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Volume 7675

 Tarzan: The Epic Adventures ~ IX

Review by Charles Mento

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

“You are always welcome here, Tarzan. Even with the thought of another in your heart.”
Chief Kalabar interrupts Tarzan trying to teach Themba how to catch stones while blindfolded, which Tarzan himself can do. Tarzan asks to be granted an audience with the chief to learn his knowledge. They are in the land of the Zadu.

The chief says that Tarzan is a son of the Zadu and is welcome here any time. Tarzan asks a friend, Baktun, if he is a warrior now. He says perhaps in the next life. He is from the tribe, the Minoobi or Minoomi, here to honor Kalabar.

Themba asks if Kalabar can help he and Tarzan find the Wumgambi.

After the tribe and Baktun pass, a solar eclipse happens and some kind of light hits Tarzan, causing him pain. Sigh.

As ever, it must be noted, Lara is in great shape here.

Themba now believes the legend (Tarzan calls it folk lore) is true: whoever relights the sun, will spread fury across the land. The Zadu are shooting flaming arrows at the sun, trying to relight its flame.

Their conversation reveals that the Zadus will stop firing once the sun reappears but it will be too late, they will think they are gods? Huh? And… “Tarzan, the son of Zadu, the evil spirit will overtake you.”  Huh again? What?

Tarzan asks Themba since when does he believe in dark forces and Themba (annoyingly spelled that way instead of how it sounds, Timba) explains it has happened before, is history and his father told him about it. When Tarzan tells him he does not have to prove anything, Themba decides to go to the village himself but Tarzan knows it is not safe so he Tarzan will go. They are attacked by masked warriors with spears. Tarzan hugs Themba from behind (?) to move him out of the way.

When attacked, after running (?), Tarzan tells Themba to split the pack just like the sheep who were attacked by hyneas in the Boganda highlands.

They fight, then run. An arrow is fired from a bow. More often spears are thrown at them. Themba grabs up a branch to swing on a tree to kick another warrior. Tarzan fights another who uses a knife trying to kill Themba and Tarzan cuts his hand. Then, a bright light hits Tarzan (yes, again). After that, to finish the fight as one attacks Themba again, Tarzan stabs the warriors and removes his mask to see the man foaming at the mouth.

La arrives with an entourage and in a carried chair. “I should have known you were  a part of this,” Tarzan says as she notes that they did not attack Tarzan because he is one of their own.

She also says, “The high priestess of Opar has her hand in many things, Tarzan. Regrettably, this is not one of them.”

She heals his hand with the smaller red ruby but he won’t let her kiss his hand.

Though, the female members of her entourage look like the ones from the last episode the male members do not. They look like full African men. Not ape men.

La believes the dark forces have descended upon Kalabar’s kind and strong spirit and made him helpless. The Zadu will sacrifice souls to fed the evil spirit, which hungers for the living. They believe they have the power of life and death of all those who live in the jungle.

40 lifetimes ago, the evil spirit carried its fury to the ends of the continent. La shows them a grasshopper that if rubbed by the wings of locust will become a locust in action.

Tarzan asserts that Kalabar is his friend and leaves La and her people after they all hear a scream.

Near a small tower, they find two of the Zadu dead (or groaning and not dead? Subtitles say there was groaning). In the tower, they find Baktun who fought them. Baktun says he is already dead. Meaning he is dying.

Since he was a child, Baktun was welcomed by the Zadu people. A light comes over Tarzan and makes him violently ask Baktun where the Zadu are, at the throne of Nemi? Huh? As Tarzan questions him, Baktun dies, knowing he was about to die.

Tarzan tells Themba to go back to his village but Themba elects to stay with Tarzan. BTW there’s no one at Themba’s village any more.

Tarzan and Themba avoid more Zadu warriors. Their goal is the throne of Kalabar in the grove of Nemi on the Tabala River. That is sacred ground. Tarzan tells Themba to remember the stone when the Zadu track them and Themba closes his eyes and stands up, right next to a warrior who tackles him. HUH? They subdue him but he seems to pass out or…die? Arrows are fired at them so they run.

This episode has been shaky at best and almost incoherent at worst but now…what are we seeing? The two stop at a river where things are floating? Are those dead hippos? Rafts of others who were killed? Their cargo? Supplies? Tarzan calls it “rivers of blood.” It seems to be almost boiling.

The chase continues across rocks over the river, the river itself, and then a bridge. This bridge looks different but it is possibly a redressed bridge that we’ve seen before in a few other episodes, near smaller waterfalls. Sigh. In a badly executed scene, the warriors catch up, don’t throw their spears when close enough, even before that, and so Tarzan and Themba jump off a cliff to land and flip into being okay. Were they trying to do BUTCH CASSIDAY AND THE SUNDANCE KID? If so, they failed.

