Tarzan 101 | Tarzan the Terrible

Celebrating Tarzan’s 101st anniversary by walking through Scott Tracy Griffin’s Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration.

Hey, look! It’s my comic book birth sign! (I have an ascendant one too, but this ain’t that.)

In 1920, Edgar Rice Burroughs was just about out of ideas. According to Scott Tracy Griffin, Burroughs wrote a letter to his editors saying that he’d written every possible scenario in the Tarzan books. Fortunately, a fan sent him some newspaper clippings about a prehistoric creature that had been reported in the swamps of central Africa. The lightbulb went on and Burroughs went back to work.

The result was Tarzan the Terrible, in which Tarzan tracks the German villain from Tarzan the Untamed whom Tarzan suspects has abducted Jane. The ape man follows them to a hidden valley called Pal-ul-Don, a land filled with dinosaur-like creatures such as the man-eating, underwater triceratops called the Gryf. It’s the valley’s inhabitants who give Tarzan the title, “Tarzan-jad-guru,” or “Tarzan the Terrible.”

As Griffin points out in his supplementary chapter on “Dinosaurs in Africa,” the name Gryf brings to mind the bird-like griffin; appropriate considering the dinosaurs’ evolutionary legacy in general and the triceratops’ beaked mouth in particular.

Thank God for writers block and weird fans, because with Tarzan the Terrible, Burroughs found his groove and pulped the heck out of the series. It was a short jump from there to ant-men, lost colonies of the Roman Empire, and the earth’s hollow core.

Incidentally, if you’d like to read the comic behind the cover above, ERBzine has the whole thing scanned in for you.

Guest Post | G.W. Thomas on Hawk Carse

Author G.W. Thomas is back with the next in his series of articles looking at the great space pulp characters. Thomas has appeared in over 400 different books, magazines and ezines including The Writer, Writer’s Digest, Black October Magazine and Contact. His website is www.gwthomas.org. He is also editor of Dark Worlds magazine. Thanks for another great article, G.W.!

The author of “Hawk Carse” was one of the Age of Wonder’s great mysteries. Who was Anthony Gilmore? The answer turned out to be Harry Bates and Desmond W. Hall, the editor and assistant editor of the magazine that published Hawk’s four original adventures, Astounding Stories of Super-Science, what fans now call the Clayton Astounding. This magazine was the first to offer Science Fiction as an adventure medium (not a hobbyist magazine like Amazing or the high-brow of Campbell’s Astounding in 1938) for Pulp readers during the Depression era. And the hero of such a magazine would have to be an amazing adventurer.

Living on the Saturnine moon, Iapetus, Hawk roars around the solar system in The Star Devil, the fastest and most up-to-date cruiser. Amongst Hawk’s allies is Friday, the black man rescued from a Venusian slave-ship by Carse, nick-named ‘Eclipse’. He is a muscular and quick-witted friend. Master Scientist Eliot Leithgow (or M. S.) is the scientific mind behind Carse’s modern gadgetry, working away in his secret laboratory to create new and exciting weapons for Carse to use against his sinister enemies such as Kui Su, the evil puppet-master behind the criminals of the solar system, master to men like Judd the Kite. The model for this dastardly villain isn’t hard to spot: Sax Rohmer’s Dr. Fu Manchu. Along with Rohmer’s good guys and bad guys, Gilmore also inherited his racial elements, but more on that later.

The first episode in Hawk Carse’s career was the self-titled story “Hawk Carse” (Astounding, November 1931) which details how Carse’s shipment of Phanti horns, harvested from Carse’s ranch on Iapetus, are stolen by Ku Sui’s agent, Judd the Kite. But the theft has a more sinister plot behind it. For when Carse rescues the stolen horns and begins to pursue the ship of villains who attacked his ranch and killed his people, the voice of Judd the Kite announces a special doom is coming. The phanti horn has been infected with a killer fungus that fills the ship with flesh-eating greenery. Judd the Kite wasn’t interested in the valuable horn but in capturing Carse and taking his space ship for his own. The pirates return to Iapetus to celebrate and Carse must do some quick thinking and even quicker shooting to save Friday from a terrible death. This tale sets up the series well with plenty action, reversals and host of baddies, but the over-all feel is more of the range than the spaceways. It isn’t hard to see how Bates and Hall used Western plot elements to create the tale. As Gene Roddenberry would sell Star Trek thirty years later as “Wagon train to the Stars”, so too did Anthony Gilmore begin on the farm then look to the stars.

