Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday Morning Cult TV Blogging: Land of the Lost: "Fair Trade" (September 20, 1975)

Our episode of Land of the Lost this Saturday morning is called “Fair Trade,” and it is written by Bill Keenan and directed by Bob Lally.  Like the first season’s “The Search,” “Fair Trade” in large part concerns the idea that the Will (Wesley Eure) and Holly (Kathy Coleman) must think for themselves and solve problems for themselves too.  Their Dad won’t always be around…

This week, the Marshall kids truly must think on their feet when Rick (Spencer Milligan) falls into a trap set by the Sleestak.  The Sleestak weren’t hoping to catch Rick, however.  They were hoping to trap a (multi-colored) pig that they could feed to their young in the so-called “Egg Cave of the Sleestak.” 

Will and Holly visit Enik (Walker Edmiston) in the Lost City in hopes of acquiring his assistance, and he informs him that the Sleestak will make a trade: their father for a very fat, adult pig. 

With little time before sunset and the hatching of the Sleestak young, Holly and Will engage Ta’s (Scutter McCay) aid in capturing the big pig.  To do so, Will must trade the Ta the knife he has been carving for weeks. 

In the end, the Sleestak live up to their end of the bargain, and Rick is spared a fate worse than death.  Amusingly, the episode ends with Rick, Holly and Marshall heading back to High Bluff at night, with no mention of Ta, who last we saw him, was still hanging from a swing over a hole above the Lost City.  

What works best about “Fair Trade” is the camaraderie and resourcefulness Will and Holly demonstrate in the attempt to get their father back.  The episode’s best scene sees Will confronting Enik about his lack of compassion, and it’s a moment worthy of the best Rick/Enik logic/emotion debates.  In short, Will convinces Enik that he can’t possibly preach compassion to the Altrusians -- his own people -- unless he learns to practice it here first, in the Land of the Lost.

Another nice touch in “Fair Trade” involves the depiction of the Sleestak.  They remain fearsome, menacing foes with their trademark hissing and general hostility. However, they live up to their end of the bargain in “Fair Trade,” and that suggests that, on occasion, they can be reasoned with.  It's also interesting to note that not one word of regret or sadness is spoken for the poor pig...whose destiny is to be eaten alive by baby Sleestak.  I guess in the Land of the Lost, you've gotta do what you gotta do...

That character trait works towards Land of the Lost’s long-standing environmental message.  There are diverse “demographics” populating the Land of the Lost -- human, Pakuni, Sleestak, dinosaur (and occasionally Zarn) -- but if they deal honorably and fairly with one another, great crises can be resolved or averted.

“Fair Trade” isn’t an overly memorable episode of Land of the Lost’s second season, but it gets the job done, and more-than-adequately grows the characters of Will, Holly and Enik.

Next week, a real bizarre and memorable installment: “One of Our Pylons is Missing.”


  1. Anonymous12:40 PM

    John I enjoyed the review of LOTL "Fair Trade". As a boy, I remember watching this '75 and I thought what about the pig, too?


  2. God only knows what was done to that poor creature.
    Surrounded by drug-addled, post-hippie prop handlers
    for a Saturday morning kids TV show,
    whose mission that day was to spray paint
    a live pig in different neon colors.
    Where's the ASPCA during all of this?!?