The Wild Thornberrys

Season 1 Episode 7

Vacant Lot

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Oct 13, 1998 on Nickelodeon

Episode Recap

This episode takes place in Manaus near the Amazon River. The episode begins with Eliza taking pictures of wildlife in the Amazon. Suddenly, several animals are heard growling. Darwin and Eliza get nervous, but the animals end up running right past the two of them like they weren't there. This concerns Eliza because the animals looked very afraid. Darwin jokes that next time he'll wear ketchup so they'll notice them.

Back at the convoy, Marianne is reviewing footage of Nigel for their show. In the footage, Nigel has his face in the water while looking for fish. He starts to talk under the water, and then pops up and starts repeating what he said. Marianne thinks the footage is very good, and Nigel was great. She tells Nigel he did a good job. Nigel, who is cleaning plates, thinks that Marianne is referring to that and says that he can see himself perfectly. Marianne tells him that she meant the show. She tells him that the footage is good, but that they are two minutes short. Nigel thinks it would be a good idea to go check out the fungi of the Amazon. He asks Debbie if she wants to come see some mold. Debbie, who is in the middle of fanning herself, tells Nigel that she doesn't want to go. Nigel says that's fine and leaves to go check the jungle. Donnie approaches Debbie and motions that he too is hot. Debbie ignores him and throws some more water on her face. Donnie picks the bowl up and throws all of the water at Debbie. Donnie then puts the bowl on his head and runs around. Debbie asks Donnie if he has anything better to do and wishes he would evolve into a better human. Debbie looks at her magazine and sees that there is a radio show today at 4:00 where the radio host will be talking with Des Brody, who is one of Debbie's favorite stars. Debbie is really excited and hopes to catch the show.

Back in the jungle, Eliza and Darwin notice parrots and other monkeys fleeing in fear. Eliza realizes that something has to be going on and realizes that the animals really are scared. Darwin tells her that it doesn't matter and that they should go. Suddenly, more animals are starting to run away. Eliza shouts out to them and asks what is wrong. An anteater stops and tells Eliza that they have to run because something giant is destroying the forest. Eliza and Darwin start running towards the direction the animals were running away from. Eliza tells Darwin to listen. Darwin notes he doesn't hear anything, and Eliza says that's what worries her. Eliza takes a few more steps and is about ready to walk through a bush when she sees something horrible.

A little later, Eliza brings Nigel and Marianne to see what has happened. We see that Eliza saw a section of the forest torn down into something that looks like a road. Nigel is very angry and says that this is a forest that is protected. Eliza tells him that they need to do something. Nigel promises her that they will contact the Brazilian Government so that they can get some people out here that can deal with this.

Back at the convoy, Debbie is preparing for her radio show by grabbing a soda and a sandwich. She is about to turn on the radio when Nigel rushes in and takes it from her. Debbie begins to protest, but Nigel tells her that this is an emergency. Debbie says that this is an emergency too and she needs to listen to the radio show. Nigel begins to fiddle with it and says he just needs a moment to get a signal so he can contact the park service. But after trying every station, he realizes that there is something wrong with the radio. Nigel then pulls out a wire and realizes that an Amazonian mouse chewed through the wire. Debbie and Eliza both scream for Nigel to do something. Marianne asks what they can do. Nigel says they can go down to the ranger's station. Marianne thought that the nearest radio station was outside Rio Bronco. Nigel says yes and starts to get things ready. Marianne tells the girls to stay put and that they will be back by dinner time. Debbie is confident that she can have this fixed before the show.

Outside, Eliza and Darwin sit wondering what they can do. Suddenly, Eliza looks at the top of a hill and sees trees falling down. She thinks that's what's destroying the forest and tells Darwin that they have to go check it out. Darwin isn't too thrilled about going out there.

In the convoy, Debbie is preparing to fix the radio. Donnie wants to help and almost ruins Debbie's attempt. Debbie warns him that if he touches it, they won't even find his shadow. She throws Donnie out of the convoy and shuts the door. Donnie decides to tag along with Eliza and Darwin. They make it out to a spot where the forest was torn down. They hear the machine and Eliza tells them to go towards it. Suddenly, more animals start running away from the forest. Eliza tells them to run to the stream if they want to be safe. The animals listen and start to head that way.

