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SHEENA

RIGHTS OF PASSAGE


EPISODE NO. 04
Season 1, episode 04
Series 104
1st release: 10/23/00
2nd release:
Production number: 107
Approximate shooting dates:
Last update: 11-19-00


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
COMMENTARY 2 by Thomas Chaser


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

CREDITS
Written by Babs Greyhosky
Directed by Walter Von Huene

Filmed on location in Orlando, FL and Africa.




TV GUIDE PROMO

As Sheena prepares to fight off a band of rogue gorillas, she learns a secret that will force her to make a hard choice. ClickTV

When gorillas attack native villages, Kali comes face to face with her past.


AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION

1st RELEASE: 10-23-00
An AA average of 2.2
Competition from Action Hours:
Andromeda (4.2/4.4)
Xena 3.7/3.9
MGM's Stargate: SG-1 a 3.4/3.5.
Sheena (2.2/2.3)
Queen of Swords (1.5)
The Invisible Man (1.6)
The Immortal (0.8)



SYNOPSIS 1:

This synopsis is by Sally Dye .

Teaser

The African jungle is peaceful. Suddenly a loud growling sound is heard, which seems to frighten all the animals. A herd of water buffalo charge into a village, scattering people everywhere.

In her village, Kali is telling the story of how she met Sheena. She is wishing her a happy birthday. Cutter says it's not a real celebration without party hats and a cake. He produces a small party hat and a cupcake for Sheena and tells her to make a wish. She wishes that the "headpiece" would be removed. Cutter says, "Think big." Suddenly the rogue silverback gorilla leaps into their midst. He knocks Kali down and everyone scatters. Sheen fights the gorilla, stabbing it with a spear. Cutter gets his gun from the truck, but the gorilla runs off into the jungle before he can shoot it. They run to Kali. She slowly regains consciousness.

Act I

Cutter blames himself for not having his gun with him, but Kali has never liked guns in her village. Rashid tells Cutter that there have been other attacks where animals suddenly ran amok in villages. He says that this is the first time there have been survivors.

Kali refuses to discuss the attack. Sheena says they must hunt down the rogue silverback and kill it, but Kali says no, it's over.

The rogue silverback returns to his pack, but he is badly wounded.

Cutter and Sheena go into the jungle, where Sheena runs her shoulder into a tree. Apparently it was dislocated in the fight with the gorilla and this puts it back into place (shades of Xena in "A Necessary Evil"!) She is ticked that the injury is going to slow her down in the hunt for the silverback.

Kali finds some of the rogue gorilla's blood outside her hut and looks very thoughtful.

Cutter suggests that Sheena morph into a gorilla so she can better fight the rogue, but Sheena says she can't morph off a rogue animal. Cutter reminds her that Kali said not to hunt the silverback. Sheena says she plans to change Kali's mind. They go to Kali's hut and find her gone. Even her herbs and medicines are missing. The whole village is deserted, but Sheena knows that Kali didn't go with them, because they were planning on coming back, and Kali doesn't seem to be. Sheena sees birds flying erratically and knows something is very wrong in the jungle.

Kali is travelling through the jungle. She comes to what seems to be the ruins of a village long deserted. A zebra and a cheetah-like animal seems to be guarding it. She stares them down and they turn and leave.

Act II

Sheena is following Kali's scent, and Cutter is trailing along. He says he will come with her so she won't be lonely. Sheena seems puzzled by this, and he explains that he doesn't like to let friends be lonely.

Kali examines the ground in the abandoned village, finding bits of pottery and other artifacts. She hears laughing voices and imagines -- or remembers -- scenes that took place there. She sees a younger version of herself and a young man and begins to cry.

Sheena and Cutter are almost run down by a rogue water buffalo. Sheena tells Cutter to get up a tree, and she faces the water buffalo while Cutter watches. Unable to communicate with it, Sheena leaps up into the tree as well.

Kali makes an offering by setting a candle and some other items on a stone altar. She cuts a vein in her arm. From their vantage point in the tree, Sheena and Cutter see Kali morph into a gorilla. Sheena is surprised because no other animal is near to morph off of. Kali leaves the altar and goes into the jungle. She finds the rogue silverback and lays her bleeding arm on the wound. They both morph into people. Sheena finds them. Kali says the man is Naya, her husband.

Act III

Cutter goes to get his truck to transport them out of the jungle, but finds it difficult to get the truck through the dense undergrowth.

Kali explains to Sheena that her tribe, the Kaya, had lived in this area. Sheena says: "I thought you said the Kaya all died out?" Kali: "No, I said I was the last of the tribe." She tells Sheena that all the Kaya became animals for life. Sheena asks why they became rogues. Kali says the Kaya and rogues are one and the same.

Cutter gets his truck stuck in a mudhole.

Sheena and Kali argue over the Kaya's decision to become rogues. Kali says Naya thought civilization was encroaching on their ways and that they could never live in peace. He convinced all of the Kaya -- except Kali -- to change into animals. Sheena says Kali should have told her all this.

Cutter is working to free his truck when several rogue animals surround him. He gets into the truck and manages to drive it out of the mudhole. He makes it to where Sheena and Kali are. They put Naya in the truck and head back to Cutter's office, watched by many rogue animals. Kali says they are confused by losing their leader -- Naya.

They arrive at Cutter's place. The town has been evacuated. Kali asks if she and Naya can stay there. Cutter says sure. Naya awakens and recognizes Kali. He seems glad to see her.

Sheena is worried about all the rogues prowling around. Cutter says maybe without their leader they'll not go on any more rampages. Sheena says if Naya stays with Kali, everything may be alright, but if he changes back into the rogue silverback, the terror may start all over again. To stop it she would have to kill Naya. She says she knows now what Cutter meant when he said you don't let friends be lonely.

Naya remembers that Kali chose not to go with him when he changed. It makes him angry, but Kali placates him. Sheena watches from behind some shrubs.

Act IV

Cutter is talking to Rashid, who urges him to go to a shelter. He says he was attacked by a hyena, and when he saw its eyes, they looked human. He tells Cutter to be very careful.

The next morning, Cutter finds Kali and they talk. She says that today is the anniversary of the day the Kaya became animals forever. She says Naya was gone when she woke up. Cutter urges her to come with him to safety, but she says she'll be along later.

Back at his office, Cutter is confronted by the rogue gorilla, but it runs away. He gets his rifle and chases it.

The rogue gorilla charges into the clearing where Kali is standing. Sheena drops from a tree between them and the rogue attacks her. Cutter is trying to get the gorilla in his sights, but Sheena and the gorilla are fighting and he can't get a clear shot. Suddenly an arrow pierces the gorilla's heart. Kali stands with her bow and watches as the gorilla crumples to the ground. Then she drops the bow and walks away.

Epilogue

Cutter, Sheena and Kali bury Naya. Then Cutter leaves so Sheena and Kali can talk. Kali holds her hand out to Sheena. They both apologize to each other. Sheena says she is confused. She says she thought she had lost Kali forever. Kali: "Never, my child, never."



SYNOPSIS 2:

This synopsis is by Loretta Miller .

Hundreds of birds fly tightly together in tremendous dark clouds, rising and falling as if on an invisible wave. Other animals run in tight circles. Something is terribly wrong.

While Kali celebrates Sheena's birthday, twenty years ago that very day, the restless animals watch them. Just as Sheena blows out a candle on her birthday cupcake, offered to her by Cutter, a rogue gorilla attacks them. The attack injures Kali.

Sheena fights valiantly yet she is tossed about like a rag doll. Cutter races to his jeep for his gun and returns with gun drawn but no clear shot and the gorilla escapes into the jungle.

Sheena is stunned that Kali can't or won't describe the gorilla. Sheena reminds her that the rogue has to be hunted down and killed before another attack. Kali won't hear of it. Rasheed tells Cutter to disregard Kali's rule of "no weapons in the village" and to leave his gun loaded and nearby.

The rogue gorilla returns to his kind and we see that he is injured.

Kali sees the gorilla footprints and blood. She fingers a sample and smells it.

Sheena finds arrows hidden in the jungle and Cutter follows her: she's hunting the rogue. He suggests that she turn into a gorilla so it'll be a fair fight. She tells him that she can't change into a rogue, as she cannot get a hold of their manta. She adds that rogues are limited by species. Cutter asks if there can be a rogue housecat as that would explain everything about his ex-girlfriend's cat. Sheena rolls her eyes as she heads off. She is intent on the hunt and changing Kali's mind.

They go to Kali's hut and find not only Kali missing but all of her herbs, medicines, even the rock-gift that Sheena had given her gone as well.

They step outside Kali's hut to witness the birds once again hoarding together in mid-air flying to and fro in huge ominous clouds. "Something is very wrong."

Injured from the gorilla attack, Sheena smashes her shoulder into a tree with a sickening crunch that makes Cutter wince. She explains that her shoulder had been dislocated and although now it is back in place, it's likely to slow her down. She sprints off with Cutter aghast. "Oh, you're at a virtual crawl now."

Kali goes to the entrance of her old village, makes eye contact with a zebra and lynx and they back away and allow her passage inside.

Cutter follows Sheena in the thick brush. She tells him that he doesn't have to come along and he tells her that "it's not a good thing to let a friend get lonely." Sheena takes in the word "friend" and then continues on, her trek unabated. Sheena is following Kali's scent. "What does Kali smell like?" Cutter asks. "Kali smells like Kali."

Kali, at her old village, picks up discarded plates and other things that trigger memories of her happy past when she was younger and laughing in the company of a man.

A water buffalo charges which forces both Sheena and Cutter into a tree. Sheena knows that she is unable to follow Kali's scent from above. From their vantage point Sheena sees Kali far ahead…at an altar. She is going through some sort of ceremony as she lights incense, cuts her arm and while in some sort of prayer, she morphs into a gorilla.

Cutter asks, "I thought you needed an animal to change off of." "You do," Sheena replies admitting that she is as shocked as Cutter is at the transformation they had witnessed.

Kali, as a gorilla, tracks down the injured rogue.

Meanwhile, Rasheed finds another village attacked, the villagers tell him that the animals are "wild" - like they are driving them out of their towns and villages.

Sheena admits that with Kali being with the rogues as a gorilla is not a good thing. She fears for Kali's safety.

Kali morphs back into her human form as does the rogue and he's a man. Sheena finds her and approaches cautiously. She tells Sheena that he is Naya, her husband.

Cutter tries to get his jeep back to them through the thick jungle while Kali tells Sheena that she is content to stay right where she is with her husband for the remainder of their lives and that this old village once was theirs. Kali explains that she was the last of the tribe, as she knew it. The others had changed into animals. They gave up Kaya when they became animals for good and that the Kaya and the rogues are one in the same.

Sheena, deeply hurt and disillusioned thought Kaya stood for goodness and discovers the unvarnished truth: they are nothing but killers. Kali tells her that Naya had convinced all but one (herself) to change. She explained that as western civilization had imposed itself too much on the Kaya way of life, they believed a peaceful loving existence was not possible. They decided to give up their human form. Kali remained in the human form because she knew that she was born human and that the human traits, like hatred, that we possess, would go with them as they transformed. She says that animals don't possess hatred but humans do. She wanted to be wrong but she was not. Sheena says she should have been told but Kali counters with, "no reason to. It's not an easy thing to talk about or think about." Sheena says that the rogue nearly killed her. Kali made the change at a great risk to herself but she knew that he wanted to be with her again. She tends to his wounds and hopes for a return to their once loving relationship of old.

Cutter is stuck in the mud and a lion forces him into his jeep and he manages to rock the vehicle out of the muck but not before the lion was nearly entirely in his back seat. He finds his way to Sheena and Kali and Kali asks if he had any problems enroute. "Only your normal rush hour gridlock."

Cutter transports Sheena, Kali and the still unconscious Naya toward his own village. The animals are seen to be restless and Kali explains that they are confused, without a leader to guide them. Cutter asks her how she changed into a gorilla without the benefit of another gorilla to change off of. It's the "perks of having seniority," she explains. Cutter smiles in response.

At Cutter's village, they find it vacant. Not a soul remains behind. Kali asks Cutter if they (her and Naya) can spend the night with him and he agrees. Naya comes to and Cutter leaves them alone.

Sheena, inside Cutter's place, angrily paces. She says that Kali is acting like a blind woman unable to see the danger that she is in. "He (Naya) didn't want civilization thirty years ago, he won't want it now." She says that the terror will begin again and it has to stop but the only way to stop it is to kill Naya. Sheena tells Cutter that she knows what he meant by not wanting your friends to be lonely.

Kali rigs a lean-to for her and Naya. She tells Naya of Sheena calling her "the link to the modern world, to take Kaya to the next generation. She resists what she has to do."

Rasheed suggests that Cutter take refuge in a shelter but he insists he can "ride out the storm". Rasheed tells him of his own unprovoked attack where he had to kill a hyena. Cutter muses that it's probably like Florida's hurricanes and Rasheed cautions him that this is not Florida.

