The format changes somewhat. We get a “Next on TARZAN: THE EPIC ADVENTURES” preview of the upcoming episode. Then a bit of the episode.
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Tarzan: The Epic Adventures ~ III & IV
Reviews by Charles Mento
Joe Lara as Tarzan and Aaron Seville as Themba
Lists of Credits are Featured in ERBzine 7670
Part 3: TARZAN AND THE LEOPARD QUEEN
Tarzan meets up with his old friend Temba
who returns from Europe to take his place as Chief of the Wogambi.
His people disappear and the Leopard Men attack the Waziri village.
In order to save Themba and the women of the Waziri,
Tarzan must face Sheeta The Leopard Woman.
Part 4: TARZAN AND THE LOST LEGION
A Roman Legion that has survived in the jungle for 900 years
learns that the Empire has fallen.
Claudius is challenged for his authority by his niece Athena
while Themba and Tarzan are pitted against each other in the circle of death.
3. TARZAN AND THE LEOPARD QUEEN
Tarzan, impressively, swings through a dark jungle. Lara’s impressive. Tarzan lands and kills a snake by shooting an arrow into its head as it is about to kill an African man, the sub titles say is named Timba. He tells Tarzan, rather quickly, that bandits attacked him, ran off his porters and stole all of his belongings and left him to die, tied up. Tarzan knows him and knows he always did talk a lot. They know each other. Tarzan leads him back toward his village, the Valley of the Wogambi. He’s been gone 13 years. The locations are apparently really Africa (South Africa) and look impressive. They stop for night and Tarzan eats. Timba’s father died last month and he is now chief. He’s been in Europe and is like a stranger here, Tarzan knows that feeling. He felt that way at Greystoke. This makes me wonder if this is supposed to be after the movie GREYSTOKE or as Wikipedia suggests between the two sections of the novel THE RETURN OF TARZAN, before he married Jane (or was that just the pilot? He’s not yet married so…maybe all of EPIC takes place there?).
Tarzan sees a girl that says, “Help me,” and then …where did she go? He’s attacked by Leopard Men, men dressed in leopard skins and fake claws. Timba helps him and is slightly wounded but they fight the men off and the men leave.
Then a new title credit sequence, said over images from a book a man with a sleeved suit is reading.
“Tarzan. Orphaned at birth in darkest Africa. Raised by the great apes. He grew up in the primitive world of the jungle until fate brought him face to face with his past. Taking his rightful place as Earl of Greystoke, Tarzan soon became disenchanted with civilization. He returned home to Africa. Tarzan, lord of the jungle.”
When this finishes we get new clips from…where? This and other episodes? I believe the theme music is also changed but I’m not sure of this. It is not very distinctive.
Instead of the Tarzan yell, which would have made more sense and been adequate, we get Tarzan on a cliff yelling, “WAAAAAA!”
Tarzan tells Timba the leopard men are made up of warriors from many different tribes. They were attacked for sacrifice to the demon that lives in Sheeta, the leopard. Tarzan just explained but then Timba asks why they kill for no reason at all. Tarzan says they are possessed by an evil spirit and that once, he knew a leopard man, a brave Botu warror, the man slit his throat rather than live under the spell of Sheeta.
Special creature and make up effects are by John Beuchler and Magical Media Industries.
Tarzan wonders what happened to the white woman but Timba did not see any white woman. They take to a canoe some of the rest of the way and then back on foot.
In contrast to the Wolf Larson series, here we have a sprawling village, that Timba says looks small now but it’s is complete with a lot of natives, a woman and two children who rush into Tarzan’s arms. They know each other. He calls them by name “Wautani”? The woman is Timba’s mother.
Tarzan sees a leopard but when he dives at it from a tree, there’s the white woman instead. They talk. She hugs him, telling him she must go. She scratches his back, roughly. A leopard is seen running away. He washes the top of the wound, badly and can’t get most of it, then for some reason he removes his knife and dives into a river or pond?
Back at the village, there is a dance while Timba is given a robe for the chief. There’s also a shot of a goat. Is it alive?
Tarzan finds a cave and a chest that he seems to know about already and checks himself out in a hand held mirror and checks out the wound. He sees an old photo of a couple that must be his parents. Holding the picture, he seems to lick or kiss or smell or all three. He goes out to wash his face and gorillas come, one of them Mogani. They are friends of his.
Then, there is a thunderstorm and as Timba’s mother gives him his father’s necklace and medallion, the girl enters Tarzan’s cave as he sleeps (he sleeps holding a spear head knife?) and kisses him. Before she enters and when she touches him, there seems to be orange mystical power energy about?
