The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles

Season 1 Episode 5

Demons Of Deception, Part 1 (Verdun, September 1916)

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Mar 25, 1992 on ABC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Demons Of Deception, Part 1 (Verdun, September 1916)
Indy addresses the morality of leadership when confronted with military officials who have little regard for the lives of the men they command.

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  • Indy's forced to disobey orders to save innocent lives!

    The morals of leadership can have consequences as Indy has to choose between following orders and doing the right thing. Viewers might like to note that 'Verdun, September 1916' is the first segment of what would later be edited into the TV movie 'Demons of Deception'.

    Delivering messages to the frontline, Indy begins to question the needless loss of soldiers under the command of the French and Belgian generals. He isn't even clear what he's fighting for. As French generals plot another unnecessary attack our hero must make difficult choices in the face of his superiors. He soon discovers the Germans are also plotting an attack. With the threat of heavy artillery being used against the French armies Indy knows that lives can be saved but will anyone listen to him?

    Verdun, September 1916' is an odd episode for a number of reasons. The first reason has to do with its original chronology. Watching this episode in order is great and as I've mentioned in previous reviews allows you to see Indiana Jones as a character develop as well as quite literally grow. You didn't get that with the original television airings as the show jumped from one period to another quite randomly every week. Sean Patrick Flanery complained in an interview some years after the series ended how frustrated he was as an actor not to receive consistent character direction by the series various directors because shooting totally out of continuity didn't allow that. It's no more evident than in this story. 'Verdun, September 1916' was aired as part of Season 1 before the audience got to see him in war for the 'Trenches of Hell' two-parter shown in Season 2. In retrospect I think it's incredibly amazing how the producers managed to eventually tie the series all together. But 'Verdun, September 1916' is odd for other reasons and it has nothing to do with chronology. As we last left our hero Indiana Jones he'd escaped an impenetrable German prison. Now he's become a courier for French commanders and generals, delivering messages to the frontline and back again. Someone was obviously impressed by his escape from Germany on a simple bicycle! I'm not sure if acting as a messenger is a step up or down from fighting on the frontline but I'm definitely sure Indy is happy to help in anyway he can. For all of those many fans (and as we all know there is many!) upset that Remy might of died in the 'Trenches of Hell' two-parter, rest assured he was only injured and is making a full recovery. Of course this reveal doesn't work when you watch it in its original airdate order. When Indy visits Remy in hospital we see the aftermath of the Battle of the Somme with the many wounded and traumatised soldiers recovering. It's a poignant and affecting scene as Remy's injury has been healed for sometime now but the psychological injuries he's suffered will take much longer to heal. It's sad scene and one of the best in the episode as Remy more or less against his will is forced back onto the frontline. For Remy the nightmare of what happened to him is still a strong memory. The needlessness of war and sacrificing innocent soldiers for an aimless goal is what the episode tries to explore. As men march into battle Generals Robert Nivelle, Joseph Joffre and Philippe Patain sit in their office planning the soldiers every move. We see their disregard for human life. They see their soldiers as pawns in a chess game instead of human beings following orders. Indy can't understand it himself. In one scene he asks some courier colleagues how World War One started. Indy can't believe that the cause of this war and what they are trying to protect is Serbia, a small country as he says no one's heard of. It's a terrific scene and probably the most successful scene in the story as it shows a world with countries at war with each other for a ridiculous reason that everyone has by now forgotten. However, there are some problems with 'Verdun, September 1916'. In my opinion it never structurally works. Everything that occurs within the episode is random; at times it feels like the writer felt the need to pad the story with action scenes. At one point Indy is suddenly attacked by a German plane that fires bullets and tries to drop bombs on him. The sequence has no relation to anything else that happens throughout the episode. It just feels so random. The ending also feels abrupt and without any real consequence. During the episode Indy spies on some Germans who are planning an attack with heavy artillery guns known as Big Bertha. One letter delivered by Indy to the frontline is all it will take for France to become involved in an unnecessarily futile battle. Indy blows up his bike with the letter to make it look like he was attacked; thereby preventing another war but the problem is we never really see the consequences of his actions.

    Acting is generally good but the directing by Rene Manzor is at times bizarre. The 'Trenches of Hell' story, especially the first part was successful in presenting a documentary film of The Great War. While Manzor clearly shows a love for the time period his overuse of slow motion during battle sequences isn't as effective as Simon Wincer's direction. I've said this before that even at its weakest 'The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles' was a very well written series. If one thing didn't work, something else did. 'Verdun, September 1916' is definitely one of the series weaker episodes as it's at times random in its story's content and lacks focus in presenting a clear story about the perils of leadership or following it. Having said that it's only because the series had so many great episodes that it's easy to nitpick as the series does so much right. A weaker script like this is classic television elsewhere and for this episode that's pretty good!moreless
Corey Carrier

Corey Carrier

Young Henry "Indiana" Jones, Jr. at age 8-10

Sean Patrick Flanery

Sean Patrick Flanery

Young Henry "Indiana" Jones, Jr. at age 16-20

George Hall

George Hall

Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr. at age 93

Bernard Fresson

Bernard Fresson


Guest Star

Jean Rougerie

Jean Rougerie

Henri Philippe Petain

Guest Star

Igor De Savitch

Igor De Savitch

Robert Nivelle

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • TRIVIA: Fort Douaumont was one of the forts surrounding Verdun. It was built over a period of almost thirty years, situated on the highest ground in the region. Prior to its capture by the Germans in 1916, it Fort Douaumont had the reputation of being the strongest fort in Europe and virtually impregnable. In one of the most bizarre feats in the War, the Fort was captured by a SINGLE squad of German combat engineers who literally slipped in a side door and took the fort without firing a shot!

      The loss of this fort forced the French High Command to have a single-minded mentality to recapture it because of political and public pressures.

    • TRIVIA: The Big Bertha guns that Sergeant DeMille refers to could hurl a 200+ lb. shell over 80 miles (the trajectory could reach 25 miles above the earth!). Each time it was fired, the discharge would literally wear away part of the barrel, forcing the barrel to be repaired after every 65 firings. The cannon had very little accuracy though, and was primarily used as a psychological weapon to bombard cities (when first used on Paris, the French thought the bombs were coming from a high altitude zeppelin!).

  • QUOTES (2)

    • French Courier: Now, when the Archduke of Austria is assassinated in Serbia, Austria threatens to invade Serbia.
      Belgian Courier: What about Germany?
      French Courier: Germany, as an ally of Austria, declares war on Russia, an ally of Serbia.
      Indy: But we're fighting in France.
      French Courier: Yes, indeed we are. France declares war to Germany and Austria, because of their alliance with Russia.
      Indy: But what about Belgium?
      Belgian Courier: Ah!
      French Courier: Belgium? When Germany went to attack France, Belgium was on the way.
      Belgian Courier: And Britain didn't like that, so they joined against Germany and Austria.
      French Courier: Right.
      Indy: So, we're fighting to protect Serbia. A tiny country no one's ever heard of. That's what this war is all about?

    • General Pétain: How many men did you lose?
      General Nivelle: Obviously not enough.

  • NOTES (3)

    • The episode won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series.

    • This episode and its companion documentaries are included on Volume 2 Disc 2 of the DVD collection, they include:
      -Into the Furnace - The Battle of Verdun
      -Marshal Petain's Fall From Grace
      -Flirting with Danger - The Fantasy of Mata Hari
      -Reading the Enemy's Mind - Espionage in World War I

    • Part 1 of the video Demons of Deception with Paris, October 1916.


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