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"Fair Trade"

Episode 20

Airdate: 1975/09/20
Writer: Bill Keenan
Director: Bob Lally

Using a small pick, the Sleestak chip away at the ceiling of a cave passage below a clearing in the jungle. They then thrust a long conical "periscope" (apparently made from a hollowed stalactite) through to the surface, taking turns peering into it. They spot a multicolored pig (apparently their intended prey), but Ta wanders into the clearing, complicating matters. Ta is startled by the spray-painted sow, dropping the fruit he is snacking on. He threatens the "emu" with a good-sized rock, but when the wild beast charges, Ta flees. The Sleestak look at each other, giving the best possible expression they can of bewilderment and frustration. as if some plan of theirs has been foiled.

Will and Holly are working away near the base of High Bluff; Will sharpens his newly made knife on a grindstone, while Holly experiments with her clairvoyant pendant. Holly enjoys wearing a previously unseen pink hair-ribbon; undoubtedly, it must play some important role in the story. Ta comes running out of the jungle, having escaped the wild boar; Will interprets the Paku's arrival as a friendly visit. After greeting the Marshall children in his own language, Ta envies Will's new knife, even asking him if it could "push a pig". When Will's back is partially turned to reach for some knife oil, Ta aptly swipes the blade; Will witnesses the act from the corner of his eye and sternly recommends that the Paku return the pilfered item. Ta reluctantly reveals the knife that he had held behind his back, feigning surprise and innocence.

Just then, Holly views Dad step into a jungle clearing, where the ground suddenly caves in below him. Dad has been knocked unconscious, so the pendant has gone blank, but Holly is able to adequately describe to her brother what she saw. She is confident that their father was on the main trail at the time, so they rush out to his aid. To Ta's displeasure, Will took his new knife with him.

The Sleestak step down (from a prop suspiciously similar to the one leading up to the Marshalls' cave) into the passage where Dad lay; their hissing awakens him. The Sleestak try to grab him, but Dad quickly realizes that they will not step into the brightness below the hole since their eyes cannot take the direct sunlight. Will and Holly rush through the jungle with a yellow plastic rope, stopping for a moment to plan their next move. Will scouts ahead to search for what Dad may have fallen into, while Holly attempts contact through her pendant; both make immediate discoveries. They move ahead where the cave-in hole lies in the path, with Will cautiously approaching the edge. Will makes voice contact with his father, who is unhurt; Dad explains that he is surrounded by Sleestak waiting for the sun to set to capture him. Will is about to lower down a rope when his is interrupted by Grumpy chasing Spot (at a speed considerably higher than shown in previous episodes) back and forth several times through the clearing. On the third interruption, Grumpy gets stuck when his leg plunges into the hole.

After the kids retreat to a safe distance, Holly describes to Will how the view through the pendant shifted; it first appeared to move down a passage, then all went dark. They infer that Dad wasn't squashed under Grumpy, but instead had been captured by the Sleestak, who must have taken the pendant from him. Holly proposes seeking Enik's help, so they dash off for the Lost City.

In the matrix table chamber, Will and Holly call out for the Altrusian. When Enik appears, he is upset that his solitude needed to cope with the very mysteries of the universe has been disrupted. The kids explain that Dad has been captured by the Sleestak, but Enik responds by stating that their father's fate is not his affair; he must concern himself with conquering the time continuum and returning to his own world. Will pressures Enik by reminding him of his mission to enlighten his people about compassion, and that he should practice what he preaches; noting that Will possesses his father's ways of persuasion, the wise Altrusian agrees to offer assistance. When Will explains their request for Enik to help them locate and rescue their father, the Altrusian volunteers to go to the Library of Skulls to find Rick Marshall, but to respect Sleestak law, he will not aid in the rescue. He calls the children fools, insisting that they will only see their father again if the Sleestak wish to release him. Enik instructs the children to remain in the matrix chamber until he returns.