In the morning, Tarzan sees vultures. A large shadowy elephant moves through the brush in a haunting fashion. Tarzan finds the village empty of people and there seems to have been an attack. He sniffs like a gorilla. He finds a shirtless Timba in the brush. As the commercial comes, we see the image of the show turn to one of the illustrations in the book from the credits.
Appreciating the longer 42 minutes over the 23 of the Wolf Larson series, this starts off well for the first ten minutes or so and then feels choppy and meandering. Why didn’t Tarzan stay in the village? Is this where he used to live? It would seem so.
The book image, artwork, returns and then turns live action as we return to the show.
In the cave, Tarzan treats Timba’s wounds.
Okay, I know it’s supposed to be dark and I appreciate not having the night time scenes look like day time but…the lighting here is very poor. The entire thing, even during day time scenes, look as if they are filmed with sepia tones or a kind of twilight or dusk glow about them. The night scenes are even darker. None of it is well lit.
Outside, Tarzan eats a fruit and gets alarmed when he hears Timba yelling. Didn’t he know it was Timba?
Timba thinks what happened was a nightmare but then Tarzan tells him it happened. Timba can’t remember anything.
Inexplicably, Timba, when he returns to the village with Tarzan, decides to leave, believing all his mother and all his people are dead. What? Tarzan tells him if he leaves now he will never be at peace. Tarzan tells him he will help him.
Timba says he has to move on. What a jerk.
So, with a longer running time, instead of using that for more action and adventure, here, we get an almost stupid Tarzan and a giving up Timba, who is even more unlikable than the “companion” in the first two episodes, the two hour TARZAN’S RETURN. Tarzan finds a leopard man claw in the village and shows Timba, who asks, “Do you think they are responsible for the attack?” What? Are they both dumb?
Tarzan explains that the scent on the claw of the leopard man has a spore that is his and he can be tracked. They cross a bridge over a nice area of waterfall. Timba’s father sent him to Europe to be educated so one day he would return and share it with his people.
Tarzan agrees with Timba that the music, ballet, art, food and more in Europe are wonderful things. Timba asks him if he had friends that he missed. Tarzan says there was one person, a woman but he would not elaborate on this. Timba asks if she didn’t want to leave Europe but Tarzan wants to move on from the rest they are taking.
They hear cries of a woman or women from the Waziri village and run to it. There are, again, a lot of natives. One, a child or teen, looks almost 75 percent naked as they watch the woman or woman shriek because, as the chief, Robega, tells Tarzan, last night the leopard men took two girls from their village and killed men who were trying to save the two. I’m not sure from the look of this funeral rite but there are two large structures that are burned, possibly three. Are the bodies of the men inside these? Robega tells them that the Queen is possessed by the great demon. A girl in the village seems attracted to Timba. We later find out her name is Tazi. She tells Timba, later, that she is a princess.
Okay, I have to take a break and treat this as a half hour show. It’s very ponderous and takes forever to get going. In fact, it’s boring and repetitious. All of this could have been established in ten minutes instead of the 24 minutes it has taken.
So, I doubt this has anything to do with this novel:
Tarzan and the Leopard Men - Wikipedia
Robega gives Timba a talisman to protect him and says something or someone says it will protect him. The Samswomas? He also knew Timba’s mother and father. It seems a given that Timba’s tribe is all dead?
Tarzan walks with a boy he seems to know from this new tribe. The boy either has his own bow and arrow or is holding Tarzan’s.
At night, the Queen visits Tarzan, who lets his guard down and is overcome by a powder she blows on him. He and Tazi and maybe some others (?) are carried away by Leopard Men. As Robega, Timba and the Waziri men plan an attack, Tarzan tries to escape but is overcome by…three of the Leopard Men? What?
Two of them force him to the throne area and he’s chained up. Two!?
The girl appears again in a weird get up. Tarzan calls her Kali. Does he know her? Do we? She claims she is not Kali, she’s just using her body, increasing her powers and possessing her. When she tells Tarzan she is not interested in Kali’s idea of love and her attraction for Tarzan, Tarzan tells her that love is the key to the powers of the universe and those powers will destroy her, the Queen Demon or whatever she is.
She kisses him but he appears to bite her.
Tarzan is whipped; Timba is captured, and Tazi is taken from her cell by two of the leopard men (for what, we can only guess, horribly). Seemingly herself, Kali comes to Tarzan’s cell to tend to his wounds while Robega reveals himself (to us) as the helper of the Queen. I’m confused. He asks her to spare some of the Waziri.
