REGULAR CAST, GUEST CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
COMMENTARY 1 by Beboman
COMMENTARY 2 by Steve Crow
Ralf Moeller (Frank Kafka)
Elias Zarou (Hosni)
D. Garnet Harding (Prince Shareem)
Yan Feldman (Yusef) [Official credits list Frank Pellegrino]
Ravi Khajuria (Sanjay)
Written by Andre & Maria Jacquemetton
Directed by George Mendeluk
Filmed on location in Canada (Toronto), the UK, and Spain by Fireworks Entertainment Inc. and Gaumont Television.
TV GUIDE PROMO
An Arabian Prince is in peril - can Sydney help his Royal Highness? Logline
843 AD: An Arab Royal tests the loyalty of his soldiers with a magical lamp. Present Day: A sniper takes aim at his target, the Prince Shareem, a student sitting in Sydney's class. Just before he fires, Shareem's bodyguard, Yusef, stuns the hitman with a deadly bullet. Shareem is ignorant of the threat on his life. After class, Shareem visits Syd in her office and informs her that he must return home to his dying father. He asks her to help him find a relic, a mythical lamp said to have the ability to test the loyalty of Middle Eastern soldiers.
Syd denies the Prince's request, as she does not like to get involved in politics. Not one to accept defeat, Shareem decides to go for it solo. Unfortunantly he enlists the help of one of Syd's rival relic hunters, Frank Kafka, who actually poses as a hunter to lure relics for the steal. Kafka is known to kill the people who hire him and sell the relics on the black market. When Syd learns of Shareem's error in character judgement from his Uncle Hosni, she rushes to Morocco to save him from certain death. She explains to Nigel how Kafka lost his hand thanks to Sydney's philanthropic designs and now has to wear an intimidating hook in its place.
With the help of Yusef, Syd bullies Boz, an old enemy by association, into helping her locate Kafka. Boz sends his pesky pet monkey, Oliver, to tail the hunters. As they head into rebel territory, Yusef informs Syd that he must return home to select a team to save the Prince. Syd and Nigel trudge onward to the Well of Suerete where Kafka and Shareem are establishing a dig site in an effort to find the lamp. Thus far, no luck. Syd finds Shareem alone and warns him of Kafka's evil plot. Kafka, alerted by Boz, disrupts the two and a struggle ensues.
Syd holds her own, but ends up hanging from a cliff by Kafka's disembodied hook -lost as he plummeted to his own assumed death. Faithfully, Nigel rushes to Syd's rescue and pulls her to safety. A little late, Yusef and Hosni join the search team, but Hosni is reluctant to continue on. After dodging a few booby traps, Syd finds the ancient lamp and allows an ecstatic Shareem to test Yusef's loyalty. He of course passes with flying colors.
Peculiarly on edge, Hosni is eager to get home and is then insulted when the Prince asks him to hold the lamp. After he learns about the attempt on his life back in America, Shareem forces the lamp on his uncle. The Light of Truth exposes Hosni for the treacherous creep he is, and out of desperation, admits his bitterness towards his brother and nephew -- even going so far as shooting at Shareem. Yusef bravely takes the bullet for his prince and Syd beats the royal heck out of him. Shareem realizes he really doesn't need the lamp after all and donates it to a museum. But - wait - hold your applause. In a chilling final scene we see the menacing monkey Oliver jump for joy when Kafka resurfaces from rubble at the bottom of the well. Has Syd really seen the last of this menacing criminal?
This commentary is by Beboman.
This was another good episode. I am really beginning to enjoy how this season is mixing Sydney's daily life with her Relic Hunter adventures. It provides us with a better, more rounded idea of Sydney. Sydney is not only that adrenaline junky we have seen in the prior seasons. We get to see her as the professor who has the best interest of her students in mind. Her choice of subject matter in this episode was very interesting.
I also enjoyed the relationship between Karen and Nigel in this episode. It was more like that of almost equals. This was in sharp contrast with Nigel's interaction with Claudia, in which he had a bit of contempt for her and found her to be a bit of a nuisance.
It also seemed as though Sydney still has not found the right chemistry with Karen. There were some moments in which it felt like Sydney really wanted to keep Karen at arm's length. That might be something to explore in future episodes.
It is always good to see some of Sydney's old nemeses. The one in this episode, Kafka, was a very good adversary. Their encounter and fight were just great. Using the monkey as a tracking devise was just a very good idea and it worked really great. Another good point in this episode.
In this episode, we have Sydney helping find one of her students who is a prince and is after "The Light of Truth", which will help him find out who he can truly trust and who he cannot.
Even though at first Sydney refuses to help him, she finds herself forced to do so because her young student has sought the help of Kafka, a ruthless relic hunter Sydney has faced in the past and one who blames Sydney for the loss of a hand.
When Sydney finally finds her student, she shows him that he is just as good if not better as an archeologist than Kafka. This leads to a fight between Kafka and Sydney in which they fall down a shaft and both Nigel and the Prince rescue Sydney. They all give Kafka up for dead, but in the end Kafka is very much alive.
This episode had the perfect mixture of adventure and comedy, which made the episode very entertaining and enjoyable. The acting was very good, as were the script and the directing. I will give this episode three relics out of four.
This commentary is by Steve Crow.
Nigel's comment about spanking the money was mildly amusing.
Elias Zarou has previously played a different character in Dagger of Death. he was also a semi-regular (as much as they had any) on Friday the 13th, the Series, as Rashid. Rolf Moeller is another "international" actor (he played Conan in the TV series, and was on Queen of Swords last year). They never have figured out a decent way to do a missing-hand prosthesis for a two-handed actor, have they?
Did anybody else have the first frame or two of the closing credits cut off? I didn't get the "co-star" actors listing. Neither Boz nor Sanjay (?) nor anybody in the flashback were credited in what I saw aired.
So was that Sanjay (from Wages of Sydney) as Karen's contact/ally with the Nigel apartment-subplot?
One thing I've liked about the season so far is that they've seemed to set up a couple of decent continuing villains: Kafka in this episode, and Deviega (sic) in Sydney at Ten. Both seemed to present a decent challenge, and have some potential for a rematch. Looking back, it seems that most of the main villains either end up dead, or are a "secret" villain (like Agent Kouri in Mr. Right) that aren't very useful once their secret is revealed, or are too oriented toward just the plot of the story they appear in to be useful in a more general context.
I didn't think they did much with the relic this week. The three main guest-stars beside Moeller seemed to work well together and separately. Yusef was pretty good in the bar as the "bad cop", Shareem nicely combine royal bossiness and naivety, and Hosef (sic) wasn't too obviously the bad guy.
The story (written by the Marquettons Andre and Maria, who are also working on Enterprise now) kind of played around a bit with expectations. Kafka had more of a plan then "Grab the relic before Sydney does", there seemed to be a little more detail on the history between Sydney and Kafka, and Sydney had to kind of be dragged into the story.
Was it just me, or was there more cleavage in this episode than usual? I don't associate director George Mendeluk (previously working on Cross of Voodoo) as big on those kind of shots. Maybe it was the costume director.