Saturday, January 06, 2007


The fourth episode of the 1976 Saturday morning sci-fi series Ark II is called "The Slaves." Written by David Dworski, it recounts the adventure surrounding Jonah's entry numbered #405, in the Area designated # 64 by his people. In particularly, Jonah hopes to "put an end" to the "miserable" and "immoral" practice of slavery in a nearby village controlled by a ruthless dictator, Baron Vargas.

Unfortunately, after noting in disbelief on the intercom that he "is actually looking at people who have become slaves," Jonah himself becomes a slave after being captured by Vargas. He learns from a helpful fellow slave named Gideon that the Baron maintains his iron grip on his slaves by claiming to possess magic powers. He says he can turn men into animals, and in fact, claims that he has turned Gideon's sister into a rabbit. He threatens to turn Jonah into a chicken.

"Shrink before the power of Baron Vargas," he commands, using fear and terror to keep his populace cowed and meek. Ah, but Jonah sees through the facade!

Playing the role of a post-apocalyptic Spartacus, Jonah sets out to free the slaves, unaware that there is a traitor among the insurrectionists. "You must fight fear," he tells the dominated. "He [Vargas] keeps you enslaved through your own superstition." Yeah, well, they don't have the Ark II's nifty forcefield or rocket pack either, that come in handy taking down tyrants.

At the end of the day, all's well that ends well, and Jonah reports that "unlimited power in one man's hand makes him a tyrant...and slaves of us all." Right on, Jonah!

"The Slaves," like other episodes of Ark II, features one really strange segment. Adam (the damned monkey...) is part of a plan to make a distraction, a decoy. The other Ark II'ers (Ruth and Samuel), dress him up in a cap and slave attire, and when Baron Vargas spots him, he asks, "who is that little man?"

Uh...that's the monkey, Baron Vargas. EMBRACE HIM! No, but really, Vargas doesn't seem to notice that Adam's a monkey, not a man. What's that about? It's like that moment in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back when the stoners attempt to flee the Arena Diner with an orangutan in tow, and trick Will Ferrell (as Marshall Willenholly) by saying the simian's their adopted child.

Only this isn't a joke...

1 comment:

  1. ooga_booga_cthulhu10:14 AM

    John, thank you for commenting on the TV shows that influenced our generation. Ark II, along with other Filmation shows, holds a special place in my heart.

    With that said, when I finished watching this episode I was left thinking "damn, it would have been a hell of alot easier to just shoot that guy." I guess I have grown jaded in my old age. ; )