REGULAR CAST, GUEST CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
SYNOPSIS 1 by Sally Dye
SYNOPSIS 2 by Loretta Miller
COMMENTARY 1 by Loretta Miller
Written by Babs Greyhosky
Directed by Gary Jones
Filmed on location in Orlando, FL and Africa.
TV GUIDE PROMO
On a search for two missing botanists, Sheena and Cutter find a hostile environment and a deadly secret that pits them against each other. ClickTV
Sheena and Cutter search for two missing botanists in a remote and dangerous part of La Mistas. ExciteTV
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
1st RELEASE: 04/17/00
An AA average of 1.9
Competition from Action Hours:
2nd RELEASE: 05/28/01
An AA average of 1.8
Competition from Syndicated Action Hours:
The X-Files 3.2
Stargate SG-1 2.6
Earth: Final Conflict 1.8
Invisible Man 1.6
This synopsis is by Sally Dye .
Kali discovers an injured woman next to the river near her village. The villagers carry the woman to Kali's hut. She sends for Rashid. Rashid thinks that the woman, who is unconscious but still alive, is Dr. Virginia Hyde. She and her husband Jeremy, both botanists, have been missing for a week after trekking into the Funga Bonde, a mysterious region of the LaMistas. Kali says that Cutter has gone there by boat to search for them, and Sheena has gone with him.
Cutter is teaching Sheena the Florida State fight song. Sheena doesn't understand the concept of singing and football. They encounter a dense fog just as the engine of Cutter's boat fails. The fog lifts as they run aground. Sheena thinks this is where the botanists were headed. They start to pull the boat ashore, but it breaks apart before their eyes.
Cutter can't reach anyone on his radio. Sheena says they are in the Funga Bonde, the Bermuda Triangle of the jungle. They set out to look for the doctors. Cutter's feet seem to be catching on fire when he walks across a certain patch of dirt. Cutter suggests that Sheena change into a bird and fly up to the top of a hill and radio for help from there. Sheena says she can't because there don't seem to be any birds. As they walk further, Cutter's legs are slashed by sharp leaves.
Kali finds some berries and a journal strapped to Dr. Hyde's body. A helicopter arrives to take Dr. Hyde to a hospital.
Sheena kills a snake to cook for dinner. They stumble onto the Hydes' camp. It is deserted. They find a bag filled with berries. Cutter thinks they are cranberries and eats some of them. He offers them to Sheena, but she says she will wait and see if he dies. He doesn't, so they eat the berries. That evening they build a fire and cook the snake. They are singing the fight song and are getting a little giddy. In a voice over, we hear the words of Virginia Hyde's journal, describing their first night in the valley, when it seemed that all of their inhibitions were totally gone. She writes that "that night I experienced the best sex of my entire life." Cutter and Sheena look into each other's eyes and become amorous, too. They kiss passionately and sink down together by the fire.
Sheena kicks a thermos of water into the fire, putting it out. The spell wears off, and they slowly break apart. Cutter says it must have been the fight song. Sheena: "Maybe that's why football is so popular." They lie down on opposite sides of the camp to sleep.
They wake up late the next morning. They snipe irritably at each other. Sheena is complaining that Cutter snored, and Cutter is complaining that Sheena ground her teeth. They set out for the top of the hill. Cutter says the ground is too hard and goes to walk near the trees where it's softer. He gets caught in some vines and calls to Sheena. She comes, but takes the radio and leaves him there, saying she'll be back later. Voice over from Virginia Hyde's journal: she and Jeremy are getting more and more irritable and are gorging on the delicious berries they found in the valley.
Sheena keeps trying the radio but can't reach anyone. In frustration, she throws the radio away.
Cutter gets free of the vines and follows Sheena. He has hallucinations of a recliner in the middle of a clearing, but when he sits in it, it turns out to be just a rock formation. He goes on and finds the broken radio. He shouts that Sheena is a stupid fool for breaking it. He turns and sees Sheena lying on the ground. He pulls out his pistol and shoots her.
Virginia Hyde's journal says she hates Jeremy and wants to kill him, even speculating about what she'll have to use to do it.
Sheena drops down on Cutter from some rocks overhead., and they fight. Sheena runs away up the hill with Cutter firing his gun at her. He turns and sees that the body he thought was Sheena is Jeremy Hyde. He's being eaten by maggots. Cutter shouts that he is going to kill Sheena. Sheena: "Not if I kill you first."
