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TARZAN TV SERIES ~ 1991-1994
Starring Wolf Larson as Tarzan and Lydie Denier as Jane
Reviews by Charles Mento
59. THE SAPPHIRE ELEPHANT
60. THE FEAR OF BLINDNESS
61. THE MATING SEASON
“RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!”
59. THE SAPPHIRE ELEPHANT
Dan’s journal: Monday the 13th but the day is said really low. 1993 has Sept and Dec. 1994 has June. 1997 has October. 1998 has July and April.
Dan calls his mail run giving way to a letter to Roger that will throw a major curve ball to their little “jungle family” and be a test to Roger’s maturity. The elephant sounds are used as monsters in Irwin Allen shows like LOST IN SPACE and VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA but probably were also used way back in 1960’s Irwin Allen’s THE LOST WORLD. Roger and Dan are at his air base which looks different yet again and in the background is dense fog as they look through the mail bag.
Dan rattles something off that Roger identifies as the Zebra Newsletter and not for Cheetah. They chase Cheetah who steals a letter for Roger from the Bendali Armed Forces which they find out when Tarzan swings across Cheetah’s swing and grabs the letter from him. Roger’s been expecting a letter from his ex girlfriend Julie. Roger’s been drafted! I didn’t see that coming.
Dan and Jane talk to this new commissioner about this. Roger has been an alien resident of Bendali for two years now. He can sign off on a deferment on educational reasons but he questions Jane’s educational research. He wants them to get him the Sapphire Elephant which he read about in local folklore and if they do not, Roger will have to be in the army and the commissioner says, “…and get yourself some marching boots.”
NOTE: the DVD title page misspells Sapphire as Saphire.
Elephant worshippers owned the Sapphire. Dan says Uabayuben (?) told him about it. It was six inches high. The only way to teach the temple is through the fire field. Wherever they are talking, Roger gets upset that he can’t ask them to do this for him and walks away, across a long wooden bridge to a rock face with an arch in it. Is this near the treehouse?
Dan catches up to him to tell him he’s heard about him griping about the army but that it’s really not that bad except maybe the food. When Dan tells him those guys know how to turn boys into men, Roger asks, “Are you calling me a boy?” Dan apologizes. Roger admits that he came here in the first place because he couldn’t get his head together about dad, school and/or Julie but that’s changed. “Jane and Tarzan taught me how to give back and to help.” Roger would have to be in the army for two years.
Tarzan tells Jane the people that had the sapphire were good and worshipped the jungle, they were peaceful. Their time was over, he tells her when she asks what happened to them, “The jungle took them.” He also says, “In Tarzan’s jungle it is more important to protect the living than to protect memories.”
Morning: Roger will go with Tarzan to get the sapphire. They see elephants going to the sacred grounds and Tarzan tells Roger that it is not for them to know why. At the fire field, Roger mentions it stinks. This is the second visit to the fire field, but the first in season three. The other one was in season two. So far in the ep no mention is made of their previous visit. A gas blast knocks Roger down so Tarzan has to carry him across the field, which Tarzan made a path through with…rocks? On the other side, Roger wants to go with Tarzan into the cave face rather than wait and rest.
The location and the action sequence is, once again, spectacular and credit is given for not using stock footage of the field as the two run across it. Roger is wearing a different shirt than the one in season two where he ran across the fire field.
There’s an open area before the caves. Tarzan stops Roger and fires an arrow at a vine that is a trap attached to a top piece that dumps huge snakes onto the person standing under it and into a spot on the ground. As a trap goes, how did the maker know the snakes would stay there? It’s an original trap however.
Tarzan knows all the snakes there are poisonous. These “caves” have a lot of holes on the roof/ceiling of rock so that a lot of sunlight comes through. They step around the area and then Tarzan pulls Roger back from a trap on the ground. “Wa, what’d I do this time?” Tarzan triggers it with a rock, purposely. It has two fence pieces which hit from the sides and meet in the middle…with pointed wooden spikes on the edges of the facing sides. A deadly trap. Tarzan smells the liquid on the tip of one spike and says something like Mau Mau poison? “Man, these guys meant business,” Roger claimed.
