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It's Irwin Allen. The silver paint was bound to come out at some point. I just wish he didn't go quite so nuts with the spangles.

Having crashlanded into the Pacific, Doug and Tony observe a group of Japanese people gathered around a community of straw huts. "Japanese!" hisses Tony. "This must be the Pacific during World War Two!" Because that's the only time and place that Japanese people exist in, presumably. Captured by an insane lieutenant, they're forced to fight for their survival, against a man who seems determined to die. He's quite anxious to take them with him, though, so that's not as much of an advantage as it might have been.

Then it's out of 1945, and indeed out of Earth altogether. We can travel in space as well now? Awesome! Landing on a space ship that's poised to attack Earth, Tony and Doug have to stay alive, and try to keep their planet in much the same state. Standing in their way is a race of silver warriors, and a whole lot of props from Lost In Space. This episode is a lovely fusion of Western and sci-fi, clearly written by somebody who saw a great chance to reuse existing props and sets. It's just a pity that the aliens are so rubbish!

And then it's off again, this time to 1915, where a shell bombardment traps Doug and Tony in a hidden cellar with the tomb of Nero. This is an odd mix of an episode, as it starts strongly, with some atmospheric scenes in which Nero's ghost prowls darkened corridors. Then (of course), time tunnel HQ manage to transport the ghost into their time, and wind up spending ten minutes fighting a wind tunnel to no sensible narrative purpose. Tony spends the second half of the episode unconscious, and absolutely nothing happens. So it's half of a good episode that runs out of steam and turns into nonsense. Such a shame.

Still, the pictures are pretty.


The tunnel always spits them out rather violently, and finally the inevitable has happened - Tony lands badly, and has a busted up ankle.


Not the greatest time for it, either, as they find themselves in the middle of the Pacific during WWII. How they realise that just by looking at some huts, I don't know - but they're right, as almost immediately some shelling starts.


Some shelling.


Tony immediately insists that Doug leave him behind, which rapidly becomes something of a trend in this episode. Doug refuses, and hauls him towards a cabin.


Sneaky!Doug.


The cabin is guarded by a Japanese radio operator, who invites them inside for tea and first aid.


He's not alone, though. With him is a madman in a flight suit.


Tony immediately insists that Doug leave him behind. Doug refuses.


Madman In A Flight Suit challenges Tony to a fight, because after last week everybody has decided that they like to watch Tony with a staff. Fortunately for Tony, his bad ankle repairs itself for the duration of the battle.


Doug turns psychiatrist, presumably another of his doctorates. The main drawback of this episode, it must be said, is the degree of its Dougocity. It's very much a Doug-centric story, and Robert Colbert must be one of the least dynamic actors around. Still, happily we have James Darren whirlwinding about next to him, which helps some.


Madman In A Flight Suit explains that he plans to hunt Doug and Tony through the jungle, to see who manages to kill who first.


This plan delights Doug and Tony no end.


Madman In A Flight Suit draws one of those pointless and unfathomable maps that people on television always draw in the dust.


The fighting over, Tony's foot has decided to be bad again.


Which leads him to immediately insist that Doug leave him behind. Doug refuses. And also tells him to turn the damned page, and stop reading the same line of dialogue over and over again.


Tony hides behind a convenient twig, whilst Doug scouts around the cabin.


He gets trapped when Madman In A Flight Suit comes in to have a rant about how he should rightly be dead.


The obligatory tarantula scene. People always encounter a tarantula when creeping about in the jungle. Quite why it's always a Mexican one, I have no idea. They're obviously very well travelled.


Doug manages to sneak out of the cabin, taking some grenades on the way. Tony is immediately turned into a jungle warfare expert, and sets up a tripwire. Just where did he go to school?!


Ah yes. About two thirds in, the plot sort of ends, and Doug and Madman In A Flight Suit spend the rest of the time yelling at each other from their respective hideouts.


It's probably supposed to be psychological, but it's really just a lot of yelling. In the middle of it we find out that Madman In A Flight Suit is a former kamikaze pilot, who refused to kill himself due to his education in the West, which is an interesting character point. It should make us sympathetic to him, I suppose, but the character is written as completely unsympathetic, which is strange. It's as though we're supposed to feel that he should have done his duty after all; rather a departure from the norm with these things.