Mendelson reports Cutter's absence to Rashid, but really seems more concerned about the boat and what might have happened to it. Rashid says he will try to get a search party together but doesn't hold out much hope because no one will want to go into the Funga Bonde. He goes to see Kali to tell her that Virginia Hyde will probably recover. He also says he has analyzed the berries and found they contain a high level of serotonin, enough to make someone who ate them delusional and violent. Kali shows him Virginia Hyde's journal. The last pages are covered with an indecipherable scrawl.
Sheena is looking for Cutter. He hears her and starts climbing the cliff. Sheena comes after him, throwing homemade spears and just missing him.
Sheena catches up to Cutter at the top of the hill and they fight. They roll down the hill and fall into the river. Sheena barely makes it to shore. She spits out some of the berries and seems to come to her senses. She looks back and sees Cutter hanging on to a log. He is only semi-conscious and slips off the log into the water. Sheena runs to a tree overhanging the river and leans down to pull Cutter to safety. She does CPR and revives him. He throws up the berries, bringing him back to normal, too.
Cutter reads from an account of the area that says it was used as a proving ground for weapons before World War II. While he is talking, Sheena walks out of the bushes naked and jumps into the river in front of him. Cutter just shakes his head and goes back to his reading. This explains the acid content in the river that caused the boat to break up and the area where his feet seemed to catch on fire, which had been saturated with gunpowder. Also the harsh winds were known to make the blades of plants very sharp and dangerous. They had already learned about the berries from Rashid. So this seemed to explain everything strange that had happened to them. Sheena says well, except for one thing -- that night they made camp. Cutter is puzzled and says he remembers them singing fight songs and laughing a lot, but was there something else? Sheena says they slept, so there was sleeping, snoring, teeth grinding and....necking. Then she swims off with Cutter sputtering and yelling after her to tell him if she said what he thought she said.
This synopsis is by Loretta Miller .
Kali finds a woman unconscious at the river's edge. She has been badly injured and she tells her villagers to summon Rashid.
Rashid believes the unconscious woman is Dr. Virginia Hyde, a botanist that had been there doing research. Both Virginia and her husband had been missing for one week. Kali recalls hearing the name and thought that Cutter had been contacted to do "aerial surveillance" to find them. "In a plane?" Rashid asks her and she says, "no, in a boat." Rashid, knowing that the journey would take him into the Funga Bonde, was impressed. Kali told him that he wasn't alone.
Cutter and Sheena, on board a skiff, head down river with Cutter leading her, or rather attempting to lead her into a fight song for Florida State University. "You gotta fight, fight, fight for FSU." Sheena chimes in, tortured by the task no matter how much Cutter seems to be enjoying it. "You gotta scalp `em_", he adds which makes Sheena ask Cutter if scalping is a part of football. Cutter tries to explain the intricacies but Sheena still doesn't get it. Their boat motor inexplicably dies and Cutter starts to fix it. Sheena sees dense fog suddenly ahead and tells Cutter, who is unaware of the situation ahead of them, to get an oar. He turns back only to see them enter the dense fog. Blinded, they each man an oar and try to keep the skiff straight while the river in an instant goes from a calm, peaceful pace to nearly white water. They have to work with the current and a moment later manages to run the skiff aground. Both are okay.
"How bizarre was that?" Cutter asks as he pulls the motor up out of the water and Sheena is grateful that they didn't hit anything. The fog seems to dissipate a bit as Sheena climbs off and Cutter follows suit. They grab a rope and begin to haul the skiff up onto shore. They tug hard only to fall into each other having an unexpectedly easy time of it. They step over to the boat to see the water in a raging boil all around the boat and in the wake of the steam shows the boat start to sink, its bottom entirely eaten away.
Cutter tries to radio to Mendehlson for help, but gets only static. He calls out to anyone that may hear him, again static. Cutter believes it's the mountain range that is blocking the signal. Sheena tells him that they're in the Funga Bonde.
"Oh, the Bermuda Triangle of Africa?" Cutter scoffs, a disbeliever.
Sheena asks him to explain what happened to his boat and he can't but he isn't going to blame it on the Funga Bonde, either. "I don't believe in myths," he says, "if I did I'd be talking to a half-human half-creature with fangs now wouldn't I?"
Sheena believes that all myth stems from fact.
He asks her why she joined him if she is a believer. "Because the idea of you, alone, trying to find the two doctors, seemed like a myth to me."
They head uphill Cutter passes up Sheena on the way hoping for better radio reception. He steps onto a plateau and only a few steps in suddenly realizes that his feet are on fire. He has stepped onto innocent looking dirt that instantly turns the soles of his feet red-hot. It only takes a moment for him to feel the intense heat through the soles of his shoes and hops away from the harmless "dirt".
