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"The Search"

Episode 11

Airdate: 1974/11/16
Writer: Ben Bova
Director: Dennis Steinmetz

Since Big Alice is sharply on guard, the Marshalls are unable to enter the Lost City to harvest its precious light-crystals. They are about to head home when Will spots a glistening light through the jungle foliage. Dad agrees to investigate if the children stick closely behind him and behave.

Further investigation reveals a crystal-studded outcropping up a foggy slope. After Dad demonstrates the blinding light created by joining green and yellow crystals, Will becomes excited about finding the combination generating a force-field to shock the Sleestak, but his father quick to warn his son about the power and potential dangers of using the jewels. Momentarily they become distracted when they hear the sound of Enik's time-doorway machine; though the kids want desperately to join the Altrusian in his efforts, especially since the noise has scared Big Alice away, Dad not only reminds them about Enik's request for solitude, but insists that going down there is too dangerous. Will points out that they have the crystals to protect them, although he can't seem to remember the force-field combination, so Dad agrees to experiment.

Dad's first attempt, a red and yellow combination, promptly explodes; he repeats his earlier warning, citing this example. Blue with green strangely yields no result (this is the correct force-field combination -- were these particular jewels defective? Or did they fail to keep in contact?), as does red with blue. When Dad adds a yellow with the red and blue stones, he receives a fierce, electrifying shock.

Will and Holly rush to their father's side, screaming in terror over what has just happened. Dad is nearly paralyzed; the jolt has drained his strength. Alice's roar convinces Dad that they've got to return to the cave quickly. When his children have difficulty lifting him, he selflessly urges them to go back alone while they still can, but Will and Holly tearfully refuse to leave their father. Another bellow from Big Alice nearly sends Holly fleeing for her life, but she then realizes that they need some external help. Will proposes that Enik could help them, and against Dad's advice, his son volunteers to fetch Enik once they've brought Dad back to High Bluff. Holly argues that there just isn't time for that, and insists she that could take Dad back if Will would go directly to the Lost City. In a desperate rush, Will runs off seeking the Altrusian's aid.

Will experiences difficulty getting by Big Alice; he is forced to take cover between the fragments of the fallen pillar during an unsuccessful attempt to cross the plaza. Meanwhile, Holly has managed to drag her father back to the cave, where she loads him onto a bamboo basket, roped to a pulley over the cave mouth. No sooner than Dad is set in the basket do they hear Grumpy's growl nearby, so Holly rushes up to the entrance to pull Dad up. When she cannot do so, Dad gathers his strength to mutter "counterweight, counterbalance", which suffices to get his point across.

In the Lost City, Will carefully manages to sneak through the tunnels without encountering any Sleestak. Holly, on the other hand, is busy loading up her basket with backpacks and rocks, but jumps into the basket when her time runs out. She manages to get Dad's basket up onto the ledge, and they are spared when a coelophysis dashes by, drawing Grumpy away for the moment. Will presses on, encouraged by the humming of the time doorway.

As Holly tends to her father, she explains that Will has gone for Enik in the Lost City. Dad tries to get up in an emotional, protective response to save his son from danger; after Holly holds him back, Dad admires his daughter's determination, and they share a moment remembering their late mother.

Will enters Enik's chamber just as the Altrusian is completing the final sequence to open the dimensional doorway. Enik ignores Will's pleas for help, explaining that the doorway may open unto his world for a few moments only; he may never get another chance. Will becomes angry, demanding that the Altrusian return the favor he owes to the Marshalls, but Enik repels Will's aggressive approach with a force field, stating that he had forced the Marshalls to help him and denies any obligation to the family. The Altrusian points out that he must make a choice between helping Will's father and returning home; Enik chooses to return home to his own world.

It isn't long before Grumpy is back at High Bluff, bellowing at the cave's entrance. Holly shows Dad that she can take care of herself as she tumbles a handful of crystals toward the beast, which detonate in his face and drive him back into the jungle. Though the tyrannosaur has been taken care of, Dad continues to weaken; Holly clings tearfully to her father as he holds on for dear life.

The activation of the dimensional doorway reaches a critical phase, upon which it starts moving through time and space. It opens into the Marshall's world, where Enik orders Will to enter; the Altrusian can only hold open the doorway for a few moments. Enik becomes enraged, then feels shamed when Will refuses to pass through without his family; to Will's surprise, the Altrusian deactivates the doorway, giving up his own chance to return home. Although Enik is perplexed by Will's sacrifice, according to Altrusian law, his own sacrifice must be the greater; he requests Will show him the way to his father's cave.

As Enik heals Dad with two white, elongated, humming crystals by gyrating them around his temples, the Altrusian explains that touching the stones released an excess of energy into his body, sending him into a near-fatal state of shock. When Dad thanks Enik for sacrificing his chance to get home, the Altrusian sternly corrects him: he states that he was forced to do so, that it was Will's sacrifice that saved his father's life. As Enik marches out, the family hopes the best for him, but Dad also commends his children for their efforts, recognizing their growing maturity and independence.

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