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"Flying Dutchman"

Episode 37

Airdate: 1976/10/23
Writer: John Cutts
Director: Joe Scanlan

Malak is lurking around in the dense fog by the swamp; Cha-Ka is also passing through the area. Cha-Ka stops playing his bamboo flute when he discovers a "magic eye" (a seaman's spyglass) lying on the ground. The Paku looks through it to see Malak's face; the angry barbarian demands that he hand over the scope. Cha-Ka refuses to forfeit his new toy and flees.

In the patio of the Temple, Uncle Jack demonstrates his home-made bolos, fabricated from coconuts tied together with thin vines. Cha-Ka arrives just when Uncle Jack tosses the bolo, but Holly's warning saves the Paku from getting "hit in the noggin". Cha-Ka promptly shows the spyglass to the Marshalls, whereupon Jack instantly makes the assessment that it is a century-old seaman's telescope. Holly excitedly postulates that long ago a sailor came through the time doorway, but Jack proposes that a ship could have just sailed in. Will questions the idea about a waterway leading into the Land (he should disprove his uncle's conjecture by mentioning that past exploration in the "Downstream" episode revealed the river as circular), but Jack considers it a possibility worth investigating. With quite a bit of daylight remaining, Uncle Jack leads the Marshall kids and Cha-Ka on a scouting expedition to foggy area near the swamp. Cha-Ka warns that he was chased by Malak, but Uncle Jack is confident that the four of them can deal with the barbarian.

On their way through the jungle, Cha-Ka peers through the glass; he falls over in panic when he sees Torchy belching out flames. The Marshalls assure him that he is safe, since the spyglass only makes things appear close-up. Once the family reaches the foggy spot where Cha-Ka found the telescope, they discover Malak's footprints trailing back and forth, as well as a sextant on the ground. As they explore deeper into what appears to be the dead-tree-filled Mist Marsh, they hear the voices of sailors shouting out orders. To their surprise, ahead in the fog lies a beached schooner. When the family approaches closer, Cha-Ka notices more of Malak's tracks; Uncle Jack calls out to any shipmates but receives no reply. Jack instructs Holly and Cha-Ka to wait behind while he and Will climb aboard the vessel. The men leave behind their packs, but bring the spyglass and sextant as peace offerings. They hear not a thing upon reaching the schooner, but find a gun-port on the ship's side which will allow them to crawl through. Once on deck, Jack again calls out "ahoy"; all of a sudden a net falls down on the men to ensnare them. A thin, bearded sailor wearing a three-cornered hat, a naval dress coat and wielding a sword comes out from below deck to accuse them of stowing aboard. Holly and Cha-Ka can only see that something has happened to Jack and Will; meanwhile, the men struggle under the net.

The sailor accuses his captives of conspiring with Malak, but Jack refutes the charges after identifying himself and Will. The sailor discredits Jack's claim, pointing out his scope and sextant they have in hand; Jack argues that Malak is their foe, and Will adds that they have no motive to lie. Just then Holly, accompanied by Cha-Ka, calls out in worry for her kin; the sailor is amazed to see them, and invites them aboard. Jack assures Holly that they he and Will are unhurt, and asks Cha-Ka to explain to their captive where the telescope came from. The Paku honestly states that he found it in the marsh; Holly adds that they found the sextant there, too. The sailor realizes that Malak must have dropped them while sneaking off with a sack full of his stolen goods, and apologizes to the men as he helps them out of the net. He introduces himself as Captain Ruben Vandemir, politely holding his arm out to shake hands with Uncle Jack. After Jack then introduces everyone one in his group, the Captain conveys his pleasure from having guests aboard his ship. He mentions something about Holly bearing an incredible resemblance, but graciously invites everyone to dine with him before he can explain.

