The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles

Season 1 Episode 6

German East Africa, December 1916 (1)

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Apr 01, 1992 on ABC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

German East Africa, December 1916 (1)
On a military mission, Indy rescues a small child in an African village, and finds himself at odds with his commanding officer Major Boucher who doesn't approve of having a child brought along that might be carrying a disease. As members of the unit begin to fall ill Indy realises that the cost in completing their mission might be too much.moreless

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  • A mission to recover military equipment becomes a mission for survival!

    An interesting but undeniably flawed episode. Viewers may wish to know that 'German East Africa, December 1916' is the first segment of what would later be re-edited into the TV movie 'Oganga, The Giver and Taker of Life'. Unlike most stories that were either produced as 90 minute movies (like 'The Phantom Train of Doom') or episodes far apart re-edited to make TV movies this story and the next were shown in the order that 'Oganga, The Giver and Taker of Life' later presents them as. One episode continues onto another. Rare, for this show very rare!

    Promoted to Captain and ordered to help recover ammunition valuable to the Belgian and French armies Indiana Jones finds himself having to mutiny in order to stop stubborn Major Boucher (Michel Duchaussoy) from leading their team to death in the jungles of the Congo. A young boy, saved from a dead village is brought along but is this innocent child responsible for the mass sickness infecting the unit? It is a struggle for survival and not everyone will make it. Can Indy find a way forward to safety for his team or will they suffer the same fate as the villagers?

    Quite simply I'm spoilt for choice. The problem is when reviewing an episode of 'The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles' the quality of the storytelling is always so high that when you have an episode that's not as consistently good as the others it's all too easy to criticise it. But in retrospect an episode like 'German East Africa, December 1916' would be a classic in most other TV shows. I've said it before and I'll probably mention it again that a bad episode for this series is still a terrific story. 'German East Africa, December 1916' has some great moments but due to some obvious dubbing and steadily decreasing pace ironically, like the soldier's mission it loses its way. Young Indy has been promoted to the rank of Captain (I think he deserves a promotion after the last couple of adventures) and sent on an assignment to recover ammunition. Major Boucher isn't too confident in Indy's abilities and as he's leading the team you just know from the beginning there's going to tension between the two. As it is our young hero is constantly questioning Boucher's authority as well as his judgement. Finding a young boy who has not succumbed to the terrible disease that has killed everyone else in his village Boucher thinks it's a risk taking the child along with them. They might become infected with the same illness that swept through the village. It's Indy and Sergeant Barthelmy (Isaach De Bankolé) that defy their commanding officer and take the child with them. Faith is one of the main themes running through the story but it's never explored in a satisfactory way. When the unit eventually becomes ill with the same disease that killed the villagers it's Indy and Barthelmy that stand up for the child in front of Boucher because they believe the child could provide a cure since he wasn't infected. There's also this idea that sometimes having faith in the unknown is the only path you can take. Indy is certain that they'll eventually find a doctor if they change their route. It's Indy's determination in changing course and doing the right thing that leads to a mutiny with him taking command over the unit from Boucher. Nothing is really ever fully developed. The importance of the child is that an innocent person starting his life is a beacon of hope to the team but it's never explained how he could provide a cure or why he wasn't infected. Likewise with Indy taking command the plot just seems to plod along with no resolution in sight. When Boucher dies he still shows absolutely no respect for Indiana. Nothing is learnt and nothing gained. Normally you can rely on the show's polished production values to cover any flaws in the script but the episode's presentation has problems as well. Sometimes in Hollywood actor's voices are dubbed over for various reasons. Perhaps they look the part but don't sound the part or maybe their accent might not provide clear dialogue to an audience. I'll assume it's one of those reasons that had the crew dub over Isaach De Bankolé and Michel Duchaussoy voices. I don't mean simple Additional Dialogue Recording I mean actually replacing their voices with someone else's. It doesn't work and often detracts from the story. There's something slightly worrying (although at the same time absolutely hilarious) about Sergeant Barthelmy talking with a dubbed over voice one minute and then immediately switching over to his real native voice. I'm not sure why they cast actors in these roles when they ended up replacing their voices but it is distracting. 'German East Africa, December 1916' starts out well but I don't think enough thought went into how it would work on screen. However, there are some great moments and there is a slight absurdity to the whole thing near the end when they eventually get to a hospital. A man they come across comments that Indy and his unit look like they've crawled through hell on their bellies to which Indy replies, "we didn't crawl". Remy also at one point knocks Indy out which is rather amusing. Unfortunately some of the episodes themes are never fully explored or resolved and while the production values for the series very rarely disappoint here it feels sloppy as though the crew thought no one would notice. It's a weaker episode but it doesn't harm the series in any way and like most episodes contains at its core positive intentions for storytelling.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

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions