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SHEENA

CULT OF ONE


EPISODE NO. 22
Season 1, episode 22
Series 122
1st release: 05/21/01
2nd release: 07/30/01
Production number: 109
Last update: 09-10-01


REGULAR CAST, GUEST CAST & CREDITS
SYNOPSIS by Sally Dye
SYNOPSIS 2 by Loretta Miller
COMMENTARY 1 by Loretta Miller


REGULAR CAST
Gena Lee Nolin (Sheena)
Margo Moorer (Kali)
John Allen Nelson (Matt Cutter)
Kevin Quigley (Mendehlson)

CREDITS
Written by Bill Taub
Directed by Nelson McCormick

Filmed on location in Orlando, FL and Africa.








SYNOPSIS 1:

This synopsis is by Sally Dye .

Teaser

A young woman is walking along a road. A limo with "Department of Agriculture" emblazoned on the side stops, and she gets in. The limo doesn't get very far before it explodes into a ball of flame. A white-robed man is watching from the jungle.

A man named Hundley comes to Cutter Unlimited and says the FBI suggested he contact Cutter to help him find his daughter Elizabeth, who had come to Maltaka to be a missionary and is now missing. He shows Cutter a letter from Elizabeth saying she was frightened of something. He offers a large reward, and Cutter agrees to help him.

Sheena finds the still burning limo. There is a locket lying nearby, and Sheena picks it up. There are two pictures inside, one of a young girl and one of Mr. Hundley.

Act I

President Engama is outraged that his Minister of Agriculture has been killed in the explosion of the car. Cutter and Hundley drive up on the commotion around the burnt out limo and wonder what's going on. A white-robed priest, Shakoro, approaches and gives his condolences to Engama, telling him that he will speak at the funeral. Sheena gets Cutter's attention and shows him the locket. Cutter realizes that it must be Elizabeth's. He shows it to Hundley, and Hundley is grief-stricken. Engama and Shakoro ask what the problem is, and they show them the locket. Neither appears to recognize Elizabeth or know why she would have been in the car.

Sheena finds footprints in the jungle nearby and follows the trail to Shakoro's compound. There seem to be a lot of young white men and women there. She returns and tells Cutter and Hundley that she thinks Elizabeth was staying at the compound. Cutter introduces her as his secretary. Cutter warns her that she should stay out of it and let Engama's men do the investigating. Sheena leaves anyway.

Shakoro kills one of his followers for stealing.

Act II

Kali says Shakoro preaches nonviolence, but Sheena still thinks something is suspicious at the compound. Kali says she is acquainted with Shakoro and so they will go to visit him.

Kali and Sheena arrive at the compound, where Shakoro greets Kali as an old friend. All of the followers are making wreaths for the Minister's funeral. Sheena stays behind when Kali and Shakoro go to have tea, and begins to snoop around. She finds a hidden area under one of the gardens that seems to hold electronic equipment of some sort. She is noticed by one of the guards and can't examine it closely. She sees that all of the followers seem to be in some sort of trance and walk about like zombies.

As they return to the village, Sheena tells Kali about what she found. Sheena speculates that the hidden equipment she saw could be used to make bombs or other weapons. Kali is upset when Sheena says she is going back to see what else she can find.

Act III

That night, Sheena goes back to the compound as the darak'na. She takes out a couple of guards and gets inside. She sees Elizabeth standing near the gathering place and recognizes her from the locket. A guard follows Sheena into one of the huts and they fight. The shower in the hut comes on and washes off the darak'na disguise. Sheena knocks the guard unconscious.

A vulture flies into Cutter's house with a note from Sheena saying Elizabeth is alive. Cutter gets Rashid and they head for the compound.

Sheena finds Elizabeth and tells her that her father is looking for her. Elizabeth says she gave the locket to a friend to take to her father. She tells Sheena that she was happy in the compound at first, but then started to get worried when she couldn't remember large segments of time. They are interrupted by an alarm going off.