Inside his quarters, Captain Vandemir shows the Marshalls a painting of his daughter Willemina, who is apparently the person that he feels Holly resembles. Holly asks the Captain about the sailor's voices they had heard while coming through the river bar, but he dismisses the sounds as hallucinations caused by nearby trees with narcissus-fragranced blossoms. Will finds the explanation suspicious since they would have had to hallucinate the same sounds, but his point is overlooked when the Captain's attention turns to the lightning of the coming storm. Meanwhile, Malak lurks around in the foggy marsh.

After the Captain leads the Marshalls back on deck to check the storm, Uncle Jack asks their host how his ship ended up in their Land. The Captain depicts the tale of "flying" waters off Bermuda when his vessel was swept into an uncharted current. A whirlpool formed, whereupon the schooner was drawn into the maelstrom; the frightened crew jumped overboard, but the Captain went down with his ship. The next thing he knew, his vessel was beached in the foggy marsh. Uncle Jack asks the Captain if his ship is fit to sail; he declares that it could be made so in short order if given enough help. Will enthusiastically volunteers his services. The Captain points out that he has the materials to repair the schooner, but notes that Malak has stolen his compass, navigation charts, ship's log and personal diary. Will informs the Captain that they know where Malak lives; Uncle Jack assures their host that they will reclaim his stolen items. The Captain is grateful for Uncle Jack's offer, and announces that he will keep Holly and Cha-Ka busy while the men recover his goods. Just after Jack and Will are out of sight through the marsh, Malak sneaks over to climb aboard the ship.

Cha-Ka ties down a rope on deck when Malak's sword is pointed at him; the barbarian threatens to hack up the Paku's work unless the telescope is brought to him. Cha-Ka has no choice but to comply with Malak's demand; while he sneaks over to the Captain's chamber, the barbarian examines a powder keg. Inside his quarters, the Captain is busy praising Holly's sewing of the sails; his preoccupation gives Cha-Ka the chance to pilfer the spyglass. The Paku tries to justify his presence by asking how many sails are left to sew, whereupon the Captain impatiently orders him to scale main mast to bring them another. Cha-Ka nervously addresses his superior with the affirmation "oi oi"; the Captain scolds him for mispronouncing "aye aye" and dismisses the Paku out of the room. Cha-Ka returns to the deck to forfeit the spyglass to Malak, who continues to look over the powderkeg he has found.

The night has fallen by the time Will and Jack close in on Malak's home; they hear what sounds like Sleestak following them. Will takes down a torch from the wall after lighting it, whereupon they find the place filled with stolen goods, but no Malak and no firewood. Will wonders why the barbarian stole a cannon; noticing the hand-wrought ironwork that Malak has made himself, Jack's best guess is that he planned to melt it down. Just then Malak returns with the powderkeg, at first threatening the intruders with his sword, but upon realizing it is the Marshalls, he doesn't even bother to throw them out ("You are not worthy of soiling my sword", he says). Jack offers Malak the chance to escape the Land, inviting him to join them and the Captain in an attempt to sail the schooner; Malak, however, simply laughs off the plan, calling them mad to consider sailing the rotting vessel. To Will's surprise, the barbarian is content where he is, feeling like a god of all he surveys and simply taking whatever he wants. Jack advises Will that they gather up the stolen gear and leave but Malak blocks the doorway, threatening to dismember any hand taking "his" goods. Suddenly through the doorway, a band of Sleestak grab the barbarian, but Will fends them off with the torch when Malak calls for the Marshall's help. Jack points out that the Sleestak must be aware that lodge is out of firewood, since the creatures hide out in the brush, waiting for the torch to burn out. Uncle Jack asks Malak if he realizes what is contained in the powder keg he stole; the barbarian assumed it was food, but Jack lets him know that he is luckier than that. Jack proposes a deal in which he and Will can take back the stolen booty, if in exchange he shows the barbarian how to ward off the Sleestak for good. Admitting that his torch wanes, Malak agrees to hear the offer. Will rolls the mini-cannon over to the door, where Jack loads it with powder; on Jack's command, Will lights the cannon, whereupon it shoots out at the Sleestak and scares them away (funny how they didn't bother to put in a projectile, or even pack down the powder). The Marshalls grab the gear and run out of Malak's lodge, leaving the amazed barbarian to examine the freshly-fired cannon. Though they rush through the jungle the Sleestak are close behind them, so Jack whirls his new bolo at the their ankles, causing the clumsy clod-hopping creatures to fumble to the ground.

