LAND OF THE GIANTS-Underground
WRITER-ELLIS ST. JOSEPH
Steve, Barry with Chipper, and Mark hide at a rock with an ear ring they can use as a clamp. A giant leaves a message for another--who is shot at and wounded by police. The police get the message and the giant almost gets the three Earth people and the dog, who take refuge under an outcropping of wood, rock, and bush. The giant reaches down for them.
More guards scare off the giant; Mark retrieves his ear ring and they head back to camp. It is night by the time they get back, dousing the fire. Steve orders the fire out, the port shields over the windows closed (to Barry), and the ship lights out. Steve tells Mark to fill the others in when Fitzhugh protests about their dinner. Dan calls from the outpost--police are all over the forest. Barry alerts Capt. Burton about a call from spaceship RFX23, a Capt. Hartman who obliges to take them back to Earth. Giants surround Spindrift but move on searching for another giant. They were very close to the tiny ship but didn't see it. Hartman mistakenly calls Burton, Burke. He tells them his spaceship is at a lightning blasted tree. Dan surprises Mark at the door of the ship; Mark has the razor in case he needed it against something that was making the noise. The others chide Dan about the news and at first he thinks they are fooling around. When Hartman asks for the ship's position to send his crew out to meet them (he wants to take off and land at Hadley Space Center soon), Steve gets suspicious. He puts the man off, telling him they will have to wait. This draws flak from all the others who follow Steve outside. He calmly explains his decision--it could be a trap--Hadley Space Center was closed down a few years ago. Mark suggests asking him questions about earth (baseball and the city of Brotherly Love). Steve won't--it could give giants time to triangulate the signal and track them down. Betty suggests they turn in, "Tomorrow could be a big day." Fitzhugh leaves when he thinks everyone is asleep but he meets Valerie in the woods, "Are you following me? She answers, "You have it all wrong--men follow me." They are going to try to convince Hartman to wait. Steve comes out, putting his jacket on. Betty woke up and found Val gone. Steve stops Val and Fitzhugh from behind; Val tells him, "We meant well, captain." Steve says, "We'll cover that later." Dan is back scouting the area. He watches as the same giant Steve saw with Barry and Mark earlier, drops a pencil holder over the trio. Val and Fitzhugh scream and then they see only blackness.
The giant turns the holder upright. The giant, Gorak, faked Hartman using information gathered from the real Capt. Hartman's spacecraft which crashed near Gorak's home three years ago. Hartman and his crew all died in the crash. A teacher at the university, Gorak's secret quarters are set up in this hidden cave and he puts the trio in a deep wooden crate. Fitzhugh tells him he's always held liars as the most contemptuous of people (he has?). The messenger Steve saw, died in custody before he could be interrogated. The message the police now have is a list of 20 dedicated, decent people who belong to a freedom underground organization, sworn to destroying totalitarian government on the planet. The Secret Police have the letter in a vault in the Security Building. Gorak captures Dan when Dan tries to free the other three, trapping Dan at the crate.
Mark makes light of Dan's order to remain with the ship, scoffing at Betty, "And who's Dan?" He breaks orders and follows. Betty and Barry follow him into the cave against his own order to remain. When he tells them he thought he told them to wait outside, Betty says, "Oh, and since when did following orders mean anything to you." Gorak is gone, allowing Dan and Steve to inspect the vault area via the drain pipe and vent system. They find the outside of the vault has an alarm system that almost touches the floor. Trying to get into the vault vent, they find fallen rocks and boulders blocking it. Gorak allows Fitzhugh down from his satchel to help but they cannot move the obstruction. Steve has an idea to mail a package into the vault. When Gorak asks which of them will be mailed...Steve explains the one with the most experience with combination locks, then looks at Fitzhugh, "How bout it?" Fitzhugh refuses, making comments about being mailed like a common cheese. Later, he is lying in a shoe box ready to be mailed...and making sarcastic comments. In the box with Fitzhugh are matches, his walkie talkie (another of which Steve puts in Gorak's huge fingers), and a razor blade to cut his way out ("also to cut my throat" Fitz comments). Fitzhugh also said, "More paraphernalia...soon there will no room in here left for me." Gorak, in a mailman's uniform, delivers the package (which Fitzhugh told him to mark "fragile"). Gorak carries all the others in his mailbag and deposits them into the vent--they seem to be helping him without his threatening the "hostages" routine. The others begin to unblock the seepage obstruction, working by a giant candle light. Steve sends Barry to check that the package was received by the giant guard. The boy watches in horror as the guard carrying the box--drops it--and it is just caught by one of the vault guards. Barry reports this to Steve. Steve calls Fitzhugh--the drop rendered him unconscious but it looks as if he's dead, tongue out, eyes open!