Kali tells Tarzan she’s thought of killing herself but he tells her not to think like that. Her parents were missionaries and she was taken from them and has had the demon inside her when she was a little girl.
I’m even more confused. Kali tells Tarzan the Womgambi were not sacrificed by the Queen. Tarzan now seems surprised the Queen gets her power from the sacrifices when he was the one who told Timba at the start of this about that, or maybe he just knew they used sacrifices. Either way, all of this muddled and makes Tarzan look weak. Kali tells him some of the Waziri warriors and Timba were captured. They and Tazi with the Waziri maidens will be sacrificed. Tarzan will be the last one killed.
Kali frees Tarzan and helps him attack the guards, then flees as the Queen starts to awaken in her. Tarzan lets out Waziri men and they fight. Tarzan kicks a man between the legs? Leopard women dance over the sacrifices.
Let me understand this? Tarzan and the men were held in the compound and escape, go to the jungle and then have to break back in? Or were they held in a different area? Tarzan tosses a guard off a high roof, apparently killing him? Then, in a less than spectacular siege, Tarzan just walks into the main room and stops the sacrifice and talks Kali down while NOT knifing her head man (is that Robega?). Kali is NOT freed but flees…after turning into a leopard. Tarzan tells all the others they are free, the demon is gone.
The Waziri celebrate as Tarzan tells Timba not to stop looking for his people and who took them or what took them. Timba goes to find his father’s necklace medallion and Tarzan has it and gives it to him, getting so close I thought the two men were going to kiss. “Welcome home, Timba.”
This must have looked good on paper and there’s nothing wrong with the basic plot. TARZAN AND THE LEOPARD WOMAN is one of my favorite TARZAN movies but this is just lame and does not live up to the premise. I’m not sure if it was the execution, the haphazard way things develop or what. The locations are nice but the lighting is poor and does not help. The action is limited and frankly, boring. There’s not enough action either. Tarzan seems easily overpowered and at one point, he knees or kicks a leopard man between the legs. We’re not told what happens to Robega and frankly, his revelation of being in with the Queen Demon is so low key, that I’m not even sure that WAS him. Is something cut out of the version I saw? Is this version I saw a bad quality copy?
The premise should be high octane action and adventure. Instead, this sort of hangs there and not together and not in a good way. It feels inconsequential as if nothing really important happens, though Tarzan lets himself be captured, suckered, and kissed and almost nothing special happens even though all of that does.
If the rest of the series is this boring, this lame, this badly executed, this is going to be a long, long project.
Joe still makes a great Tarzan in look and in acting but…the way this is scripted and staged, it feels almost rushed and random as if no one really cares about this and whether or not it matters. Believe it or not, there IS an art to Tarzan on film and on TV. This, so far, does not have it.
As flawed as almost every episode of Wolf Larson’s TARZAN show, I’d take almost any of those episodes (over all three seasons) over this one. This feels miserable, low key, anemic, slowly paced, stretched out, morbid, and grim without all the fun stuff one might expect from a Tarzan TV show or movie. That dark tone would be fine if they went all the way there but they don’t even do that, nor does anything feel as if it is in danger, even when Timba, Tazi and another girl are ready to be sacrificed. Tarzan just strolls in and stops it. The Queen orders him killed but the men inside offer little by way of a fight and Tarzan seems to just use the back of a knife to down the old man (or is it?).
There’s no real commitment here from the script, the story, the actors even other than Joe Lara, all of them seem almost sleep walking. A Tarzan show should have energy, life, and brightness as well as almost non stop action or plot points revealed. Here, we get the same plot points revealed over and over, hitting us over the head.
This was NOT a good episode and it’s hard to tell why it was not good. It SHOULD have been great. I mean Tarzan vs Leopard Men and a friend possessed by a demon and another betraying him. I also wonder if I should care about Timba’s tribe. Do we ever find out what happened to them? Do I care?
There’s no real personality to most of the character either. On Ely and Larson’s shows, the guest stars, the chiefs, or the tribesmen were personable, likeable and understandable in their motives and reasoning and lives….but here, we just get that the natives are sort of there and seem to be just victims.
It’s not good. I hope the show picks up but this was an awful first story after the pilot movie.
4. TARZAN AND THE LOST LEGION
“Look, there’s just no end to all this killing. Our cause is lost.”
“Your sword is not the only weapon that strikes at the heart.”
“Arm yourself, outlander!”
“I need no weapons.”