There’s a nice segue from Tarzan pulling the spike door apart to the darkness of the next cave area and Tarzan’s bow in the darkness. Tarzan says something like, “Tarzan is much respected by the elephant people. We must be careful.” There might have been a “but” there but I didn’t hear it.
If he’s respected, why be careful? I do see the need for them to be careful with such deadly and different traps, even for this series which has many episodes with traps in them.
I might be going too far but much of this episode has visuals that feel just like Tarzan art from Jusko, Frazetta and others, come to life. The cinematography is, as ever, amazing. The locations are, too. Wolf gets better and better every episode in look and facial expressions and he’s never been more lean and ripped.
I like Roger and Tarzan as a pair. The contrast between the two is wonderful; he silent, Roger not so much and it really works. I’d watch a series with just the two of them.
They enter the temple and find the sapphire elephant on a podium under a beam of sunlight. Tarzan thinks it might be booby trapped. Roger says he saw this in a movie once but does not name the movie. He thinks they have to replace the elephant with something else without breaking the beam of light. It’s been a long time since I saw the first INDIANA JONES movie but he might be thinking of that movie.
Tarzan will leave his knife. Roger says, “Not your knife. It’s a part of you.” Tarzan feels he is taking something that was important to the elephant people, that he should leave something that is important to him. There’s a mist in the temple.
When they make the exchange there are strange noises. Part of a booby trap? A spirit? Spirits? They both seem to hear it but do not comment.
Jane, Dan and the commissioner wait. It’s been over seven hours. The commissioner says, “Confound that ape man. He’s going to trick me, I know he is.”
Tarzan and Roger arrive. Tarzan takes the sapphire out and it glows blue. Tantor, with Cheetah on her, roars. So does Numa. As the commissioner is about to sign the papers, Roger tears them away from him. He feels this is not right. The tribe, the KeyWagas, didn’t worship it because it was expensive. Roger goes on about how amazing elephants are and how they will not leave another one, wounded or sick, behind no matter the danger. “It’s like what Tarzan did for me.” Roger tears up the papers and the commissioner continues his threat. Tarzan stops Jane from pleading to Roger. “No, Jane, Roger is right.” The commissioner says Tarzan tricked him…what? HOW? “I’m going to make this jungle so miserable for you, that you’re going to be begging me for a ticket out of here.”
Dan calls Roger “Little Buddy” but explains that Roger is not a coward no matter what Roger himself worried about before. Tantor and Numa menace the commissioner and his driver.
“Numar and Tantor are not Tarzan’s animals. They do as they wish.”
As Roger is about to leave, Jane gives him pen and paper so he can write her every week; Dan gives him his lucky’s rabbit foot; Cheetah gives him bananas, worried they will not feed him in the army. Dan’s plane says JBH.
Roger worries if he gets into trouble, he won’t have Tarzan to bail him out. Tarzan says, “Roger does not need Tarzan. Roger is as brave as Numar and as smart as Cheetah. That is enough.”
Jane hugs him and tells him she will never forget him. Shockingly, Roger is taken away in a plane by Dan to go to the army. Some time (?) later (Jane has on different clothes), Tarzan claims when the elephants are safely to the sacred ground (? Why then?), Tarzan will return the sapphire to the temple. Jane, Tarzan and Cheetah are missing Roger. Jane says, “I feel so lonely.” Tarzan’s answer, “Tarzan is here.” She tells him, hugging him, “Oh, Tarzan, don’t leave me, please. I couldn’t take another goodbye. Ever.” This hug seems like more than just a hug for the first time.
Dan brings Roger back. Roger says, “Well, isn’t this cute. I’m gone only a few days and already they’re making the moves.” He tells them that they finally put up traffic lights in Bendali. Roger got rejected for flat feet. Jane hugs Roger. Cheetah and Jane are happy he is back. Tarzan smiles. Should he be happy Roger is back?
This is ep 309.