Kali and Cutter talk early the next morning and Kali talks of the anniversary. She wanted to forget this day as it was saddest day in her life then ten years later Sheena enters her life on that very day and makes it the happiest. Suddenly she felt hope restored. She tells Cutter that Naya is gone and that Sheena's instincts were correct. He didn't come back for love; he came back to destroy.

A rogue gorilla charges through town, forcing Cutter to scramble up the side of his own business place. Cutter races inside for ammo. Then it goes after Kali and Sheena intervenes. Cutter, with his weapon now loaded tries to get a bead on it, but no luck. Sheena throws dirt into its eyes and he grabs her and throws her about once more like a rag doll. Cutter tries in vain, for there is no clear shot. Suddenly an arrow hits the beast as it rears itself up over the prone Sheena and it falls. Kali, deeply hurt, walks off. She had killed Naya.

At the graveside, they place the last rocks on top. Cutter suggests a prayer and looks to Kali but she doesn't have the right words and he says that silence is good too. Sometimes silence, and solitude is best.

For now they are safe.

Cutter leaves Kali and Sheena alone to talk. Sheena cries and embraces Kali saying that she is so sorry. They hold hands as Kali tells her "I have placed an enormous discovery at your feet." And it'll take time for both of them. The laws of the jungle are simpler than the laws of the heart. They embrace once more as Sheena tells her, "I thought I lost you forever." Kali smiles: "Never, my child, never."



COMMENTARY 1:

This synopsis is by Loretta Miller .

I liked this episode. Although the taking of the Ebola virus and who actually had it wasn't made entirely clear, the tourists looking for an adventure eventually got their monies worth.

The little girl, Mariah, for me made the entire episode. A heart-warming tale of a sick little girl going to Africa, as her last wish, to meet her Jungle Princess that can make everything all right. The little girl brought out Sheena's maternal side and we saw her put her welfare first over all the others. While the Ebola virus scenario was good, the welfare of the girl kept my attention.

Sheena let her believe that she was the Jungle Princess and capable of anything and it was that absolute faith that helped through that morph-transfusion that happened near the end of the episode. Personally I don't know of Grayson's Disease, and certainly wouldn't know if anyone IS actually studying lions blood for properties within it to offset the affects, but the premise seemed plausible.

As much as I'm getting to know Cutter, I never thought I'd hear him declare himself "a small time tour operator", it just seemed beneath him. I thought with him naming his business, "Cutter Unlimited", that he felt more highly of himself and his exploits.

The elephant business was great! Sheena's changing into the elephant to ram the bus and take out their ballast tanks (by accident, I think not!) and skillfully hoist Cutter up on her trunk and lead him away so she could talk to him was clever. Good morphing technique with the elephants large limb only two inches above Cutter's chest and then seeing Sheena's hand: good going. Guess Cutter wasn't the least bit thrilled with the "ride" and told his mysterious morphing friend, "a wink and a nod from the brush would have been enough." Ah, my friend, what's an adventure if it's not for a charging elephant hot for your bod? (G)

Actually, I was surprised at Sheena's seeming disgust at Cutter's arrival with his tour. She seemed truly annoyed by the interference that his tour causes to the village.

I simply LOVED Buck: what a contemptible, yet lovable loud mouth. He had chutzpah and character. There was no mistaking how he felt. Buck was out for the great African tour and he almost got more than he bargained for.

Cutter may think he's "a small time tour operator" but he certainly knows how to find an adventure. Or is it, it finds him?



COMMENTARY 2:

This commentary is by Thomas Chaser.

The show opens at Kali's village (as you may recall, Kali is the mentor to Sheena and leader of the tribe Sheena protects), with a birthday party for Sheena. Suddenly, the festivities are interrupted by stampeding wildebeests who charge through the village, causing the people to flee in terror. From the jungle comes a large grey gorilla, which attacks Kali and Sheena. The gorilla knocks Kali to the ground, rendering her unconscious and then attacks Sheena. Sheena manages to stab the gorilla with a spear and it runs off into the jungle. Sheena was injured in the attack, but manages to slowly chase after the gorilla despite her dislocated shoulder.

