While heading out to Scharnhorst's gas wells on a mutual cooperation expedition, Jack is busy explaining to Hannah about how totally awesome this particular Cadillac is, equipped with all manner of safety devices his other cars lack, and is also suited with a very dandy paint job. After much squabbling, Hannah is given the opportunity to drive, though Jack vows to give her hell should there be a single scratch on its paint.
And then there's an earthquake.
The canyon goes belly-up, the ground
shifting and turning in every direction, though they manage to make it out
alive and onto safe ground. Not without the car suffering a huge dent in its
rear, though, which does not please Jack at all. He even goes so far as to call
Hannah's driving as bad as her ideas! She defends the idea of mutual
cooperation, but given how Jack is driving the car again it's clear that he
Hammer Terhoun and his brothers are rummaging through a small camp and eventually emerge with a startling find - dynamite! The owner of the camp returns and wants to beat their bollocks in, but given how he's at least a foot shorter than them and just a scrawny little kid, they toss him aside and bust the tires of his car.
The two arrive at the gas wells, Jack acting
as an unofficial inspector, and probes Scharnhorst on what preventions she had
made to stop fire hazards. She claims she's done everything, including
installing a huge water tank, but the mechanic reminds her that water can't put
out gas fires, they need explosives to blow out the wells in such an occasion.
Scharnhorst repeats, of course, that dynamite is hardly something you
stumble across in your everyday business.
The Terhouns hope to use the dynamite to round up some cutters for a bit of poaching, and upon finding a gathering of them, let loose with the explosives. The slithers run for their lives, but in the wrong direction than they anticipated, rendering their plan useless. The three at the gas wells notice the smoke cloud, and move out to the source of the problem.
They find the Terhouns trying to make themselves scarce, but once everyone realises they need to work together to stop the wildfire they're roped into helping them put it out. In just a few hours the fire will reach the gas wells, and Jack suggests they use explosives to blow up the canyon and create a firewall. Of course, that requires them to have dynamite...
Though Scharnhorst knows a solution - Fessenden's lab is located a few miles away and has a hearty supply of nitro-glycerine in stock, but that'll require them to drive an unstable explosive through one of the most dangerous known jungles. Mustapha is summoned to help them with this undertaking along with Hammer, though naturally the poacher just plans to help out until he can take the nitro-glycerine for himself.
After loading up the three vehicles with five jars of nitro each, they make their way back with Vice and Wrench taking point. They don't last long before a felled tree trunk blocks the path, forcing them to try and shift it aside...
However, a huge jumbuck stomps up behind them,
and it appears hostile! Hammer and his brothers draw their weapons, but Jack
beats it into their heads that if that beast hits the ground it'll jolt the nitro enough to
detonate it. Hannah has enough medicinal knowledge to realise that the creature
is sick, and after feeding it a few herbs from the nearby branches, it leaves
Scharnhorst is busy at the other side of the
jungle using her workers to cut down the trees, but it's a slow going process.
Jack isn't terribly enamoured with Hammer's help so far, though Hannah claims
that with three vehicles transporting the nitro there's a chance at least one
will make it back to the gas wells safely. Vice and Wrench report another
obstacle in their path - a rickety wooden bridge!
Vice and Wrench take their bikes across, followed by Jack, and they make it across just fine. Hammer is reluctant to cross, not trusting the bridge's strength and doubting his huge truck will make it across in one piece, so Mustapha takes it across for him. Aside from a temporary hiccup regarding a plank giving way and a tire getting wedged in the gap, he gets the vehicle across safe and sound.
Hammer isn't playing along and just marches across the bridge on-foot, which, of course, generates a scuffle between him and Jack, though it's eventually resolved by pointing a gun at his face and telling him to drive. With Jack in the passenger seat Hammer seems relatively cooperative...
