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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
Land of the Lost: Timestop "Timestop"
Written by Tom Swale
Directed by Joe Scanlan
Original airdate: November 13, 1976

An earthquake opens a previously sealed chamber in the old temple where the Marshalls discover an Altrusian temporal regulator key.

Read the complete story summary by Nels Olsen

Didja Know?

This is the only episode of the third season written by a veteran of previous seasons of Land of the Lost and it shows. "Timestop" is the only episode that attempts to retain the feel of previous seasons. My suspicion is that it is a rejected script from the second season, re-written for the third. As such, it is the best of the third season episodes (although I enjoy "After-Shock" as well).

Didja Notice?

Holly seems unfazed by the ground tremor at the beginning of the episode. Will makes the accusation to her, "If the world was coming to an end, you'd probably fall asleep." That doesn't sound like the Holly we knew in previous seasons; she was always worried and afraid of the unexpected. Though, with the exception of being emotional after the loss of their father in "After-Shock", she is very level-headed this season. Maybe Will is bothered by her new-found maturity; he is, in a way, losing his baby sister.

I've always wondered if the Marshalls were ever able to pry open the other sealed doors in the temple and see what's back there; at least in this episode they do get past that second exterior door, jarred open by the quake.

It seems odd that the second temple door just leads to a rough-hewn tunnel instead of constructed ones.

There is one part of the tunnel that appears to have been intelligently carved and is in the six-sided shape of the Altrusian arches in the Lost City. It almost seems as if it was cut by Altrusians through the stone wall to connect two otherwise separate (and natural) tunnel systems.

At 4:55 on the DVD we see Cha-ka once again practicing with the flute. At least this time he does appear to be trying to finger the flute holes to form a tune (though not too successfully).

Jack determines with his homemade compass that the Land of the Lost must not have a pole with a nickle-iron core. Ok, fine. But shouldn't seasoned expeditioners like the Marshalls already have a real compass on hand? I can't imagine either Rick or Jack going on expedition without one!

After finding the temporal regulator key, Will, not knowing what it is, speculates "maybe it's a key to one of the pylons." Don't they already know what a pylon key looks like?! (Of course, it does turn out to be a key of a sort that fits on the matrix table inside the temporal regulator pylon.)

At 7:59 on the DVD, the matrix table in Enik's cave appears to have only red crystals in it (like the sun pylon in "Repairman"). Since when? And are these red crystals related in any way to the red crystal bracelet Enik wears?

Enik uses his red crystal matrix table to seal the entrance of his cave with stone. The sound of it is very similar to the pylon door sound.

Jack says the geyser they've named Old Faithful goes off every hour, on the hour. Convenient! (But unlikely to be that specific in a real world environment.) The name Old Faithful is borrowed from the geyser at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, which erupts in a predictable manner.

There is a strange bit of animation at 12:26 on the DVD. As Torchy emerges from the jungle, a branch full of leaves seems to leap at him from the bushes, strike his side and fall to the ground.

The scene of Torchy sinking into the crumbling, mushy ground around the geyser is pretty cool...and even horrific if you think about it.

At 14:30 on the DVD, Jack delivers a weird explanation about the chime of the temporal regulator crystal being similar to the bleep given off by black holes (he heard it at a planetarium once)! That sounds like the kind of bizarre, far-reaching explanation Tom Porter likes to offer on LOTL90!

The temporal regulator pylon appears to have crystals of an all orange hue.

Attempting to save Cha-ka's life inside the temporal regulator pylon, Jack at first turns the crystal key the wrong direction, making time move forward and we see Cha-ka essentially getting scalded by the boiling hot water of Old Faithful.

Enik says that Jack, being inside the temporal regulator pylon, is the only one who will be immune to the reversal of time. How then is it that it is Will and Holly who call out to warn Cha-ka not to run toward the geyser beds? Jack should have been the only one to know that Cha-ka was about to run the wrong way.

Despite being "immune" to the time affects, Jack seems to lose his memory of what happened during the time change once he steps out of the pylon.

Unanswered Questions

What is the strange light emitted by the rock of the Altrusian arch in the Old Temple tunnels? Is it natural or artificially created? Was the light intentionally placed to keep Sleestak at bay? If so, it would suggest placement after the de-evolution of the Altrusians into the Sleestak. Is the light related to the power crystals?

In the last scene we see here of the Old Temple, the side door is still open (though in later episodes it is closed again). Are the Marshalls now able to open and close the door at will? Have they thoroughly explored the tunnels within?

What happened to the past-Jack when current-Jack stepped out of the pylon into the past? Did he just vanish?

Memorable Dialog

if the world was coming to an end.wav
holding up the parade.wav
hidden tunnel.wav
that should point to the north pole.wav
can't read Altrusian.wav
bumbling humans.wav
step back out.wav
the gang back in Altrusia.wav
humans come back.wav
many Sleestak.wav
where we go.wav

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