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Volume 7732

The Warner Brothers Series ~ 2003-2004
Information on the Series in ERB-TV: ERBzine 0014
Reviews by Charles Mento

“They all said they got beat down. Beat down by some wild man with long hair and bare feet.”
“John Clayton’s alive and he killed one of my friends, and my other friend, probably my best friend is protecting him?”

I think I’m in a slump of missing Joe Lara, Wolf Larson, and most of all Ron Ely, not to mention ALL of their supporting cast members, especially Manuel Padilla Jr and Sean Roberge. This WB show just doesn’t even feel like Tarzan. It’s some bloke who went through something vaguely similar to a fictional Tarzan who’s not even called Tarzan in the series. The character doesn’t feel like Tarzan but some messed up stalker who could not possibly survive in a jungle, let alone take on armies single handedly. I’m also not sparked by the setting, more than two episodes in and the police drama fails against other TV shows of the time…and of the present day.

I’ll try to muddle through. Mitch and Lucy are good but the others, while trying hard, don’t have much to work with and the plot is a far cry from ANY other Tarzan TV show or movie and it is a bit…dare I say it, mundane.

The “previously” tries to make us think that the criminals brought into the station might be thought of as responsible for Michael’s death. WE all know they’re not.

As much as I can hear (or can’t) someone, Kathy’s maid is called Mary. Mary tells Kathy that Dr Jaffey tried to take “his” blood pressure (shouldn’t we have seen that, wouldn’t that have been more dramatic) while he was sleeping so now, John Jr. (did Kathy just call him Clayton?) is wrecking the room. Kathy tells Mary she can go while John seems threatening.

I’m sorry but John is a jerk. Kathy pleads with him that she is on his side, that she can only protect him against Richard here, and that she is his family. John smashes the window and barefoot leaves the nice room, that he just trashed, through it. Are we supposed to like this guy?

Michael’s funeral as the casket is taken out of the church. Been through too many of these to want to see this. Sarah’s a really good actress, too, in this. It’s clear to see why she’d be cast in the WALKING DEAD in about six or seven years from this.

A bald man and a handsome dark man spy on the funeral from a rooftop. John, pretty much doing the same, seems to have super hearing (is he Superman now?) and overhears them waiting for him to show up. Apparently they work for Richard.

John gets to them, diving down, jumping over a fence, somersaulting (no shoes on) and runs toward and up the side of the Metropolitan Church (white sneakers on and then off). The stunts are pretty cool and his climbing the building is amazing looking, if unrealistic in nature but it looks great. His hand coming over the side of the roof is sort of creepy and it is as if he is a force of nature rather than a freak of nature and even like he’s the antagonist, stalking the two men.

The fight is pretty good, too, interspersed, briefly, with the funeral march of the casket being taken away and Jane crying. There also seems to be three men that John takes down simultaneously.

John chokes one man down, “Leave her alone.”

Jane’s typical 1990s-early 2000s apartment: a song plays. John shows up at the window and enters. He wants to help her. He detects pain in her eyes.

Part of the problem is seen in the secondary credits as the episode starts: there’s far too many producers of this, far too many voices probably and far too many “hands in the pudding.”

Nicki, Jane’s sister, who looks more like she could be John’s sister, blond and all, blames John for Michael’s death and doesn’t understand why Jane is covering for John. Jane tells her to just trust her.

Jane returns to work earlier than the week off. She tells Sam (and another co worker) that she was sick of daytime television. The captain calls Sam in and Jane asks to join in. There is a ransom demand for a little boy named Jason, who was kidnapped. The captain is Joe Grifasi as Lt. Scott Connor. Sam calls him Lou. Scott wants them to take care of the parents.

John walks the busy streets of NYC as another song plays. One of the giant billboards on a building is for a Denzel Washington movie.

Joy Tanner plays the mom of the missing boy, Mrs. Bancroft. The father is named Allan Bancroft. Joy has a long list of credits. Allan contemplates just paying the ransom. The FBI wants to use marked bills and put the ransom drop site under surveillance.

In the rain, Jane leaves the office and gets in Kathy’s limo to talk. John watches her leave the limo. He’s on a rooftop. Another song.

