive Devon Ericson) to board the Searcher. Eleefa is a member of a harsh mutant race called the Dorians, who hide their faces behind decorated masks. Ruthless Dorian leader Koldar (robustly played by Walker Edmiston) claims that Eleefa is a murderess and demands that she be handed over to him. When Buck refuses to oblige Koldar's demand, the Dorians turn up the temperature on the Searcher. Veteran sci-fi director Jack Arnold, working from an absorbing script by Stephen McPherson, relates the gripping story at a steady pace, maintains an appropriately serious tone throughout, and builds a considerable amount of nerve-wracking tension. The able acting from a bang up cast helps a whole lot, with especially stand-out contributions from Denny Miller as the gallant Saurus, Stuart Nesbet as hot-headed jerk Rand, and Eldon Quick as jolly gambler Chronos. Moreover, this episode delivers a strong and provocative central message on how dire life-threatening situations bring out both the best and worst in people. The titular secret is genuinely surprising. A worthy closer to this fun series.
  • PLOT: Buck aids a desperate woman (Devon Ericson) at a space station trying to escape Dorian authorities. It turns out she's charged with the murder and has been sentenced to death. When the Searcher is incapacitated by a larger Dorian ship and the entire crew's lives are threatened, Buck & the others grapple with returning the woman to certain death or everyone needlessly dying on the Searcher.

    COMMENTARY: This was the last episode of the strike-abbreviated 2nd season (11 episodes with the first two being double episodes). It was also, sadly, the last installment of the series. Beyond this, "The Dorian Secret" is memorable for a couple reasons:

    The serious story creates quality suspense with the moral conundrum of whether or not to release the woman to the Dorian authorities wherein she'll be executed or refuse and everyone on the Searcher dies. Buck, Wilma & Hawk take the second position and shame the passengers who take the first, but the first position is the most logical course of action. After all, why should everyone on the Searcher die for no reason? Why not let the officials of the woman's home-world decide her fate in their court system, especially considering no one on the Searcher even knows if she's innocent, despite her seeming sincerity? Lastly, the Dorians seem pretty rigid and dictatorial, so it's seriously unlikely that Buck would be able to convince the Dorian authorities to reevaluate the case. In other words, there was every reason to believe that the woman was doomed to death, so why should EVERYONE on the Searcher unnecessarily die when only she was required to die by Dorian law? Keep in mind that it wasn't a situation where someone could die in her place à la agape (self-sacrificial) love. In light of these obvious factors, the moral condescension of Buck, Wilma & Hawk toward the passengers is unconvincing.

    There's a female passenger on the Searcher who sits in the front row, the one with the pink-ish outfit, who's reminiscent of the myriad guest space babes of the 1st season. While her part doesn't contain dialogue she's prominently featured in the periphery. The woman is notable because she's only one of three guest space babes in the 2nd season (11 episodes), the other two being and BarBara Luna from "Time of the Hawk" & a brief part in "The Guardians" and Amanda Wyss in "The Crystals." Anne E. Curry in "The Satyr" COULD have qualified, but she was made out to be a plain Jane widow/mother. And Devon Ericson as Asteria in this episode is decidedly pedestrian, even though Buck keeps insisting that she's one of the most beautiful women he's ever seen. Why sure! (No offense to Devon).
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The last episode of Buck ends on a disappointing note. Buck takes aboard a supposedly pretty fugitive woman being chased by the masked Dorian police onto the Searcher. When contacted by the Dorians, Buck refuses to hand over the fugitive woman who is a wanted murderer and faces death. In return, the Dorians hold the Searcher hostage and torture the crew by controlling the temperature of the Searcher and alternating it between cold and hot. Unknown to Buck, the passengers on the Searcher vote amongst themselves and decide to hand over the fugitive to the Dorians. Buck goes aboard the Dorian ship where he saves the woman when the truth of the real murder leaks out and the terrible Dorian secret is revealed. The last series and final episode is unrecognizable from the first and has lost all the qualities that made it entertaining. A new production team has taken over the show and the only things that remain are Buck and Wilma. A creative decision seems to have been made to make Buck serious science fiction drama and to jettison the heavy camp factor of the Glen Larson days. However, in doing so, they also seem to have exorcised the entertainment value. The problem with attempting serious drama is that it has to be done well which it it isn't here. This episode is a hackneyed, common story transplanted into space with little or no science fiction elements which has been done better elsewhere. This episode was so predictable, and boring that is was practically unwatchable. The series mercifully ends but on a bum note, and sinks into TV nostalgia land.
  • Whilst transporting a group of refugees to a new planet, The Searcher is immobilised by a huge craft manned by Dorians, a mutant race who, ashamed of their appearance, hide their faces behind decorated masks. When asked to give an explanation for the attack, Koldar, the Dorian supreme leader, reveals that one of the refugees is actually a Dorian woman who is wanted for murder, and that, once she has been handed over to them for execution, The Searcher will be free to resume its journey.

    Buck, who knows the identity of the now-unmasked-and-actually rather-attractive woman, is unable to believe that she is guilty, and refuses to comply. Angered by the response he receives, Koldar uses his ship's thermal intervention beams to drastically alter the temperature on board The Searcher. As things get rather uncomfortable for the refugees, they begin to turn on each other, and attempt to discover which one of them is the Dorian.

    Whereas much of season two had a distinctly Star Trek vibe about it, the 13th and final episode of Buck Rogers (the series was abruptly cancelled due to plummeting ratings) resembles a tale from the Twilight Zone. Like that show's classic 'The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street', 'The Dorian Secret' deals with human fear, paranoia, and suspicion, and closes with a typically Rod Serling-style conclusion.

    Just what in the Hell were the writers thinking of?

    Buck Rogers began as a light-hearted, cheesy sci-fi show that revelled in its own campness; fans expected silly aliens, dodgy effects, pretty ladies, innuendo, bad matte paintings, and poorly choreographed fights (with unconvincing stuntmen). Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, the show lost its fun factor, with 'The Dorian Secret' being the least enjoyable episode of all: there's no humour, no action and no sense of fun.

    And, forgive me for sounding like a letch (I can't help it, because I am), but surely Wilma Deering would've stripped down to her undies in such an unbearable heat. An oversight of that magnitude is unforgivable!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Devon Ericson is running away from the Dorians, a race of people who wear masks. They catch up to the Searcher and hold them captive until they give her to them. They say she is wanted for murder. Other on the ship end up forcing her off the Searcher and send her to them. Buck goes after her. The payoff for this episode is when Buck gets the Dorians to show why they wear masks. They all remove them and they all look the same. All the men look like the same man and all the women look like the same woman. Devon Ericson is a favorite of mine and does a fine job here. I just did not care for most of the episode showing all the bickering of the passengers and trying to find the Dorian and give her to the Dorians.