The Affair of the Brains” (Astounding, March 1932) picks up after the first story with Hawk and Friday going to keep Judd the Kite’s rendezvous with Ku Sui. This proves ill-advised since Ku Sui captures them and takes them to his secret base on an invisible asteroid. Ku Sui uses a weird color machine to ring information out of Carse, namely the location of his friend, Master Scientist Eliot Leithgow. For Ku Sui has taken the brains of the galaxy’s top geniuses and connected them in a special tank. The combined power of these minds gives him a kind of mental conglomerate that he uses to invent new creations and to plot his evil schemes. Capturing Leithgow, Ku Sui forces Carse to watch the operation that will remove his brain. From a seemingly escape-proof cell Carse and Friday manage to get free, capture the operating room and their friend Leithgow. Then using the advice of the brains they escape their barricade, destroy the dome that the asteroid base uses to hold in the atmosphere, and are blown out into space in spacesuits. The scene of Ku Sui torturing Hawk Carse seem to be taken right out of a James Bond movie (something that won’t exist for 30 years) for Bates and Hall were inspired by Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu, just as Ian Fleming would be years later.

The Bluff of the Hawk” (Astounding, May 1932) is a short interlude in the saga of Carse and Ku Sui. It begins right after the events in “The Affair of the Brains”. Using the prototype spacesuits they escaped in, Hawk, Leithgow and Friday jet back to Satelitte III, landing in a swamp. Hawk is attacked by a tentacled monster while they sleep after the arduous journey, fending it off with a ray gun. Carse sends the other two to an ally nearby while he goes into the city of Porno (unfortunate name choice!) to retrieve papers Leithgow left behind when kidnapped. On these, in a numerical code, is the secret location of Leithgow’s lab. What seems a mere notation to us will be quite clear to a genius like Ku Sui, so Carse desperately needs to get the papers. Unfortunately they have been taken by a Venusian agent of Ku Sui. (Venusians are odiferous and Carse is able to logically deduct who has taken the papers, Lars Tantril, Venuisian drug-dealer and Ku Sui agent). Using the spacesuit, Hawk flies to Tantril’s ranch, flying low and having to evade the large flying monsters of Satelitte III. Hawk attacks the base, knocking out all the guard towers. In the panic he doubles back and finds his way into Tantril’s inner sanctum and the secret papers. Unfortunately, Lars and the boys capture him, knocking out the grav plates on his suit and making flying impossible. Now comes the bluff of the title. While secretly destroying the incriminating numbers from the paper, Carse suggests to Tantril a trade. He will explain the single weakness of the drug-dealer’s base if he’ll let him go free. Neither party is acting in good faith. Tantril agrees but has no intention of freeing his biggest enemy. Hawk leads the Venusians to the lake near the base and slowly works his way deeper and deeper until he finds the drop off. Sealing his suit, he dives to the lake bottom and walks away laughing.

The Passing of Ku Sui” (Astounding, November 1932) is the longest and in many ways the weakest of the series. Hawk knows that Ku Sui will be meeting Tar Lantril at his ranch, giving the Hawk and his friends a chance to find the invisible asteroid and kill the captured brains. Using a scanner invented by MS they go to the asteroid, take it over and lay a trap for the returning Ku Sui. Instead of asking for death the brains want to be placed in new bodies, so Hawk captures Ku Sui and forces him to operate, for only he can return the brains to their bodies. An unfortunate sub-plot hinging on race muddies the story but eventually the brains are placed in new bodies and Ku Sui is being taken to Earth to clear MS’s name. But Ku Sui escapes to his asteroid, which is burning up in Earth’s atmosphere, and Carse follows him in a finale in which the villain dies (but we don’t see it!) and the hero wins. Smell a sequel here? Working in the Fu Manchu style, the authors have built in an escape route to allow the baddy to return. This is one of the structural weaknesses that make the ending unsatisfying.

