Anyway, this week on the 1970s series Ark II, our stalwart heroes from the 25th century are in "Area 32, Sector 16," in search of a "Stone Age" tribe that they can help. Again, the mission is to "improve the quality" of their lives.
In "The Rule" (by Martin Roth and directed by Ted Post), the Ark II finds the Stone Age people and - oops - they're hostile. They throw rocks at the advanced vehicle, but the transport is protected by "vertical" and "lateral" forcefields. Whatever that means...
Meanwhile, Ruth and Adam are out in the all-terrain vehicle, and Ruth carelessly drives it into a rock. (Women drivers...) She's rescued by a young man who is part of an agrarian community that's been menaced by the rock-throwing stone age folk. Unfortunately, the community's leader is rather draconian. He has imposed a strict "rule" that those who are infirm, sick or lazy and can therefore not pull their weight in the fields...will be exiled from the village. On this very day, he exiles a blind man and his wife from the community. His son (the kid who rescued Ruth...) also has built a primitive hang glider because he has "vision and imagination," but his Dad warns he would rather be "dull-witted." Damn! In the end, the Ark II team helps prove that nobody is worthless by defeating the bad Stone Age tribe and getting the leader to abolish his rule.
I watched this episode with two close friends, and they had some interesting notes on "The Rule." One friend noted that this is an Icarus story; that "The Rule" gazes at a kid who flies too close to the sun...and crashes his hang-glider. My other friend noted that when the boy is wounded after his firstflight, the villagers could have used his glider as a stretcher. But didn't. Oopsy.
Basically "The Rule" concerns the law of people vs. the law of the jungle, as Ruth and the other crew of Ark II convince the villagers not to be so quick to dismiss people. The message is summed up at the end: "everyone has something valuable to contribute."
I like that message, but I gotta tell you, that Village Leader is quite a political cat. When he reads the political wind, he changes his mind about "the rule" and abolishes it. (Lest he be overthrown.) And then - the gall! the gall! - in saying goodbye to the Ark II crew, he tells Ruth that "we must touch to say goodbye." That this is custom.
Oh yeah buddy, then why not embrace the monkey?