The Lost World

Season 2 Episode 5

Divine Right

Aired Unknown Nov 04, 2000 on
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Divine Right
A riderless horse approaches our explorers, as if on a mission. When Roxton saddles up, the horse carries him to a mountain tribe, who welcome him as their king. Roxton tries to decline, but when the royal advisor, Balar, tells him that if he's an imposter; he shall die, Roxton reconsiders. Using the horse, Roxton tries to warn his friends. Balar has the horse followed and they are captured. One of the customs of the tribe is to sacrifice a virgin to appease a monstrous dragon, but Roxton saves the young woman and steps right into Balar's trap. The only way to stop the dragon now is for the rightful king to hunt it down and kill it.moreless

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  • A twist of Camelot, a touch of The Secret, a sampling of the Ring cycle – all in all it makes a mighty fine episode.

    Since the time before man walked the earth, good and evil have been locked in battle.

    In this episode each of the explorers uses his or her special gift to solve the mystery of the dragon. Marguerite uses her gift for languages to translate the runes, Ned uses his investigative reporting skills to gather information, Roxton displays his nobility and fighting prowess, Veronica her incredible knowledge of the plateau and finally Challenger uses science and logic to defeat the dragon. They are a powerful group when they all work together and in this instance at least good triumphs over evil.

    King Sigurd and the royal escort went to hunt the dragon.

    I was curious to see if there was a historical/mythological source for this story (besides the St George and the dragon overtones). I discovered that Sigurd (Siegfried in German) was a hero of Norse legend who did indeed slay a dragon (Fafnir) and had a magical horse (Grani). Siegfried is one of Wagner’s operas, Parsifal is another.

    Of course in this story, Sigurd is reduced to giving cryptic advice bewitched into a ‘completely batty’ old coot (I loved the look Veronica gives Marguerite when she says this – if looks could kill). King John is the one who, with his trusty sidekicks, slays the dragon, frees the king from his enchantment (or whatever was going on with the king) and allows the path of true love to run smooth.

    Well, I may be king but Balar is running the show.

    There are many parallels between Camelot and Divine Right. Both are placed in a fairy tale setting, in each an explorer is being railroaded into a loveless royal marriage and both have Roxton take on a dragon armed only with a sword. Twice he fights with medieval weapons as champion– in Camelot, with lance on horseback, in Divine Right, with quarter staffs over a pit. When questioned about his ability to compete in these ancient forms of combat, his laconic response – “when in Rome”. In both stories, the villain is the king’s advisor, cold and obsequious and he has an evil minion (Ugo and Pragor). But where Vordred is just plain evil, Balar is both evil and in control of great magic – a formidable adversary for the intrepid explorers.

    The battle can only be won by the hand of man.

    If Balar is similar to Vordred, he is also clearly one of Mordren’s line – if not in reality at least in manner. Dressed in black, controlling the people through the use of magic, lies and dragon fire – he is part of the age-old battle between good and evil. He recognizes that he cannot take control of the village and become king; he has to manipulate the people - “Magic can only set in motion what the people themselves must finish.” Watching Roxton approach the village on Grendel’s back must have been Balar’s worst nightmare.

    It might not be so bad being king for a while.

    The irrepressible Marguerite Krux never stops scheming. Not many women would formulate a plot to marry off the man she so clearly has feelings for to another woman (Ms Blakely does a superb job of acting out her dismay, jealousy and loss with not one word of dialogue to help her get that across). But Marguerite looks forward to the opportunity to knock off the old advisor and take advantage of the opportunities of royalty “Roxton, you could have had it all.” As Marguerite says later to Prince Apep “I’d always pictured myself more courtesan than queen.”

    There are no dragons; just fears and superstitions that you’ve created.

    The dragon is as real as you and I.

    Challenger is so sure he knows the secrets behind the magic “Once you know the details, magic can always be explained by science.” The dragon fire is swamp gas, the magic smoke is just ‘smoke and mirrors’ – a trick perpetrated by Balar. He confronts the advisor “I’m no different than you are. You have no magic powers.” Balar is unruffled by Challenger’s accusations; he knows better. How did he stop from laughing when Roxton threatens him? “This is between you and me.” He knew a mere mortal had no chance against an undefeatable dragon. Even Challenger has to eat crow at the end (grudgingly) “I think we have to accept that, for now, there’s magic afoot.”

    Is that your intended?

    Roxton and Marguerite glide around each other this episode – all hints and looks hinting at a closeness denied by their dialogue. I like to think that it is the actors that manage to keep the relationship alive almost in counterpoint to the way the lines were written. One prime example is the line above, uttered by Marguerite as she looks through the window at Klaire in the courtyard. It and the line following could have delivered with signature Marguerite sarcasm. Instead she sounds a little sad and she hits her fist lightly on the window-sill as she speaks. It’s a great little moment which can be ignored or treasured. It goes along with her inhaled “oh God” when the raptor in the pit is revealed. I’d love it if someone who can lip-read or has a good ear can tell me what she says when he almost falls in the pit a little later. For Roxton’s part, the cozy way he stands by her outside the horse corral and his gentle teasing when she quizzes him about Klaire shows a tenderness that was lost for the first part of season 2.


    When you ambushed the king, why didn’t you kill the horse?

    So if it was Pragor not the dragon who ‘dealt with’ the king, how did the man survive? In the Germanic legend Sigurd was invulnerable after bathing in the dragon’s blood but that is not even hinted at here.

    I sometimes feel like starting a thread about the great unfilled plot holes in The Lost World – my favourite one is why was there a rolled-up cargo net at the top of the falls in The Source (I can’t imagine Ana carrying that thing on her back as she searched for water). Oops I digress.

    Come here, my big beautiful boy

    The horse is great. And Will Snow and Rachel Blakely are both very good with horses.

    It is our history. And our destiny.

    Divine Right is a wonderful set-up for the good-evil story arc of season 3 & 4. However, it doesn’t really seem to be recognized as a precursor to the later episodes.

    Divine Right is a very good episode. The good guys are smart and work together well. The villain is in the top echelon of TLW bad guys in my opinion. In most cases, the ensemble acting seems to overwhelm the guest stars (case in point, poor Klaire – awful dialogue, not a looker – how was anyone to believe she could be a threat to Marguerite?) But the actor who portrays Balar, John Bach, was up to the challenge. The character could think on his feet, outfox Challenger, trap Roxton into fighting a dragon and he could charbroil his enemies with his breath.

    The episode is filled with great stage business – Roxton tossing his hat to his friends before fighting the challenger, Marguerite handing it back to him afterwards, Balar disengaging Marguerite’s hands from his robe as she admired it, Marguerite flouncing into a chair as Roxton confronts her with “You’re the one that wanted me to marry the girl.” And Roxton’s happy grin as he pats the horse at the end. Moments such as these are what makes it easy to watch episodes over and over.


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