And so the original adventures of Hawk end with the passing of his arch-enemy. Or does it? – as they like to say in bad films. In 1942 Hawk would appear one last time in “The Return of Hawk Carse” (Amazing Stories, July 1942). Written by Harry Bates alone it appeared in the rival magazine Amazing (because Astounding had morphed into the top SF market under John W. Campbell and such space opera would never appear there.) Amazing Stories was no longer the leader in SF but an entertainment magazine much as the Clayton Astounding had been. Hawk’s return was not significant enough to earn the cover (which went to “Blitzkrieg in the Past” by John York Cabot and its dinosaur fighting a Nazi tank) though the top of the cover bears “THE RETURN OF HAWK CARSE by Anthony Gilmore”. The plot picks up where it left off with the wives of the scientists who had had their brains transferred being shocked and horrified by the gross bodies the men now inhabited. There is madness and suicide and eventually Kui Su shows up to create the Unborn Q, a composite man who ultimately beats his creator and hustles him off stage like a naughty boy.  As Lester del Rey says in The World of Science Fiction (1979): “…But time had dimmed the luster. It was no longer the right atmosphere for Hawk Carse.” The hero of the Great Depression was not the one that a United States at war required.

Issues plague today’s editors of these old stories: racism, sexism, old ideas about politics and people. It may have been acceptable in 1931 (even 1942) to feature Asians as “Yellow Peril” villains and Uncle Tom African-Americans but today these elements cause our teeth to grate and there is a desire to edit them away. I was faced with this temptation while preparing the Clayton Astounding reprint series for RAGE m a c h i n e Books, but with a little thought I paused. Granted Gilmore’s portrayal is not politically correct by today’s standards, but let’s consider the other 99% of space opera from that period. How many of these other stories even contain people of color (except green perhaps)? Very few. If any. The alternative to racism appears to be completely ignoring the existence of other races or creeds altogether. This seems to me to be an even worse form of discrimination. I chose to leave the contents of “Hawk Carse” alone. Readers are not so inept at distinguishing between current and out-moded attitudes that we need to treat them as children. Hawk Carse is one of the great adventure heroes, warts and all. It would be a shame to get only half his story.

Previous entries in G.W. Thomas’ series for the Adventureblog:
Buck Rogers
John Hanson of The Space Patrol Service

Ocean skyscrapers, Jurassic Park 3D, and other news

People vs Nature: The Fort

  • As the climate continues to change and the world gets deadlier for humanity, a couple of Ukranian designers have conceived what they believe to be a structure so sturdy that God himself couldn’t sink it. I know I’ve heard that somewhere before… Bold claims aside, I’d totally live in that place.

People vs Nature: The Swim

People vs Nature: The Biopic

  • James Cameron is producing a film about “the love between free divers Francisco ‘Pipin’ Ferraras and his wife Audrey Mestre, and the record-setting attempt that claimed Mestre’s life.” Martin Campbell (Casino Royale, Green Lantern) will direct.

People vs Nature: The Tour

  • If you missed out on that Groupon trip to the Titanic wreck, you can still book a similar trip for regular price. Deep Ocean Expeditions will be happy to take you down to 10,000 feet or deeper. All you need is between $30,000 to $375,000 depending on location. The Titanic costs around $60,000, but you can get to the Bismark later this year for less than $48,000. The most expensive one is called 20,000 Leagues Under the Atlantic and allows tourists to “traverse the North Atlantic basin, picking out an undersea route from Europe to North America.”

Remember those photos of the Titanic wreck?

So just what is down there at the bottom of the ocean?

The US Navy wants Robo-Subs

Why giant squids have giant eyes

Floating islands

Speaking of isolated islands

Hanging tents

  • A company called tentsile has invented a cross between a tent and a hammock “to provide separation from wildlife, including insects, snakes and other predators but also from sand storms, earth tremors, cold or wet ground, debris or contamination.” I do most of my camping at the Hyatt, but I still want one.

