RETURN OF INIDU
A fierce lightning storm hits the forest with heavy winds that threaten Valerie, Fitzhugh, Steve, Dan and Mark. While Val worries about the others back at the ship, the five of them take refuge in an old, nearly forgotten house. Inside the spooky place, they encounter a glowing pulsating spark and then a giant ghost!
Escaping the sheet like ghost in a rat hole, they overhear two boys taunt the ghost to get them and it leaves. The five also leave but run right into the giant boys-Torg and Grot. The five scatter but Fitz, Mark, and Steve are rounded up and cornered. Grot tries to shove a pointed stick through Fitz to prove he is not a spook. Torg almost gets Val and Dan but a huge green wraith like apparition of Steve scares the bullies off. Then a laughing, caped figure with a hat on, scoops the three men into his hat and saunters them off to the house. Dan and Val, confused and scared, start out to the house themselves but a giant hawk lands on a rock just above them, pinning them down for awhile even though Val is panicking, fearing they will be eaten alive. Driving, a man hears a news report of little spooks in the woods. The man, a giant magician, puts the men down. When they wake up, the giant reaches down at them. Steve sticks him with a needle. The man points at Steve and Steve vanishes!
Fitz tries to warn Mark about what the giant did to Steve. The giant, Inidu tells him Steve is safe--in a jar. He brings Steve to them and lets him out. Val and Dan bumble their rescue when Val bumps into a tape recorder hidden in a smaller mouse hole. Inidu tells them he means them no harm and using his magic, teleports Val and Dan to the crate-table where the other three are. They tell him about the others and Inidu gives them a lollipop for Barry, putting it away for safe keeping until later. He explains his flight from the police and his need to hide in the woods: two years ago, a voluneteer from his audience died in a performance trick and Inidu was convicted on an involuntary murder charge. He escaped to play small gigs incognito to help financially support the wife and three small boys of the man who died. The victim's family does not know where the money comes from. Inidu shows Fitzhugh a few tricks, including the green smoke effect he used to rescue them from the bully boy giants. Inidu teleports them all down to the floor so he can go out and cover up any evidence of his earlier trick outside. Now Val feels the house is cozy. The giant from the car, Enog comes in the door.
Enog, the man giant, comes in and starts ransacking the place, looking for something. The others gather round and scare him out since Inidu's magic wand was out in the open where he could see it. They use the tape of ghostly sounds Inidu uses to scare people away. They also put out the candle and add Val's and Fitz's own ghostly sounds to the tape's. They joke about it until Inidu returns--with Enog as his friend. Enog is his former apprentice and he keeps asking about Inidu's book of magic which he feels he has a right to since he is his heir. Inidu tells him about the tape machine and they prepare a toast. Enog asks Inidu to see a poster of him from the old days--and poisons his drink. Mark points up to it, "Steve, if Inidu drinks that, he'll die!"
Steve pulls the table cloth off the crate and the drink spills; Dan and Mark warn Inidu with a sign that the drink was poison. Inidu must make sure Enog is a worthy successor to get the magic book of tricks. They perform tricks: a rope trick is one of them--it is turned into a snake which, while the giants argue and debate about the book, crawls at the rat hole the little Earthlings are in. Inidu changes it back to stiff ropes just in time. When Inidu tells Enog to leave, he changed his mind about letting him have the book, Enog slaps him around and then ties him to a chair. Trying to free him, Dan and Mark are caught; Val, complaining a lot this time about being left behind so often, goes out and gets the hatchet--which Dan and Mark dropped out in the open---to Steve. Val, however is caught also and Enog threatens to crush "the pretty little thing" in his hands.
Enog gets the book but plans to do away with both Inidu and the three captives. Steve runs toward the chair to cut Inidu free as Fitzhugh makes the ghost effect of himself as a giant appear. The ghost yells out, "Murder!" Two police that they had heard outside come in and as Enog tries to bluff his way out of it--telling them Inidu is a wanted man, Fitzhugh plays the tape of Enog's earlier confession to Inidu: Enog caused the trick to fail--it was no accident--he killed that man in the trick to get Inidu out of the way to get the book. Steve had cut Inidu free and he teleports Val, Dan, and Mark out of the jar Enog put them in. The five little Earthlings slip out under the door into the now sunny outside. The police put Enog under arrest. As they head back to the ship, Barry's lollypop appears in Fitzhugh's hands.
