The Lost World

Season 3 Episode 18

The Elixer

Aired Unknown Apr 15, 2002 on
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Episode Summary

The Elixer
Hoping to end starvation, Challenger becomes the first human subject to test his new experimental substitute for food. But his nutritional beverage is not as successful for him as it was for his lab mice, and he quickly becomes obsessed with discovering the reason why. Then obsession leads to madness as Challenger is confronted by two opposing hallucinations. The first is a vision of himself as a young, driven scientist. The second is his beloved wife, Jessie, as he left her in London three years earlier. Unconscious and near death, Challenger is finally discovered by his friends. But will their limited medical knowledge be enough to reverse the ravages of his experiment, without placing him in even greater peril?moreless

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  • So many separate realities: Roxton and Marguerite trying to deceive each other, Finn trying to make sense of a madman and Challenger lost in the nightmare of his own mind.

    A 'Need to know' basis

    Doesn't anyone ever tell Finn what's going on? Last episode they make plans to enter a dangerous cave, this week Challenger has a plan to eliminate food - and in neither case does anyone mention it to Finn!

    If I were back in civilization right now...

    A couple of lines foreshadow Challenger's epic struggle. At first Challenger muses how his ideas would revolutionize the world if he were back. Then when Marguerite finds out the negative results of his first field trial she warns Challenger "you should abandon this experiment right now, before you kill yourself."

    A special destiny

    Young Challenger speaks of 'scientific glory' being Challenger's destiny. The last time they had this great long discussion about Challenger's destiny was in Tourist Season when everyone assured him he would get the fame he deserved (in that century or the next).

    Has Challenger ever steered us wrong?

    Yes. Yes, he has. Roxton shows blind faith that George's plant information is correct. He must have forgotten George's last big faux pas- placing them 111 years into the future instead of in London.

    We can't go on like this.

    Sometimes Marguerite and Roxton can drive me crazy. Why does he lie about being immune to poison ivy? Why does she pretend she doesn't have the itch? So that they can get back at the other for their 'cruel behaviour'? No, it's so that they can make up. And no matter how full of holes the plot devices are (why did they leave their clothes out of sight when they brought the boots and guns poolside?, why didn't they carry on with their plans to take a swim to wash off?), to see them feuding and flirting and flinging mud makes the whole episode quite delightful.

    You can't escape your destiny

    Peter McAuley does a great job of making Challenger's descent into madness believable. The camera-work adds to his distorted view of reality.

    Her only quest in life is to help herself

    Scratch Finn and the need to survive comes to the fore. "Fine. I'm outta here." It doesn't take much for her to believe that Challenger would turn on her. She has probably had a tough time before this believing that he cared for her. But when she realizes that poison not nastiness caused his behaviour, she blames herself for not doing more to help him.

    Odds 'n Ends

    Here's to domestic science! -I wonder if young Challenger was correct - Is George spending too much time inventing vacuum cleaners and hand mixers?

    When did Challenger go metric?

    "Have not many strange and fascinating things happened to you in your lifetime? And not without reason." Hmm, I'd like to know what young Challenger might have been talking about.

    'Return and recognition' is young Challenger's battle plan. As a mantra, it doesn't seem worth killing all his friends over.

    "I've never looked better, if that's possible" This is Challenger talking, while examining his own blood-shot eyeball. I knew right then he was off his rocker.

    At the end, a kinder, gentler Challenger asks to take a (brief) break from science, puzzling himself as well as the others.

    Normal/horrible - The last scene (That doesn't sound so horrible... yes, he feels perfectly normal) reminds me of a couple of scenes in The Outlaw where Marguerite describes life in the village past the bright light " well normal seems horrible to me"

    A lot of plot holes kind of intruded on the fine acting going on in this episode. The 'spirits' were very good- two of the better guest roles on The Lost World. Peter McAuley was excellent.

    Here's mud in your eye!


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