Land of the Lost 1.6 – The Stranger

One reason I wanted to be sure and capture some images of Walker Edmiston in other roles without a costume is because, for a generation, this is what he looks like. Enik appears here to be a one-off character, but come on, with all the money troubles that Sid and Marty Krofft had, no way was this costume not coming back to be used again.

Anyway, I’ve mentioned Star Trek several times while discussing Land, and tonight’s episode is by leagues the most Trek-like of this series. It’s written by Walter Koenig, who had played Chekov in that show and had become a screenwriter as well, and had written for Filmation’s Trek cartoon the previous year.

This episode really embodies all the Star Trek aspirations of respect for other lifeforms, and compassion, and keeping anger in check. It’s also got a whammy of a twist that, unsurprisingly, Daniel is too young to appreciate. Enik had told the Marshalls that he is from the future of this land, and that the Sleestak are the barbaric ancestors of his people. But when they go to the Lost City, he realizes that he is actually from the past. The Sleestak are what his people are going to devolve into, and all of the crystal-based scientific knowledge of his universe will be lost as anger and spite wins out.

The script is a little clunky, and Will and Holly are super-annoying as they squabble, all the better to emphasize the pent-up anger issues of the storyline, and Will taking Enik’s pendant, which might hold a key to activating a time doorway. It builds to a genuinely horrifying climax as Enik uses a strange gas, or mist, to make the Marshalls hallucinate and see their worst fears to get back his pendant, and they completely freak out, screaming in terror. It’s downright eye-popping. You cannot imagine anything remotely like this scene on children’s television today, but it also foreshadows some of the wild, hallucinatory things to come in this show.

Technology note: this time out, touching one blue and one green crystal together creates a short-lived forcefield.

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