Sheena squats down to investigate telling him not to walk there. "Okay, wise ass," he tells her, "why don't you change into a bird, take this radio and fly up to the top of that mountain and call for help." She would if she could but there are no birds anywhere near them: only bugs. She spots an area where leaves line the path and haven't been burned she figures it is safe to walk there.
Sheena tells Cutter that Funga Bonde means, "closed valley" in Swahili and "odd things happen here." As they walk, Cutter yells in pain as a palm blade cuts his leg from merely a light touch. As he takes a close look he tells her, "they're real blades".
Kali pulls out a journal and several plastic bags from the Dr. Hyde's clothing. One of them contains innocent looking red berries and the whole lot was strapped to her. She turns the bags and the berries over to Rashid who will take them to a lab for analysis. Rashid tells Kali to keep the woman alive to which she tells him, "I'll do my best."
Meanwhile in the Funga Bonde, Sheena gingerly tests pine-tree needles with her finger to find them to be just as sharp as the palm blades. Behind her, seated, Cutter tends to numerous cuts on both his legs.
Sheena cuts down several large tree branches to use as weapons, Cutter says he'll rely on his gun. He wonders why there has been no mention before now of the dirt, the grass, and the trees. Sheena reasons it's because she believes no one has ever made it out of the valley alive. Cutter, shocked, asks, "then what the hell are we doing here?" Sheena suddenly sees a coiling snake crawling down the tree trunk just behind Cutter and uses one of the branches to trap it by the neck, just inches from Cutter's shoulder. She grabs it, snaps it sharply and it falls limp in her hand. She says it'll be good for dinner, "tastes like chicken."
Kali watches as two men transfer Dr. Hyde, on a litter, to the back of a sedan that is some sort of ambulance. Kali begins to read the Doctors journal. We hear Dr. Hyde reading it aloud.
The first entry speaks of she and her husband encountering an area in the jungle that smelled worse than a lab experiment that had gone bad. It made the odor of rotten eggs seem like an expensive cologne. "The thicker the jungle, the worse the odor."
Cutter and Sheena run quickly through the jungle, Cutter holding his arm across his nose and mouth.
We quickly realize that what Cutter and Sheena are experiencing is what Hyde and her husband had encountered and we are hearing from the journal.
Sheena and Cutter finally make their way to an area that allows fresh air and they both collapse exhausted just as Dr. Hyde and her husband had. They look around and realize that they are in a campsite.
Cutter and Sheena look around and while Sheena finds dried coffee in a pot and water in a thermos, Cutter finds a plastic bag full of berries. He opens the bag, one that he recognizes as being from the States, and tries a berry. He offers the berries to Sheena who holds back. She wants to wait to see if Cutter survives eating them. He does. He tells her they look like cranberries and taste like cranberries, so they must be_
Into the night, by a roaring campfire and roasting meat on skewers, they mightily sing the Florida State fight song. They both appear to be enjoying themselves very much as they continue to snack on the berries. The berries are giving them an euphoria, an intoxication that obviously is affecting both of them equally. They toss berries at each other and laugh as they aim at each other's mouths and miss. They wind up in a friendly wrestling match.
Hyde's words once again tell us of what she experienced that first night at the campsite. She wasn't sure if it was the fire that gave off an intoxicating aroma or if it was the solitude that helped unleash their inhibitions, but she had experienced the best sex she had ever experienced in her life that night.
Cutter and Sheena clearly affected by the berries and taken by the sudden closeness, gives in and they begin to passionate kiss. They lay down by the fire as they indulge in the lingering moment.
In their passion, Sheena kicks over the thermos with water and it douses the fire and with it goes their passion. Like hitting an "off" switch, they blame their actions on the fight song they had sung. "Maybe that's why football is so popular."
Suddenly nervous, Cutter says that they both are feeling "out of sorts" and "different from usual. Nothing a good night's sleep won't cure." He tells her that bright and early the next morning he will go up to the top of the hill and call for help. She tells him it sounds like a good plan and they move to bed down anxious to have the now former campfire between them.
Cutter snores loudly as Sheena silently listens, wide awake. It's long past sunrise and as Cutter awakens, it's quickly apparent that they are on each other's nerves.
While Sheena accuses Cutter of making "strange breathing noises" that made her think they were overrun by water buffalo, he accuses her of grinding her teeth that sounds like "a truck driving over gravel." When Cutter winces in pain, Sheena wants to know, "now what's wrong." He lifts both pant legs to show his numerous cuts. "This is what's wrong." She calls a "whiner" and leaves with her bag of berries.
