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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Tarzan: For Love of Country (2003) – Review

With Jane and Tarzan on the run from the police the show ditches its police procedural format and replaces it with a “fish out of water” plot line. We’ve dealt with Tarzan trying to handle living in the big city so in For Love of Country we get city girl Jane trying to cope with being in the woods. *sigh*


Episode 7 "For Love of Country"

In the previous episode Surrender we had Jane trying to stop Tarzan (Travis Fimmel) from skipping the country and going back to Africa, but just as they are having a tearful goodbye Detective Gene Taylor (Fulvio Cecere) and a bunch of Jane’s fellow officers arrive to deliver a little blue justice. Tarzan is able to beat the crap out of all the cops but Jane (Sarah Wayne Callies) is hurt so our jungle boy takes her back to Detective Sam Sullivan's (Miguel A. Núñez Jr.) apartment where Sam gives them a key to his family’s cabin upstate.


“Don’t worry, it’s nowhere near Crystal Lake.”

Their plan making is interrupted by the arrival of a bruised and battered Gene who accuses Sam of knowing where Jane and Tarzan are, but Sam plays dumb as the two fugitives sneak out a window. So with Sam’s borrowed car our two heroes escape the big bad city for the wilds of upstate New York, and on the drive there Tarzan does more of the “innocent boy” act which was already getting old by the second episode.


He isn’t even able to sit in a car properly for Pete's sake.

It gets even worse when Jane pulls over to take a bathroom break in the bushes; while she is answering nature’s call Tarzan hops in the driver’s seat, starts up the car, pulls away, and then crashes it in a ditch. When she asks him what made him think he could drive a car he answers, “That’s what people do.” I am so sick of idiot Tarzan, and the fact that Jane still finds this man-child attractive is one of the show’s least believable elements.  Apparently the way to combat this level of implausibility is to constantly show us that Jane is almost as dumb as Tarzan. Jane has Tarzan remove the license plate from the crashed car so that their location can’t be traced, but one would assume a police officer would know that it would take a fellow cop about five minutes to run the serial number from the car’s engine block and discover the owner. This of course exactly happens and this puts Gene and his idiot sidekick Detective Carey (Sterling K. Brown) hot on their trail.


No real villains today just insanely obsessed cops.

Gene is after Jane and Tarzan because he believes them to be responsible for the death of a fellow officer and is willing to go outside the law to see justice done, and somehow this includes rallying fellow police officers to break the law and commit assault on one of their own i.e. Jane Porter. Even when ordered to stay away from the case by their boss Gene and Carey take it on their own initiative to track down these two fugitives of law, even to the point of wandering through the woods with shotguns. I’m sorry but I can barely buy one obsessed cop breaking the rules like this but how did Gene convince Carey to jeopardize his career over this?


Did Gene save Carey’s father in Vietnam or something?

And that isn’t even the worst element of this episode as we are forced to endure the idiotic antics of Big City Jane and her problems with nature. If they were in the jungles of Africa I could see her having to rely on Tarzan to keep her safe, but this is upstate fucking New York. Seeing Jane unable to handle a bee flying around her, or having to be helped up a tree (and we are talking about a tree that contains a treehouse which has steps nailed to the trunk) is just embarrassing. Tarzan on the other hand is of course at one with nature as he catches fish with his bare hands, communes with the local wolves, and is basically Tarzan...wait, he communes with wolves?  Are there actually wild wolves roaming free in upstate New York?


Is he Tarzan or Mowgli?

Then Gene and Carey arrive and the hunt is own. Jane tells Tarzan that she is just slowing him down (duh), but Tarzan is able to use his jungle cunning to lose their pursuers by using a stream to cover their tracks. For Christ sakes this is stupid. They are being tracked by two New York cops not a Sam Gerrard and a pack of bloodhounds, but apparently Gene is some super tracker who even after night falls is still wandering around the woods looking for a guy who grew up in the jungle. That Carey doesn’t just say “Fuck this shit, I’m going home” is more evidence that Gene must hold some big marker over Carey because this is some serious dumb shit.


If this was a horror film he’d be dead already.

Sam shows up and is somehow able to find Jane and Tarzan but instead of getting the hell out of Dodge they decide to split up so that Tarzan can lead the two Elmer Fudds away. This plan fails immediately as Jane and Sam are quickly captured by Gene and used for bait to lure Tarzan back. Gene smacks Jane around to get her to call out to her boyfriend (this guy has gone from obsessed to serial killer crazy in just 24 hrs) and unfortunately for him this ploy does bring out Tarzan who then proceeds to kick his ass…again.


Gene does seem to be a slow learner.

So Sam cuffs Gene and Carey, sticks in them in the back of his car and calls the local authorities while Jane and Tarzan makes themselves scarce. Exactly what does Sam intend to tell the police? “Hi, these two assholes were planning on shooting a couple of fugitives; I arrested them and let the fugitives go.” If Jane is wanted for questioning about the cover up of her fiancé’s death Sam will now be wanted for aiding and abetting fugitives.


“No, I can’t explain how the fugitives had my car or were hiding out in family’s cabin.”

While walking down the lonely country highway (which considering that Sam just called the local sheriff you'd think it would be a good idea to stay clear of main roads) Jane tells Tarzan she is sick of running and wants to return to New York City to face his uncle, the police, and everything. Tarzan agrees on the condition that Jane teaches him to drive.


"Tarzan, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

That decision makes this entire episode a complete waste of time and as there is only one more episode left that is not a good thing. The fish out of water comedy didn’t work and only added to the ineptness that has become Jane Porter. Now we know her to not only be a pretty terrible detective but she can’t even handle being two hours outside of the city. That is unbelievably pitiful and a terrible thing to do with what could have been an interesting character.

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