Tony sneaks back to the cabin to use the radio, having established that he's something of an expert with Japanese sets. Seriously, it must have been the most awesome and peculiar school imaginable.


The radio explodes, though. They do that.

Interestingly, having spent the entire episode in only one shoe, since taking the other off after hurting his ankle, he's suddenly wearing two again in this scene. It's like his foot spontaneously regenerated the missing shoe.


Meanwhile, Doug and Tony's failure to kill Madman has convinced him that his Japanese heritage is worth embracing after all, and that it's time to die. This has to be one of the oddest plot lines ever.


All dressed up and ready to die, our madman offers Doug one last chance to do the job for him.


Doug can't fire.


But a magically appearing American soldier is not so reserved.


This makes our madman happy. How it's meant to make us feel, I have no idea.


Especially when it prompts Doug into making a really bad speech over his body. And then it's time to leave.


To land, this time, on a shiny spaceship. There's no sign of Tony having a bad foot anymore, just as Doug's head injury cleared up in transit a few episodes ago. I wonder how good the tunnel is at resetting them? If one of them was killed during one of these adventures, would the next time jump undo that as well?


The boys examine the local tech, and work out that whoever it belongs to is some four hundred years ahead of them. Not sure how they arrive at a figure like that, but they seem quite certain.


The owners of the shiny tech arrive.


And Doug and Tony finally discover what it really means to appear in an Irwin Allen production.


Backed into a translation booth, Doug and Tony hear all about the aliens' plans to destroy Earth.


Or the United States, anyway.


A spaceship! The spaceship lands in America in 1885, because the producers love me. Once there, the aliens adopt Tony as their errand boy, and send him into the nearest town to demand an audience with the community leaders.


Tony goes to the sheriff's office. He starts out well, by telling him about some bad guys that need tackling, but his unending compulsion to tell the truth has much the same effect as usual.


And he soon finds himself at the wrong end of a gun.


And in the local jail.


Busting out, he kidnaps the sheriff for no immediately obvious reason, other than it making quite a nice story detour.


Horses!


Entirely pointlessly, they run into a bit of stock footage of a battle between some Apaches and soldiers.


Fight!


Then the sheriff runs away, and Tony has to go back to the aliens empty-handed.


He also finds out that Doug has been turned into a mindless robot. Gathering up robot and errand boy, the aliens head off to town to shake things up a bit.


Cowboy!


Plus aliens!


Equals exploding cowboy!


Some other cowboys. Our first proper ones of course, as all the other Western episodes weren't really about cowboys. Just nearly ones.


The deputy has also been turned into a mindless robot.


So Tony batters him.


Then the sheriff agrees that something has to be done about them thar aliens.


Cattle!


Suddenly completely different cattle in a completely different place!


Cowboy!


Alien!


Comedy cowardly cowboy!

He tells Doug and the other alien that Tony and the sheriff have set a trap.


This leads to the fight that we were cheated out of during the Nazi brainwashing episode.


Except it does and it doesn't. It starts out well.


But then it ends very quickly when the alien drops his funky gun thing.


And Tony grabs it.


And smashes it.


And everything is put back to normal, and the aliens just sort of shrug and walk away. The end.

Which is something of an anti-climax, to put it mildly.


But we're off again immediately, so no point in moping. Doug and Tony surmise that this time they're in the Alps during World War One, just by looking at some trucks on a hill. I don't think I could identify even my own time and country just by that sort of clue. Mind you, I'm not a Physicist, much though I'd like to be.


The boys shelter from a bombardment by diving into a cellar; but the shells follow them in.


This is bad news for the boys.


But good news for Emperor Nero.


Who takes advantage of the explosion to hop out of his crypt and go for a walk around.


With his sword, helpfully, so we can see where he is.


Very thoughtfully, Nero digs the boys out, turns them over, and puts a light on before departing on his eerie wander. Which is kind of him.


A German soldier comes in to investigate the noise.


Doug and Tony hide behind a wine barrel.


And see the soldier stabbed to death by Nero's ghost. They immediately decide that it would be best to make themselves scarce.


This leads to much wandering in dark and creepy places. It has promise, does this episode.


Finding ancient debris in the maze of cellars, Doug (or the back of his head anyway) announces that it dates from the Ancient Roman period. The latest in his long list of specialisations, clearly. He and Tony must have spent their entire lives reading books, and doing nothing else at all. It's the only way to explain any of this. Which is cool, obviously, although it does put even more of a question mark over all those awesome fighting skills.