Until the bridge foundations start trembling, prompting him to bail and haul ass out of there, forcing Jack to get the truck across just in the nick of time before the whole thing collapses. Before he can start berating Hammer for being such a tremendous jackass, that kid the Terhouns harassed shows up!
He wants his dynamite back, but is not at all chuffed that it's already been used, so he instead demands all of the nitro-glycerine they have. Jack threatens to blow them all up if he makes any threatening moves, and the kid decides he's much happier not being on fire and having his limbs intact, and legs it. Continuing on their way, Jack resumes railing on about the poachers to Hannah, and the bridge incident was his last straw with them.
Hammer, in an astounding moment of idiocy, decides he's sick of taking orders and tries ramming Jack's Cadillac, but instead loses his traction on the mountain path, his truck slowly sliding towards the edge! Tenrec manages to save his ass but not the truck, so they lose a third of their nitro. Hammer plans to get back at him sooner or later, and knows when he can get that opportunity.
Meanwhile, Scharnhorst finally begins to realise that there's a serious risk of the fire reaching the gas wells, and orders maximum efficiency from her workers.
The group's next stop is a wide river with a pulley platform being the quickest path across. Jack takes a truck across, but given how the Terhouns are responsible for keeping the rope tense, it's no surprise they decide to slack off and leave Jack to his doom - that way they can steal his Cadillac and his nitro!
Jack bails the truck before it reaches the rocks, exploding on contact, while Hannah stops the poachers from pinching the Cadillac. Blowing up their bikes for good measure, Jack gets to shore and sends them on their way, though with no means to get him across the river they have to leave Mustapha behind. He takes this pretty well.
Hammer, Vice and Wrench are moderately miffed over the loss of their vehicles, and are soon approached by the punk kid again. They inform him that they no longer have the nitro, but if they team up then they can get back at Tenrec, stealing his explosives and getting even with him in the process!
Jack is also very frustrated over this turn of events, both at Hammer and his crew for their exceedingly uncooperative attitude and at Hannah for her suggestion of mutual cooperation, but they have a new problem on their hands...
A hornbill stampede! They try and make their way up a steep slope, but the tires just aren't giving them enough traction. Thankfully, this is Jack's special Cadillac with the emergency grappling hook launcher on the front, which is able to pull them to safety. They're now on the final stretch out of the jungle...
And there's another freakin' boulder on the path. This is, of course, a trap set up by the Terhouns to steal his nitro, but he just beats them aside, blows up the boulder with his huge cannon and continues on his way. The poachers give chase in the kid's dune buggy, but the fire has spread too far for them to stop and fend them off.
He does, however, choose to stay behind with a jar of nitro and let Hannah go on ahead, telling her to wait for him unless she has a good plan. After having gone through so much for the nitro, Jack finally gives it to them, blowing up the dune buggy and scattering the passengers. Hannah finally arrives at the canyon, but the fire has spread too far for her to set the charges. There's only one option...
The explosion is enough to cause a rock fall, building an impromptu firewall that is sufficient enough to keep the fire from the gas wells. Hannah is satisfied with her intuitive thinking, but Jack is dismayed at the needless destruction of his favourite Cadillac. He's appalled to unspeakable levels, but he admits that, if he were in that situation, he probably would've done the same thing. After all, he can't stay mad at Hannah for doing the right thing, and even allows her to drive his cars in future if she so desires, though only if they intend to make it into a smouldering wreck afterwards. That is not the answer she was hoping for.
This merry jaunt was written by Harlan Ellison and adapted to television by David Wise. Harlan is a noted sci-fi writer, having worked on The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone and a large number of books and anthologies. He also wrote I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream, if that means anything to anyone.
Vice's gun looks totally ridiculous.
So, what, in the 26th century all dangerous firearms are now retooled to look like fluorescent water pistols? The sad thing is that it's not even accurate to the toy, they actually made the gun look stupider than it needs to be. Oy vey.
The punk kid is referred to by name only once and pronounced in such a manner that I can barely understand it. Awesome.