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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138
-at-popapostle-dot-com
Land of the Lost: Flying Dutchman "Flying Dutchman"
Written by John Cutts
Directed by Joe Scanlan
Original airdate: October 23, 1976

Cha-ka’s discovery of nautical instruments leads to the Marshall’s discovery of a galleon marooned in Mist Marsh.

Read the complete story summary by Nels Olsen

Didja Notice?

At the beginning of this episode, Cha-ka is playing a flute much like the one he played in "The Musician". However, he seems to have forgotten (de-evolved?) whatever lesson he learned about playing real music! Is it because he no longer wears the ring he and the Marshalls found in the Builder's temple? Listen: Cha-ka's flute

Cha-ka seems to have traded his previous musical ability for some kind of extrasensory perception! In "Repairman", Cha-ka proclaimed how good his chocolate shake was before he even tasted it; here, he proclaims the device he finds on the ground (a seaman's telescope) to be a "magic eye" before he has even looked through it!

It's easy to assume that the scenes of Jack's first bolo toss are a trick of camera angle and cutting. But if you watch frame-by-frame on the DVD from about 2:08-2:14, you will see that Ron Harper really does twirl and throw the bolo out of scene and then we see the bolo actually fly threw the air just above Cha-ka's head and tangle itself around a sapling right behind him! They must have had some kind of an expert throwing it to avoid missing Phillip Paley's head. But Ron also looks pretty sharp with his throw.

At 3:15 on the DVD, as Cha-ka looks at Torchy through the telescope, we can see the pilot light in the model's mouth for the gas-fueled flame-thrower!
Torchy's pilot light

When they first spot it in the marsh, Will calls the ship a schooner but Jack says he thinks it's a barque. It doesn't really look like either. Its multiple decks, crow's nests, and rigging identify it as a galleon.

As the Marshalls near the ship at 4:51 on the DVD, the background sound seems to be the same eerie noise as heard in the Library of Skulls in "Blackout".

When Cha-ka spots Malak's footprints near the Flying Dutchman, he says "Malak's foots!"

When Captain Van der Meer decides to free Jack and Will from the net, Will has a hard time freeing his canteen and the telescope from the mesh.

Other than the blond hair, the portrait of Captain Van der Meer's daughter Wilhelmina does not look much like Holly as he claims. The portrait appears to be of a woman, slightly chubby, with a large head.
Portrait of not-Holly

It's amusing to note that the captain's daughter allegedly looks like Holly and has a name that is (sort of) a female version of "Will" (Wilhelmina)!

The captain says he was plying the waters off Bermuda when the ship was swept into an uncharted current and sucked down into a maelstrom until the ship found itself beached in the Mist Marsh of the Land of the Lost. So, in other words, he was a victim of the Bermuda Triangle!

Malak again shows knowledge of English words he shouldn't know; he uses the word "telescope". Wouldn't he call it a "magic eye" or something similar as Cha-ka does?

Now the moons have gone back to being lined up in the sky! Speedy is not orbiting in its quick one-minute interval. It seems to change almost from one episode to the next.

I commented in the notes for "Repairman", that Will seems to suggest he has used up the last of the matches. But here he uses a match to light a torch in Malak's hovel.

Malak agrees rather quickly to Jack's bargain of learning how to ward off the Sleestak for good. Has he already forgotten how Jack conned him with the flashlight in "Survival Kit"? Not to mention that the Marshalls had also left him trapped in there with the revolting Sleestak.

When Jack shows Malak how to ward off the Sleestak with the mini-cannon he stole from the ship, it is, as Nels Olsen points out in his episode summary, "funny how they didn't bother to put in a projectile, or even pack down the powder."

When being chased by the three Sleestak, Jack uses his bolo to trip up the lead pursuer and the other two then trip over his body and land on top like the Three Stooges!

Jack reads a piece of paper stuck inside the captain's diary that reads as a formal sentencing of Captain Van der Meer to the ship, the Flying Dutchman, to be cursed to eternally sail the sea. Who wrote the paper? It begins "by order of the Royal Naval Board". But I don't think most countries were in the habit of (or had the ability to) place a curse on guilty suspects! They would have simply sentenced him to restitution, prison, hard labor, or death!

Captain Van der Meer seems to hear Jack's reading of the sentencing, despite their distance away on the other side of the river, leading to his attempt to set sail with only Holly on board to alleviate his loneliness. I suppose his supernatural position as captain of the Flying Dutchman has also given him super-hearing!

Unanswered Questions

How does such an unlikely object of legend as the Flying Dutchman come to be seen as real when this mythology does not fit well within the previously established parameters of the Land of the Lost? The Flying Dutchman is just an old seaman's tale with plenty of scientific explanation for the alleged sightings over the years (see the Flying Dutchman Wikipedia entry). At 4:51 on the DVD, as the Marshalls approach the ship more closely, the same eerie background noise as is heard in the Library of Skulls at times, is briefly heard here. Perhaps we can interpret this sound as a tip-off that all is not as it seems? I prefer to think of the events of this episode as possibly another hallucinogenic trick of the Sleestak, similar to their trap in "Album" and the effects of the mist in the Library in "The Longest Day". In fact, the ship's captain himself even suggests the voices of the crew heard by the Marshalls was just the effect of inhaling the narcissus fragrance of surrounding trees (the narcissus plant [not a tree] does have narcotic properites); perhaps someone was trying to warn the Marshalls of what was really happening? As a metaphor, perhaps the term "flying dutchman" refers to a drug-induced high (flying) and the recent, at the time, burgeoning tolerance of marijuana use in the Netherlands (the Dutch). And although it is a metaphorical stretch, notice the foggy opening shot of the episode looks vaguely like marijuana leaves engulfed in white smoke!
Flying Dutchman


Memorable Dialog

give me the eye.wav
ahoy.wav
thieving throwback.wav
come aboard.wav
plundered.wav
the Bermuda Triangle.wav
oy-oy.wav
soiling my sword.wav
your tongue.wav
if I want something.wav
they know not what they do.wav
luckier than smart.wav
sweet Holly.wav

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