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EPISODE 14: TARZAN AND THE FORBIDDEN CITY
“Some people think this Tarzan is a spirit. When he kills, he gives a cry of a full ape.”
“Except I have a feeling this spirit bleeds.”
“You’re a strange man, Tarzan. Even grim when you do smile but you’ve been kind and a loyal friend to Brian.”
“My brother told me what a strange man you were.”
The “next on TARZAN” happens every episode with scenes to the forthcoming episode. They do not say, “NEXT on TARZAN: THE EPIC ADVENTURES.”
Ep 3 and 4 say, “This week on Tarzan.” After that it became “Next on TARZAN.”
Tarzan is with an anthropologist named Brian, Brian dressed in safari outfit who wants to find Ashair after two years of research. That is where they will find the Father of Diamonds, on the other side of Tuinbaka. According to legend, this diamond cast a spell over the Asharians. Tarzan thinks it is not a good idea to go find this. Tarzan gets serious when discussing man’s greed and rages but Brian laughs it off and Tarzan makes a funny face. No, really.
These two have discussed matters over many a glass at Greystoke.
Brian wants to go it alone if Tarzan will not lead him. Themba falls into their conversation and is only interested in learning and not in hurting anyone. He will go with Brian Charles.
This is based on one of the ERB novels (the Filmation series apparently had one, too).
Bolgani, the gorilla interrupts a white hunter and his African allies who are hunting for the diamond and/or Tarzan. Bolgani warns Tarzan, who returns to Themba and Brian to burn the map so that only the three of them will know the way. He does this to protect the Ashairians (does he know if the exist or not?).
Tarzan allows Themba to go with Brian toward the “legendary” city? There’s some hijinks with Bolgani blocking Themba. Tarzan tells Themba to be firm with Bolgani and make him respect him but Themba gets knocked down. Brian gives Tarzan a note for his sister in case he does not return.
Brian tells Themba he met Tarzan in biology class at Oxford. Themba realizes the animals are being too quiet but too late: he and Brian are attacked. When one of the men, who looked like he was in Task’s party, is about to kill Brian, Task shoots him off Brian. Task asks Brian for the map. When Task calls for Bendali, Themba puts a knife to Task’s throat, telling him Bendali will not be joining them.
Task is a soldier of fortune, thief, and murderer.
Themba wants to take him to Lawango and wait for the territorial magistrate. This is the first time I recall such a thing being discussed in this show, something Ely’s show was always bringing up and Wolf’s show a bit less than Ely’s show.
Brian opts not to do that. He believes others know about the city and he wants to warn the people. Is that a good idea?
Tarzan is roasting meat. A first here that I recall. Another is that he talks to a small monkey he calls Manu. It seems as if Manu tells Tarzan about Themba, another first for this series, possibly. Tarzan rushes away.
Themba takes Task to Lawango, which seems a bit lawless (two traders get into a fight in town) as the magistrate is out of town until Thursday. A woman who has business with him explains this to Themba. Themba turns his back on his tied up prisoner and asks for the bar tender but someone hits him on the back of the head. Someone we do not see. The person lets Task go and Task explains that Tarzan must have the map. I’m guessing that unseen culprit IS Brian but just a guess. Themba is knocked out with a glass to the head.
Tarzan tracks three men as Manu (?) explains more? He believes Themba can take care of himself (he’s wrong in that) and so he thinks Brian is the one who needs his help. Tarzan hears something and finds Brian’s sister, Helen Charles.
Themba is hung upside down by Task and his accomplice, a handsome African young man who Task knows fears Tarzan’s wrath. Task believes no one will know about this when the lions are done feasting on Themba. They leave him that way.
Helen claims a man behind her told her not to move and told her where to find her brother. She was there waiting for passage. Tarzan says, “Lawango is evil. The spoils of civilization.”
“Well, they forgot to mention that in the travel guide,” Helen comments. “My brother told me what a strange man you were.”
In another brief comic moment, Bolgani lets Themba down, the hard way.
Tarzan will lead Helen because she threatened to go without him, alone in any direction. She wonders that, if Brian respects Tarzan’s ways, if Tarzan respects her brother’s. Tarzan says, “At times.” She wondered why Tarzan didn’t go with him. Tarzan says because Brian respected his ways. This is NOT an answer. I wonder why Tarzan let Brian go in the first place.
Tarzan hears bongos saying there is going to be a sacrifice. He stashes Helen up a tree until he gets back and runs off.
A man is tied down and it looks like honey is on him as white ants crawl from a huge mound…onto him. Tarzan sneaks around and into the tribal area, roars, then kidnaps a very young and little boy which makes his mother cry out. Tarzan tries to make them think the spirit wants the life of the man but the leader (chief?) tells him it was the spirit that wanted this. Tarzan brings them the life of their son, returning the boy. What?
The victim has a mask on and when Tarzan frees him, he finds it is not Brian but someone that’s never met him before.