The subtitles here now call Themba instead of Timba. Tarzan and Themba follow a bird for honey. Tarzan tells his friend that if you don’t feed it a little honey, next time it will lead you into a trap. Legend? Themba reminds him last time they didn’t feed it honey. Themba finds a sword in the ground, removes it and then tumbles down the hillside to land in a tree. Tarzan dives off a cliffside near a water fall in a spectacular dive that equals the dive done by Wolf in his series. He finds Roman-type warriors holding a girl in a net, her name being Athena. He fights them and throws a sword that was thrown at him into the chest of one of them. Athena’s knee will not permit her to run so Tarzan carries her off when more soldiers arrive.
When they stop and Tarzan puts a root that the girl thought was a weed on her knee to stop the pain, she tells him that Claudius is a self proclaimed emperor. The soldiers called Tarzan an uplander.
Casca, a man of color, reports to Claudius about what happened. Claudius is given a massage by a girl, there are two others around. Their talk tells us that someone named Cassius is a leader of the rebels that Athena spoke to Tarzan about (50 of them?). Claudius orders Casca to get Tarzan and bring him to him.
Another black man (Terrence or Terran?) meets Themba after Themba falls from the tree and is captured immediately by the warriors. The black man is part of a huge amount of slaves being herded toward Claudius’ domain: Caste Mare. This man tells Themba about a fellow captive just ahead of them, a man called Augustus who considers himself the rightful ruler.
In a shocking scene that separates this show from the Wolf show forever, Tarzan finds a large group of dead people and a skeleton on a cross. He moves to free one groaning young man from another cross but the man on the cross dies before he does so.
Athena has returned to her rebel friends and discusses the plan with Cassius: she feels that her father Augustus has had himself purposefully captured as part of this plan but she thinks it is too soon to enact this plan.
Claudius, in an angry mood, welcomes the new prisoners and we find out that Augustus is his brother. Terren distracts the guards while Augustus, with a hidden knife, tries to kill Claudius. Themba stops Augustus and ruins this. But he also stops Claudius from killing Augustus for the attempt. Casca doesn’t want this either as it would make Augustus a martyr. He calls Claudius by the title Caesar.
Tarzan joins the rebels and despite some push back from Cassius, he agrees to help Athena rescue her father when no one else seemingly wanted to.
Claudius learns from Themba that Themba has been to Rome and learned Latin, the mother language. He orders a woman to bathe Themba.
Cassius used to be chief centurion before Claudius’ coup. He tells Athena and Tarzan to attack from the east, the guards there are slack. Caste Mare was built to protect the child of Marc Anthony and Cleopatra, whose love affair infuriated Julius Caesar. To protect the child, he was sent into deepest Africa to protect him. Tarzan knows that these events were 1900 years ago. Augustus, Claudius and Athena are of his bloodline.
Themba in only a flimsy white loin covering exits his outdoor bath. Claudius calls him “my young chief.”
As Tarzan, Athena, and Cassius sneak into the place, dead bodies with wounds on them are carried past them. Athena explains to Tarzan that the circus used to be a place of sport but Cassius returned it to an arena of death.
NOTE: while all of this is better written and executed than last episode, the dialog here implies that the lost legion had an arena so many years ago while protecting the child. I am not sure this is how the legend went. Btw there are other movies and TV shows that use this lost legion legend. A movie almost no one seems to like except me, THE LAST LEGION was one. DOCTOR WHO did a story about this in one of the Peter Capaldi seasons. THE LOST LEGION is from 2014, one of the newest ones.
Themba calls Italy Italia and explains the senate was ineffectual and that there is no longer an emperor there. Claudius, whose lines now look as if they have been dubbed or recorded later, proclaims Themba imperial historian.
When a gladiator refuses to kill Augustus in the arena, Claudius orders Casca to kill them both and he does, shockingly and while Tarzan and the other two watch from a hill. You would expect Tarzan to have saved Augustus but he does not and cannot, it would seem. He does stop Athena from going down to kill Claudius, Tarzan calling it suicide.
More later…but I must say this is much better than the last episode and the pilot movie.
Back. Cassius blames Tarzan for being a traitor when he sees Themba by Claudius’ side. Tarzan stops him from killing him and frees himself from his cape and hood. Athena finds her rebels fleeing. Themba is told by Claudius he can leave.
NOTE: the location work here is brilliant and the sets and locations look better than anything in any Tarzan TV series before and after it and even rival most of the Tarzan movies and indeed, a lot of movies to be honest. It looks spectacular here.
Themba consults with Terran who is upsidedown of his own exercise regime while Terran is in a cell. Is Terran really his name? IMDB has NONE of the names associated with this episode. Terr mentions Mephistopheles. Okay, I’m confused, Claudius told Themba he was free to go so what does Themba do? Visit Terran in the cell and then return to Claudius who is petting one of his two huge black dogs to ask if he’s free to go!? Claudius instead of repeating his “You are free to go,” says he is free to go…when Claudius says so. Huh?
