Jonny Quest

Season 1 Episode 17

Werewolf of the Timberland

Aired Friday 7:30 PM Jan 07, 1965 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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out of 10
21 votes
  • The Quest team are spectators to the debunking of a monster unknown to anyone and extraneous to the plot.

    While in the Canadian north woods, looking for specimens of a certain type of petrified wood, the Quest team run afoul of an illegal gold-mining and smuggling operation which poses as a typical logging outfit. Beyond this basic premise, things get shaky. The "werewolf" of the title is totally extraneous to the plot, and so largely is the Quest team.

    The werewolf of the title, or "loup garou" to the French-Canadian loggers/smugglers, is a fake monster; just one of the smugglers in costume, and the nagging question for me is "Why?" What is the point of the werewolf-masquerade? Is it to keep locals away from the criminal enterprise? Very doubtful, because as the Quest team drives into the woods, Jonny comments that he has never seen such wilderness, that "there's not a soul for miles" therefore no apparent need to scare anybody away. Is it to keep presumably-superstitious loggers/miners in line? Also very doubtful. All the criminals shown in the episode seem savvy and conscious of the fact that they are in a criminal conspiracy, whether or not they know about the fake werewolf (only 3 smugglers actually know about the masquerade); there is no indication of coerced or slave labor, and anyway, the "loup garou" would seem more likely to scare away superstitious types than to make them stay and be docile. Further, the only person (himself a smuggler) shown being attacked by something did not even initially consider the thought of a "werewolf" when he tried to tell what happened to him, which seems to preclude the idea that the myth of the "loup garou" was something being actively cultivated to keep workers in line.

    And what DID attack smuggler "Jacques" at the beginning of the episode? I presume it was "Grey One," the wolf-companion of the mysterious Native American "White Feather." White Feather has no love for the gold-smugglers, so maybe his wolf was trying to encourage them to leave the woods, but no verification is given for this. We know from "Pierre," the man who poses as the "loup garou," that he didn't do the attack; the ghostly eyes seen in the dark just before the attack suggest something other-worldly, and White Feather and Grey One certainly are that. Some explanation on this might have been satisfying.

    Ultimately, it's Grey One who attacks and exposes the fake "loup garou," not the Quest team. Dr. Quest and Race in fact nearly shoot Grey One before Jonny stops them; at least they manage to call the Mounties to round up the smugglers. A more truthful title for this episode would have been "Gold Smugglers of the North Woods," although I suppose that didn't sound menacing or "spooky" enough.

    Minus 2 review points for having a pointless monster and a misleading title.