Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Land of the Lost: Season Three (Episode Seven: Flying Dutchman)



Season One: Part One, Two, and Three.
Season Two: Part One and Two.
Season Three: Part One, Two, Three, Four, Five, and Six.

Episode 7: “Flying Dutchman”

Malak (Richard Kiel) is back in this episode; humbler, but no less mean. He has to get out his cave these days to survive since the Sleestaks no longer pay him tribute, but his chosen method of survival is marauding and stealing. Cha-Ka (playing a homemade recorder reminiscent of Season Two’s “The Musician”) crosses paths with him one day and discovers something that Malak has dropped, a telescope. Malak tries to get it back from him, but Cha-Ka runs away and escapes back to the temple.

When he shows it to the Marshalls, they recognize it as a nautical instrument. They wonder how it got there and speculate that the ship that carried it to the Valley may still be there, able to carry them out again. As they walk to where Cha-Ka found the spyglass, they see Torchie at a distance. None of them seem surprised that he’s escaped from the canyon from last episode, so apparently they’ve run across him already since then.

They arrive at the dry riverbed where Cha-Ka was earlier and Holly spots a sextant lying in the mud as well. Not far from there, they spot an old galleon (though Jack calls it a barque) beached on the riverbed and hear voices shouting orders. They can’t see anyone on deck though, so they go closer to check it out.


Jack and Will go first, leaving Holly and Cha-Ka hiding out in the fog. Almost as soon as they set foot on deck though, they’re caught in a net that drops from the rigging. A Dutch officer (Rex Holman, who also played the ugly, bald guy who joins Spock’s brother in Star Trek V: “What do you know of my pain?”) then steps out from a door and accuses them of trying to stow away. It’s a ridiculous allegation, but then most of his early dialogue is just stereotypical seacaptainspeak: “Rigging mumbo jumbo throw you in irons blabbedy blabbedy.” He eventually starts sounding sane and changes the accusation. He now believes they’re in league with Malak (and even calls the giant caveman by name), returning to steal more stuff. When Holly and Cha-Ka show up and corroborate the guys’ story though, the Dutchman believes them.

He introduces himself as Captain Ruben Vandermeer and invites them to dinner. He’s especially smitten with Holly who bears a resemblance to his daughter. When the Marshalls ask him about the voices and other sounds they heard before boarding, he says that he’s alone on the ship and claims that there are trees near the riverbed “whose blossoms smell of the Narcissus.” They have hallucinogenic properties “like an Oriental incense” (guess they couldn’t say “opium” on Saturday morning TV) and must have made the Marshalls imagine things. Will’s not buying it, but Vandermeer changes the subject.

Jack asks how the ship arrived in the Valley and Vandermeer says that it was sucked into a maelstrom off the coast of Bermuda. Everyone else abandoned ship, but – as the captain – he stayed aboard and wound up in the Land of the Lost. The Marshalls volunteer to help repair the ship if they can leave with it when it goes. Vandermeer agrees, but before they sail he needs other supplies and charts that Malak has stolen. Jack and Will then make plans to steal the stuff back from Malak while Holly and Cha-Ka stay aboard to mend sails, repair ropes and whatnot.

Getting the stuff back turns into an ordeal involving Sleestaks, a cannon, and some bolas that Jack made earlier in the episode, but the short version is that they get everything and make it back to the ship okay. Then there’s some brief tension (and unintentional creepiness) as Vandermeer considers taking off with just Holly and leaving the others behind. He sends Jack, Will, and Cha-Ka off to gather citrus fruit (protection against scurvy, you know), but Jack and Will finally realize something’s up when they peek in Vandermeer’s diary, part of the stuff they recovered from Malak.

The captain’s original story was a lie; he was actually cursed by The Royal Naval Board for dereliction of duty to serve alone on The Flying Dutchman until “the end of time.” The Dutch Royal Naval Board was really powerful, apparently. They obviously knew some wizards anyway. At any rate, Will and Jack know the legend of the famous cursed ship and realize that their leaving with him isn’t an option. Even if they make it back to their world, they’ll be doomed to travel the seas with him forever.

Back on the ship, Vandermeer has started to put his plan into action. He drugs Holly and starts ordering his ghost crew to get ready to leave. On shore, Jack and Will hear this and realize that the ship doesn’t have to wait for rain to flood the riverbed and sail it out of there. After all, it is the FLYING Dutchman. Jack leaves Will and Cha-Ka and races to rescue Holly.

Vandermeer still isn’t completely sold on his plan to abduct Holly and gives her up without a fight. Jack takes her back to the others and they all watch as the ship lifts from the ground and flies into the night.
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