The next morning (?), several FBI agents are made by the kidnappers who contact the mother via email with pictures of the FBI agents waiting to trap them and messages, “YOU LIED TO ME” and “JASON IS DEAD.” In the next scene, Jane and Sam think Jason is still alive? Why?

A corporate lawyer tells Richard that John is heir to one third of the company, “And he’s running wild in the streets.”  Richard thinks Jane can control John.

Jane goes to an alley can calls for John, who springs down to her. She explains that the boy’s dad at the playground turned around to take a phone call and the boy was gone: someone took him. She wants Tarzan to track the boy. Jane’s hair in this episode looks very red. She explains the person who took Jason wants money.

Jane goes to the boy’s home and into his room to take a teddy bear which has the boy’s scent on it. She is caught by the mom and Jane explains they have a sort of a bloodhound. She lets Jane take it. Jane brings it to John.

John arrives just as a van is leaving a building and he jumps from a higher level onto the roof of the van. Jane sees this, pursuing.

Richard, on the streets, confronts Jane for her help. He has a point about John. He has four men in the hospital. He thinks Jane is going to get hurt. He brings up Michael Foster’s death. She doesn’t accept his offer and leaves. He has his driver follow her.

John drops from a building behind Jane. He carries her upward. Does Jane has a split in her pants?

What was that van thing about?

Jane and Tarzan end up in a run down area with abandoned buildings or warehouses and some homeless people. Creepily, when Jane tells Tarzan she appreciates what he’s doing but they’ve wasted valuable time and he needs to stay with her and not lose her, he smiles, “This is how I hunt.”  Are we sure this is not a horror series? It feels as he’s the main horror.

John picks up the scent (really?) and he and Jane board a broken down yacht or big boat and find Allan dead. Sam tells Jane, later, that Allan was into Atlantic City casinos and owed a lot of money and could not touch the family trust.

Jane reconnects with John who tells her, at the water’s edge, the scent is gone. She realizes he really cares about this kid. He tells her he doesn’t understand why a father would want to kidnap his own kid. His own father died and he was lost so he relates to the kid Jason.

As Jane’s suggestion, John returns to Kathy’s who tells him she cannot make him stay, it is his choice and she would like him to stay. “Oh, and do me a favor if you want to leave, just open the window.”

Jane looks into the case more and finds that dad married into the family business: scrap metal yards.

Sam questions Jane and tells her he knows she knows something. He realizes John is alive. He says Jane is probably his best friend and he thinks John killed Michael. Sam uses the disgusting phrase, “…serious as a heart attack,” which was popular around this time.

“You gonna let him run around kicking people’s ass. He’s dangerous.”

Jane tells Sam that John was trying to save Michael’s life and that it was self defense. Jane asks Sam to say nothing while she figures this out: to be quiet. Sam says he will not lie for her.

Jane explores pictures of the kidnapped boy and realizes that SEK is the family logo on the scrap yards and she saw it on the little boy’s toy truck, too.

John has already tracked, during the day (and it looks brilliant; Tarzan is not meant to be filmed at night in a big city; sure, jungle night scenes can be scary and phantasmagorical but Tarzan, for me, is meant to be in a full day, full bright light in your face shirts off chests bare visual adventure/action struggle for survival, at least exhilarating). Here, Travis looks wonderful as he tracks the kidnapped boy.

Sam sees two dozen on the list. Jane believes it to be the one in Brooklyn. John told her that they crossed a river. She tells Sam this. Arriving, they find a bald man closing a trunk on a red car. The handsome man starts shooting at them and tells them, “The kids in the car, so don’t shoot!” They already did.

To Sam’s amazement, John leaps off a tower of destroyed cars onto the red car’s hood, punches through the windshield, grabs the man and pulls him out of the windshield and the windshield out from the frame! Okay, while this looks cool, it’s pretty unrealistic in that NO MAN could do this, unless he’s some kind of SUPERMAN. So…we’re watching SUPERMAN?

The man gets up and hits John on the side of the head with a crowbar. Okay, the man must be Lex Luthor (well, he is bald) or some supervillain to still be able to stand up and be on his feet.