This episode plays on all the strengths of this series and almost none of the weaknesses, though Roger still seems a bit of a liability, it’s his idea to replace the Sapphire with something else that saves the day, a bit. The traps are more inventive than we’ve seen before and the villain a bit different. It looked as if Roger might be leaving the series for good and maybe it would pick up two years later (I knew, in 2022, that he was in every episode but back then…it DID seem as if he was leaving the series for good and with no info to find, it was a shock he left and then a shock he came back!). It’s not like the series hasn’t had issues with doing seasons or half seasons where it seems MORE time has gone by in number of years but that didn’t seem to matter to anyone.
A search for Sapphire Elephant yielded something no longer available called TARZAN AND THE SAPPHIRE ELEPHANT MAN.
This is a good episode, one of the best, actually. It looks good, feels dangerous, makes sense, and has some truly emotional scenes. If Roger were gone, would Tarzan and Jane get more…romantically involved and even “sleep” together?
60. THE FEAR OF BLINDNESS
“What would Tarzan do?”
“Tarzan, I have this really strange feeling like…Jane’s in danger.”
Note: what gets me here is, according to air dates and production dates as well as the order they are on the DVDs and on Amazon and You Tube, the series was aired in a completely random and out of order chronology from how each season was filmed. Some of these match and some do not but what does not match AT ALL is the air order and the production order.
Dan’s journal is Wednesday the 22nd. The narration gives less away then in seasons one and two. 1993 has Sept and Dec for this date and we’re still in the early part of the season as this is episode ten in production order and was aired earlier in the season (sixth) in most countries (!). 1994 has only June. 1997 has Jan and October. 1998 has April and July.
Jane is on an anything but routine field trip. She’s in a red jeep and the mirror dangles (maybe purposely because of the bumps it is supposed to be like that to prevent it from coming off, it’s looser?). I’m sorry but I still can’t understand some of what Jane is saying. She’s studying the red river hog? She’s looking for a place to build a blind? What? Amazon’s synopsis confirms she is studying the red river hog and adds it is in the Aruza Valley.
Okay, the whole episode relies on us, once again believing and seeing that Jane is…incompetent. In the jungle, certainly. Elsewhere, who knows but as she is recording into her tape cassette, she stumbles on a ridge and falls down steep slope leading to a not as steep slope leading to the water. More than usual, we already had a lot of simian life forms watching her. Now, in the water, hippos submerge. She never really seems to be totally unconscious but maybe for a few seconds? When she gets up, she cries out that she cannot see. The radio doesn’t work as she tries to call Roger. She tosses it (another bad move? Maybe it will dry out?). She calls for God to help her? Then she calls for Tarzan. Birds fly away.
She calms herself down and then falls. She feels she has to go east and must find a way to retrace her steps. When she fell down she was facing west. Roger, in a rainforest ABCs shirt, calls for Jane on the radio. A large horrific tarantula crawls on her hand after she reaches a rock on the shore. She falls backward into the water.
Given she’s an idiot to have fallen in the first place, this is a scary situation she is in. She lays down to get her bearings when, as expected, a lion starts to stalk her from the watery land area. She falls again and a toucan looks at her? She asks, “What would Tarzan do?” If she had seen Ron Ely’s first season, she would know!
As Jane remains calm and decides Tarzan would use his other senses and she resolves herself to use her hearing, the first truly shocking jump scare of the series happens: the lion jumps up from the water area and up the rocks VERY fast. It’s a jump scare and it works as part of the stalking/plot.
Dan, when called via radio by Roger, say something we all know is NOT true, “Don’t worry, little buddy, Madam Porter is perfectly capable of taking care of herself.”
If Roger does not hear from her in a couple of hours, Roger will go over to Tarzan’s and see what he thinks.
Jane wanders into the fire field area and a blast knocks her back and down. She finds a stick to use as a walking stick or cane and heads back from where she came.
