Directed by Don McDougall
Synopsis: Burke and Virdon are faced with having to fight to the death when they are captured, and the Ape Prefect amuses himself by staging gladiator-style fights between the humans in his village.
What a villain! I think Mark Lenard is getting slightly more comfortable in his ape makeup.
Trey: They definitely deliver some moves worthy of James Kirk. Clearly that unorthodox fighting style was already being taught in the alternative 1980 they rocketed from.
Anyway. the melee is broken up by the arrival of an ape on horseback, forcing our heroes to flee. To their horror, the ape immediately finds the flight data disk Burke dropped during the fight. Burke's convinced that the information encoded on the disk might somehow provide a means to return to the past and will risk anything to retrieve it, despite the protests of Galen and Virdon. Plot device detected!
Trey: Yes, well, said device is in the hands of Prefect Barlow now. He's an interesting character to me. I suspect he read more positively in 1974 than in 2023. Clearly, he's meant to be "one of the good ones." He treats the humans rather benignly, and rather paternalistically. And in the end, he can change for the better! But he's still an uncritical participant in the system of ape supremacy--and he forces or at the very least strongly encourages and facilitates death sports as a means of social control over the human population. Compared to Urko he's a good guy, but it's really only his means that vary, not his ends.
Trey: I think part of his charm is his portrayal by John Hoyt. Hoyt's been in a lot of stuff, but I remember him most as "Bones" Boyce, the doctor and bartender on the Enterprise in the original Star Trek pilot, "The Cage."
Jason: They get the job done, at least.
Trey: Unlike Urko's minions! But what elevate this a bit, I think, is the need to deal with the fact that the world is the way it is because of human violence. In the face of that truth, Dalton's pacifist turn seems perhaps more necessary, and more believable.
Also, I liked the honesty of Virdon's reply when Barlow asks him if the ancient world was better. Also he can say, with a resigned expression on his face is: "it was different."