RETURN OF INIDU REVIEW
This is an entertaining tale on a slightly different vein. It was fun, if somewhat juvenile. When I was much younger, I really enjoyed it much more--it was close to being one of my favorites. Perhaps it is because this one toys with the pseudo-supernatural, at first claiming to have ghosts and magic working, later to be explained away as tricks and gimmicks. In truth, Inidu's magic teleporting and transformation of the rope-snake is not possible--it is pure fantasy. None of his other, lesser tricks are explained. Frankly, this one would worry me if I saw it as an adult. It is really the first time some outlandish events landed in the show and the obvious links to LOST IN SPACE (especially the pop sound effect when someone appears from and disappears into thin air) helped one feel comfortable and familiar but also seemed to say that the series would get increasingly like the campy episodes of LOST IN SPACE, which thankfully it did not. Also, This is the first episode, production wise, without Barry. Betty was also not seen and this is the second time she was absent (in production order). At least the characters here give some explanation as to where Barry and Betty are and seem to worry about their safety back at the ship (there are about three or four references to both Barry or Barry and Betty together). Future episodes would not.
Despite all this, the episode works for a number reasons. Jack Albertson of the series CHICO AND THE MAN, always uplifting and charming, lends a very likable feel to the show. He is very good at a number of emotions and makes us believe his story. The haunted house locale is a great one: isolated and having to be chosen as a hiding place from the storm, it is eerie throughout the show, even after we find out it is haunted by the friendly Inidu. I also liked the second type plot of having the five Earth people having to scare Enog off. Then comes another plot of him looking for Indiu's book. There is a lot going on that makes sense here which causes us to overlook the faults. The five regulars are again, excellent in their roles, very comfortable playing them. Val is her ususual self assured, aggressive persona in this one, resisting the men's orders as well as the limitations they put on her. She refuses to "always wait here." But she admits to Fitz that she was born a foolish girl--obviously interpreting foolish as interesting and daring and not boring. Her frailty at having had enough is evident in the excellently photographed hawk attack sequence. Dan and Val's confusion is well acted as they move back toward the house to find the other three. Steve's anger at Val as she comes out of the rat hole to help him is well played as he yells at her--having to keep it low--and harshly grabs her and throws her back toward safety--which of course she doesn't do--but gets herself caught--also getting the hatchet to Steve. The subtle Val-Mark friendship appears to be more than just a friendship and more a deeper relationship. He protects her by putting an arm around her in an early scence and she willingly cowers into his protection. At this point in the series they are together much more often than before.
Peter Haskell, a very serious performer, added a sneaking menace to this episode, a somewhat different villain for GIANTS up to now. It was a nice change to have a giant out only for his own selfish, individual needs rather than government employees. He usually portrays a murderer or a stern faced antagonist and his performance here is strong.
Mullendore's music gives this episode a very new atmosphere and mood, along with different variation of a few familiar old ones from John Williams, totally redone to fit the Mullendore style (this is most evident in the ghost attack before and after the credits). His music is always a joy to hear and gives series a new fresh feeling (he also did VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA and LOST IN SPACE quite a lot and his music makes a big difference in the series tone--a needed difference). One if his best is VOYAGE's THE RETURN OF BLACKBEARD.
In the tag sequence, if you look hard enough, a giant leaf hits Kurt Krazner in the head and wraps around his eye--this does not look like it was supposed to happen as he holds his head and eye after this, looking like he was really hurt and from Deanna's worried expression for Kurt, it also appears that this was unplanned. The storm, for all it was worth, was fascinating when you were seven years old but now, it appears that they could have made the storm seem more violent and dangerous than it was.
It is a shame that snakes couldn't be the threat more often. This is the first of two episodes that they are used. The next would be in Season Two's GIANTS AND ALL THAT JAZZ. This is odd since the Aurora model kit featured that great rattle snake with Dan, Steve, and Betty. Still, the LOST IN SPACE cyclops only appeared three to four times in that show and mostly in stock footage and Aurora made two models of it.
RETURN OF INIDU is a fun, entertaining episode without ending up as camp. It is more light than most first seasoners but the danger is still very much in the fore. It also proves the versality of LAND OF THE GIANTS, stretching the confines of being on one planet. There are so many different feels to the show that one really shouldn't feel confined: the city, the forest, a haunted house, a more comedic feel to some sequences, a darker one to others, a family in financial difficulties, a government bent on...but I digress, getting ahead of myself. LAND OF THE GIANTS can hold your interest if you have some imagination.