Before you can say "Naked Jungle," the Butlers and their prehistoric friends are grappling with this new and troublesome issue. They realize that no force in the valley can stop the onslaught of the army ants, and so decide to create a defense line of "fire rocks" (or hot coals...) as a barrier between their cave and the marauding ants. "Back home, we'd just call the exterminator," quips Katie.
Mrs. Butler, however, suggests another more helpful alternative. She wants to create a hot air balloon that could transport both families and their pets to the mountaintop and out of harm's way. In short order, this mission is accomplished, Gorok makes a visit to the cave of "giant snakes" and steals their cast-off skins for the weaving of the balloon. Convenient, huh?
Disaster is averted when the Butlers and their prehistoric counterparts fly away in the balloon, and the ants obligingly retreat during a storm. Yes, the ants are literally - as one character notes - "eating and running."
As you might guess from this synopsis, "What Goes Up?" probably isn't Valley of the Dinosaurs' proudest moment. In part because it introduces the grave threat of the "tagas" or "targas'" (the ants...) but then cheerily sends them away at the end with very little damage done to any of the surrounding land or peoples (or dinosaurs, for that matter). Didn't the ants decimate the valley? The village? What made the ants turn and leave -- thunder and lightning? So the ants end up being nothing but a minor inconvenience, when it seems they could have (and should have) wreaked real havoc.
I also find it interesting that Land of the Lost habitually and purposefully made Holly (even though a whiner...) a character children could respect. She took a back-seat to nobody and was a positive role model for girls. There were episodes in which she saved her father and Will, or came up with the answer that would solve the problem of the week. I can't help but contrast that positive character with the women featured here. It's true that Mrs. Butler conceives and develops the balloon idea, but she is nonetheless relegated (along with the cave wife...) to gathering vegetables for much of the episode. And also, I noticed this week that in the opening credits of the show, only Mr. Butler and his son Greg are rowing the inflatable raft when it gets sucked into the whirlpool. The women are just sitting there idly. I object to this depiction not so much in terms of sexism, but realism. Imagine you're careening towards a vortex...wouldn't you start trying to paddle away from it, even if you didn't have an oar? Wouldn't you do...something?
Nah! Let us menfolk do this work!