Tarzan stops him killing an animal, an antelope I think. Task tells him that could have been a trophy. Tarzan snarls, “So could you.” He tells him to take the steam to a village and there he can hire a guide to take him to Nairobi. Tarzan returns to Helen, leaving Task.
The two reach Tuinbaka and a nice lake area where through smell, Tarzan deduces Brian was and crossed the lake.
Helen tells Tarzan she always walked in Brian’s shadow and he asks who put her there. She wonders if it was wrong to want respect from her family but Tarzan gives her another cliché answer that she needed to earn that. He gives her the note Brian left with him.
“You’re a strange man, Tarzan. Even grim when you do smile but you’ve been kind and a loyal friend to Brian.”
Helen goes off to read the letter Brian left her but Task comes up behind her and seemingly about to grab her but he…kisses her. He’s crazy about her. She’s the other person who helped Task.
Helen worries Task will kill Tarzan but when Tarzan catches them, Task threatens Helen’s life. Soon, Tarzan rows in a hidden native canoe with Helen behind him and Task behind her, all three in the same canoe.
Tarzan noticed bubbles in the water. Now, men in strange gear (or monsters) tip them into the lake and attack them.
Themba knocks Bolgani down as he wants to track Tarzan. Bolgani was showing off for two other gorilla friends.
It all gets very FLASH GORDON (and specifically BUSTER CRABBE FLASH GORDON when he does undersea in the first serial story).
There seems to be an old person on a throne, a group of female dancers, and a bald head guard of other bald guards.
The attackers were men wearing some kind of outlandish scuba gear that made them look like monsters.
Brought in, Tarzan, Helen and Task see Brian in a cage.
Tarzan tries to fight the spear men but can’t. The old ruler doesn’t believe that Brian is a student and that Tarzan is not here for greed. Helen tries to even chastise Task and admit he is a fool. The ruler orders them caged and slowly starved until they are in pain and die. Tarzan fights to not be caged. The old man says his greed from his heart has caged him already. Sigh.
There are others in cages, too.
There’s an old man who has had his eye wounded or cut out who is in the cage with Tarzan and Task, who speaks oddly, knowing Task has already caged himself. He tells Tarzan to cage the beast within.
Task tells Brian that Helen is here for the diamond and Task believes Brian is, too. Brian wonders how Helen knew where to find him as she knew nothing about this journey of his. She didn’t know Task was a murderer, she says.
The old man had his eye gouged out. He claims the diamond is there for everyone, it is the meaning to life. The old man claims Task is blind to its meaning just like the Ashairians. Tarzan figures the guards’ helmets extract oxygen from the water.
The old man tells them that the Ashairians, seemingly his people, do not accept the spirit that the diamond is meant to convey in law. They built great buildings undersea but then became poorly despite once being advanced.
Tarzan likens the law of the diamond to the law of the jungle. What?
They once lived pure in spirit (like Tarzan is, the old man says) but crumbled under greed and ambition.
They live underground to purify their thoughts until they can rediscover that which connects them all. Huh?
Themba and the three gorillas reach the lake.
Prisoners are given just enough fish to eat to keep them alive for starving to death. Huh?
The leader’s name seems to be Brulor.
Once each day the bell strikes three times for meditation time for all to stay in their quarters. Brulor uses the time to sleep off his drunkenness.
Tarzan breaks the cage open and lets out Brian and Helen. When Task tries to get the diamond and might alert the guards, Tarzan punches him out. The old man believes his fate is already destined and urges Tarzan to go (why?). Tarzan, Helen and Brian leave with the oxygen masks and through the water chamber.
The old man is Herkoff.
Brulor knows the more he keeps the Ashairians from the light, the more they’ll come to accept the darkness.
Brian asks what’s changed. Tarzan says, “I have.”
Apparently, this means Tarzan wants to go back for him.
Brulor plans to kill Herkoff, “You can still be a god, Herkoff…to the fish.” He plans to kill Herkoff Bb drowning him. Brulor spares Task because Task helped capture Herkoff and prevented him from leaving.
Themba and the gorillas find a caved in obstruction.
Herkoff is sent into the water chamber without gear.
Okay, what? Tarzan emerges from a chamber, too, and saves Herkoff with gear. Did I miss something? Wasn’t Tarzan on the surface? Tarzan then emerges from the water chamber and starts fighting the guards. He might be using a spear to kill some of them.
Task vs Brulor which Task escapes from when it is Tarzan vs Brulor.
Task goes for the treasure –they’re calling it the Father of Diamonds but it looks like a box to me? The diamond is supposed to be in the box?
Themba and the gorilla emerge and help Tarzan. One of the gorillas appears to beat one of the guards to death.
Confusingly, one of the gorillas turns the turn style on the water chamber which allows Task to get out, perhaps before he has time to get into gear. He opens the box and it is empty and he drowns.