Shakoro meets Rashid and Cutter at his front gate and tells them they can't come in. When they insist, guards start shooting at them. Rashid calls for backup, and Engama's troops arrive. All of the young people get guns and there is a big gun battle. The young people finally all surrender. Sheena finds Shakoro and tells him it's over, but Shakoro says there is a need for martyrs. He runs out holding two guns and is killed by the soldiers. As Shakoro dies, he looks at Elizabeth, who is watching from her hut. Sheena goes to Elizabeth and tells her it is safe to leave now.

Act IV

Elizabeth is reunited with her father. They wonder where Sheena is, and Cutter says she had a lot of typing to catch up on.

Kali is perplexed at why Shakoro had become so evil as to kill the Minister of Agriculture and arm all of his followers. Sheena says the really puzzling part is that Shakoro looked so satisfied right before he died. She plans to go back to check the compound again.

That night Elizabeth has a dream in which Shakoro tells her that it is time to follow the panther -- to kill Engama. She gets up in a trance and leaves, going back to the compound and finding the secret arsenal of weapons.

When Elizabeth is discovered missing the next morning, Cutter goes to look for her.

Sheena also goes to the compound and sees the doors open. She finds Cutter searching for Elizabeth and asks where the funeral for the Minister of Agriculture is being held.

Engama is speaking at the funeral. Sheena intercepts Elizabeth, but Elizabeth doesn't recognize her. Sheena sees that Elizabeth is wired with explosives and has the detonator in her hand. Sheena can't get through to her, so she runs ahead and climbs up onto a nearby water tower. Cutter distracts the guards by shouting a warning to everyone to get down. Sheena causes water from the tower to pour down on Elizabeth, awakening her from her trance. Sheena gets Elizabeth away, as Cutter tells the guards he was just worried about the safety of the old water tower.

Epilogue

Cutter asks Sheena how it feels to know that she saved Engama's life. He says that the cult wasn't all bad if their goal was to eliminate Engama. Sheena: "Cutter, every time I think you've made progress in emotional maturity..." Mendelson interrupts and hands Sheena some papers to file. Cutter laughs, and Sheena wads the papers up and stuffs them in his mouth.



SYNOPSIS 2:

This synopsis is by Loretta Miller .

A limousine picks up a woman with a sign on the door identifying the occupant as being from "Ministry of Agriculture". The limo starts away only to be ripped apart only a few yards away by a tremendous explosion that Sheena hears and turns to see a huge plume of black smoke in the distance. She races that direction.

A man, Sam Hundley, enters Cutter’s office and tells Cutter that the FBI suggested that he look him up. He needs his assistance in locating his daughter, Elizabeth, who had come to Maltaka to be a missionary. He had sent her a locket with their pictures in it but he had not heard from her except for a letter that said that she was scared and wanted to come home. Sam got on the next flight. Sam offers Cutter $10,000 for his help and $20,000 if she is found safe and sound. Cutter, wooed by the promise of cash, suggests that they go see Rashid immediately.

Sheena squats down at the explosion site, the car still in flames. There are no survivors. Behind the vehicle, she finds a locket on the ground with the initials "E.H. Love, Dad". She opens it to see a picture of Sam and a young woman.

Later, Ingama and his soldiers scour the site as Ingama tells Rashid that he wants the ones responsible. He orders the borders closed. Sheena sees Cutter and Sam pull up in Cutter’s jeep from a nearby tree. Cutter steps out of his jeep and takes only a few steps toward Rashid before he feels something strike his hat. He sighs, "Sheena". He turns in that direction and goes to find her. Ingama and Rashid are both surprised to see Shama Shakoro approach. A respected religious leader in the area, he is rarely out of his compound. He embraces Ingama and talks of the Minister of Agriculture, Utanga, who had died in the inferno. He asks for permission to say the eulogy at Utanga’s funeral. He tells him that it’s purely nonpolitical and Ingama agrees.

