Saturday, February 07, 2015

Saturday Cult-TV Blogging: Korg 70,000 B.C.: "Tor's First Hunt"

In “Tor’s First Hunt,” the family undergoes a transition. Tor (Charles Morteo) is now old enough to participate in the daily hunt. This saddens his sister, Ree (Janelle Pransky), who will lose a playmate, but Mara (Naomi Pollack) comforts her.

Meanwhile, Tor is taken away from the family for a ritual involving his first hunt. He excludes himself from the company of all other non-hunter, has war-paint lines applied to his face and body, and is presented with a spear custom-made by his father, Korg (Jim Malinda).

The next day, Tor’s first hunt begins, and it is an eventful one. A lion attacks the hunters at one point.  At another juncture Korg falls down a mountainside and is injured.  

The day is saved, finally, when Tor spots a signal made by a reflective rock.  Korg says that the hunt belongs to Tor because without him, they would have brought nothing home to eat….

“Tor’s First Hunt” is a good episode, and one that shows how Korg 70,000 B.C. attempted to work real change in into its premise. 

Here the boy Tor reaches adolescence, and must therefore take on adult duties. He is no longer a child, and in the difficult world of the Neanderthal there was apparently no parental coddling. Ree is upset by the fact that she is losing a brother, essentially, to work, and even Mara is sad. She asks Korg “So soon?” upon learning of Tor’s transition. Korg is understanding but firm. “Yes, it’s time.”

The episode is fascinating for the way the women in the family accept these changes in their family, and for the way that Tor does too.  No one bucks the system, or goes against Korg, or even offerings a differing opinion. Without speaking a word, Tor does his duty, thus showcasing his maturity. We then watch as he undergoes the pre-hunting ritual.

Once “Tor’s First Hunt” gets away from the family dynamic and out into the jungle, so-to-speak, it is markedly less interesting. We have seen hunts go wrong on the series before, as well as violent engagements with wild-life, particularly a lion.  These aspects of the story don’t add much new to the series.

Just as in previous weeks we have seen Korg and his family learn about the salt, levers, and nets, “Tor’s First Hunt” concerns an addition to that same fund of knowledge. Here, the reflective stone is said to “bend the sun,” and is harnessed as a signal.

Next week: “The River.”

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