What Price Progress?

starring Steve Kanaly, Michele Scarabelli, Wayne Crawford, Fats Bookholane, Lance Scott and Sandor Smit

ep3banIt’s a beautiful morning. The sunlight is shining across the land. The animals are stiring. The scenery is exquisite…

Jack wakes up and struggles out of the shared hammock. He moves towards a window and looks out into the beautiful wilderness. Jessica wakes momentarily and moves over to join him. She takes in the beautiful vision of Africa…

“Can you believe we live in such a beautiful place?”

Jack disagrees and complains,

“I wanna go home…”

ep03bA short time later, Jack is shaving when he hears an urgent shout from TwoDays. Investigating, he discovers a broken animal pen. One of the animals has escaped. Jack, TwoDays and Kyle begin a search but Jack is immensely disillusioned. The trail continues but Jack is becoming more and more impatient. They eventually track the animal down and TwoDays says how weak it is after all of the running it’s done. Jack tells Kyle to fetch the trailer but TwoDays says the animal is too upset to move right now. He says he will stay on watch for a day – and then Jack should return with the trailer.

Later, Jack and Kyle stumble across a conflict between J.D. and the Tambu. It turns out that J.D. represents the people who are going to drive a road through Tambu sacred ground. He tells Jack that the government will compensate the Tambu people for their land. Jack returns home in a surprisingly good mood.

The following morning, Jessica is surprised when Jack begins the day wearing his suit. However, Jack soon complains when he learns that Jessica ordered in some Parisian coffee – which they can’t afford.

Jack (and his suit) go to visit the Interior Minister with a view to stopping the plans.

“It is only one road, Mr McKenzie…”

“No – it is the FIRST road!”

Jack argues with the minister that if he allows this road to be constructed, then many more will follow. The minister says that his point has been noted but the decision has been made. When Jack asks if the minister is prepared to prove that the placement of the road is “ecologically sound” the minister blows him back and says he has no intention of proving anything to Jack. Jack then goes on to tell the minister that his expertise is as a lawyer and, although he has no knowledge of African laws, he intends to learn so that he can hassle the minister into making the right decision. The minister then smiles and compliments Jack on his persuasion – but goes on to say that he would only look further into the situation if Jack had addressed him with the proper respect and presented him with his objections more reasonably. As he points out, he does not care for Jack’s threats.

okx305aWhile a disappointed Jack returns home to nurse his wounds, TwoDays is still out with the wildebeest trying to strike up a bond. The man is surprised and baffled to hear a distant rumbling noise but he can’t immediately determine what it is.

Jessica is preparing food when TwoDays arrives. She asks about the wildebeest and TwoDays tells her that the animal met up with a very large herd of wildebeest and went on with them. Jessica is pleased and wishes that the other animals would depart as easily. At that moment, Jack arrives back in his jeep. He is very despondent. He tells Jessica that he’s messed it all up and begins moaning that he can’t do anything right. Jessica suggests that he can’t just blame the place and so Jack gets all sarcastic until Jessica says she was just kidding.

As Jessica tries to bolster Jack’s flagging confidence, J.D. drives up with a temper. J.D. blames Jack for stiring up the Tambu and insists that he sorts them out. Jessica says she’ll come along too.

When they arrive at the dig, they find the Tambu being very obstructive to the workers. Jack flies into the action and tells the Tambu that they’ve no chance if they try to win the dispute with violence. The leader of the Tambu calms his people down. Jack explains that his conversation with the minister wasn’t productive and one of the diggers slowly approaches. Jack stands steadfastly in the path of the digger as it bears down on him – it stops just inches away.

At that moment the minister drives up. He runs from his car saying he’d heard of the disturbance over the radio but hadn’t known that Jack was at the centre of it all. The minister asks why there is so much strong feeling about the road. When everyone tries to tell him, he calls for one person only to speak. The Tambu leader asks Jack to speak for them. Jack goes on to summarise both sides of the argument but then he comes to the key conclusion. It shouldn’t be down to the people to argue over where a road is driven through the wilderness. He then says that he doesn’t want to speak for the Tambu who can speak for themselves… He points to some animals running by and says he wants to speak for them, those without voices – and this he does.

Following his words, the minister is forced to agree with him

“There’ll be no road!”

The wildebeest is seen running free across the land…


ep03This episode does not provide an in-depth role for Michele other than for Jessica to be a doting wife and mother. It centres around Jack feeling out of his depth. It’s interesting to see how the Jack character changes and matures as the episodes continue. One of the finest scenes in this episode come from Jack’s final speech when the character emphasises well the fact that the environment and the wildlife never get a say when it comes to man’s arrogance with ravaging the world.

The second best scene of this episode is when Jack is blown back by the minister for his ham-fisted handling of the objections to the road. After everyone (especially Jessica) has spent so much time running around Jack telling him how great he is, here at last is someone who Jack can’t brow-beat into seeing things his way. A classic scene in which Jack finally has to stand up and take notice. However, the minister does come around in the end, though, so one must assume that Jack has learned something. The best scene ever? Watch for when Jessica tells Jack about the coffee – and then listen to Michele’s gorgeous French accent..!

Also, take note of the final scene in which Jack and the minister talk during the crisis of the Tambu and the workers. Jessica quite vehemently said that she wanted to join Jack when he went with J.D. and, indeed, you see her in the jeep with the two men as they drive up. But when Jack starts his speech – where does she vanish to? Quite why the Tambu leader wanted Jack to speak for them is an unexplained mystery in itself, but Jessica’s disappearance is even more so. A mystery that deserves investigation!