The River could join Terra Nova at Netflix

If you want to watch something about a river… 

Tarzan trading cards

Reading List: Becky Cloonan’s The Mire

Jurassic Park 3D

Andy Briggs clarifies intent of rebooting Tarzan for YA readers

Reason Number 5,984 why the Internet is awesome: publicly airing your struggle to understand the purpose of a Tarzan reboot for Young Adult readers and receiving a personal response from the author. After my news roundup post on Friday, Andy Brigss sent me a very nice email that he’s given me permission to re-post here.

Hi Michael

Hope you are well! I just read your blog post on my Tarzan, and SHOCK, agree with you…

Let me explain; (as you kindly indicated) I never said my reboot was to replace Tarzan – EVER. In fact, the whole idea is to encourage a new generation of readers to be introduced to the character and fall in love with him so they will eventually read Burroughs originals. I was asked by Orion to write the foreword to their new compendium (in the UK) of Burroughs’ first six Tarzan books, and again I state that my version is to reach out to new readers and introduce them to the original.

I would bristle too if somebody re-wrote Tarzan or suggested that children won’t read the originals. However, worldwide library and publishing statistics clearly show that Tarzan is not being read by nearly as much as he used to. His popularity is rapidly declining, and, as a fan, I didn’t want to see that happen. I know kids WILL read the originals, but the fact is, they need a push! Especially in the UK, children are being “forced” to read “classics” such as Dickens rather than Burroughs or Conan Doyle.

Any way, thanks for getting a Tarzan discussion flowing, and thank you for being objective in a constructive manner!

Best Wishes

Andy Briggs

In a second email, Briggs clarified that he’s “not being an annoying protective author (well, trying not to be!).” I totally appreciate that position. There’s a fine line between clarifying your intentions as an author so’s not to be misunderstood on the one hand, and getting defensive on the other. Briggs stayed clear on the side of claifying, even noting in his second email that “I appreciate people may not like the book (after all, there are books I don’t like!) but I definitely don’t want people to think this is any sort of replacement.”

He also points out that there’s a download pack for teachers on his website that includes rough ideas for lesson plans, notes for reading groups, and encouragement for readers to check out Burroughs’ original novels and make comparisons with his. Very classy.

Incidentally, I discovered from his website that Briggs also wrote a couple of issues of Markosia’s Kong: King of Skull Island adaptation and has a graphic novel called DinoCorps coming out later this month. So that’s pretty cool too.

Terra Nova cancelled, Tarzan arrested, and other news

Seems like a lot of cool/interesting stuff happened this week. Let’s recap.

Terra Nova cancelled

  • FOX announced that there would be no second season for Terra Nova, at least not on their network. The show was a modest ratings success, but not the blockbuster hit it needed to be to justify its expense. It never came together well creatively either. FOX was trying to figure out how to tweak a potential second season, but gave up.

    I’m not a fan of the mediocre relationship drama of the show – especially the way it sidelines the dinosaurs – but my son likes it pretty well and I’ve heard from other fans who are disappointed by this news. There may be a glimmer of hope for those folks. Though nothing’s been signed yet, Netflix is thinking about picking it up.

My new favorite Tarzan movie

MIT Certificates of Piracy

Ron Ely Tarzan series on DVD

Kickstart an ERB documentary

James Cameron’s 3D underwater documentary

Tarzan arrested for keeping tigers

  • Steve Sipek (aka Steve Hawkes) starred in a couple of Spanish/Italian Tarzan films in 1969 and 1972. It was during the filming of the second of these, Tarzan and the Brown Prince that something amazing happened. According to The Wild Eye:
  • During the shooting of a scene in which Tarzan had been tied down to be tortured, some spilled fuel ignited. The crew scattered, leaving Sipek tethered to two iron stakes at the centre of the flames. Tied to his arm on the end of a long rope was Sampson, a lion trained to rush to his rescue and rip off the restraints when given the cue.

    “As the fire came towards me, I pulled hard on the rope and Sampson came charging in,” recalls Sipek. “He pulled off the rope and dragged me out and my life changed for ever. I said that if I lived, I would care for any animal that needed me.”