Now, they see a line of Zadu warriors. And Kalabar sitting with his back to them. He gets up and speaks in a foreign language and spins supernaturally. There’s also a pool that looks man made, behind Themba.

Vines reach up and grab Themba’s leg and upper body. The vines pull him into the pool. Vines prevent Tarzan from helping Themba. The light overcomes Tarzan again and he yells, “Leave this place,” and after it is over and his pain stops, he finds everyone gone, including Themba. There’s no music as Tarzan yells, “Kalabar!” and the scene leads into a commercial break. WTF?

More later. I can’t take much more of this right now.

It’s later…

First : I can’t believe that after 75 episodes of the Wolf Tarzan show, they weren’t more informed how to do a GOOD or even GREAT Tarzan show. This is shoddy at best and not even as enjoyable as any of those episodes. I find myself missing Roger, Jane, Dan and Jack’s mirth and they all added something to it. Here, there is just grim and weirdness and badly executed set pieces one after the other with a thread bare plot that seems, once again, supernatural or mystical. And it’s boring and almost inconsequential.

Tarzan, hit by more light, enters La’s bedroom (!) where he demands to know where Temba is. She tells him she tried to warn him and once the Zadu collect enough souls, “he” –evil spirit---will come for Tarzan. She takes him to her private oratory (a place of worship or chapel), no man has ever stood within its walls.

She takes some of his blood, telling him the spirit of the she ape runs in his blood (the sub titles make a mess of “she ape” and call it “she-ek”).

Her sample turns to blue powder or clay. She tells him he has met the dark force and fought it. The others need his strength. She will make a potion. He asks if it will calm the Zadu and she tells him they will be even stronger. Huh? She sensually tells him that he must brush up against the spirit when he releases the potion. Huh?

She gives him something to drink (is this her potion?) and after he drinks it, he says her name and starts to furiously make out with her! He barely resists her but then does, full on, resist. She cares for him and him alone but he tells her that he must help the Zadu and “this” must wait.

La locks Tarzan in and leaves, “You feel what it’s like to wait, ape boy.”

Ape boy?

While he makes his own concoction to burst through the door, La tells him he will die in contemplation of this night.

When he blasts the door down with an explosion, she, at first seems worried? Then, she says, “You unfeeling, ingrate (the erroneous subtitles say great) monster.”  WHO is writing this stuff? It’s really bad.

La’s guards seem to be the masked ones from her earlier episode rather than just regular African men. Some of them sound like the ape mutants from last episode. Another is shown late in the episode and IS the ape mutant faced guard leader or so it seems.

Tarzan hides from them by clinging to the sides of the roof walls with his hands and feet. Sigh.

The ape faced leader says that Mistress La will take the head of any guard that lets Tarzan escape.

Tarzan does escape and into the brush (it doesn’t really look like a jungle, which is ironic because it IS South Africa). He finds another tower guarded by fully geared up Zadu warriors, what look like African men’s dead bodies as sacrifices, and shirtless but cape wearing Zadu warriors, two of them rough housing Themba. The chief comes out and says something in a foreign language (African?).

Three warriors in red pants and no shirts do a dance.

Themba had a bit of blood on his mouth, ends up on his knees and is out of it. He seems concussed or drugged or both.

Note: one of the three “dead”  “bodies”, the one on the far left moves his hand.

The middle body is clearly breathing as we see his bare stomach move up and down.

Tarzan is watching from the bushes… for several minutes but it seems like a very long time. No one sees him except Themba, who now smiles.

Themba creates a distraction, standing. It is only now I noticed….he’s wearing a loin cloth OVER his short pants. WTF?

Tarzan attacks amid a short version of the theme song! He’s quickly stunned by electric bolts from the chief’s fingers. He is stunned again when he refuses to join the welcome of the evil spirit.

Tarzan pulls a small pouch but the chief takes it and tosses it. Tarzan then says, “My soul is yours if you can take it.”

As the bright light comes over Tarzan’s body, Themba yells, “Listen to the jungle, Tarzan. Listen!”

Themba also fights his two guards, jumps for the pouch, throws it to Tarzan, who drinks it and emits a blue smoke from his mouth (did SUPERNATURAL’s writers watch this?).

The chief is raising one arm and pointing, doing something we are not privy to.

When the blue haze vanishes, Tarzan smiles at the chief. The chief, Kalabar, seems over the evil influence and tells Tarzan it is the first day of Zadu shame. Tarzan tells him it is the first day of hope. He also tells Themba that no one in the jungle knows what happened to the Wugambi. No one knows except Themba himself. He tells Themba to look for them and save them (the subtitles get this totally wrong).

Oh, almost forgot to mention: Kalabar and his Zadu warriors have…camels. Themba rides on one as he and Tarzan leave.