Roger runs across a low lying bridge to Tarzan’s treehouse. Tarzan and Cheetah seem to be repairing or bulking up the straw on the roof. Though Tarzan tells Roger that silence (Jane is supposed to call him every four hours) does not mean Jane is in trouble, Roger has a strange feeling Jane is in danger. Tarzan relies on Roger’s instinct, calling it a sense that animals have to survive in the wild. Roger calls it a sixth sense but Tarzan has not heard it called that. He will go alone, he can travel faster, though he calls Cheetah.
What’s odd is that Roger seems to run the opposite way from whence he came to call on Tarzan, under the treehouse and out the other side. He’s going back to the compound as Tarzan says in order to wait if Jane calls him. He wanted to go with Tarzan.
Tarzan swings into action and indeed, Cheetah is swinging behind him.
Jane feels it chilly and thinks it must be getting dark and must find somewhere to spend the night. A parrot cannot tell Tarzan where Jane is because it does not know. The lion is still stalking her. Jane hears it and hides in a crack in a rock wall.
As he tracks her, it comes to my mind that I’ve never seen anyone who, bodily, looks more like Tarzan than any of the others before and after. Okay, there is the blond hair but I like that, too. Other than the blond hair, I feel Wolf looks physically the most like Tarzan than any of the others, though I like all of them to be honest (not sure about Jock though). He’s riding on Tantor.
BUT now it’s his turn to not be understood when he tells Cheetah, “Come, we must find her before…” what? High tide? Appetite? Something else does? Before darkness does? And doing the subtitles on Amazon takes patience as they have ads in the episodes AND sometimes their subtitles don’t help!
The lion sticks its head into the crack to menace Jane. I guess I would not feel this way if I were Jane but the lion looks …kinda cute. For one of those rare times, we see Jane’s head and the lion in the same shot. Sure, it is the back of her head and might be a double but it’s impressive all the same.
Night: Roger drinks out of a cup that is cool: it has animals on it. Possibly endangered species. He looks at a sexy picture of Jane!? He flashes back. In the flashback (TARZAN AND THE EARTHLY CHALENGER) Roger has his shirt open and shows off his stomach and chest (which rarely happens this third season). Jane, he says cannot talk him out of “this.” She tells him she always wanted a younger brother and that even though he doesn’t feel like he’s accomplished much, she knows he has. She has found her younger brother.
And then…something that does not happen often in TV shows, Roger PRAYS! “God, I know I’m a big pain sometimes but please don’t let anything bad happen to Jane.”
Segue to morning as birds fly past the sun. Nicely done. Jane wakes up. Everything is not as dark to her as before. The lion returns.
Tarzan and Cheetah go to the fire fields, still tracking Jane. This is the third episode we’ve seen them in. Tarzan hears the lion that has pointed its prey. He runs to the cave where Jane is. He calls the lion SIMBA. Tarzan uses a rock to scare it away and goes into the cave where Jane hugs him. He gets her out and Cheetah holds her hand. He gives her water and a banana, telling her when she is finished, she must rest. She wants to get to Bandali doctors as quick as possible. The quickest way to Dan is through the fire field. She doesn’t care how dangerous it is. Is that selfish?
She feels his face and knows he is frowning. He tells her the fire fields do not obey Tarzan and he worries in the firefield cannot protect her. She trusts him with her life “and anything else.” She knows he will find a way, he always does.
She knows she’s being terribly selfish and says so. After a short back and forth about this, she tells him she’s afraid of going blind. He decides to go and carries her to the field. He tells Cheetah to go the safe way and Cheetah does.
In another spectacular sequence, Tarzan uses rocks to make a path through the fires and some blasts nearly knock him over but then he carries her and runs through the field. This seems to have been made back to back with SAPPHIRE ELEPHANT. I can see why they returned to this fire field setting as it’s exciting and never boring but there is a danger of using it too much. It might appear again but we shall see. Lydie’s screams seem far too real as I wonder if the actors were far too close to the blasts and the fires.
“Tarzan cannot make Jane see again but Tarzan will always be close to Jane…to protect her. Tarzan will be Jane’s eyes.”
