Jack and Hannah are driving at full speed away from a very violent hard-headed slither, which is already roughing up the Cadillac with its hard head. The two bicker over who was responsible for provoking it in the first place, but the main priority is simply getting out of this situation alive, and Jack believes he knows the very way of achieving that...
... by driving over that. Needless to say, the bridge can hardly holding their weight and...
... one only wonders why a ridiculous setup like this didn't take place in the arcade game.
Hannah is speechless, both because Jack
opted for such a harebrained idea and that they actually made it out alive.
Still, they got the slither off their tail successfully, so Jack is reasonably
content with how things have panned out. They arrive back at Jack's garage by
evening, bearing witness to an unknown yet familiar car parked inside...
It belongs to Shawn Russel, Jack's long-time friend! They trained together long ago as old-blood mechanics so they're quite giddy to see each other again, though Shawn gets continually distracted by Hannah's beauty. Hannah is not impressed by his remarks and considers him a creep.
And being a creep is apparently enough for
Hannah to unleash the fury of Hermes upon him! The big lug just
rubs his nose
against him for a while before Jack carts his pet away. Shawn takes particular
notice of all the fun toys Jack has on offer, particularly a helicopter engine,
though he notes that he used the wrong fuel hose. However, Shawn claims he has
things to do and scoots off, but not without winking at Hannah and commenting
that he would like to settle down nearby. "I like the scenery."
Hannah rants about what a pervy jerk she thinks Shawn is, but Jack heads to bed early in preparation for his big day tomorrow, heading over to Kirgo's to see some solar cells he found. Hannah believes he's just avoiding talking about his friend.
The next day, Jack is on his merry way through the wilderness when--
HOLY COW THAT'S BACON HOT
His engine has overheated! And judging from the leaking pipe, it looks like it's been cut! He's quite miffed about this and sets about patching up; by the time he's done and dusted it's sunset when he arrives back at his garage...
... to find Hermes lying on the ground! Although still breathing, his pet cutter looks to be in weak condition with its consciousness fading, so he radios for Hannah to give medical attention. As he does that, he notices something else peculiar - where's his helicopter engine?
Hannah arrives and performs a diagnosis - Hermes has been drugged with a tranquiliser dart, though he's in no danger, he'll only wake up the next day with a hangover. It's clear that someone wanted plenty of time to steal that helicopter engine, but Jack wonders who would have done it. Hannah suggests it's Shawn, but Jack is dubious; his friend may be hard to like, but they're both old-blood mechanics and live by a code, which involves not half-inching parts from each other. Hannah remains undeterred.
A while later, Hermes awakes from his daze
and is quite thoroughly hung over, but shortly afterwards he appears
attentive, dashing off into the distance as if summoned by something. They try
to call him back, but to no avail. With no other choice, they give chase in the
And are narrowly missed by a passing shivat.
A shivat that also showed the same symptoms as Hermes!
It quickly becomes apparent this is more widespread than they thought when a stampede of every slither known to man begin bounding down their path, all of them in the same state as Hermes and the shivat. Vegetarians and carnivores run together, slithers of all shapes and sizes - Jack calls BS on this one. That's impossible.
Suddenly, the wild child of the Grith tribe appears, beckoning them to follow him. Jack ignores him, favouring Hermes as his top priority, though the kid isn't willing to be ignored, hopping aboard a jumbuck and emitting a high-pitched screech...
Which takes it out of its drug-induced state, allowing the wild child to make it block Jack's path. They can't ignore awesome feats like that, so they follow the child deep into Grith territory. Jack comments that he can't sense the Grith like he normally does, and the Grith nests still have food on their tables, so something odd is going on.
They find a small, cavernous chamber where a huge ensemble of Grith lie kneeling upon the ground, Hobb at the forefront and all facing an empty pedestal. With a strained and weak voice, he explains that the "life stone" was stolen, which is vital to the survival of their species (and by extension, their distant relatives the slithers), but falls unconscious before he can offer more details. Jack comments that if Shawn were here, he would know what to do - that man is an old-blood master and totally knowledgeable about the Grith and their lifestyle. Wild child is told to stay behind and keep an eye on the Grith in case anyone attacks.