Back safely at the ship, Jack helps with the sails. In the moonlight, the Captain observes that rain has begun to fall on the hills in the distance, and notes that with the strong wind and a current in their favor, they should be able to set sail before dawn. When Cha-Ka reports to the Captain for his next task, Vandemir instructs Jack and Will to accompany the Paku to fill a basket at the grove of fruit and nut trees that lies just beyond the riverbed, for protection against scurvy at sea. As they finish filling the large, cubical basket with fruit from the grove, Cha-Ka urges the men to hurry, but they are preoccupied with the Captain's peculiarity; in particular, Jack points out that he won't set foot off his ship. While Will is tying up the basket, Uncle Jack notices that the Captain's diary, which they recovered from Malak's lair, is still in his nephew's pocket. Jack voices that he normally disapproves of meddling in the private affairs of others, but in this situation decides to read the Captain's diary. His worst fears come true when he discovers Captain Vandemir'a true identity: he is the very captain convicted of dereliction on the high seas and sentenced to eternal solitary duty on the Flying Dutchman! Will is astonished that the old legend is really true; Cha-Ka doesn't quite understand what the diary has revealed. After Jack emphasizes how the Captain and his cursed ship can never return to port or home, Will realizes that Holly is still on board!

While the gentle Captain checks in on Holly mending the sails, he asks her if she likes him and his sailing vessel. Holly responds cheerfully that the Captain is "super", which pleases him, though he notes that his long voyages can be lonely. He offers Holly to join him in a sail around the world, and after she eagerly agrees, the Captain goes on to fantasize of "a long, long journey, reading at night by lantern light, watching the gulls and clouds by day, faraway ports, strange islands ...". Holly has finished mending the last sail and is tired, so the Captain suggests that she take a nap before their voyage. He offers her a drink of an elixir that will settle her stomach and make her sleep more soundly; after sniffing the cup that the Captain has poured for her, Holly downs the potion and hops onto the bed for her nap. Vandemir then gives Holly a gift -- a beautiful golden pendant which she is thankful for receiving.

Out in the misty marsh, Jack, Will and Cha-Ka head back to the ship. After stopping a moment to listen to the sounds of the ghost crew, Jack realizes the Captain is ordering the final preparations for the ship to set sail. Will notes that it can't leave yet since the rains haven't arrived, but Uncle Jack realizes the legendary ship's true power: the Dutchman flies! He orders Will and Cha-Ka to stay behind; he'll rush to the ship and get Holly before it's too late. When he arrives at the vessel, its already-raised sails begin to fill in the wind; he calls out to his niece, but she is under a deep sleep. Jack climbs onto the deck, and informs Vandemir that he read his diary; when Jack demands to know where Holly is, the Captain humbly reveals that she is sleeping in his quarters. When Uncle Jack returns to the deck with his sedated niece in his arms, the guilty but honorable Captain confesses his shame and apologizes for what he has done. Vandemir reflects upon his voyages being so terribly lonely; Uncle Jack responds that he understands, and hastily bids the Captain good sailing. After a brief moment of introspection, Vandemir orders the anchor raised. Uncle Jack makes it back with Holly to Will and Cha-Ka in the marsh, and Holly awakens just in time to see the Dutchman take flight. Captain Vandemir yells goodbye to his friends and quietly bids farewell to his "sweet Holly". The ghostly Flying Dutchman rises up from the marsh and flies away into the mist.

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