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Volume 7678a

 Tarzan: The Epic Adventures ~ XVI

Review by Charles Mento

Series Star:
Joe Lara as Tarzan
List of Credits is Featured in ERBzine 7670

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Uh oh. Demon Within suggests Tarzan has MORE internal problems and the preview scenes to this episode (there’s no longer a narrator announcing, “next on…” or “This week on…” at all), shows that Themba is saying, “You are too afraid of change to live your life!” Tarzan growls at him, “Spoken like a Westerner!”

Don’t the makers of this show realize if they are going to have a buddy of Tarzan, he needs to be on Tarzan’s side and not be fighting with him all the time? That Tarzan is first and foremost a hero who is best in movies and TV shows anyway as an uncomplicated, less messed up person than the rest of us. Instead, he’s MORE messed up than the rest of us in this show. The best episodes of this show are the ones that focus on the action and adventure and only touch on Tarzan’s internal conflict. Frankly, that conflict is not what interests me about Tarzan.

What’s great about Tarzan IMO is that he knows himself, he is confident and lives his life the way he wants to and yet cares about everyone and everything else, even others who have a different POV than he does. This shows emphasizes the differences and at times, it feels like hatred. It’s not a great core for TARZAN in any medium IMO.

Scratch all that for DEMON WITHIN because that’s for SHADOW OF ANGER. Amazon has SHADOW OF ANGER in for DEMON WITHIN and apparently does not have DEMON WITHIN at all! So…

There IS a “This week on TARZAN!”

Okay, hang on this is going to rough, I have a feeling. (I then, moments after this, realized Amazon had the wrong episode under DEMON WITHIN; it was really SHADOW OF ANGER which is also in slot 20).

Okay, what? Just as I thought we’d not have production order vs air order issues or title issues as in the Wolf Larson AND the Ron Ely shows, here we go with both!


Wikipedia has this as the air order of the show’s last episodes:

16 "Tarzan and the Demon Within"     February 23, 1997
Tarzan must overcome his claustrophobia to save Themba.

Note: Clipshow episode.
17 "Tarzan and the Mahars"     March 2, 1997
In a followup to the pilot, the Mahars return, and Tarzan must reluctantly work with Rokoff to stop them.
18 "Tarzan and the Amtorans" April 27, 1997
Tarzan finds himself transported to an alien world after he's accused of murder. Crossover with another Edgar Rice Burroughs creation, Carson Napier of Venus.
19 "Tarzan and the Beast of Dunali"     May 4, 1997
Tarzan investigates a series of murders supposedly committed by apes. But the truth is far more disturbing...
20 "Tarzan and the Shadow of Anger"    May 11, 1997
Tarzan must overcome mind control to stop a creature.
21 "Tarzan and the Mystery of the Lake" May 18, 1997
A group of explorers make two discoveries: a creature that may be the missing link... and a prehistoric monster living in a lake.
22 "Tarzan and the Circus Hunter"     May 25, 1997
A trip turns deadly when Tarzan is caught up in a murder.

Unless I’m not reading the disks correctly and I am, the order on the DVD is this:

Disk 2:

Disk 3:

Good God. Clearly, the order of the info from Wikipedia (and almost everywhere else) is different from the order on the German DVDs. Gosh.

To further complicate matters, AMAZON has the episode TARZAN AND THE SHADOWS OF ANGER in the spot (episode 16) that TARZAN AND THE DEMON WITHIN should go. Looking down the list on AMAZON, they have TARZAN AND THE SHADOWS OF ANGER also in the episode 20 slot. What is going on?

Perhaps the order on the DVDs is the production order? They seemed to go the correct order according to both Amazon and Wikipedia until episode 16.

Okay, let me go to the DVDs totally. I was watching and writing while watching the Amazon versions as the DVD give me HUGE problems when watching and capping. I would then cap the episode after watching on Amazon, effectively watching it twice!

No one said this rewatch of all Tarzan on TV was going to be easy if detailing details never detailed before AND capping them AND reviewing them! And it’s not!