This opening isn't nearly as captivating as the openings for the previous shows, but does manage to accomplish a few things. First, it gives some background as to how Sheena managed to become acquainted with the village and second, it sets the stage for what could possibly be the best "Sheena" episode so far. In this episode, Sheena's costume has changed from the one-piece burlap sack dress to a more accomodating two-piece number. This is a move I like and certainly appears more comfortable for the action scenes. The top still appears too stiff and the skirt could use a slit on either hip, but overall I give the costume change a thumbs-up approval. It certainly looks more athletic.

After the credits roll, we learn that other villages have been attacked, not just by gorillas, but by all sorts of beasts. The govenment has established a refuge for displaced villagers, to provide food and shelter until it is safe for the people to return to their homes. The ranger suggests that Cutter (played by John Allen Nelson) keep a rifle handy at all times, as the ranger had shot a rogue animal on the road just a few hours earlier.

Next, we see Kali (played by Margo Moorer) making her way through the jungle. She's obviously in great pain, but she's fixated on accomplishing her goal - reaching the remains of an ancient stone temple. At the temple, she grasps a knife carved from an animal's jawbone and slowly slices her left forearm. Sheena, with Cutter in tow, is tracking the gorilla's trail when they spot Kali kneeling over a stone alter, deep in prayer. Suddenly, Kali mutates into a large gorilla and moves into the brush, where the giant grey gorilla has fallen from its wound. Placing her injured arm over the animal's wound, first Kali transforms back into her human form and then the gorilla also transforms to the human form of a man.

Sheena and Cutter rush up to the couple and learn that the unconscious man was the tribal leader of an ancient people called the Naya. Kali is Naya, and she explains that the Nayans, dissatisfied with the development of civlization, had turned their backs on human form and had become animals. We learn that all of the rogue animals in the jungle are Nayan people who have taken animal form.

I'm glad to see that Sheena isn't the only one with the power to mutate into animal form. The fact that this isn't such an unique trait enhances the show by making Sheena look a little less all-powerful. I sense a nemesis shape-shifter in a future storyline. I'm also glad to see an explanation (of some sort) of how Sheena came to develop this power, even if the explanation has its roots in magic. The fact that she learned it from Kali, that Kali has the power also, and that others can shape shift will really help add to the overall mystery of the forbidden zone of the jungle.

Margo Moorer turns in a solid performance in this show. She playes the African spiritualist to a hilt and certainly has an impresseive dramatic range. Margo Moorer is the centerpiece of this episode and she's up to the challenge. In fact, most of the other performances are solid - even GLN works up to her part. John Allen Nelson gets a change of pace - heavy drama isn't really his forte and so he's given most of the punchlines in the show (if only the jokes were a bit funnier). Kevin Quigley, who plays Cutter's mechanic Mendelsohn, is conspicuously absent which really doesn't add nor detract from the show. The only evidence that his character exists is a note left on the door of the offices of Cutter Unlimited saying "Gone jird roping" (a very good joke if you've seen last week's episode).

After the man, named Kaya, regains consciousness, he and Kali revisit their past romance and the decisions that they've made. The man is sworn to destroy civilization and return the path of man to harmony with the jungle. This, of course, is a threat to the villages and to Cutter's existence, and Cutter makes the decision to kill Kaya if Kaya insists on continuing the attacks on the peaceful villages. As Kaya, in gorilla form, battles Sheena and Cutter, an arrow pierces the gorilla's chest. Sheena turns and its Kali holding the bow. She has killed her love in order to protect her people.

The epilogue is focused on Kali and her role as protector of the village. Looking back, I can see that this show was more of a rite of passage for both the Kali character and for the show itself. The writing was certainly better, the costuming was better, the performances from the actors was better, and the storyline was certainly absorbing. Even the actor playing the bit part of the park ranger did a good job. If the other episodes can improve on the foundation laid out by this episode, I think "Sheena" might actually qualify for the prime time slot for which its currently scheduled.

And for those keeping track of the stuntwork - not much in the way of difficulty here. Vicky Phillips gets tossed against a tree by the gorilla but that's about it. In fact, there's no Da'rakna in this episode at all - Sheena fights as Sheena.

A couple things I've noticed about this show is the lack of violence and blood. For an action/adventure show, the violence is limited to brief scenes of punching and kicking. There's more punching in the kid's tv show "Power Rangers". I like this move - it forces the show to be carried by acting and storyline instead of big explosions and lots of blood. Surprisingly, for a jungle adventure, there isn't much cheesecake either. The lack of T&A in this episode really didn't bother me and I usually like to see more skin in jungle adventures. Maybe I'm just getting old.




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