    Sipek kept that promise and opened an animal sanctuary called Jungleworld in Florida. He and his animals were in the news several years ago when one of his tigers escaped and was killed by a wildlife officer. The Daily Mail reports that Florida wildlife officials began looking into Sipek’s sanctuary again this past October and after a lengthy investigation determined that Sipek didn’t have the proper licenses or training to keep his animals and that the compound was a threat to public safety. He was arrested on misdemeanor charges.

RIP Disney songwriter Robert B Sherman

Lots of cool projects coming

  • David Gallaher and Steve Ellis (High Moon) are trying to Kickstart The Only Living Boy, a four-volume series of 50-page comics “inspired by pulp adventure novels[…]like John Carter, Tarzan, Flash Gordon, Killraven, and the Jungle Book.” [Robot 6]
  • Jeff Lemire (Animal ManFrankenstein: Agent of SHADE) will have a new graphic novel in August about an expectant father who encounters something strange deep in the sea. Top Shelf describes The Underwater Welder as “equal parts blue-collar character study and mind-bending science fiction epic.”
  • How did I not know about a 380-page graphic novel about a cowgirl who wears a yellow string-bikini? Bikini Cowboy has been out since last fall and I’m just now getting it.

Read My Stuff: Panels for Primates

For those who aren’t familiar with it, Panels for Primates is a charity anthology webcomic on the act-i-vate site that’s meant to raise money for the Primate Rescue Center in Kentucky. It’s entirely free to read, but if the ape and monkey stories move or entertain you at all, you’re invited – but not obligated – to contribute.

I’m a huge fan of these animals, so I was thrilled when editor Troy Wilson invited me to contribute a short, two-page story. And even more thrilled when he told me I’d be working with the awesome Simon Roy. Between the two of us, we packed a ton of action into two pages including giant cephalopods, tiki-men, a sinister elephant, a mad tortoise, slime-monsters, werewolves, mummies, and I’m self-indulgent enough to have thrown in giant monsters, giant robots, and yes, gorillas riding dinosaurs. It also features that most famous of Kentucky primates, Daniel Baboon. Please go check it out.

Land of the Lost (2009)

My plan worked. Extremely low expectations married with a view of the movie as a film-within-the-show allowed me to make it all the way through without ripping out my eyes and ears. It would be an exaggeration to say that I enjoyed it, but I was at least able to enjoy parts of it without despairing over What Have They Done to the Show?

I knew I was going to have problems with Land of the Lost as soon as Will Ferrell was announced as the star. I don’t much like Will Ferrell’s work. Not even Anchorman, the movie everyone reminds me about as soon as I tell them I don’t think Will Ferrell’s funny. I tolerate him in Elf because I love Christmas movies, but I can’t make myself watch it every holiday season. Haven’t yet seen him in Stranger Than Fiction, though my resistance to it is weakening. At any rate, Land of the Lost did nothing to change my mind about Ferrell’s style of comedy.

I did however like Danny McBride and Anna Friel. This is where it came in handy to see the movie as something that the Marshalls might have had to endure once they got home. Otherwise, I would’ve been extremely frustrated that Rick Marshall’s kids have been transformed into a love interest and an idiotic guide.As it was, I laughed at McBride a lot and Friel was less annoying than she was in Pushing Daisies.

Yes, I know Pushing Daisies was a critical darling and I liked it for the most part, but not for the part where Ned and Chuck couldn’t touch and it was Rogue all over again. Or the constant reminder that Ned was keeping a huge, horrible secret from her. Friel was fun and likable in the part, I just didn’t dig the uglier side of the show that her character represented.

Holly of course has none of that. Instead, she has the unenviable job of having to admire and respect a character played by Will Ferrell. A character – I’m quick to add – that is designed specifically to be unworthy of admiration or respect. This isn’t an Anna Friel flaw, it’s a fundamentally ridiculous problem in the script. Nice job by Friel for making Holly attractive and charming in spite of that.

Cha-Ka was stupid though. The less said about him the better.

