The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles

Season 3 Episode 11

Palestine, October 1917 (2)

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Unknown on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • Can Indy secure a well in Beersheba before battle commences?

    Indy and Maya's journey to Beersheba mentioned in my previous review for 'Palestine, October 1917' this story has a troubled production history with it taking three years to get made amongst death threats from the Islamic Jihad in Turkey as well as having to deal with tension along the Iraq border. It's quite an achievement it was completed in the end with extra footage added. I won't go into why this was done as that was explained in my previous review. What I will reiterate is that 'Palestine, October 1917' was renamed 'Daredevils of the Desert' and was only seen for the fist time via home video in 1999/2000.

    Indiana and Maya continue to make their way to the town of Beersheba in the hope of stopping Turkish soldiers from detonating a well that will provide valuable water to the British and Australian armies. It'll also mean no water for those around the town meaning the British will lose their strategic foothold in their quest for Jerusalem. As our hero and Maya make their way through hot deserts and across rickety bridges they know everything rests on their shoulders. But with German officer Schiller taking charge of the Turkish army at Beersheba things look bleak. Can Indy and Maya infiltrate Beersheba before it's too late?

    Please note due to the structure of this story this review will cover the second 45 minutes of the story. There are a couple of points I want to pick up from my previous review of 'Palestine, October 1917'. At the end of my previous review I said that as we get into the second half of the story it's starts to get more exciting. The first part of 'Palestine, October 1917' was development of the characters and built the camaraderie between Indiana and his new friends at Australian Lighthorsemen Regiment. It's clever scripting by writer Frank Darabont as it makes Indy's quest to defuse the explosives at Beersheba more urgent and more relatable. The fate of the British and Australian armies rest on his shoulders, as I mentioned before it's the weight of the world. This allows the second part to steam ahead with the action and adventure we've come to expect from Indiana Jones. It doesn't disappoint. There also unexpected moments that the viewer doesn't see coming, again Darabont's script at it's best and most chaotic. In my previous review I mentioned how Maya (played by Catherine Zeta-Jones) was committed to her cause and as Zeta-Jones puts in such a captivating performance you never question which side she's on. It makes her betrayal later on as a double agent more difficult to understand. Curiously she's never caught at the end of the story and gets no resolution. Perhaps the writers planned to use her again at some point but the cancellation of the show put paid to those plans. None of the unmade scripts for the series reference her so maybe she was always intended as a one off character? Still a role Zeta-Jones should be proud to put on her CV.

    All the cast do a great job. Colin Baker as real life person Harry George Chauvel gets more to do in the second part leading his soldiers into a desperate and uncertain battle. He does get to shine as does made up character Rashid played by Kerem Atabeyoglu, Indy's contact who wants this all to stop. There's this whole plot point about how Indy can't throw a knife and Rashid's 'betrayal' leads into this during one shocking scene. Is it a real knife? See if you can spot actors Terrence Hardiman and Ben Miller in small but integral scenes. I should also mention Haluk Bilginer as Colonel Ismet Bey, a character who ends up showing more sense than Schiller played by Daniel Craig. I can't not mention Craig's involvement. The viewer really wants him to lose as he's nasty piece of work. Having seen this now I do wonder whether this story would have made him become more well known sooner had production not been delayed for it's 1993 airing. Guess we'll never know. Craig definitely seems to be enjoying himself in the part. Seeing Craig and Flannery fight during the climatic battle reminds me of a more clumsy version of the beginning of 'Casino Royale'. Not to take anything away from that because Simon Wincer's direction for the most part is terrific. As I've said before Wincer's shown he can handle action scenes like the 'Trenches of Hell' two-parter. As Jack Anders and his friends leap across into battle it's just as explosive and fun to watch. I'll even forgive the fact Wincer uses of footage from the 1987 film 'The Lighthorsemen' since it directly connects to this era of war. There are some flaws like during the bridge battle you can clearly see a dummy fall off the cliff and smash, you don't have to freeze frame, it's quite noticeable. Also the whole idea of Sean Patrick Flannery trying to pass himself off as Turkish is ridiculous or offensive depending on how you see it. Maybe the Islamic Jihad saw a preview of the script?

    The main aim for 'Palestine, October 1917' was not to offend anyone but provide a fast moving action adventure and make us see how the fate of so many people can rest on one individual. It succeeds very well in doing this, offering huge scale battles, a stunning performance by Catherine Zeta-Jones, friendship, deception and a touch of comedy. Fun for the whole family and who wouldn't want to see Indiana Jones go up against James Bond and take him out? That's why this story is immense fun.