A fun episode, where Indy gets to show his wits and cunning,
but which falls a little flat in execution.
Unusually, this episode begins without showing Indy at all.
It begins with a British attack on Gaza, which fails miserably. It
sets up the fact that the Australian horse regiment has been held in reserve,
and doesn't see any action, throughout a lot of the conflict.
Lawrence of Arabia is there, and he acknowledges the British
General's crazy idea of sending the army on a two day trek across the desert
to take the town of Beersheba. There is not a drop of water from
their position to the town, and there is a good chance that the Germans
will destroy the wells during the attack, thus having the entire army die
of thirst. They need a spy in the city to make sure the wells aren't
destroyed. Lawrence recommends Indy for the job.
One of the commanders is the same man who sent Indy out to destroy
Phantom Train of Doom. He is an expert at planting false information.
He "accidentally" loses a packsack full of documents that indicate the
British will attack Gaza again within the week, and the information does
what it is supposed to do: the Germans send their reserve troops from Beersheba
to Gaza, leaving the town virtually defenseless.
Indy has a fond reunion with Lawrence, whom he met when he was
very young, and with whom he has been corresponding all these years.
They talk under the stars (which look like the matte painting they are),
and camp in some ancient ruins. Indy also gets to know many in the
Australian brigade. When he finds out his mission, he is afraid for
their lives. He knows that many people won't make the two day ride
across the desert, and that many horses won't, either.
So Indy goes off to Beersheba, disguised as a merchant, and in
the company of a Beduin woman, who will spy on the Germans while belly
dancing. There is a funny scene where they are hassled by a Beduin
tribesman, who takes possession of the woman and her camel. Indy
did a great job of being the merchant, in a very funny role. He is
forced to leave his companion, but she catches up to her by morning, having
given them a sleeping potion, and stolen their clothing.
Once they arrive in Beersheba, they link up with their contact,
who tells them that the German General is skeptical about another attack
on Gaza. So he has rigged the wells with dynamite. But the
German Intelligence officer believes that the attack will be at Gaza.
On the morning of the attack, they find out that the belly dancer
is a double agent, and the contact is arrested and beaten. Indy tells
her that the attack is at Beersheba, but the contact reveals that they
gave her false information. So Indy appears to kill him, using a
folding knife and fake blood. The story seems to be complete.
By the time the attack comes, the "dead" agent comes alive and
gets Indy out of jail. They then proceed to cut the wires to the
dynamite at the wells. But the German General figures out their plan,
and orders the wires re-strung.
Meanwhile, the British once again are forced to retreat.
The Australians are reluctantly given the task of entering the city.
In a magnificent cavalry stampede, they get within the perimeter of the
guns, and keep moving. They enter the city in a breathtaking scene
where the horses leap over the machine-gun manned trenches.
Several wells are destroyed, but Indy gets to the control room
before any more can be blown up. A wimpy fight ensues, even though
it is not supposed to appear wimpy. It is almost a cliché
that they enter the room just as the man is about to pull the trigger,
and they fight for a while, then the bad guy escapes just long enough to
partially pull the trigger before being shot. If Indy had shot him
at the start, it would have been much simpler.
So the British have finally taken a city in the middle east,
and they expect to be in Jerusalem by Christmas. I don't think Indy
gets to see this, as he is off on other adventures.
The lead-in to the attack was well done, I thought. Indy
got to know the people involved. Some he liked, others (like the
British) he didn't. But he followed orders, and was let in on the
plan. He gets to race horses against the Australians, and breaks
up a fight between them and the British. They play a football game
instead of brawling, to resolve their differences. Fun.
The belly-dancing spy was there to play double-agent. But
she didn't really get to do much. She slept with Indy, trying to
get information on the real target. I found the execution of the
betrayal scene with the German General to be rather lackluster. It
should have kept us guessing, but somehow it didn't.
However, I did enjoy the scene where she shoots the pigeon and
thus exposes herself as a double agent.
So the episode was fun, but not great. It had elements
that were very interesting, but the execution was sub-par.