As Roger, Tarzan, Tantor and Cheetah await for Dan’s return, Tarzan is doing something to Tantor’s underfoot with his knife. When Roger questions him about being so calm, Tarzan tells him Jane will see and that he knows in his heart, using his knife to refer to his heart.
NOTE: I have to admit, seeing Lydie talk about Joe Lara and Wolf colors how I see their relationship in this show. She seemed to favor Joe Lara over Wolf and behind the scenes I’m not sure they always got along. This makes me rethink all their friendship/romance scenes together and this episode, which should have detailed their true love for each other, while it does somewhat, doesn’t seem to go far enough. While that’s not strange for this Kid Series, it feels somehow even more wrong knowing Lydie and Wolf probably didn’t get along as well as Tarzan and Jane?
She sort of seemed to suggest they had a love/hate relationship.
It’s somewhat cruel of both Dan and Jane not to immediately tells Tarzan and Roger that she can see fine but I guess they do it to keep the audience guessing. She still has the bandage on because the light hurts her. The doctor said that will last a few days and then she will be good as new. Tarzan used leaves to bring the swelling down and the doc told her that was the best thing that anyone could have ever done.
This is production 310.
61. THE MATING SEASON
“RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!”
“Come with me to Tarzan’s treehouse. I want to talk…and I want to listen.”
“Stay with me. I don’t want to be alone.”
“Tarzan you may know a lot but you don’t know women.”
“Tarzan likes Roger just the way he is. So will Julie.”
“Tarzan, do you feel love?”
“Tarzan feels love for Jane.”
“And I feel love for you.”
“Sometimes a man says more when he talks less.”
Dan’s journal states it is Tuesday the 20th and Spring has arrived in Tarzan’s jungle. Courtship rituals are all around them. In South Africa spring is between September and November. North Africa has spring as North America: March, April, May and possibly a bit of June. 1993 has a 20th on a Tuesday in April and July. 1994 has them on September and December. 1997 has it in May (I think at this point we can rule out 1997 as a year for season three). 1998 has it in in just Jan, which might rule out this year as the series taking place in, despite that ONE episode where a prisoner was out of jail after serving so much time that would make this year 1998.
Creepily, Roger is a little too into mating season, especially in front of Jane after the crawls up to her. Jane is photographing gorillas who are in a mating ritual, it seems? Jane asks if he finished sweeping the animal hospital (?) floor. He didn’t. He asks her to give him a break. This is history in the making. Roger’s radio is turned full up on volume so when Dan’s call comes in, it disturbs the gorillas. They try to escape but Roger falls. In what is almost a parody, the two start yelling for Tarzan. Sigh. Another example of both of their stupidity, this time especially Roger.
Tarzan arrives and scares it a bit and then gives the Tarzan yell, the first time in a while I think we’ve heard it. It used to be in every episode. What’s disappointing here is that the gorilla is only stock footage.
Tarzan sends them back to the compound which looks different and looks to be very near a river or lake?
I do not know what Jane and Roger are doing with that big tank and what that is but I’m guessing cement for the floor. If not, I do not want to guess further. Dan in a putrid green jeep brings a girl visitor to them. Julie’s been mentioned a few times in episodes such as Sapphire Element, The Odd Couple, The Earthly Challenge, and probably no others. Here, we see her. When Jane asks if she is Julie Markwell, Julie says she used to be his girlfriend. She sent a letter which Roger did not get or at least she says she sent a letter.
Julie’s convinced her professors to do an independent study if she can find a subject here. Jane tells Roger to check the mirror in his tent and Julie will go freshen up. Jane will finish the floor.
Roger tells Dan that Julie dumped him once and it is not going to happen again. Did we or hear about the dumping? Roger may forget that Julie dumped him three times. Of course, that being in the second season, this might be an alternate universe where she only dumped him once.
Roger hasn’t seen a girl his own age in two or three years so he has about as much technique as Cheetah, he says. Tarzan comes to the tent where Dan and Roger talk. Wolf has a huge mosquito bite on the back of his right leg. Tarzan tells them Cheetah likes the natural look and does not have to comb his hair. Roger asks what shirt Tarzan likes. Tarzan and Dan try to tell him to just be himself. Roger says, “Tarzan you may know a lot but you don’t know women.”