In the meantime, Tarzan has talked a crying Athena (the actress doing a great job here) into not giving up hope. He has his bow and arrows.
There are five women with Claudius when he leaves his main throne area.
A woman is sent in to Themba as he takes off ALL his clothes except the flimsy white loin cloth or thong or whatever that is called. She is here to “squeeze the worry from his face.” He is not badly built. Tarzan sneaks in. He knocks a guard down while Themba knocks another and Tarzan beats him with armor. On the way out, Tarzan throws a knife into an archer’s arm and the man falls off the building…probably to his death. Climbing down, the two are captured by four (?) spearmen pointing spears at their faces.
In a cell, Tarzan is chained up (again). He faces a contradictory Claudius (“I pride myself on being a merciful ruler” and “I look forward to your death in the arena. Should be fun.”). He also puts a smile off Terran’s face by quick intellect and several comments that tell Terran not to accept his fate and not to play the fool. This makes him think twice about his persona. This is one of the most, if quick, interesting verbal spars in the Tarzan history.
Again, Lara is excellent in the action sequences but here, the show seems to find its legs and find itself as Lara also handles the philosophical comments toward others instead of just spouting them. He’s excellent in the chat and dialog, too. This might, so far, be the best and my favorite episode.
Claudius visits Themba, who is hanging by his wrists, shirtless and off his feet in a “royal” cell. Claudius touches Themba’s bare stomach to get him rocking. He orders soldiers to give Themba some water, “We don’t want him to die too quickly.”
As three men come to take Tarzan to the arena, he fights them (and loses), Terran, in the struggle, manages to get the keys through the bars of his cell, TO his cell. He frees himself. He rushes to Athena.
He explains the truth about Tarzan and Themba, explaining that Themba is guilty of no more than ignorance. Which got Athena’s father killed, it might be mentioned but isn’t. The rebels have not yet fled the area. Athena talks her “fellow Romans” into helping Tarzan and Themba. It must be noted that some of them seem dressed in the clothes of Isrealites and/or Egyptians?
The arena stands seem filled with about 30 to 50 or so extras?
Tarzan faces Casca in the arena and tells him he needs no weapons. Casca cheats and lies when he says he will not fight an unarmed man and hits Tarzan from behind with studded knuckled glove or gloves. Tarzan fights but Casca gets him in a bear hug. Tarzan head butts him and gets loose and starts to win.
Athena’s people infiltrate the arena stands. Some of the guards at Claudius’s side are shirtless. Wait, is that the young man that died on the cross earlier as one of the rebels helping Athena? There’s also an old man we saw before.
Tarzan beats Casca so Claudius tells him to finish him but Tarzan says, “He’s already beaten.”
Nevertheless, Claudius instructs the leader of his warriors to spear Casca in the upper stomach and this kills Casca.
Next, a warriors shoves a sword into Tarzan’s hands when Themba is brought out to fight Tarzan. When Tarzan refuses to harm Themba, Claudius himself picks up a crossbow to shoot Tarzan and claims both of them will die. Tarzan dives and grabs the fired arrow and uses it to stab a guard (probably dead). The rebels attack just then. Athena gets a knife to the throat of Claudius but Tarzan tells her she will be no better than her uncle if she kills him. She relents and tells the guards to take him away. He orders them to kill all of them, claiming to be emperor. The guards seem to turn against Claudius a bit too easily but there you go.
Cassius and Athena seem to be…very close, a couple now.
Tarzan spots the humming bird. “I hope all this hasn’t ruined your sense of adventure?”
“No, but this was a little too strange.”
“Next time, I’ll feed the humming bird.”
Despite a few flaws listed above, this was a good episode, great even in a way. It certainly rises above the others before it and presents a straight forward action adventure, which is what Tarzan really should be with twinges of pop philosophy and meaning. It also cements itself as different to both Ely’s TV show and Wolf Larson’s TV show by being almost total fantasy, having large sets of extras in fantasy type or historical type costumes, and having death by Tarzan (though Ely’s Tarzan DID kill people more than once). This feels dangerous and deadly in a way and threatening. There is tension and action on a grander scale than the earlier episodes and frankly more than almost every Wolf episode.
A few other things: Themba comes off as incredibly stupid sometimes and Tarzan needed to be taken by more than just three warriors, probably ten to twenty would be more like it!
Nevertheless I really enjoyed this episode a lot more than the previous three.
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