Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: The Secrets of Isis: "Lucky"

In the Secrets of Isis episode “Lucky,” Isis (Joanna Cameron) helps a young boy, Randy (John Doran) deal with the untimely death of his beloved ten year old dog, Lucy. 

In grief and mourning over the pet’s loss, Randy wanders into a restricted industrial zone about to be flooded with tons of water…

Say what you will about the relentless moralizing of Filmation’s Saturday morning catalog, but Lou Scheimer and Norm Prescott were up front -- and courageous, even -- about handling issues that were relevant and significant to children.

The subject of “Lucky,” of course, is the death of a beloved pet and friend named Lucky.  A pet’s death had been handled before by Filmation, in Dorothy Fontana’s “Yesteryear” on Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973 – 1974).  But Isis handles the same subject with sensitivity and grace.

Losing a pet is such a difficult experience, and my eight year old boy, Joel, went through it last year when we lost Lila, our beloved fourteen year old cat.  Joel and I still talk about Lila, and occasionally visit her grave in our backyard. Joel picked the grave-stone for Lila (which has an image of Rainbow Bridge on it), and drew colorful pictures to go in her casket, as well as a note.  To this day, he loves to hear stories about Lila when she was a kitten. I think I have probably found Lila’s loss as upsetting as Joel, frankly, but this is the third cat friend I’ve lost over the years, and his first. It never gets easier, but you come to accept, as you grow older, that death is part of life. 

The only place where “Lucky” goes wrong, I think, is in its final notation that Randy gets a new puppy, and all is well. I firmly believe that committing to a new pet is the right thing to do for a family. But I also think that the family needs some time to grieve the loss before jumping in with a new animal.  You don’t “replace” a pet.  You deal with your loss and -- because you loved that pet -- you move on and show the same love and devotion to another animal.  This spring it’ll be a year since Lila passed, and we are thinking of getting Joel a kitten.  It seems like the right time to act, but I don’t think any of us could have handled a new kitten right on top of Lila’s passing.

Maybe it’s just a personal decision.

What’s so nice about “Lucky” is that Isis shows such humanity and kindness to Randy. She speaks more sincerely and at greater length than we have heard her speak in any episode yet, and introduces Randy to the cycle of life by pointing out the life and death of a beautiful flower.  When Randy asks Isis to bring Lucky back, she notes that “no one has the power” to accomplish that, and “there is a time to live and a time to die.” But, she adds hopefully, death is part of the cycle of life, and in death, “life is passed on.”

In exploring this complex and beautiful idea, “Lucky” is a lovely, emotional episode of The Secrets of Isis.

The episode also provides us with an example of yet another Isis power. She can stop water from running, holding it frozen (not like ice, but rather in a bubble of time, apparently).

Next week: “Bigfoot.”

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