Saturday, June 13, 2015

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Valley of the Dinosaurs: "After Shock" (October 26, 1974)

In “After Shock,” Gorak detects a change in the air pressure. The Butlers dismiss his sense that something has changed, but an earthquake ravages the valley, validating his feeling. 

Now, a rock with a human face, atop a hill by a nearby lake, is shattered.  Gorak knows from his forefathers that the destruction of this rock means that the water in the lake is sour and must not be consumed.  

Gorak reports that only by lifting a new rock face to the top of the hill will the water be made fresh again.

The Butlers are suspicious of such primitive superstition, but help Gorok complete this mission.  At a nearby quarry is another statue with a human face on it; one that must be transported to the perch by the lake.  The Butlers build a wagon to transport the stone idol, and build a pulley system to lift it.

The only problem is that an angry Dimetrodon is nearby.

When the rock is lifted into position, however, the water is fixed and made pure again, because a nearby geyser cannot leak Sulphur and other toxic chemicals into it.  

The Butlers apologize to Gorak for not fully believing his story and accepting his traditions.

“After Shock” is a bit more interesting, in terms of its narrative, than are some episodes of Valley of the Dinosaurs (1974).  In part, this is because it raises questions about Gorok’s people and their history in the Valley.

Who carved the statue with the human face on it?  

Who carved the rock with the human face on it that is embedded in the mountain side?  

And when did Gorak’s people first hit upon the solution of using these odd rocks to cap-off a geyser and preserve reservoir water?  

Does some ancient civilization pre-date Gorak’s?  Were his people taught by someone else?

Those questions are intriguing, and suggest a long past for Gorak’s people.  Just as fascinating, I find, is the relationship between the Butlers and the prehistoric family in this episode. 

Here, the Butlers are a bit dismissive of Gorak’s beliefs, but come to realize that there are real reasons behind his “superstitions.”  

They ultimately apologize, and realize that sometimes it is better to accept Gorak’s word and customs, than try to out-think them, using their modern science.

Still, it is science that makes the transportation of the rock possible.  The wagon moves the stone statue from the mountain to the lake, and the pulley raises it to the summit.  

One wonders how Gorak’s people managed this feat in the past, without the help of a modern family such as the Butlers...

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