What I was most curious about – and the reason I wanted to see the movie at all – was what they did with the show’s mythology. How much would they include? How much would they change? I like that Grumpy was there (and that Holly named him) and that Enik’s an important part of the story (though his motivation has completely changed from the show). I was elated to hear someone mention the Zarn until I saw what they actually did with him. I liked that he had Leonard Nimoy’s voice, but he’s the Zarn in name only, having nothing in common with the inter-dimensional traveler from the show.

But you know, if I’m a person living in the world of the TV series and this movie is all I know about the Marshalls’ adventures, I don’t hate it. It’s not Good in any sense of the word and parts of it are downright horrible, but other parts are enjoyable and even funny. As a whole, like so many other movies, it’s mundane and ultimately forgettable, but that’s a blessing and a vast improvement over what I expected going into it.

Valley of the Dinosaurs on DVD

Hanna-Barbera only made 16 episodes of Valley of the Dinosaurs, which probably explains how I not only completely missed it as a kid, but also forgot it even existed until a year ago. Since I was reminded about it though, I’ve been extremely curious to see some actual episodes. Now that’s possible thanks to Warner Bros.’ Archive collection. It’s overpriced at $30 for 16 episodes, but they’ve got me hooked anyway and are reeling me in.

Land of the Lost: Season Three (Series Finale: Medicine Man)

Season One: Part One, Two, and Three.
Season Two: Part One and Two.
Season Three: Part One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, and Twelve..

Episode 13: “Medicine Man”

The last episode of the series starts off on the right foot with Holly and Cha-Ka’s cooking dinner for the family. In a reference to a first season episode, Cha-Ka observes, “Cha-Ka like stone soup more better.” We’ve established that these are an alternate reality’s version of the Season One characters, but it’s nice to be reminded that some things are the same.

There’s also some genuinely funny banter between the two of them, but while they’re inside the temple gathering vegetables, someone makes off with their pot of water. When Jack and Will return with firewood, Jack goes into the jungle to search for the thief and is attacked by an American Indian in traditional clothing. Jack beats the Indian easily and it’s only then that the Indian realizes that Jack isn’t who he thought he was.

The Indian explains that his name is Lone Wolf and that he was trying to get back to his tribe with some medicine for a fever epidemic that’s killing them. He’d ridden into a dust storm, was thrown from his horse, knocked unconscious, and woke up in the Land of the Lost. He admits to stealing the water to make some traditional medicine for himself, because he also has the fever and the White Man’s medicine he was carrying is in his saddlebags with the horse, wherever that is.

He doesn’t explain who he thought Jack was before he got a good look at him, but it’s obvious that he doesn’t expect sympathy from Jack, much less help. However, Jack of course insists on getting Lone Wolf to his feet and back to the temple where the Marshalls can lend him the materials he needs to heal himself.

At the temple, Lone Wolf reveals that he lives in 1877 and learned English under Chief Joseph. As the Marshalls (Will, especially) marvel over this, Cha-Ka rushes in. He’s been scared by a sound and when he describes it, the others realize that it must have been Lone Wolf’s horse. Lone Wolf becomes frantic about finding it. He has to get the medicine to his people. The Marshalls volunteer to help.

What’s weird about this is that everyone immediately takes for granted that all they have to do is find the horse to get Lone Wolf back home. Will even says, “All I need is a lariat and then it’s off to the Old West.” They seem to have conveniently forgotten that if it were that easy, this series would’ve only been one episode long, not three seasons.

Will finds the horse pretty quickly, or what he thinks is Lone Wolf’s horse. It actually belongs to a US cavalryman who’s hiding in the bushes nearby. The soldier holds his rifle on Will and introduces himself as Captain Elmo Diggs. He’s been watching the horse, hoping that Lone Wolf would come try to take it so that Diggs could capture him. He tells Will that Lone Wolf has stolen government property and he wants Will to lead him to the Indian.