Now, I’m not even sure DEMON WITHIN is on AMAZON so…DVDs here I come. Sigh. Gosh.

Tarzan and Bolgani go into a mine shaft where Tarzan digs out what looks like two eggs? Bolgani goes on ahead and falls through a weak layer into a pit of some kind. Tarzan flashes back to another episode. He remember Bolgani watching over a blond girl. He told her Bolgani is a good watcher and protector.

This is a clip show, which I thought by 1997 went out of TV history forever, with the advent of VHS, DVDs and laser disks?

Bolgani has red eyes?

Themba comes onto the scene. Tarzan leaves him at the pit for a bit and this gives Themba time to flashback to an episode where Bolgani is undermining him.

Tarzan can’t get the rope to Bolgani past fallen timbers so he climbs down. For some reason, Themba says, “Sherlock Holmes would have been proud of you, you make everything a mystery.”  What?

On the way down, Tarzan remembers himself as a boy hiding in a tree.

Themba says he will pull him up but Tarzan says to lower him down. Bolgani climbs out after Tarzan and leaves.

Tarzan explains to Themba that ever since he was a little boy he doesn’t like cramped spaces. He panicked here and Themba saw it but Themba tried to say he saw nothing. Tarzan admits it. It is like Themba with snakes.

Tarzan tells Themba that Nanu doesn’t feel shame for fearing Tantor and doesn’t feel obliged to tell the other animals about it. There seems to be a noise and Tarzan says it is Wutu spirits. Bolgani had shown Tarzan where he found the eggs. Themba wants Tarzan to show him where.

Themba wants to find a dinosaur. Tarzan tells him that Professor Cobb (?) doesn’t want them to find a dinosaur. Themba goes down a ladder? Tarzan warns him not to forget what happened to the Mow-bootu, swallowed up by the mound by their greed. Themba thinks it is just a legend. He pulls on some ropes. This causes a cave in.

Tarzan’s head is bleeding somewhat. He is under wood and some metal. There are obvious signs that man built some structures in the mine. Tarzan crawls out from under the stuff and finds his knee bleeding and his eye sight blurry.

Calling for Themba, Tarzan flashes back to his first reunion with Themba (ep3). We also see other clips from other episodes. One where Tarzan is teaching Themba to track. He find a lantern and uses his spearhead knife to light it. He uses the hot spearhead to cauterize a wound on his leg. Ouch.

When Themba wakes up, he tells Tarzan he is pinned under a beam (or beams) that is pinned under rocks. His legs are under rocks, too. He can’t move them. He feels helpless and laughs when Tarzan says he will get him out, thinking Tarzan is only trying to make him feel better.

NOTE: Themba says Tarzan’s name again without seemingly pronouncing the R so it sounds like Taa Zaan.

After Tarzan tells him to keep his mind occupied and concentrate on anything, Themba flashes back. He remembers his first meeting with Tasi. And other conversations with her. She’s not sure that for them to be together he has to believe everything she does. He also remembers when her snake bite was healed by the Sinotay. She tells him it is the way of the jungle.

When it seems more of the roof is starting to come down, Themba bargains with God ala that movie THE END. He says he will play with Bolgani, never do anything bad again, and become a missionary. Tarzan is trying to get through a caved in obstruction. This is when Themba decides to ask him about God and patience. Tarzan says, “When a bug is crushed by a rhino, does he blame God?”  Tarzan means that only man blames others for his troubles.

Themba flashes back to his own village and his return to it for the first time since leaving. He sees his mother and two boys who rush to Tarzan. Tarzan seems to call one of the boys Joni or something like that?

He also flashes back to one of his conversations with Tarzan when they were camping at night and Tarzan tells him how he felt at Greystoke.

In another clip, Themba is feverish and wounded on his shoulder.

In another, Tarzan and Themba cross a bridge as Tarzan tells Themba he has a score (smell?) and would be real easy to track.