Elsewhere, Nigel is looking at a map to get them to the ranger's station. Marianne is concerned because they've just come to a cliff and doesn't know how they're going to get across. Nigel throws a rope across the cliff to the other side and he thinks this should save them an hour's journey. Nigel and Marianne start to climb over to the other side. Nigel thinks that traveling like this is a lot of fun and notes that they are seeing the world from the view of a sloth. One of Marianne's sandwiches fall out of her bag, and when it lands in the water piranhas pop out and start eating it. This makes Marianne even more worried. Nigel doesn't notice the piranhas and starts acting like a sloth. He starts to move very slowly on the rope. Marianne hurries up and ends up smashing right into Nigel.

Back at the convoy, Debbie is able to get the radio to work and she begins to listen to her radio show. The host is introducing Des Brody, and Debbie able to quote the radio show when it comes to Des Brody. But before the radio host gets to talk with Brody, the radio shorts out and Debbie gets very angry.

In the jungle, Eliza is finally able to come across the huge machine. It is like a large blow that is cutting through the forest. Suddenly, a boar runs towards the machine and is ready to challenge it. Eliza yells at it and asks what it's doing. The boar replies that he's going to destroy it. Eliza is able to jump in front of it and move it out of the way before the machine runs it over. The boar is very angry and asks why Eliza did that. Eliza tells him that he can't take on the machine by himself. The boar says he can't let it destroy his home. Eliza says that they need brains to stop it. The boar dares Eliza to try to do better. Eliza says she can and starts running after it.

Inside the machine, it is revealed that Kip and Biederman are behind destroying the forest. Kip says that if they destroy one more forest, they will be able to make a rich fortune out of the resources. It is revealed that they are using the machine to turn the wood of the forest into back scratchers. Biederman notes that everyone loves back scratchers. He sneaks up behind and Kip and starts to scratch Kip's back with it. Kip knocks the back scratcher out of his hand and tells him to knock that off. Kip raises himself up in the air to view the forest he just tore down. He realizes that he missed a spot and starts driving towards it. Eliza sneaks up behind it and jumps onto the back. Darwin, high in a tree, spots Eliza from above. Eliza is able to climb up to the cockpit and see that Kip and Biederman are behind this operation. After they move the claw, Eliza falls off of the cockpit.

Nigel and Marianne scream as they dive off a waterfall to get closer to the ranger station. Nigel thinks that they saved two more hours of their journey by doing that. Marianne tells Nigel that he had a great shortcut idea, and then proceeds to pull out a fish that swam into her pocket. Nigel says they are halfway to their destination. Marianne is very incredulous, but Nigel is still in good spirits. He tells her they have to keep moving.

After Eliza recovers from the fall, the boar taunts her for not being able to do any better. He tells her that he'll show her how it's done. When the boar tries again, he is able to get up to the cockpit. But because he only has paws, he cannot get a good grip and ends up falling like Eliza did. Eliza runs up to the boar, and he is very upset that he wasn't able to make it. Eliza tells him not to feel bad because he got farther than she did. Eliza gets an idea and helps the boar up. While Darwin looks at them, the machine starts barreling towards him. He falls down into the machine.

Back at the convoy, Debbie is looking for the fuses that will fix the radio. Debbie is finally able to locate them in a closet. She is able to get the radio station back on while the host is still interviewing Des Brody. The host acknowledges that he has something to say to the teenagers that are in the middle of nowhere. Debbie knows this applies to her since she is technically in the middle of nowhere. But before she is able to listen to it, the radio suddenly starts going static. Debbie doesn't understand what's going on, but she then notes that there is a mouse hanging from the antennae. The weight of the mouse causes the antennae to snap. Debbie screams at the mouse and corners it. She asks what she ever did to it, and even notes she doesn't even know what kind of creature it is. She proceeds to look for antennae that she can use to replace the broken one.

Back in the jungle, Eliza looks for Donnie and Darwin. She is able to locate Donnie, but not Darwin. Eliza asks Donnie where Darwin is. Her reply comes in a shout from Darwin, who is inside the machine. Darwin is seen running on a conveyor belt, trying to prevent being sucked in the machine. Darwin is eventually sucked in and we hear some shaving noises. Darwin is able to escape from the machine before it can hurt him more. The machine shaved his back, and tore his shirt in half. Eliza asks if Darwin is alright. Darwin says he's fine. Eliza tells him that they've finally found out a way to stop the machine. They all run from the machine before it can run them over.