Before Diggs can get on the horse though, he collapses, sick with fever himself. Will takes compassion on him and offers to bring him back to the temple too. Naturally, when they arrive neither Diggs nor Lone Wolf are happy to see each other. Diggs continues to accuse Lone Wolf of theft while Lone Wolf insists that the medicine already belonged to his tribe. He explains that there were two consignments of medicine, one for the men in Diggs’ fort and one for Lone Wolf’s tribe. When the soldiers used up their own allotment, the Indian Agent in charge of the stores sold them Lone Wolf’s. Diggs claims to know nothing about this.

In spite of their differences, Lone Wolf allows the Marshalls to talk him into using his skills at natural medicine to heal Diggs the same way he’s healed himself. (There’s a brief conversation where he explains to Holly that he can’t use natural medicine quickly enough to heal his entire tribe. I thought that was kind of nice until I realized that the episode is full of this kind of thing: characters having side-conversations to explain plot holes. I appreciate the effort, but it became annoying after a while.) However, Lone Wolf insists on taking Diggs’ horse in return for helping the soldier. The Marshalls object at first that the horse isn’t theirs to give (Diggs is delirious with fever by this point and can’t speak for himself), but Lone Wolf convinces them that doing so is the only way they can save Diggs. They finally agree.

Once he has the horse, Lone Wolf explains that he needs to go into the jungle to look for ingredients for his cure. As he hurries off, Will wonders if he’ll come back. Diggs wakes up enough to participate in the discussion and says that they’ll never see Lone Wolf again. He insists that all Lone Wolf ever wanted was the horse because it’s the ticket home. Again, no one ever explains why this the horse is key, but everyone seems to believe it. With a horse, escaping the Land of the Lost is easy. On foot, it’s impossible.

After an hour, Jack goes looking for Lone Wolf. He catches up to the Indian and finds him hiding with the horse behind a rock, cornered by Grumpy the T-Rex. Jack tricks Grumpy into leaving and then confronts Lone Wolf who claims that Grumpy trapped him before he had a chance to gather what he needed. “Maybe we’ll have better luck together,” Jack says. Lone Wolf looks disappointed, but he has no choice but to stick with Jack and collect the plants..

Back at the temple, Diggs has second thoughts about allowing Lone Wolf to cure him. He thinks Lone Wolf may try to poison him instead. But the Marshall’s insist that it’s the only way possible to save Diggs’ life, so they all go through with it. Lone Wolf performs an all-night ceremony with lots of herbs and face paint and drumming and it seems to work. Near morning, Diggs’s fever breaks.

As the others rest from the long night, Diggs sneaks out to his horse and grabs some manacles to chain up the sleeping Lone Wolf. The sound wakes up the Marshalls who shame Diggs into releasing his prisoner. He also lets Lone Wolf take the horse as agreed, but then Lone Wolf selflessly invites Diggs to come along.

After they leave, Holly finally questions whether or not the two strangers will be able to get back to their time. To his credit and my surprise, Jack isn’t taken aback by her doubt. Everyone seemed to take an easy escape for granted the entire episode, but Jack says that he’s not sure either. He also adds that it doesn’t really matter. “At least they’re trying together. In the long run, that’s really more important.”

And so the show ends with another nice lesson for the kids, which – like last time – I kind of dig. It’s a good message and it’s nicely presented without a lot of speeches. No more is said about the medicine or what the men will do with it if they find it though. Maybe that’s too complicated a situation for a kids show. Whatever the reason, it’s too bad. It’s an important dramatic element that should have been resolved.

Another complaint is that there weren’t a lot Land of the Losty elements in this episode. For the series finale, it’s very quiet. There are no Sleestaks, there’s no plot to get home, and the dinosaurs – except for Grumpy – are mostly set dressing. Torchy and Lulu both make cameo appearances to growl at people, but they’re not part of the story. It’s a nice episode, but a downbeat one for the show to end on and that’s too bad. I wasn’t expecting them to make it home or anything, but it seems like the writers abandoned that part of the concept in the last few episodes.

But though we never see Jack and this reality’s Will and Holly make it home, we know that they did. After all, Jack and Will talked in a previous episode about how people would want to make a movie about their adventures when they got home to tell the tale. And that’s exactly what happened.