From the net: one-humped camel has been introduced to many regions outside its natural area of distribution in North Africa, the Near and Middle East and South Asia. Camels were imported into four separate entities in southern Africa at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. The German Colony of south West Africa was principal amongst these southern African countries and imported well in excess of 2000 camels from a variety of originating countries. These animals were used by the military in operations against the native people, in transporting goods for railway construction, for postal deliveries and by police patrols. Camels were replaced by mechanised transport by the police towards the end of the 1930s. In the early twentyfirst century there are probably less than 200 camels in Namibia that are mainly used for tourism.”

Tarzan’s double returns to La (well, it’s supposed to be him). The ape mutant leader guard brings Tarzan in and says they found Tarzan near the spires of Riga but she knows he is lying. This guard’s name is Inge and he was in the last episode (La’s first episode).

Tarzan asks how she knew. She says, “A mother knows her children.” I’m guessing she’s talking figuratively?

She kisses him but he will not respond. This makes her comment, “And even your precious Jane is not dishonored.” He tells her that his love will not be for her and that will never change. She says, “You know you want me.”  He says, “I can’t.” This isn’t exactly a denial. She says she can with the red ruby.

“Our love will be empty.”

He also tells her, “You deserve better than that, La.”

As he turns to go, she stops him, telling him that sometimes she puts her needs ahead of others, the royal privilege. She will be pained if he thinks ill of her. He puts his hand in her hand, taking it. He returns her pouch. She made the potion that freed him. He leaves.

“You are always welcome here, Tarzan. Even with the thought of another in your heart.”


Maybe I’m being too picky but this…feels like the epitome of bad TV. And bad Tarzan TV or bad Tarzan in general. Can someone tell me if the novels are like this? I doubt it.

Almost every scene feels wrong somehow. I do understand that La’s jealousy and being rejected by Tarzan DOES make some sense but that’s about the only thing that does. There’s almost no sense that Tarzan is being taken over in any way other than the white light and because he and others say so.

Themba, who usually shuns the supernatural, now seems to embrace it. It might make sense if he’s learned from the previous eight adventures that there are supernatural forces and it’s is nice that the show hasn’t forgotten his people’s vanishing but someone Themba and that storyline feel shoehorned in. He vanishes mid way through (literally and with a bunch of others---was that the evil force just teleporting them all?).

That vanishing makes this feel as if this is another illusion episode. It’s not.

I also realize this is a 41 or so minutes long episode but there feels like there are NO repercussions of the Zadu killing innocent people. They even seem to forget Baktun by the end, even Tarzan doesn’t mention him. They seemed to know each other, too, from before this adventure.

As La’s first episode is the best so far, La’s second episode is probably the worst. It just feels rambling, tedious, filled with…erm, filler, and badly executed. Tarzan himself, though Lara still cuts a terrific figure, feels wimpy and lame, hiding, losing fights, and needing an explosive to get through a door (rather realistic and nice in a way in that it displays Tarzan’s educated knowledge but…I feel maybe he should have been able to get through it on sheer power alone?). He also needs a potion to ward off the evil spirit, despite all his talk of resisting (which, admittedly he must be doing all along?).

We also get no mention, unless I was not paying attention, which his possible, about how La returned to her position of power. I guess we’re just supposed to assume she regained control of Opar.

I get why La was included but somehow she feels shoehorned into this. I like that she helps Tarzan but…something feels off and the actress, a good one, makes the most of it.

I’m not sure what else to make of this shaky episode. Like all the episodes, it looks stunning, visually and the sets (reused from the first La episode) and the locations look fantastic. BUT much of this we have seen before.

The Zadu get off scot free from killing people. Tarzan is freed using La’s potion.

I can’t help but think this is the worst episode so far but on reflection there might be some worth to the premise of it all, though badly executed IMO. Tarzan being taken over is a great idea and it’s been done before and even in this episode but I’m not sure this show is up for doing that in a realistic and all milking manner, showing a truly savage almost anti hero Tarzan. Wolf’s show came close to doing that to the point Tarzan almost killed someone (though as a fighter it seems EVERY Tarzan has killed at least one person). No other show did this.

There are other good ideas here: a tribe accepting an envoy from another tribe, only to have him killed and killing in self defense; a tribe taken over by an evil spirit or turning bad; La’s love for Tarzan and his nearly giving in to it (though as shown here, Tarzan DOESN’T even come close to giving in); and Themba’s complete trust in Tarzan. I just think the script could have made more of each other these and possibly each of these five or six plots could have been their own episode.

As it stands, this was the hardest episode to get through. It’s not totally unwatchable (Lara and the cast make it watchable) but it does come close.

I’m also not sure the supernatural elements are right for Tarzan if they are presented in this slap happy or slap haphazard manner but again, maybe I am just being picky and critical. I didn’t totally hate it. Just that I don’t remember having any other Tarzan (even the worst of Wolf’s episodes, not that there were many truly terrible ones, just ones that missed the mark…a lot) being this “off”.


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