“Tarzan likes Roger just the way he is. So will Julie.”
Julie tells Jane how she met Roger. He rode into her on a bike path and said it was an accident and fixed her bike himself. Julie tells Jane she no intention of getting back together with Roger. Jane tells her to just be honest because she does not want to see Roger hurt. Julie feels Roger cares about everything.
When Jane worries they will be alone, Tarzan sends Cheetah to watch them. Roger tells Julie about 500 species on one tree and flowers that bloom only once a year. Roger wants to show her a watering hole four miles away.
As Jane uses a dark bag to develop gorilla pictures, Tarzan startles her and asks her what she is doing. Didn’t he just enter the compound with her and holding hands sort of? He looks at her negatives and when she worries about Julie and Roger, Tarzan goes to look. Jane’s pictures did not come out well. Tarzan didn’t say that but told her he would take her to go see the gorillas.
Roger and Julie watch a lion that Tarzan told Roger lost his pride and is looking for a new mate. The lions become really aggressive this time of year. Julie says some people can learn from the animal behavior of just focusing on finding a mate, which Roger told her the animals do this time of year. Julie dumped him because he moved five million miles away. It seems a misunderstanding between them made them break up. Roger didn’t want to be pushy when she got accepted to Yale. She felt he could have come with her.
This time it’s Cheetah himself who causes trouble. The branch he is on breaks and alerts the lion to all three of them. Cheetah takes the trees but Roger and Julie back up and then Roger yells, “RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!” They do.
Tarzan in the trees, looks wide eyes scared for them. He does the Tarzan yell. This makes the lion leave. Tarzan, in an impressive camera angle from under the trees with the sun above, climbs down to them. Julie decides to go home, telling Roger it has nothing to do with loins.
In the next scene, Tarzan and Roger sit high up on wooden ledge out the treehouse. Roger feels he’s missed Julie like crazy but every time he opens his mouth he says something really stupid. Tarzan tells him, “Sometimes a man says more when he talks less.” Cheetah tells Roger he is sorry by giving Roger a banana. Tarzan translates that for Roger. Which is odd because in a few past episodes, Roger seemed to understand Cheetah himself.
Julie worked three months in the dorm cafeteria to save up the money to come to the jungle. Jane thinks sometimes men can be slow. Now, Julie says Roger moved eight thousand miles away without even discussing it. Roger shows Julie a Kissing Tree, which starts out as two and grow branches around each other and grow as one. If you cut one trunk, both will die, Tarzan told him. Roger feels that is how he feels.
He asks her to go to Tarzan’s treehouse because he wants to talk. WHY can’t they talk here?
A parrot, a smaller one than we’ve seen (?), seems to hang out at the treehouse now. Roger takes the river path because it’s shorter. The two go to the treehouse where Julie is impressed by the view. It the morning the sun rises right where the river bends.
Wherever Jane and Tarzan are (the compound), Tarzan has a parrot on his hand. He calls the parrot something like Kita or Nita. It told him the treehouse is full of smiles. Jane feels it is getting late. When Tarzan tells her he will sleep in the jungle, Jane says, “Stay with me. I don’t want to be alone.” Tarzan nods yes that he will stay with Jane.
Roger and Julie talk about their situation. When he left, she felt he was leaving her and he admits maybe a little. His nickname for her is Jules.
He was scared it was going too fast and he could not slow down. He could not concentrate and didn’t want to be apart from her. She didn’t know how much he cared for her. She moves to kiss him but he asks her about what she is going to do her project on.
When Jane remembers the first time she was in love, Tarzan asks her if she was in love many times. She says not many. Half the time she was laughing, the other half crying. Tarzan says, “There is much love in the jungle,” when she explains he’s safe from all that craziness out here.
“Tarzan, do you feel love?”
“Tarzan feels love for Jane.”
“And I feel love for you.”
And with that…they go to sleep!!!
