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Volume 7674

 Tarzan: The Epic Adventures ~ VII
Review by Charles Mento

Series Stars:
Joe Lara as Tarzan and Aaron Seville as Themba
Lists of Credits are Featured in ERBzine 7670




“You’re not safe anywhere until you find that which will make you whole.”

In typical fashion, the DVDs have printed the title on the DVD as TARZAN AND THE REFLECTIONS OF AN EVIL EYE.

Tarzan and Themba find the most fertile land in Africa now a barren soil unable to grow anything.

Sibali blames a woman for this and calls her a witch to the irate and many numbered tribe called the Kilanjari. Themba knows that Kilanjari used to take witchcraft seriously and finds out now they still do.

Tarzan frees the woman from being burned as a witch after Sibali throws a knife at him. Tarzan stopped it by blocking it with his bow, then had to fight natives Sibali ordered to kill Tarzan.

Themba joins in the fight but Sibali hits Tarzan with some kind of electric power from his finger tips and this has energy burst through Tarzan. Tarzan becomes more savage in his fighting. From some POVs it looks as if Tarzan has turned into an alpha gorilla. Themba sees this, too, and tries to calm Tarzan but gets stabbed for his efforts (it’s not clear if Tarzan is killing the natives but clearly he’s not stabbing them, though his knife is in his hand; he’s more clubbing them down with his fists?).

Themba is once more downed and the woman tends to him after Tarzan shows her a place they can rest and tend to his friend Themba. It is a cave. Tarzan hears an owl. The woman tells him it is an omen of death but not his friend’s death but Tarzan’s death.

In morning (?), Tarzan leaves the cave and finds the Bolgani gorilla doesn’t want to be near him. Tarzan looks into a man made (?) water pond? When he does the gorilla comes at him.

Later (?), the woman wakes Tarzan up. She tells him the gorilla didn’t recognize him and that he didn’t look deep enough into the water. He thinks she might be a witch after all. Sibali is a medicine man and she tells him that Sibali separated Tarzan from Tarzan. In the water, with her help, he sees two of himself.

I sort of respect and hate this plot: that Tarzan is both the Tarzan savage son of Kala AND Tarzan, son of the white man. The woman tells him he is no longer Tarzan. What? He is no longer known to his animal friends. Tarzan feels he can no longer stay here. She gives him claptrap about life changing. And to go to the source. Doubt and fear rule him. Inside, he does not look like Tarzan. The jungle is no longer his home. Until he finds that which will make him whole. Life flows like a river, he needs to return to its source to find its destination. Sigh.

Okay it has to be said that at this point, I already find this series tedious and boring as well as constantly questioning who Tarzan is and now it is making him question who he is. What’s worse is that I miss Cheetah, Jane, Roger, Jai, Boy, Tommy, Tantor, and even Dan, Jack and Simon. Themba is a poor replacement for all of them. AND he’s once more hurt. Once more Tarzan does not seem to know who he is. I’m not sure that’s the most brilliant thing ever done in a media Tarzan or the worst? It certainly doesn’t feel right.

Things get more confusing as Tarzan meets a little girl, one of the same tribe, who seems hurt and she tells him that the crops failed and the medicine man says she cannot work so they left her here. She also tells Tarzan there isn’t any water. He is not sure where the river cross is from where they are. What is going on?

She is  a cripple who also says cryptic things. I suspect she is the same woman? He orders him to pick her up. She told him he cannot survive in the jungle is he’s doubtful.

He says, “You have the nature of a baboon.”

She says, “I’ll be your eyes and you be my legs.”

They see a volcano where the source of the river should be. They stand over cracked earth which should be the river? They find a dam someone built that has stopped the water. Tarzan starts to unblock it and calls the little girl Noswana. Vines grab her up to drag her away while a Swamp Thing like man monster rises and roars nearby. Despite effort, Tarzan is wrapped in vines, too. The girl is pulled face down into the water. Tarzan seems afraid on the bank wrapped in vines.

Another mystical woman in white is on the bank and fires a staff rod of some kind at the monster and vaporizes it. Tarzan takes his time getting the dead girl out of the water. He roars in one of those unlikely roars that doesn’t sit well.

He lays down and collapses? He has two long scratches on his chest.

Tarzan cannot find the girl’s body? He does find yet another mysterious woman who has her mouth covered. She calls herself Nompi, an Innurian. She claims she is small but willing to fight to the death beside him.

She tells him he is the one who came to free them from the queen. He disputes that. He stops her from poisoning herself. Her people live in the volcano, held in slavery by Queen Talia. The river monster was Talia’s creation.

Near  Themba’s recovering self, the other mystical woman throws something down. He seems to be wearing a different necklace than usual. He keeps having flashbacks to Tarzan hurting him or Tarzan being hurt. He wakes up.

Nompi’s people adapted to breathing the gases inside the volcano but oxygen is now hard for them to breath. The only ones risking going outside are the guards. She gets Tarzan into the volcano as he requested.

The woman gives Themba something to give him strength when he confronts Sibali. She tells him to hurry because Tarzan’s will is weakening.

Strange warriors appear out of the rock to follow Tarzan and Nompi. Other guards block them and bring them to the Queen, descending a bit more downward. Clay like men fan Thalia. In what looks a lot like LOST IN SPACE’s Noble Neolani from THE COLONISTS, Thalia knows he slayed the river beast. Nompi warns Tarzan, “Be careful not to inflame her.”