Gorak is being called by Steve over the walkie talkie but can't answer: a guard is holding a rifle on him. Gorak knocks him out and his calls over Fitzhugh's radio bring the two guards into the vault room where the package now lays. This enables Dan and Steve to slip under the electric eye alarm system and get into the vault room themselves. The guards begin to unwrap Fitzhugh's package just as the con man awakens, dazed but alive. Fitzhugh's box is pushed to the floor by him as Dan and Steve set a fire using the wrappings. The giant guards spot the two pilots and begin searching. Fitzhugh gets out of his box and hides behind mail. A fallen lock box with blocks Dan and Steve from the vent. The two men end up backed into a corner, trapped as the giant guards reach huge hands at them. "We've captured two of them," guard (Patterson) says. Dan says, "Steve!" Steve gasps, "We're trapped!"
Gorak arrives, setting off the alarms, and shooting the two guards with the rifle he took. They also get off a shot which downs Gorak, wounding him fatally. He lives only long enough to shoot off the vault lock box and see the little people burn the incriminating letter and to scatter its ashes. The others are finally able to unplug the drain and together they move the blocking box. The seven of the Earthlings run into the woods. They stop for a breather. Steve tells them Gorak was, "A great man. A giant even among giants." Now early morning, the group walk off.
REVIEW: Prominent 60s guest star John Abbott made this episode worth watching. His formal dignity and stern yet compassionate way made his character real and sympathetic. No small nod should go to Kurt Kasznar who allows Fitzhugh to use many humorous lines without it seeming silly, dominant, or out of context. He is better than usual but is almost always excellent as Fitzhugh anyhow. This episode, if you stretch it, suggests a subtle relationship between Val and Mark--they seem to be with each other more; if you look closely, Betty and Steve were also together more than usual. Clothes wise, under their jackets, Dan and Steve wore short sleeve shirts (Dan--red; Steve-gray). Later on, possibly the second season, Steve would wear a long sleeved gray undershirt (GRAVEYARD OF FOOLS). Lance LeGault, one of the searching giants, would later chase Eric Cord in the FOX series WEREWOLF. Paul Trinka was Patterson in VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA. This episode, more than any other of the early ones, more than hinted at the government of the giants. At least in the country the Spindrift group were stranded in, the government was totalitarian. Some new music was added to the previously used William's and Steven's tunes. One flaw is that Spindrift, while supposed to be camouflaged and having its lights off at night, is fully lit up (at least by the bubble light) while the forest is alive with giant police searching. This episode, THE FLIGHT PLAN, WEIRD WORLD, THE GOLDEN CAGE, and THE CREED end with more pessimism than usual. This one had that depressant, brooding aspect to it--which is fine once in awhile. A few of these endings reminded me of the brooding endings of some of the first season SPACE: 1999's. There is that same aspect of survival with just a twinge of hope left in both shows. Another good argument for having production order viewing is that after the cooperative aide Fitzhugh was in UNDERGROUND, he would never revert to the sly con man of THE WEIRD WORLD---where he would want to leave the others behind on the planet while making an escape to Earth with Kagan, lying to the man. The air order would have us believe he would--UNDERGROUND comes before THE WEIRD WORLD air order-wise. A close up of Gorak's fingers taking the walkie talkie is a full scale giant hand with movable fingers--it does not look like the full hand used in the other episodes.