Tarzan beats Brulor but tells him that Herkoff shows him mercy (how does Tarzan know that?). Brulor says, “Even that won’t sooth my soul,” and pulls himself onto the spear Tarzan holds out. This kills him.
Tarzan tries to save Task but when he opens the water chamber, he finds Task has drowned and is dead.
On the surface, Helen and Brian reconcile and forgive each other.
Themba claims there really isn’t a Father of Diamonds. Tarzan says, “Of course, there is. You’re looking at him.” Herkoff reveals a diamond in his chest and he is the Father of Diamonds. He reveals the time has come. A glow happens and Herkoff is fully healed.
It’s anyone’s guess what this ending means or what Herkoff is talking about here. A big huh?
Share the diamond with others and the diamond will always look over you? Tarzan lives the way he lives? Huh? The people now seem to follow Herkoff as their leader or their “god”? Huh?
Why does one of the extras who seems to be an Ashairian look as if he’s dressed just like Task?
Tarzan and Themba leave. The people bow to Herkoff.
Okay, so I wanted a more straight forward adventure I guess I got it. It’s not too bad until this muddled, muddied ending of more clap trap.
Tarzan here, seems more like a fighter who WILL kill…somewhat. He even kidnaps a boy to get a tribe to release Task. Who is this tribe? Do we even find out?
A few of the logistics of who is where here is a bit confused, at least as edited. Tarzan…well, see above. He is in the chamber and opens a value door without gear to give gear to Herkoff to save his life? Huh? Task is in the water chamber…but isn’t there gear in there? I guess not? Why does the gorilla close the value and trap Task in there WITH the Father of Diamonds or what everyone thinks is the Father of Diamonds box (which Themba calls a casket)? Why does Brulor kill himself? Seems like he would never do that?
This is based on one of the novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs but I’m sure the novel is more intricate than this was.
This wasn’t terrible but again, wasn’t great either. It seems as if it will be and Tarzan is rather personable in it, Lara good in every scene, as always. BUT once more, something is off.
And again, the direction feels flat. There’s little rapport between Brian and Tarzan, who are supposed to be friends from Tarzan’s time in England and from class.
Themba’s comedy routine with Bolgani isn’t particularly funny and makes Boy and Jai’s antics with Cheetah VERY funny.
As usual, this works, almost from the start but the ending as executed makes it fall apart. The action is okay but it would be better if it made a kind of sense, which it almost does but as it stands, the show is almost a bust at this point, with eight episodes left.
As in almost every episode, there’s a magical person (man or woman, this time a man) who spouts what sounds like niceties to Tarzan and others and who seems wise and needing to teach everyone something, especially Tarzan.
This comes off as having a hero who is lacking in EVERY episode. And again, Tarzan admits to this. When Brian asks him why he wants to go back and mingle with the lost city people (it’s mostly because Tarzan wants to save the old man who saved them, so why even ask?), Brian asks this way, “What’s changed?” Tarzan says, “I have.”
This makes NO sense. Tarzan would rescue anyone who needed help. AND the old man, Herkoff, had plenty of time to escape with Tarzan, Helen and Brian but didn’t. AND Herkoff, the old man, knew he was the Diamond. So, what the heck?
Further, I don’t know for sure about the novels, but in the few books I’ve read, the many comics I’ve collected, the other TV shows and movies I’ve seen, and the animated series (I won’t even count the awful CW series), Tarzan most certainly WANTS to mingle with new civilizations, old civilizations, and other tribes. He has many such contacts and secrets. Here, it seems as if he just doesn’t want to know new people and…
…so he doesn’t help Brian go there but lets Themba go with Brian to the lost city that he’s not even sure IS there? In other iterations, Tarzan might know or at least want to find out and START OUT by wanting to protect them. Tarzan says he will not go to protect them but then lets Themba and Brian take off without any protest other than a disagreement. Past Tarzans would use force NOT to let Brian go and Brian would be the enemy.
Here, motivations feels ALL wrong and twisted up. Tarzan himself should want knowledge of other civilizations and peoples. Did he know all along that there was a forbidden city under the sea? WHY at the end did he already seem to know Herkoff WAS the Father of Diamonds?
The show needed to do better and thus far, hasn’t. It’s sort of a huge disappointment. It sure is not as good as some of the others such as XENA, HERCULES, SINBAD, and some of the Robin Hood series or as good as BEASTMASTER, MUTANT X, and THE LOST WORLD. And it hurts me to write that.
I really love Lara as Tarzan and some of this series looks better than any Tarzan series in the past, the animals look seamless into the footage shown and it is filmed in South Africa, the first time a Tarzan did so. If only the scripts were stronger and more sensible, logical and filled with more straight forward action instead of mystical mumbo jumbo. And a solid knowledge of Tarzan as a secure, balanced individual who knows his past, loves his life, and isn’t always questioning his own motives, his own choices, and how he lives, a sort of dysfunction. He never seems to come to the conclusion that he’s all right the way he is. AND thus, the show never feels on solid ground OR feel right the way it is.
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