Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Land of the Lost: Season Three (Episode Nine: Abominable Snowman)

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

Episode 9: “Abominable Snowman”

The Land of the Lost gets wackier and wackier. In this episode, Will and Jack find a unicorn in the jungle and bring it back to Holly as a pet. When Enik wanders by the temple and sees it though, he warns the Marshalls that its presence is bad news. He says that it comes from the Land of Snow and is game for a creature called Tapa. Enik speculates that the recent earthquakes have opened a passage between the Land of Snow and the rest of the Valley. He’s also quite sure that the Tapa will come searching for the unicorn, bringing devastation with him.

Jack and Will are oddly unconcerned. They’ve given the animal to Holly and aren’t interested in taking it back. They say that if Enik wants Holly to get rid of it, he can ask her himself. Enik angrily agrees, but by the time he finds Holly, the unicorn has already gone missing.

Holly and Cha-Ka are franticly looking for it and aren’t attracted to Enik’s offer of a jeweled toad if they’ll forget about the pet. “I’ve heard toads give you warts,” Holly says, “and I don’t care to find out for sure.” I suspect that’s Holly’s sense of humor talking and not genuine belief in the old wives’ tale, but it’s still a weird response.

Yeti unicorn-ranchers, after the break.

Despite Holly’s uncooperativeness, Enik sticks around long enough to help figure out where the unicorn went. He finds giant footprints and tells Holly that they belong to Tapa, who has obviously caught the unicorn with the intention of eating it. Enik’s satisfied - now that Tapa’s left the Valley - and encourages Holly to feel the same way. But as soon as he leaves, Holly and Cha-Ka make plans to rescue "Cornie."

Stupidly, they don’t go back to the temple to get Will and Jack, but decide to track Tapa by themselves. Enik’s the smart one and lets the older Marshalls know what he suspects Holly will do. He gets an earful for his trouble though, because Jack and Will lay into him for not stopping Holly.

Enik’s been a big jerk for most of the season, but he’s actually the sane, responsible one in this episode. He lets Jack and Will know it too; not that they listen. I’m reminded of some of the interactions Will and Enik had in Season One where Will selfishly thought only of himself and his family and accused Enik of being the bad guy for daring to want to escape the Land of the Lost himself instead of just helping them. It’s the same here, with Jack and Will’s being very nonchalant about Enik’s warnings until they come true and it’s suddenly all his fault.

Meanwhile, Holly and Cha-Ka have tracked Tapa high into the mountains where Holly’s getting cold. Cha-Ka, fortunately, has his fur for protection. As they continue following the monster, they cross a deep gorge spanned by a fallen tree. They disturb the log in the process though and after they’ve crossed, it falls.

As they keep going, the ground becomes frozen and it’s harder to track Tapa. They keep searching though and eventually find the unicorn, grazing peacefully on some trees with Tapa nowhere around. Tapa wasn’t that hungry apparently, just protective of his food supply. From Enik’s description, I would’ve expected Holly and Cha-Ka to find a mangled carcass, but Tapa’s actions make him seem more like he’s raising unicorns for food than hunting them like a vicious predator.

Not that Tapa’s harmless. He shows up as Holly and Cha-Ka are trying to rescue Cornie and threatens them with a big stick. Not with teeth and claws, notice. He’s dangerous, but he’s not as animalistic as he appears and sounds. As the episode title suggests, he looks like a Yeti, but he raises his own food and uses tools.

Holly finds more evidence of this when she and Cha-Ka escape through a small hole in an ice wall into what they hope will be a safe cave, too tiny for Tapa to follow them. But inside, the cave is huge and full of furs and other wooden tools that Tapa has made. Realizing they’re in his lair, they hide until Tapa comes in through another entrance. Holly then decides to try approaching him with some food Cha-Ka’s carrying in his pack. After all, Holly’s heard that they’re “supposed to be very childlike and gentle.” Perhaps from the same person who told her that toads give you warts. In spite of Tapa’s raging around the cave and smashing walls with his giant stick, she steps out of hiding and offers him something to eat. It works to calm him down, but he refuses to let them leave the cave, getting violent every time they try.

Meanwhile, Jack and Will have tracked Holly to the gorge and figure out that she and Cha-Ka crossed it. Jack gets across with a rope and keeps going to rescue Holly while Will chops down another tree to use as a getaway bridge.

Holly’s finally able to calm Tapa down by building a fire. The monster’s afraid of it at first, but becomes mesmerized enough that Holly and Cha-Ka are able to slip out of the cave. Tapa’s not that dumb though and notices as soon as they’ve left. Furious, he chases after them, but all his wall-smashing has weakened the cave and the entrance collapses in front of him just after Holly makes her escape.

The monster’s able to smash his way free, but Holly, Cha-Ka, and Cornie already have a good head-start. They meet up with Jack who leads them back to the gorge with Tapa following close behind. It's no surprise that Will fells his tree just in time to let the Marshalls cross with their pet, but Tapa does something strange when he gets there. Instead of chasing them across, he roars and shakes his fists at them, then pushes the tree into the gorge. Jack – probably correctly – interprets the roars as a warning to stay out of Tapa’s territory, but it’s interesting that Tapa’s lost interest in the unicorn. I’m assuming he has others, so maybe he thinks it’s worth losing one to keep these troublesome, confusing humans out of his life.

Before they go home, Holly pauses to wonder what Enik would think about their actions. It’s a weird thing to ask under the circumstances, but it’s just set up for Jack’s response that Enik wouldn’t get it because he doesn’t understand what it means to love someone. As awkwardly introduced as it is, it’s actually a very sweet line that explains Holly’s actions and why Jack is so quick to forgive her for running off to save her pet. It also bookends nicely with something that Holly told Cha-Ka at the beginning of the episode when he was acting selfishly: “Other people come first.” Which of course is the definition of love. The Marshalls may not follow their own advice - particularly where Enik is concerned - but it's a good lesson from a Saturday morning adventure show.


Wings1295 said...

Good episode indeed, out of a very weird season. And I like how the Tapa wasn't just a brute, he actually seemed thinking. Potential, yet again.

Wings1295 said...

I also just was thinking about Will Ferrell and the movie. Did he miss ALL the subtleties this show had to offer? Seems so.

eldersprig said...

I don't remember this one at all.

Yetis gentle and childlike?

Well, a herder isn't a cannibalistic monster, but an alien humanoid that you can't communicate with does not strike me as someone you should be messing with.

Michael May said...

Yeah, Holly sure didn't watch or read the same stuff about Yetis that I did. I mean, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer alone should've taught her better.


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