As they drive off, Hannah brings up Shawn again, still believing he's responsible for everything. Jack remains doubtful - the man's a great mechanic, a Grith master and a brilliant driver. However, he's frustrated that he has always been second best to the man, and for as long as they've known each other they've been competing. He reminisces on one of his final mechanic tests, where they were to race through the bad lands...
It was not only a challenge of driving skill, but also of survival skill, fending off whatever beasts wanted to make their race into a mealtime. Things got nasty once they approached the end, which involved driving up a narrow, winding path; Jack's Cadillac plunged into the jagged rocks, though his friend Shawn was kind enough to pull him to safety beforehand.
Hannah deduces that Jack still considers Shawn superior to him and is always trying to live up to that man's talents, especially given the ridiculous manoeuvre he pulled at the beginning of the episode.
They follow the slither trail, which actually takes them through the bad lands Jack raced on years ago. They spy Hermes marching up the trail and notice how the other slithers are acting in the same peculiar manner, but there's no way there'd be enough tranquiliser juice to dose all of the beasts.
Suddenly, Shawn shows up in a helicopter, and uses the commercial break to tie Jack and Hannah to the front of their Cadillac! Being a villain, he begins a monologue, explaining that the Grith's life stone radiates an energy field that the slither can't resist, its radius stretching for miles is placed high enough, like on the top of the freakin' mountain. With this many slithers gathered in one place, especially when they're rendered so docile by the life stone, he plans to butcher them and sell everything he can from them, and even sell some Grith meat if he can. He's also invited the Terhoun brothers to assist in the slaughter, but until they arrive he'll just make his way to the crystal.
Using brute force and ignorance, Jack tears through his ropes and blasts Shawn's helicopter, causing it to crash right next to his car, conveniently. Shawn still plans to fetch the crystal, using the very same winding path he and Jack raced on years ago; Tenrec is nearly tempted to just shoot out his tires, but he chooses to face his problems like a man and pursue him in the Cadillac. "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do." "Yeah, but why now?"
Shawn commends Jack for having the guts to rise to the challenge, but doubts he'll have the skill to beat him. However, pulling all manner of tricks to catch up to him gives Jack the confidence to say, once for all, he's a totally kickass driver.
Apparently surprise bouts of confidence are enough for Shawn to lose control, his car plummeting off the cliff, though Hannah is gracious enough to snag him with a lasso crossbow bolt. They reclaim the crystal and take the unconscious Shawn with them; once they return the crystal, the slithers should be returned to normal.
So, yeah, how is the threat of Hammer Terhoun and his cohorts taken care of?
The slithers stampede.
They run away.
And so, things are wrapped up neatly - they reunite with Hermes, the Grith are in good health with the life stone back where it belongs, Shawn is sent to Scharnhorst's penal colony, and Jack denies that he ever thought Shawn was a better person than he was.
This episode was written by Michael Reaves, best known for his work on Batman: The Animated Series, though he's done everything from The Real Ghostbusters to Gargoyles, Dungeons & Dragons to My Little Pony, and plenty of other things. He's also wrote a bunch of Star Wars books.
Given how the credits never mention guest characters, I don't know the precise spelling of Shawn's name. It could be Sean, Shaun, Sean, Russel or Russell. I opted for the spelling from this page; yes, it's in Spanish, but everyone else is spelt accurately as far as I can tell.
Yeah, the life stone and its function is just a little ridiculous, and how it works is a whole other matter. There's nothing unique about the cliff Shawn sets it on, but the moment Hannah removes it the slithers return to normal. If it radiates an energy field that attracts slithers, wouldn't Jack and Hannah have been chased by them the whole way back to the Grith land?