Some of Thalia reminds me of the way the witch was depicted in THE NEVER ENDING STORY 2.

Tarzan claims the course of the river changing by Thalia caused others to die of hunger and thirst.

Themba finds the village empty and the medicine man and tribe gone. He does find Noswana who has Tarzan’s knife (it still looks like a spearhead to me). He wants her to take him to her friend (Tarzan).

As a chained by the wrists Tarzan works in some kind of mine, loading rocks onto a conveyor belt that moves them into fire, Nompi tells a doubting Tarzan (who believes one friend is hurt and another dead because of him), “There is no death, Tarzan. Only the continuation of life in another form.”

The people in the mine have had the life sucked from their souls and it is after Tarzan’s soul.

The guards have whips they use on the workers.

Tarzan encounters a forcefield. Thalia comes to him and fires energy at him. He roars like a beast and falls. She leaves…us with a commie (a commercial).

Noswana leads Themba to the volcano and then vanishes when she is out of his sight.

Using a pick to break up a rock, Tarzan finds out that the rocks are magnetized. Nompi also claims the mountain has iron in it, too. Nompi warned Tarzan earlier not to breath in the gases. How?

Now, during a scuffle and a small quake that drops a guard, Tarzan and Nompi flee. She has the keys to free him from the chains and does so but tells him she made a mistake placing her trust in him, “What will it take to make you fight?”

Thalia has the chamber flooded with gas (?) that seems to overcome Themba.

Tarzan and Nompi are recaptured and in a badly edited moment, Tarzan is thrown near a pit of lava. Thalis has Themba in a chair over the lava pit. Tarzan kneels before Thalia.

Thalia will drop Themba into the pit anyway. Tarzan knocked near it, sees the witch, the woman in white, and Noswana. This last one hands him his knife when he claims he is ready to fight. Tarzan uses his knife to stop the wheel mechanism dropping Themba into the pit. Thalia holds a knife to Nompi. Tarzan uses a guard’s whip to grab up the chair and swing it to him to free Themba as his knife gave way and Themba almost dropped into the pit.

Tarzan thinks he is clever by dropping his sword so the magnetic rock will make it go for Thalia but Thalia uses her powers to divert it and it goes into a falling Nompi. She dies telling him not to let his anger rule his judgment. Thalia turns into Sibali who knocks Themba down with his powerful energy blast. All this happens as the volcano seems to be blowing its top. The witch appears and tells Tarzan that Sibali’s powers are made stronger if he is killed. Tarzan is about to choke him to death.

She tells him to find the balance between his two natures and he will find out who he is.

He says, “I am Tarzan.”  Sibali vanishes.

Tarzan wakes up near the pond. He sees Themba there. Themba remembers very little. They recall the witch. Themba does believe in some strange things but not witches. Tarzan says, “You forget Themba, we’re in Africa.”

A confused and confusing mess of morbid events, this still looks like nothing on TV before or after but it’s…really the worst episode up to now. I can see why this show was not well thought of and frankly, it’s poor. Even the worst Ely and Wolf episodes at least seemed to happen. This didn’t seem to happen at all and I loathe dream and illusion episodes where all of the action feels as if it’s about to be reversed and never have happened.

This is worse than most of the others in that we do not know what happened. It could have been a great exploration of Tarzan’s identity and who he thinks he is as opposed to what others think he is. Instead, we have a wimpy Tarzan throughout this, who lets TWO or three of his friends DIE while not fighting, his ideas fail (the sword), and a hero we can’t believe in or rely on, who forgot his confidence.

The best thing about Tarzan is that he knows who he is, dwells very little on it, and has the confidence to own the room, the jungle, the caves and the swamps. Here, Tarzan is none of those things. Even the finale with him fighting back and knowing he is Tarzan falls flat when it should have been an exhalant moment that makes us cheer. It just makes us go, “Huh?”  Which all of this makes us go.

This is basically a cheat episode. And we know it watching it. There is action but since none of this seems real, we know it will have no consequences.

Worst of all, is the witch the one who put a “curse” on Tarzan, as Themba seems to believe. From the dialog we’re not even sure. Was the medicine man the villain? A real person? Was the tribe real? Were all the females all the same person? None of this is explained.

This leads us to believe this show is clap trap mystical crap. And this episode is just that. It’s terribly done, terribly written, and false.

If more episodes are like this, I doubt I can continue watching and reviewing these. They are that bad. Or at least this one is. It just doesn’t commit. And that’s the worst thing a TV show can do. It’s also the worst thing a Tarzan tv show can do. For shame.

Since he’s not even Tarzan or Tarzan like in this episode, Lara is, for the first time, almost unwatchable and lamely boring. Are we to believe Tarzan would lose faith in himself and not know the balance of his two halves? Are we to believe he would let the girl die? And that he would stab Themba?

And even if the idea of Tarzan’s two worlds fighting against each other had any merit, there’s no explanation as to HOW Tarzan thinks about this and / or HOW he managed to find the balance in the end to NOT kill the medicine man. Who just vanishes. Was he real? Was the little girl real?

A confused boring mess that can’t even drum up any excitement with the action scenes or the lava pit trap. Pathetic.

One odd shot of Tarzan and Nompi in the throne room of Thalia shows a guard behind them and this guard seems to have his armor be…a crop top with his stomach bare. None of the others seem to have this fashion disaster (well, on this particular guard---possibly the leader of the guards, it is).


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