Cutter looks over the locket that Sheena has given him. Burn marks prove conclusively that the locket came from the car. Cutter regretfully looks over at Sam who has stepped out of the jeep. He has to give him the awful news. As Ingama and Shakoro continue to speak, Sam’s sudden sobbing gets their attention as Cutter tries to console him. Shakoro quickly approaches. Sheena leaves as Sam blasts Ingama as he approaches. Sam says that half the soldiers here are guarding him. Ingama says that there are assassinations in the United States, too. Shakoro tells him, "the more we want peace, the more we want war."

Sheena spots footprints and tracks them.

Ingama talks with Rashid. Rashid wants to know if they should investigate the Hundley girl and Ingama says no. The Minister was known to have whores. Perhaps it was an enemy. Rashid tells him that he had no enemies. Ingama tells him that he has plenty to choose from, "adopt one of them".

Sheena tracks the footprints to Shakoro’s compound. The high cyclone fence is locked and beyond dogs viciously bark. While there, Sheena overhears on the P.A., "the panther will have its revenge."

In Cutter’s office, Hundley nurses a drink as Sheena enters with news that she thinks she knows where Elizabeth has been staying. Hundley asks Cutter if Sheena is his partner and Cutter, "no, more like my secretary." He turns to Sheena and says, "dressing casual today." Sheena ignores the "dressing down" and tells them that the footprints led to Shakoro’s compound. Cutter believes that he is harmless while Mendehlson chimes in that "he’s an agitator according to Ingama." He tells them also, "the religion, Tai’a Tai has very strict beliefs."

Hundley tells Sheena that Shakoro didn’t say that he knew her. Sheena says that a lot can be said with silence. She tells Hundley that she’s going to help him find his daughter and leaves. Cutter follows her outside. Hundley turns to Mendehlson that he doesn’t quite run across women like that where he comes from and Mendehlson says, "and she’s a helluva secretary, too." Cutter catches up to Sheena and tells her that she’s on a wild goose chase. "Geese don’t blow up cars." "It’s an expression," Cutter says. The footprints to the compound are fresh and pointedly tells him that she "knows" tracks. Cutter concedes. Cutter tells her that she’s on her own on this one. Ingama doesn’t mess with him and neither should she.

At the compound, Shakoro is in the midst of a commune meeting. The tent they are in is full of his cultists. He tells them that Tai’a Tai is an old religion and he approaches a man accused of theft. Theft is to be punished with death, the sentence preordained by their religion. As he puts a ceremonial dagger to the man’s neck, he claims to the "arbiter of the way". He suddenly pulls it backward and stabs the man standing behind him. He had meant a death had to occur but it didn’t necessarily mean his own. Shakoro steps back up to the altar, replaces the knife and tells his disciples to take them away. They have no use for the thief.

Kali tells Sheena that Shakoro has been known for his strong objection to violence. Maybe he’s changed, she suggests. Sheena confesses Sam’s dilemma and Kali understands that his plight has struck a chord inside Sheena. Sheena wonders what her own parents must have endured as they looked for her. Sheena doesn’t believe that he didn’t know Elizabeth. Kali counters that the picture was small. Sheena tells her that Shakoro would have remembered if he chose to. Kali asks her if she’s up for a visit.

They go to the compound where Shakoro greets Kali with a kiss on the cheek and calls her his "old friend". His work has kept him from the people he loves. Sheena sarcastically says, "Perhaps it’s the locks on the gates that do that."

Shakoro’s assistant watches them from a tent, through some netting, while all the others are working on flower wreaths. Kali and Shakoro want to head for tea and invite Sheena to come along. She wants to hang back and perhaps learn how to do one of those wreaths. Shakoro is comfortable with this and says that it’ll give Kali and him a chance to catch up.

Kali and Shakoro sip Cardamom tea, an expensive tea rarely consumed anymore. He tells one of his workers to spread the word that there will be a commune meeting later on and he wants all to attend.

Meanwhile, Sheena spots a shack but finds it locked. She needs the panther pendant that the members wear to unlock it. Sheena heads to the flower garden, which is built up with brickwork around the base. She discovers a strap and yanks on it and the entire flower bed lifts up and exposes electronics, and wiring inside. She closes it only to see that the assistant from earlier is watching. Sheena makes a quick exit.