Enik soon arrives in the Library of Skulls, a foggy cavern containing glowing Sleestak skulls and urns on pedestals and ledges. The Altrusian approaches a pendant-wearing Sleestak and asks out of compassion for a fellow being to learn the fate of the intruder named Marshall. With the wave of his claw, the Sleestak Librarian summons a clairvoyant mist from an urn near an alcove. In the mist it is revealed that Dad fell through during a cave-in, was captured by the Sleestak, and is held prisoner in the Egg Cave. Enik notes now the nursery has become more simple in the past millennium; the librarian holds his claw to his chest, apparently surprised by the Altrusian's time travel. In the foggy nursery, the eggs twitch as they lay in moss nests upon stone blocks; tied to a pillar, Dad awaits his fate.

Enik returns to the matrix chamber, where Will is examining the grid-like device Enik had brought in earlier; the Altrusian's sudden presence startles Holly. Enik relays the knowledge revealed to him: Dad fell into a trap meant for a pig, and now must take the place of that pig as nourishment for the newborn Sleestak when they hatch. Will promises to rescue Dad to soothe his upset sister, but Enik considers the success of such an attempt doubtful; however, the Altrusian does propose an alternative. While in the Library, Enik managed to penetrate the colossal smoke of ignorance surrounding the Sleestak Council; after much arguing, the Council agreed to consider trading a very large, mature pig, their intended catch, for Dad. After Holly pesters him more, Enik notes that the time of the newborn grows near; if they are to save their father, Will and Holly must do so before the setting of the sun. The Altrusian insists that they disturb him no more, so the kids have to choice but to attempt the trade on their own.

During a rest from rushing through the jungle, Holly notices that although the cave-in hole is nearby, they don't hear a peep from Grumpy. Further investigation confirms that Grumpy had gotten free; the kids can use the hole as a trap rather than going all the way back to their cave for one. The passage below most likely leads to the Sleestak Egg Cave, so the kids excitedly begin camouflaging the opening.

Holly has covered the hole with palm fronds, while Will has hung a lasso-ended rope over it from a tree branch. When Will says next that they need some bait, Holly proposes some melons she has gathered. Her brother points out that they are too common; they need something special to tempt the animal. Just then, Ta drops by, giving Will an idea. Quickly putting away his knife, Will greets Ta as "amura" (friend) and invites the Paku to try out his "swing". Holly promptly questions the ethical grounds of using Ta for bait, but Will responds with a convincing argument: pigs and Pakuni are natural enemies, thus provoking a pig to charge at Ta on sight; besides, the pig will fall into the trap before even reaching their Pakuni friend. Holly and Will each describe how to swing on the rope, but Ta stubbornly refuses; even after letting Ta wear Holly's ribbon, her signalling mirror and Will's vest, the Paku still won't cooperate (wearing Will's leather vest, Ta looks like a walk-on for a "Planet of the Apes" movie). Will even tries cutting open a fresh melon and offers the Paku a half, but Ta still hesitates; Holly points out that what Ta really wants is Will's brand new knife. Will clings to his knife, reminding Holly that it took three weeks to make; anyway, he needs to save it as a last resort. Will begins to hand over the knife to Ta, but then rescinds the offer, much to Holly's frustration. The temptation, however, worked: Ta steps into the loop. Keeping his honor, Will painfully gives up his knife to complete the deal. Before Ta can change his mind, Will tightens the loop, and by pulling in the slack, raises the Paku up off the ground.

After waiting for the remainder of the afternoon, Will can stand by no longer, so he arms himself with a heavy stick in preparation to rescue Dad. While arguing with Holly for her to stay behind, they hear a pig approaching. As planned, the fat painted sow charges at Ta and falls right into the trap. Ta (who never really swung on the rope) calls out in fright to his "amurani" (friends), but Will and Holly leave him hanging as they climb down into the cave passage below.

The kids prod the unhurt pig down the tunnel, but are soon captured by Sleestak. At Will's request, they are brought to the Sleestak Leader at the Egg Cave. Will demands that the Sleestak keep their end of the bargain by promptly releasing his father. After the Leader shoos the pig into the nursery, Dad is allowed to go free; following Dad's recommendation, the family escapes while they still have the chance.

On their way back through the jungle, Dad thanks his children for rescuing him. To make a corny ending, Will isn't sure they made such a good deal; pound for pound, the pig weighed twice as much as his father!

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