As the first part of 'Travels With Father' Young Indiana learns about what religion and politics means to people. Viewers may like to know that this was originally filmed as one of four TV movies to be shown as part of a third season. The episode does not have an 80 year old Indy or the opening credits theme.
After a mischievous Indy causes havoc at an important Russian dinner our young hero decides to run away or face the wrath of his father's punishment. Packing away his priceless baseball cards Indy sets out for New Jersey, meeting a disgruntled Leo Tolstoy along the way. It turns out he's on the run as well and as they both try to make it to New Jersey famous writer Tolstoy becomes a prime target for evil Cossack soldiers.
Well, Young Henry has caused some chaos in the past but not this much. You truly do feel this is the last straw for Henry Senior. Rather than get emotional about it Indy just sees the logical way out of fleeing back to America and when he meets Tolstoy this is when the episode really begins. Tolstoy if you aren't aware wrote the very long 'War and Peace'. The two seem to share the same problem in that they don't fit into the world. They are disgruntled with what life has dealt them and so in an essence have become their own outcasts in a society that wants them back. Tolstoy doesn't think much of his books. He wants to disassociate himself with the political and religious beliefs that have earned him many fans across Russia. As you can imagine Tolstoy isn't the happiest of people when he's greeted into a village where everyone's followed his work and singing his praises. As Tolstoy, veteran actor Michael Gough (yes, Alfred from the Batman movies!!!) portrays him as a sneaky, opportunist who can go from being angry with life to lapping up the luxury of being a god. Gough goes from one emotion to the other, conveying hate or rejection of churches (at one point he tells Indy he'd rather die than get help from a priest) to almost showing pity towards his many admirers. Things get dangerous when Cossack troops attack and both Indy and Tolstoy are forced to admit that home is where they should be. If you can accept the fact that travelling from Russia to America would take forever on foot anyway(Tolstoy at his age should know better) then you'll see them beginning to realize that they actually have a lot in common, they learn to accept society for all its flaws. We don't agree with life sometimes but that doesn't give us an excuse to run away regardless of what age we are. When Indy returns home to relieved parents he doesn't entirely agree with his father's ideals but he understands that his father wants what's best for him. It's not the best episode but there are some great moments of humour dotted around (Indy smashing a trolley of drinking glasses is genuinely funny) and the last scene where Indy exchanges priceless possessions with Tolstoy is cute. Indy gets Tolstoy's bible while the famous novelist gets the baseball cards Indy said he'd never part with. Above all Gough and Cory Carrier work well together and it's the central friendship between their characters that stands above everything else.