Before the man can shoot John after pulling his gun, Jane shoots him. As Sam checks him, Jane opens the trunk with the crowbar and finds Jason…is not in the trunk!

Jane questions the downed kidnapper who repeats the boy is in the trunk.

John listens or smells. Sam asks, “What the hell is going on?”

While Jane searches trunks, John climbs towers of cars to observe and/or smell.

Sam searches but wants to call back up. Jane stops him, “I don’t care how many cops you call, John can work faster.”  If the cops come, John cannot stay.

John leaps from tower to tower (of cars).

Eventually, John finds the car and, with Jane, opens the trunk. Jane carries Jason out.

John asks Jason, later, what is the bear’s name (John seems, here, not to talk in contractions). Jason says when it was his mommy’s bear, she called him Leo but he calls him Thomas. “He has two names. Like me,”  John tells Jason.

The cops arrive and John has to leave. Scott asks where the perp is but he didn’t make it (hmmm, this opens up possibilities but I doubt anyone writing this or making this would think THAT: that Jane and/or Sam killed the perp after he was shot? Surely not!).

Sam covers for Jane and does NOT mention John’s involvement, calling himself a super star cop.

In a magnificent sky line shot in the background (not sure how they did this: CGI or location or what other trickery, but no matter how, it looks great), Jane later goes to meet John at abandoned buildings.  “I wish you could be in the light, John. You deserve to be in the light.”

She apologizes and tells him that she was angry. She takes blame for Michael’s death and knows he tried to save him. John tells her he couldn’t save him. He lets her take him back to his aunt’s. There, he goes out the window. He climbs to the roof and it is night in a lovely vista (again). There’s something about how Travis moves that resembles a gorilla so that’s cool.

He find an old room that’s covered up that used to be his a small boy. There is also an old and small teddy bear doll. Another song plays. He finds a photograph of him as a child with his parents.

Nicki tells Jane she will give her some time alone but then Jane opens up to her and tells her she’s been lying to everyone she loves. She wants these feelings to go away and then is glad when they don’t. She always thought she had everything figured out and doesn’t. She’s not sure what is happening to her. Nicki hugs her.

John seems to find his parent’s bedroom? He opens a set of doors to an area of plants, trees, and bushes. Kathleen appears and tells him she closed this up to forget: he and his parents lived in this wing of the house. She explains, “This place has got your spirit. Your father’s spirit.”

She asks if he will stay as he explores another room out on some kind of veranda where he can stand/sit on the ledge overlooking the city (another great shot of it in the background). He looks at her. They smile.

Okay, so, this 41 min or so seemed like 40 hours, the place is slow for the most part but the truth is that it is a slow burn. I wanted to hate this totally but honestly it’s not terrible. If you forget that it’s Tarzan (the name is not uttered ONCE), it’s rather enjoyable. Even the routine kidnap plot goes a bit twisty and more interesting as time goes on. The Sam bits are great and the actor is a good one and has a sort of rapport with Sarah’s Jane. And Jane sort of grows on you. I was sure Lucy’s character was villainous but I must be misremembering half watched episodes. She’s good to John and plays it with true caring and loyalty, even giving him the space he needs and all of that is believable.

All in all, I liked this episode a lot more than I expected to but the start is slow and the whole thing picks up a bit more. Travis grows on one, too. He’s a bit more likable here, less selfish and more caring, especially about the boy Jason and about Jane taking the blame for things. He owns up to his part in this. Sam’s loyalty to Jane is touching, too.

It may not be any of the other Tarzan shows but this sort of works on its own level and I find myself, oddly, now, wanting to watch more of it. I just need time as it is a slow burn, even if not even dated in the slightest. I think, against the creators’ and producers’ (oh, so many producers) regrets, this is a show worth watching and maybe it should have had more episodes but we shall see in the FIVE episodes left. It sure doesn’t feel like TARZAN a lot of the time and yet…there’s something about all of it that just works once you get into it for a bit. It does create its own world and that is all you can ask of any TV show.

THREE OF THE SONGS used for this episode:
"Recall" by Luckytown
"I Saw" by Matt Nathanson
"Forever" by The Red West


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