Kali and Shakoro talk of Sheena and Kali tells him that she has a "suspicious nature" and a lot of anger. "Don’t we all" he tells her. He tells her that anger is natural it’s where you put your anger that is important. He tells Kali that he turns his anger into his work and for the causes of the Great Protector.

Sheena is looking around, and spots some people and hides from view behind a tree. To her shock, a moment later, she is standing amidst a river of people (other cultists) who walk right on past her as if she is invisible. Shakoro thanks Kali for their visit and he promises to visit them next time and Sheena tells him that she cannot wait. The assistant tells Shakoro that the people have assembled.

Rashid tells Ingama that there is no evidence that Elizabeth Hundley was in the vehicle at the time of the explosion. There was a woman inside, but her identity continues to be unknown.

Sheena feels that the cultists are preparing for more than just a funeral. She tells Kali of her find (the electronics, wiring) and feels it’s bomb making material. While Kali admits that Shakoro has changed, she won’t call him a terrorist. Sheena tells her of how the stuff was found hidden under the flowerbeds and hidden in the shacks. Sheena tells her that she’ll check further when she goes back in. Kali cautions her that this is a matter for the authorities as it isn’t the La Mistas, it’s Ingama’s jurisdiction. Sheena’s first priority is to find out what happened to Elizabeth and why she was in that explosion, then she’ll let Rashid do the rest. She won’t take on the entire government. Kali tells her that that’s a step down for her. She normally takes on the entire world. "I plan on doing that next week."

Darak’na is at the compound, her dark features hidden even better with nightfall. Her growl startles the two guards who shine their flashlight into the tree above them when she suddenly attacks. She enters the compound and runs up the trees and from that vantage point spots Elizabeth! Darak’na runs to the house she’s in as the assistant hears footsteps and pulls his gun.

The commune meeting is in full swing as Shakoro tells them that with every end there is a beginning. They were there to live with harmony with the soil. The soil has turned on them and as a result they need a new symbol. They need something that feeds their strength. He tells them that their symbol is the panther. The Darak’na is seen in the shadows, the assistant follows the shadow and suddenly the battle is on between them. They are between sheets that are hung up and somehow a shower starts. As the fight continues, the mud covering the Darak’na flows off, but Sheena manages to down the man and exit before the affect is total.

Shakoro continues his "sermon" telling his people that "tomorrow is the day of death and birth. The panther will give us strength and freedom." Meanwhile, Cutter is asleep, stretched out on his couch when a vulture flies into the office and lands on the arm of the couch. The noise awakens Cutter who is startled to find the bird there. "Sheena?" he has to ask but realizes in a moment that it’s not her. He drops a leaf that he has in his mouth and flies off. The leaf bears a message: "Elizabeth is alive".

Cutter approaches Rashid, who is busy trying to nail poachers, and tells him that he has knowledge that Elizabeth is alive and only after Cutter tells him that he has a man in his office that would rather be dead, does he go along with him.

Sheena is with Elizabeth. Elizabeth tells Sheena that the locket was given to Mary, another cultist, who was given a mission outside the compound. She thought it was her chance to escape. The locket was to be returned to Sam. She tells her that she has lost time while there and can’t remember much. Rashid is at the compound gate with Cutter and are denied entry. Shakoro tells them that they are deep into the funeral plans and cannot be disturbed. Rashid threatens to shoot the lock off the gate. Shakoro says, "The Great Protector’s way must be done". An alarm sounds, and Sheena and Elizabeth make a break for it. They race out of the building to join others who are running about. The assistant takes aim at Rashid and fires. People come up from under the flowerbeds. Rashid grabs his radio and calls for back-up saying they’re in a firefight. From the flowerbeds, the people are given weapons. Rashid uses his jeep to ram the gate. The air is full of bullets from both sides. From behind a building, Shakoro says that the Tai’a Tai Nation is being decided early.

Sheena creeps up on him and he aims his gun at her. He knew there was something about her.

