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OMG! A monster!

A scary, slavering, untamed, fire-breathing monster! I'm terrified!

Three magic holes in rocks this time. One leading from Mark's world to a magical island; one leading from that to whatever world it was that the con-man from a few episodes back got trapped in; and another one leading to the world of a terrifying monster. How is it that nobody but Mark is falling through these magic holes? They're all over the place!

So, Mark winds up on a magical island, where a native tribe of strangely mixed ethnicity is living. So maybe it's not just him falling through these holes, then. Maybe that explains why some members of the tribe are Japanese, and some are Polynesian? Anyway, the tribe are worshipping a terrifying beast, that rules their day-to-day lives. One of them, a young pearl diver, nearly drowns himself accidentally, and to avoid being told off by his father, insists that Mark tried to drown him. Mark, who has just saved the diver's life, is therefore immediately sentenced to be fed to the terrifying monster. So they're a nice, friendly tribe, then. Since it turns out that the terrifying monster is even less terrifying than the dread Myrka from Doctor Who, Mark is never in any danger, but for a brief moment he does look almost concerned. His nearly-a-perilous moment is a bit odd actually, because they tie him to a stake, but he can't break free. Ever since this show switched from movie format to ordinary episodes, it's been pretty well established that a soggy Mark is a super-strong Mark - yet now suddenly a very soggy, just-emerged-from-the-ocean Mark is incapable of snapping some ropes? He can alway snap Schubert's. Still, consistent plotting is so passé. He doesn't get eaten, anyway. Instead he's reunited with the con-man from a few weeks back, who's been adopted by the terrifying monster, and now lives in a cave with it, alongside a harem full of beautiful local girls that he's made the tribe 'sacrifice' to the monster. So, their families think they've been eaten, and meanwhile they're being kept as domestic servants in a cave. But this is treated more or less as a joke. Anyway. Mark has come to the magic island looking for some canisters of something deadly that the Navy accidentally made, and then rather haphazardly got rid of when they realised how lethal it was. The terrifying monster, who behaves like a sort of two-headed, green, undersea, labrador retriever, is collecting these canisters as part of a potentially cataclysmic game of fetch. Whilst juggling hostile natives, a very irritating con-man, and a two-headed monster that couldn't be deadly if it tried (which it doesn't), Mark has to get the canisters back. Because they're so much safer in the hands of the Navy.

He doesn't get killed, obviously. In one of his moralising sermon moments he even gets the young pearl diver to admit that his near drowning was his own fault, and not Mark's. The young diver's father, faced with the fact that his son tried to get a man murdered rather than admit that he'd been a bit stupid, announces that he's proud of him for telling the truth. I'm not sure that pride is quite what I'd be feeling if I'd just found out that my son was prepared to get an innocent man eaten by an allegedly ferocious beast just to avoid a telling off. Then the con-man and his two-headed friend head off through one of the magic holes that festoon the place, presumbly bound for further adventures elsewhere. Mark of course goes back to the forever pointless Elizabeth, who's been waiting patiently for him to return, in the hope that it'll mean she gets some dialogue. Poor Elizabeth. She does less in every episode. By now she's making uncredited extras look overworked.

So, not a bad episode as such; just uneventful. The terrifying monster is insanely adorable, and looks like it belongs in The Clangers; and whilst Mark might conceivably be in real danger from the local tribe, their appearances are so minimal that they don't actually get much chance to do any menacing. So yet again we're saved from any chance of things getting at all exciting. And Muldoon the con-man is irritating, and Mark's moralising sermon is always going to be annoying. But on the plus side, no Schubert - and no extra-hairy CW being rubbish with alien chemistry experiments, either. So it's a very long way from being as bad as it could have been.

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