Cutter finds her knife, puts it in his waistband. He grabs his stuff and heads out.
Mendehlson, at the office, is busy filleting a fish while watching Japanese children's show on TV. The phone rings and the caller asks for Cutter. Mendehlson goes to his room only to find him missing.
Cutter and Sheena are walking, side by side and he's griping about not walking any further on the rough stones. He is headed for the tree line where the ground is softer. Sheena tells him that that would add an hour to their trek. "Doesn't matter if I can't walk now does it?" Cutter yells out to Sheena that the path he's selected feels like a feather mattress when suddenly vines in the trees overtake him and he winds up suspended upside down. He calls out to Sheena for help.
She comes running and tries to pull on the vines that are slowly squeezing him to no avail. She reaches for her knife and finds it missing. Cutter tells her that he has it. He didn't give it back to her because she called him a whiner. Angry, she grabs the knife, cuts loose a small vile, and grabs his berries. She tells him that she'll come back to get him, if she remembers. Ignoring Cutter's pleas to be released, she leaves.
Kali continues to read the journal. Hyde tells us that they had awakened to be in foul moods, her husband had gone into a rage and nearly ruined their salt supply. She tells of gorging on the berries that both she and her husband enjoy so much and blaming her mood on being hungry.
Cutter, still hanging upside down talks aloud to himself to force himself to relax every muscle. He manages to free his hand, then uncoils the vine and he falls to the ground all except his shoes, which remain, snarled in the vines.
Cutter stands and watches with shock as the vines slowly wring the shoes to nearly nothing. That could have been him and he knows it. He cautiously reaches for his hat and a bag of berries that were on the ground and leaves.
Now shoeless, walking on the gravel path they were on before is nearly impossible. He says aloud that he hopes the radio Sheena has blows up in her hands.
Sheena is busily trying the radio. No luck. Frustrated, Sheena pitches it down onto some boulders and it splinters into tiny pieces.
Cutter continues along, limping. He slides down a small hill and sees in a clearing a comfy recliner. He continues to eat the berries as he circles the chair and finally sits back. It feels marvelous to him. He stretches the chair back and closes his eyes.
Suddenly he realizes he's covered with ants and he jumps up to see that the recliner is actually a huge anthill.
Cutter climbs up some boulders and finds a long abandoned red boat with Russian markings on it. He also finds the radio in pieces and screams, "you stupid fool", she broke the radio.
Cutter sees Sheena lying on the ground, he pulls his gun and takes aim and fires several shots at her.
Kali continues to read from the journal and we hear Dr. Hyde's words as she says she has never hated anyone in her life as much as she now hated her husband and wants him to die a slow death. If she had a knife she'd gut him.
Cutter sees the Sheena image move as the real Sheena jumps down from above and they begin to fight.
Hyde tells of her wanting to kill her husband as Cutter and Sheena viciously fight. She kicks the gun out of his hand and after a few more ferocious kicks and punches, takes her knife. She pulls back her knife hand; she wants to kill Cutter. He scrambles to get his gun and as Sheena runs up some boulders and out of sight, Cutter blasts round after round in her direction. Luckily, they all miss.
Cutter stands and steps over to the image of Sheena that remains in the same place as before and realizes that it's the maggot covered corpse and husband to Dr. Hyde.
Cutter is flushed and exhausted but still yells his threat, "I'm gonna kill you Sheena." Up on higher ground, hidden by boulders, Sheena pulls her knife from her boot and says "Not if I kill you first" and begins to hone her blade against a nearby rock. Cutter enters a mouth of a cave.
Mendehlson pulls up in his jeep as Rashid steps out of the Ranger Station. He wants to make a missing report. Rashid figures it to be on Cutter, but it's actually on the boat he was using. It was a Vietnam era gunboat and that he had worked on that motor until it purred like a kitten. Rashid tells him that his crews reported hearing a motor on the boat until it was swallowed up by the river fog. Rashid suspects that the boat had hit a wall in the Funga Bonde. Mendehlson, not the least bit concerned about Cutter, tells Rashid that if the boat is "too far gone" to tell her that he loved her. He rolls his eyes and walks away.
Cutter has entered the cave, strikes a match and uncovers a treasured find: a radio in the sand. While Cutter loudly celebrates, Sheena wraps something around the knife she is holding, perhaps wire or twine. The look on her face shows that she's nothing short of homicidal.