Suddenly his people begin to give up. With hands up, they turn themselves over to Rashid. Shakoro tells Sheena that his nation needs a martyr and suddenly bolts out into the clearing and is instantly shot by Rashid’s people. Rashid and his men take Shakoro off by stretcher and he makes eye contact with Elizabeth and then looks at the panther symbol that still remains around her neck. He nearly smiles as he closes his eyes one last time. Sam holds the locket when Cutter approaches and clears his throat. He steps aside to reveal Elizabeth standing behind him. It’s a joyous reunion. Cutter’s eyes well up as Mendehlson makes note. Cutter quickly says that his eyes are burning from a firefight. Sam thanks him and tells Cutter that it was well worth the $20,000 and more if he had it. To him, she’s priceless. He asks about Sheena, as he wants to thank her, too. He tells him that she’s got typing to do. She handles all the cases they get.

Kali is with Sheena and Kali is disturbed that she misjudged Shakoro. He had changed and had become evil. Sheena tells her of the look on his face of satisfaction. He died a martyr, Kali explained. The idea that he felt he won disturbs Sheena.

Sam and Elizabeth are asleep when Elizabeth begins to dream. She dreams of Shakoro and the repeated statements he made earlier about the panther and tomorrow being the day of death. She gets up out of bed and leaves the building.

It’s daylight when Elizabeth goes to the shed and uses her panther pendant to open it. From inside she pulls out a belt of grenades. Cutter awakens to Mendehlson making a late afternoon breakfast that smells mouth watering. Mendehlson appreciates the compliment but already made his breakfast, which is a burnt pop tart. Sam enters to tell them that Elizabeth is gone and Cutter has to stop Sam from running off to look for her. He tells him to stay put and offers his pop tart to him.

On the compound, elsewhere, Sheena opens a shed and looks around. Cutter tracks Elizabeth and meets up with Sheena and tells her that Elizabeth is gone. Sheena asks Cutter for Utanga’s funeral location. At the funeral, Ingama addresses the attendees.

Elizabeth walks slowly toward the gathering in a trance. She is holding a plunger device in her hand. Sheena approaches Elizabeth and stops her. She tries to talk to her out of her trance to no avail. She tries to have her recall their meeting the night before, etc.

Elizabeth starts to push the plunger down when Sheena lets her by. Sheena races away and up into the trees. Cutter gets to the funeral location and yells, "get away". Everyone scatters as Elizabeth approaches a water tower. Sheena jumps from the tree onto the tower and turns it on just as Elizabeth is underneath and soaks her and the bomb. The water brings her around and Sheena grabs her and tells her that she just woke up from a nightmare. Cutter, back in his office, is looking at the panther pendant…so deceptive a tool. It’s a key; a trigger and hypnotic suggestion all rolled into one. Ultimately, Sheena saved Ingama. Cutter admits that the cultists weren’t all that bad if eliminating Ingama was their goal.

Mendehlson walks past and hands Sheena some papers and says, "file these." She gives Cutter a cutting look and he smirks, "well, it’s not like making coffee." Sheena steps up to him and stuffs the papers in his mouth and walks off.



COMMENTARY 1:

This synopsis is by Loretta Miller .

I liked this episode. It was like Between a Rock…but with a twist. This time it wasn’t a village leader that went wacko, it was a religious leader that had managed to get quite a few people into his fold with a mission: to take Maltaka. Ingama was the goal and Elizabeth the pawn in this one. Little things made the episode for me. The signal that Sheena wanted to see Cutter was the small piece of wood or rock that hit the back of his hat and later when Cutter thought that Sheena was a vulture, flying in for a visit.

Sheena’s involvement with Hundley was personal. She empathized with him when his daughter came up missing as she always wondered what her parents had gone through when she became lost.

Only question I had was Kali seemed to know Shakoro well, regarded him with respect and he called her a good friend but Sheena had no knowledge of him. Sheena has been in Kali’s life for twenty some years and you’d think that she would have at least had vague knowledge of the man and his reputation.




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