He also remembers firing a bow and arrow, telling Tarzan he has no need for weapons while Tarzan telling him he has to protect himself. He remembers Tarzan diving to stop a crossbow from hitting him. He remembers Tarzan telling him that he forgot the meaning of his name. Trust.

He also remembers Tarzan rising from the high stalks of a field, surprising him. And another clip of Tarzan giving him back his necklace.

Just in time for a commercial break, Tarzan digs toward Themba and removes a wood beam and causes more rubble to fall toward him. Themba calls him but Tarzan does not answer.

When Tarzan is woken by water dripping on him, he remembers himself diving off a waterfall. A high waterfall.

For some reason, when Tarzan explains there is water in the mine, Themba flashes back to when he was tied in a chair over lava. Tarzan had to fight to get him free. Tarzan used a whip to get the chair to him and bring Themba down to safety. Themba and Tarzan remember that this whole mountain was created by a volcano, which explains Themba’s last flashback.

“Do I sound closer? Your voice sounds closer to me. Say something to me.”

“How bout SHUT UP!”  YES!

Themba’s rushing Tarzan and then says, “WHEN?” asking when he will be freed and he also complains, “I’m the one who’s trapped here. You’re as safe as a bird in a treehouse.” WHAT?

Themba continues to annoy ….me! He keeps harassing Tarzan, worrying that Tarzan may be going in the wrong direction. And that all Tarzan has to worry about is digging. SHUT UP!

Tarzan admits that his voice is getting louder.

Themba recalls when Sepo asked him if he really is a friend of Tarzan.

When Sepo asks if Tarzan is a great warrior, “Is he not?” we see a bunch of quick action clips of Tarzan swinging, running, throwing his knife, firing a bow and arrow, throwing a sword into an enemy soldier, freeing a woman from the stake, fighting leopard men or men dressed as leopards, fighting men with a spear, fighting with bare hands in the arena, fighting various other warriors (in blue so maybe Opar men?), throwing a man off a wall, flipping over obstacles to free La, having a costume malfunction as he drops down to behind a warrior guard to knock him out, flipping off a rock to avoid an explosion, and more. This is done to a version of theme music.

Sebo asks, “If Tarzan can fly like an eagle and land like a duck on the water, can he fight the crocodile?”

Themba remembers when a croc almost got him when he was tied to a stake (ep13?).

Tarzan then flashes back to being chained, caged, and held captive as we also see him as a child in that tree hiding? We also see him in quicksand. All of these, other than the child (I think) Tarzan, come from other episodes and there are a lot of clips.

Next, after the commercial break, we get the clip of Tarzan laying on his stomach as he thinks of Jane’s letter about marrying or dating his cousin? There are more clips: him with the “pirate” girl and then having a talk with Themba about Jane. Tarzan remembers other women: a girl that likes his ritual outfit, which he says he keeps for special times, such as her and then he recalls La. We see a clip of  him leaving La and her saying he is always welcome here, even with the love of another in his heart and a clip of him writing to Jane, telling her that if his cousin William is ready, then that is who she needs to be with.

“For me, I will feel the loss but I can’t change who I am. And the jungle is where I belong. All my love, Tarzan.”

Then, there are a bunch of clips about Tarzan fighting to survive and live. “What will it take to make you fight?”

We hear a version of the theme song again as we see MORE clips of him fighting, sometimes being pounded into first by villains and enemies. He’s urged on to fight back by a variety of helpers, most of them female. AND the clip of he and a girl jumping off the cliff down to the water. A high cliff.

There’s also a clip of he and a villain fighting off a cliff into the water.

Clip: Tarzan running through fire and explosions.
NOTE: I’m not going to check (and don’t make me, please) but it looks as if there are clips from EVERY previous episode.

This brings Ta-Zan (it really is getting annoying how Themba pronounces Tarzan) out of his having a panic attack. Tarzan was having a panic attack?

Themba tells Tarzan he is a good man and Tarzan says the same about Themba. “To be a man means to be responsible,” Tarzan says are the last words in his father’s diary. Themba wishes he knew Tarzan’s father.