Roger tells her to do her project on the dental hygiene of the duck billed platypus for all he cares. They have a fight. He puts some of the blame on her: she was hanging out with Jason for three months while claiming to do their term project together. She works hard because she wants to be someone like Jane Porter. She says she is sorry she ever came here and goes into the hammock. They go to bed angry.
Some excellent shot all episode of the treehouse and the sky at night and/ or dawn. Is that a giant dream catcher outside Tarzan’s treehouse upper level?
Roger tells Jules that everything is going to be okay. He promises. While Roger paddles, the two of them have another fight and she tries to paddle…by standing up. They both end up falling in and the giant croc heads for them. As with the gorilla, maybe worse, we can’t tell where the croc is in relation to the canoe, Roger, Julie and Tarzan, who swims to the rescue.
Roger pulls her to safety though it looked like she was reaching out to him to pull him away from the croc but both would have been eaten if not for Tarzan wrestling with the thing.
Roger and Julie make up and kiss.
Roger, Julie, Jane and Tarzan watch a gorilla group. This will be Julie’s project. Samson has had his mate accept him. Chungka fought for dominance and lost. Are we supposed to know who Chungka is? He is not hurt. He learned only to fight the battles that he can win. Chungka has a new friend and can start a family. Uhm, Jane and Tarzan are both pronouncing the name Chungka differently. Gosh. It sounds like Shunga and Chainga at times, too. Sigh.
Good thing for Roger and Julie they are not listening. They are kissing passionately. Someone in this series might as well.
Good gravy. It’s almost ironic that this is the most frustrating episode of the series up to now (probably of the entire run). It’s either the most brave and adult episode or it’s a cop out and a poor excuse to do…nothing. For an episode about mating, the word sex is not used once, nor is anything seemingly consummated. Okay, we just have to accept that this is a children’s series and a kid show not even a teen show. And yet…it seems to want to reach for more and fails. This episode really fails.
Are we to believe that both these couples do not have sex over that night? Two are college student age and one is a savage who grew up in the jungle. Wolf’s Tarzan has always been semi innocent, certainly more so than Ely’s but Ely’s been educated where as Wolf’s not so much at all. On the other hand Ely was like any other man in a way and Wolf’s a sort of semi-Caine from KUNG FU and it sort of works.
What doesn’t work is that Tarzan stays over Jane’s and they go to sleep!? Really? She deliberately asks him to stay and he must know about mating and sex so…it’s just unbelievable and a tremendous tease.
The action sequences here don’t work all that well though Wolf vs the croc works somewhat better than his scaring of the stock footage gorilla. It’s odd that Julie and Roger don’t even see Tarzan save them. Was that a part of the script and purposeful? At least Roger and Julie share two passionate kisses.
Another part of why this does not work is that by next episode Julia will be gone and we know that and the entire thing will be reset back to the main settings of Roger is staying in the jungle without Julie. Which is why sometimes, modern, current shows are superior: there are follow through plots and storylines aren’t just wrapped up in 23 or 42 minutes (and yes, shows have dwindled in run time thanks to advertisements).
In some ways, this episode isn’t one that would work partially. It sort of does NOT work because the whole issue of sex is skirted over. OR do they want us to bring to it what we bring to it and decide that Tarzan and Jane MIGHT have had sex while Roger and Julie didn’t because they were fighting.
What’s even more frustrating is that Jane never elaborates on her love life more and doesn’t probe Tarzan for more about his comment that there is much love in the jungle. Did Tarzan have any past loves? We never find out. What began as and finished as a character study of Roger and Julie and their relationship (she really does seem to love him and he, her) finishes all wrapped up and doesn’t explore Jane and Tarzan’s relationship. So another missed opportunity. There will not be many more. I can’t even say it’s a good episode or a bad episode. It’s sort of both, all at once. It never reaches its potential and that’s just sad.
But sadly, the show’s format was built that way. Nothing too adult can happen… and doesn’t here. BUT often there’s not even the promise of it. Here, there’s the promise and that might be worse.
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