Secret passage!


The boys find themselves in the house of an Italian count, descendant of the Emperor Galba.


Why are German officers on TV always so damned smug?


Richard Jaekel! Being possessed by Nero's ghost!


And rather happy about it, too.


Richardjaekelpossessedbyaghost sets about killing everybody, presumably because it's more fun that not killing everybody. Actually it's because Nero has apparently sworn to kill all descendants of Galba.

You know, I can't help feeling rather sorry for Nero. Contemporary accounts suggest that he wasn't really any worse than the other Caesars, so how come Tiberius gets a Star Fleet captain named after him, while poor old Nero just has to be a raving lunatic all the time?


Doug joins in for a bit, to give Galba a break.


Do not mess with Richardjaekelpossessedbyaghost!


Happily Tony is on hand to help out.


The other Germans want to know why one of their number is unconscious on the library floor. Doug and Tony, naturally, are compelled to tell the truth. They really, really, need to stop explaining things.


Richardjaekelnolongerpossessedbyaghost.


Mostly because it's now possessing Tony instead. This is rather good, with the creeping about in darkness, faces largely obscured. Such drama can only mean that the control room lot will be butting in to ruin things at any moment.


Doug and the count run down dark and atmospheric corridors.


Tony/Nero advances after them.


At which point the control room lot zap him magically through the time tunnel with one million volts; the cure for possession, apparently. If it's only done for a millisecond, it won't be fatal. Allegedly. Although it was more like five seconds, but what's a little serious injury amongst friends. Tony then spends the rest of the episode unconscious. So thanks for that, control room lot.


They then try to get Tony back, and wholly predictably wind up with Nero instead. This means that the time tunnel turns into a wind tunnel for a bit. And that is all. And we lost Possessed!Tony for this?!


The HQ crew force Nero back into the time tunnel using flame throwers. Ghosts are scared of them, apparently.


Doug and Tony then meet an Italian soldier, who promptly gets nobbled by Nero's ghost, before revealing that his name is Mussolini. Quite possibly the worst explanation ever for a warmongering dictator. Let's just leave 1915 quietly behind, before I hit it with something.


This time the boys land in a tent in the desert, where a man proclaims himself to be named Joshua, leader of the Israelites. This immediately alerts everybody to the fact that they're in the middle of a Bible story. What, all those years of history, and there was only ever one leader called Joshua?! "Now we'll find out the truth!" announces General Kirk, causing an outbreak of cynicism from the scientific contingent.






Hmm. Call me picky, but "Scientist Is Unconvinced By Bible Story" isn't the most exciting cliffhanger that we've ever had.

Next time on The Time Tunnel, desert shenanigans by the walls of Jericho. Also idols. Of death, not pop, although I suppose some would argue that they're the same thing.

Just as long as there's no more dead emperors hiding inside fascist dictators. One of them is quite enough, thank you.

Comments

( 5 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
ladygretchen
Jun. 28th, 2011 06:56 pm (UTC)
You outdid yourself on this one. Loved the zingers and all the pictures! The mad kamikaze also played an older semi-mad Kaurana guard in Voyagers where he almost dumped Marco Polo's oil. lol. So was it the Time Tunnel and Irwin Allen that invented the concept of cowboys and aliens? ;) Maybe not, maybe the Twilight Zone, but I can't recall any episodes like that. I must have missed something, by why is it that the tunnel can recall every other historical personage including ghosts, but not Doug and Tony??

swordznsorcery
Jun. 29th, 2011 04:00 pm (UTC)
Your guess is as good as mine. I think the time tunnel has a warped sense of humour. Absolutely everything in the universe can be taken to 1968, except for Doug and Tony!
eandh99
Jun. 28th, 2011 09:04 pm (UTC)
those are the lamest aliens ever! Who's the actress who plays the scientist? I liked her.
swordznsorcery
Jun. 29th, 2011 03:53 pm (UTC)
Her name is Lee Meriwether. I don't recall seeing her in anything else, although certainly she's competent enough. Just forever mixed up in the really annoying bits of the plot!
eandh99
Jun. 29th, 2011 04:14 pm (UTC)
Oh, she's been in lots of things - Mission Impossible, Barnaby Jones. I knew she looked familiar.
( 5 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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