“So do I,” is Tarzan’s response which leads to more clips. These are of a woman asking if he is the white man born of a woman or the man who is the son of Kala, Themba and Tarzan at the place where Kala was killed, of Tarzan looking at the image of his father and mother interspersed with when he met them on some dream plain (they look nothing like the image but I guess they were older in the photograph?), and more.

There are also clips talks with the pirate girl, the man who wanted revenge for Tarzan killing his brother who killed Kala and between Tarzan and his “parents”, all about him being human and that Kala was his mother and about how he has darkness empty inside him and he doesn’t know how to fill it. Sigh.

And about him being whole now and the one way to travel: his life is here in the jungle.

Clip: the psalm.

When Themba alerts Tarzan to the fact that a snake is coming toward him, Tarzan’s advice is, “Just don’t talk!”  Has he met Themba?

Tarzan also claims the snake is more afraid of Themba than Themba is of the snake!

We get a brief clip of Themba over a pit of snakes.

As Tarzan crawls over debris, something seems to be hurting him as he reacts and rises up in pain.

Interspersed with the young Tarzan leaving his hiding place (wooden stakes and a tree?) wherever that is, are clips from episodes of him urging Kali to be strong and of him breaking out of cages and smashing down barriers. “Be strong!”

Tarzan breaks through to Themba, “Dr. Livingston, I presume.”  This is an old quote from a probably now forgotten event.

This scares away the snake. Not the quote, Tarzan breaking through.

As Tarzan pulls up a wood plank, a huge rock rolls toward Themba---was that supposed to happen? Either way, Lara as Tarzan stops it. Themba can feel extreme pain in his legs but at least he can feel his legs.

Themba finds nothing broken and cannot understand why: by all rights, he thinks, his legs should be crushed.

Bolgani opens up an exit above them just as Tarzan tells Themba to worry about miracles later and that they have to get out of there. The gorilla also lowers down a rope.

“I never thought I’d say this but that is the prettiest face that I’ve ever seen,” Themba yells.

We do not see them climb up but start. Later, outside, Tarzan puts leaves on his leg. Themba thinks there is something to the Umbotu legend. The mine almost swallowed them up. Tarzan claims he felt an Umbutu spirit encouraging him not to give up. Themba is glad Tarzan didn’t tell him: he was already scared enough.

Bolgani tosses up a huge bone, that could be a dinosaur bone, but is a nod to 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY?


The closing theme sounds different with a long coda and a slightly different variation on the tune. Or maybe it’s just me?

Okay, as clip episodes go, this is not a bad one and uses a lot of clips from what seems like all the previous episodes, though I’m not sure there are any from THE RETURN OF TARZAN parts one or two.

In any case, the mine shaft collapsing is a mainstay of TV action adventure, at least as long ago as THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN back in the late 1950s and also featured in a late 1980s episode of SUPERBOY.

Usually clips shows have the cast sitting around talking about “Remember When?” While this is good for continuity, the main purpose this saved for the makers was saving money.

Irwin Allen almost never did this but did clips in other ways but that’s another story totally.

THIS clearly didn’t have the characters sitting around talking so that’s a good thing.

On the other hand, this is yet another Tarzan has a dysfunction episode with Tarzan both having a fear of closed in spaces (what?) AND needing someone else to urge him, not to give up. What again?

If our hero constantly needs others, seems lonely in the jungle, and has a friend who is constantly nagging him (yes, Themba, I’m looking at you) as well as others who see him as a miserable loner lost between two worlds who can’t make up his mind which he belongs in while HE tries to deny it, we have a truly dysfunctional hero who is not to be looked up to. It’s just a feeling this gives rather than the confident figure Tarzan needed to be in this. I DO blame GREYSTOKE, that over rated movie for this.

In any case, not a bad episode and it does at least have a story to it rather than just, “let’s show clips” and save money.

The snake looks kind of cute though.

And Themba and Tarzan seem to be arguing as if they were a couple.

Oh, one thing: was there a DEMON WITHIN? Shades of Anger seems to be somewhat more appropriate?


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