Land of the Lost 1.8 – Skylons

On the surface, this episode of Land of the Lost is pretty light on plot. Will and Holly get inside a pylon for the first time – in fairness, they had no reason to think that the pylons contain anything, never mind that they’re bigger on the inside and have a table full of colored jewels waiting to be manipulated – press the wrong gems, mess with the weather, and are advised by strange lights in the sky how to fix things. But it’s triumphantly effective, and had Daniel petrified.

It’s Dick Morgan’s second script for the show, and it’s got lots of dinosaur business. This time out, the stakes get much higher: Grumpy attacks and kills a coelophysis. We’ve never seen this before, and the effect on a four year-old is thunderous. Now that Daniel knows that Grumpy is capable of killing the things that he chases, all of the dinosaurs became a much greater threat in tonight’s episode. Even the “stampede” of three plant-eating dinosaurs, which really looks for all the world like three old pals out enjoying a gentle romp in the woods, had him climbing over his mommy for protection.

The episode is directed again by Bob Lally, and there are some huge technical goofs, including a very clumsy series of edits right at the second commercial break, when a tree falls on Will, and he was unable to shoot the pylon in a long enough shot to mask that it’s actually right next to the kids, and not a half-mile or so away as the script implies. But as with his previous two stories, he really brings out the best in the actors, who seem genuinely afraid, frightened by the thunderstorm and baffled by the new technology. The youngest viewers feel that fear. This is great stuff.

Technology note: the sequence to repair the damage to the weather is yellow, green, red, blue.

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