Kali reads from the journal as Rashid enters her hut. Kali asks about Virginia Hyde and he tells her that although she hasn't regained full consciousness, she will likely survive thanks to her efforts. The berries, it had been determined, had a high amount of Cerotin, that would cause hallucinations in otherwise normal people. She offers him the journal is it may be helpful in her recovery. She asks about Sheena and Cutter and Rashid regrets to tell her that he cannot get a rescue team together. No one will go into the Funga Bonde.
The next day, Sheena jumps down outside the cave that Cutter is in and screams. As she screams the yell becomes a roar of an animal. Cutter hears this and scrambles uphill as Sheena takes aim with a spear and just misses him.
Rashid, meanwhile, takes another shot at trying to gather up a rescue team.
Sheena and Cutter come together at the top of a hill and fight. She gives him a vicious shot to the crotch and tries to stab him. He counters with hitting her arm and forcing her to drop the knife. She slams him backwards, he hits a rock and the force propels a bunch of red liquid out of his mouth.
Sheena and Cutter fight themselves right off a ledge and into the river where Cutter manages to grab onto a tree branch floating by. Cutter kicks his way towards shore.
Rashid has managed to gather a half dozen men that will at least listen to him. When he mentions the rescue mission into the Funga Bonde, the men depart, not even remotely interested.
Sheena, meanwhile, has drug herself onto shore and promptly throws up the berries. She walks a few paces and sees an image of Cutter in the water and imagines him yelling, "I'm gonna kill you Sheena." The image disappears and she sees Cutter, unconscious, half draped over the large tree branch. As this image clears, he slips off the branch and under the surface.
"Cutter! Hang on!" Sheena bolts down towards the river just as Cutter explodes from the water, choking from an intake of water and grasping for the branch that is now somewhat on shore and immobile. He hangs on.
Sheena jumps into a tree, grabs a vine, and swings down to the branch. She grabs Cutter and pulls him to safety.
She pulls him up onto shore and begins to do CPR on him.
On the second set of chest compressions, he spits out some water and turns on his side.
"It's the berries," Sheena tells him as he semi-stands and goes to tackle her. She deflects his attack with a palm to the chest and he lands on his face. He promptly throws up the berries.
"Are you okay?" Sheena asks Cutter several times before he answers. "Well, that depends," he says, "are we out of that friggin' valley yet?" It's a moment where she can finally relax and she can smile.
Mendehlson stands at their dock, mourning the loss of his gunboat, as he says a silent prayer and letting the towrope drop onto the dock, the boat it attached to would never return.
While Cutter sits beside a lagoon, a very nude Sheena walks up and past dropping her outfit next to him and dives in. Cutter suddenly casts his eyes away and smiles. Once she emerges, they begin to talk.
Cutter has a report and explains to Sheena many of the phenomena within the Funga Bonde: Apparently the area had been a secret weapons proving ground in WWII and the valley water, as a result, has a very high acid content. The floor of the Funga Bonde has large deposits of gunpowder in the ground and when subjected to friction can ignite. Harsh wind and heat have honed many of the grasses into knife-like conditions. While experimenting with hybrid trees in the 70's, part of the forest sprouted needle-like leaves, which had resulted in the death of many animals. And the stench they had encountered was the odor of many decomposing animals and is classified as the worst in the world.
So Cutter holds fast to the idea that there is no truth behind the Funga Bonde myth. That there is always something that will rationally explain what you've experienced.
Sheena asks him if he remembers the night they made camp. He remembered them singing the fight song and getting rather "punchy" and laughing a lot. Sheena, still in the lagoon, turns away and appears miffed that he doesn't recall it all.
Cutter struggles to remember, but it's not coming to him.
She tells him coyly, we slept... "you snore, I grind my teeth" and then there was the necking.
Sheena turns away and submerges and swims off as Cutter stands and calls out to her for more details. "Did you say necking?"
This synopsis is by Loretta Miller .
Wow, some berries, eh? And as for the Funga Bonde myth or fact, the reasons for the experiences made sense once given the explanations. I could see why Rashid had a heck of a time gathering up souls to mount a rescue mission. With that acid water, a stench that could knock you down and razor sharp thingees everywhere you turn. Ewww. I'd stay in the village, too. J
Well, there was nothing but emotion in this episode but I was frankly astonished that Kali sat motionless as she read the journal. I would've bet that she would have put two and two together and realized that Sheena and Cutter were experiencing a similar fate. I did like how the journal was read aloud and putting the principals through it simultaneously. It made it all the more dramatic. Would they survive as Virginia had or would they have the same fate as her husband?
It was a very well done episode and I would have to think that both Cutter and Sheena "feel" something more between them. The passionate scene they shared, well, the feelings came from somewhere and with inhibitions suddenly history(albeit short-lived) _well, the rest is history.