Nigel and Marianne are finally able to make it to the ranger's station. But when they arrive, they notice a sign that says the station is closed for renovation. It tells them to visit the ranger station in Yapacani. Marianne is very upset, but Nigel is still in good spirits and tells her that they will just go to Yapacani. Marianne yells at Nigel that she has done a lot of things throughout her life that scared her and that she has spent the last two hours doing those very things. She says that she's put up with all of that, but she's not going to the city. She pronounces Yapacani wrong and Nigel corrects her. Marianne starts pounding on one of the oil barrels that's sitting on the ground. Nigel is impressed and says that he didn't think of it before. He starts beating on the oil barrels and starts singing songs.

Eliza makes it to the stream where all of the animals went. They are all arguing with each other. Eliza tells all of them to cool their attitudes. The boar tells the group that Eliza is going to help them stop the machine. Eliza tells them that nobody can stop the machine by themselves, but that if they all work together, they should be able to stop it. The animals hear the machine coming towards them and they want to run. Eliza tells them that they can't run. She tells them that they each have skills. Eliza tells them that some of them can bite, scratch, squeeze, and jump. A rat admits that he can eat berries. Eliza says that they have to work together and they can stop the machine. This makes the animals excited.

Back at the ranger station, Nigel continues to pound on the oil barrels. This makes Marianne really annoyed.

Eliza starts to lead the animals toward the machine. Darwin tells Eliza that he is going to stay behind with Donnie and watch him. Eliza realizes the machine really scared Darwin. Darwin says it was full of blades and gears. Eliza tells Darwin she'll meet them back here. Eliza and the animals go to battle the machine.

Back at the convoy, Debbie is finally able to get the radio working again by constructing her own antennae. The radio station comes back on and Debbie is very happy she was able to get it to work. Unfortunately, it's the end of the show and the radio host thanks everyone for listening. This makes Debbie really angry and she screams in frustration that she missed the show.

Up in the cockpit, Kip and Biederman continue to cut down the forest. Kip says that after this stop, they're heading to Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, and many other forests. Biederman asks if they can stop in Fresno because he has a cousin there. Kip is frustrated. Down below, Eliza stands in front of the machine. Kip sees her and says that this should be an amusing fight. He starts moving the machine towards her. The animals start their attack. The parrots and the monkeys are able to climb into the cockpit to attack Kip and Biederman. The pigs end up digging a hole in the ground and the machine ends up crashing into it. The machine gets stuck and starts spewing smoke. But it is able to recover and gets out of the hole. The animals are on the attack again. Eliza starts to scream and Darwin and Donnie hear her. Kip uses his microphone to call down to Eliza. He tells her that she's just lucky that they're in too much of a hurry to deal with her. The machine continues to tear down the forest. A turtle asks Eliza what they're going to do now. Eliza admits that she doesn't know.

Darwin and Donnie suddenly run out with the parrots and the monkeys with him. Eliza asks if they have a plan. Darwin admits that he doesn't. Eliza still says they should proceed. The birds are able to drop rocks on the glass and break it. A snake coils itself around the controls and Kip and Biederman try to get it off. The snake holds on, and when Kip and Biederman finally get it free, they both fall out of the cockpit. Eliza and the boar are able to make it to the cockpit but they have no idea how they're going to get it to stop. Eliza starts pressing buttons. One of them makes a claw come out of the machine and it grabs Darwin. It starts swinging him around in the air. The rat thinks that one of the buttons looks like a berry. When he yanks on it, Darwin is dropped back down to the ground. Eliza then realizes that the machine is about to go over a cliff. Eliza tries to get the control box open, but she can't. The boar hands her a back scratcher and Eliza is able to use it to pry open the control box. She sees gears moving inside and she jams the back scratcher into it. She is able to stop it right before it can go over the cliff. Eliza, the boar, and the rat are able to jump out. The boar gives the machine one final push and sends it toppling over the cliff. The animals cheer that they were able to defeat the machine. Kip and Biederman are seen hanging onto a tree, but when a sloth starts crawling towards them, they let go in fear. The animals start chasing after Kip and Biederman and the two run for their lives.

Kip and Biederman run right into the authorities. They cuff them and place them under arrest. One of the rangers thanks Nigel for contacting them. He was able to get a hold of them by drumming on the oil barrels. In the jungle, Eliza thanks all of the animals for their help. The boar initially wants to take all of the credit, but he realizes that if it wasn't for Eliza and the rest of the animals, they wouldn't have defeated it. Eliza, Darwin, and Donnie walk back out of the jungle to see Nigel and Marianne. Eliza tells them that she can explain why they're here, but Marianne says they'll talk about it later. Marianne is too tired right now to talk. Everyone piles into the jeep and it takes off heading back to their camp. The episode ends with Nigel noting that Darwin did something very interesting with his hair.