The Pylon Express
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|"The Pylon Express"|
|Land of the Lost episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||Gordon Wiles|
|Written by||Theodore Sturgeon|
|Original air date||October 25, 1975|
"The Pylon Express" is the eighth episode of the second season of the 1970s American television series Land of the Lost. Written by Theodore Sturgeon and directed by Gordon Wiles, it first aired in the United States on October 25, 1975 on NBC.
Just before dawn, Rick and Will are awake on the terrace and comment that two of the moons have been horizontally aligned all week. Rick confesses that he has been waiting for the third, smaller moon to align between the others and is curious as to what effect they might have on the Land of the Lost. Suddenly, they hear the sounds of chanting and follow the sounds to find the Pakuni dancing around a keyless pylon as the third moon falls into alignment. Just as the sun rises, they cease chanting and a pylon door appears spilling out a shopping cart full of Earth groceries. Suspecting that the pylon contains a time doorway home, Rick and Will step in. Immediately, the door closes as the small moon moves out of alignment, and the Pakuni walk off with the food. Back at their cave, Holly wakes up alone and begins to worry. After leaving a note in case her family returns, she sets out to look for them. Along the way, she runs into Cha-Ka and asks him if he's seen them. The young Paku immediately apologizes and explains that they entered the "Moon-Giver" (pylon) and are now gone. However, he adds that Ta knows how to open the pylon so they go looking for him. They find both Ta and Sa struggling to push the grocery cart and Holly is bewildered by the presence of so much Earth food. After showing Ta how to unwrap a candy bar, Holly tries to persuade Ta to help her but he refuses to do so until after he's decided on his price.
Later, at the cave, Ta and Sa arrive to tell Holly that Ta will open the pylon in return for "odumani" - everything, referring to all the Marshalls' belongings. Seeing no other way to help her family, Holly reluctantly agrees. Later, the Pakuni have piled all of the Marshalls' things into the cart and arrive at the pylon where they resume their chant. Again, the moons all align and the pylon opens but no one comes out. Holly decides to go in after her father and brother but once inside, the door closes again and she finds herself alone. Seconds later, the Pakuni watch as the door opens again and Rick and Will step out. Rick checks his watch and finds that time outside the pylon has passed more quickly than inside but that he is confident that they can use this pylon to return home. They are about to return to the cave to tell Holly the good news when they realize that all their belongings are there and that something must have happened to Holly. Rick grows angry at Ta and demands that he open the pylon.
Inside the pylon, Holly stands at the matrix table while a column of lights descends and surrounds her. When the lights ascend again, the door opens revealing that Holly is apparently no longer in the Land of the Lost, but rather in a cold, snowy, mountainous environment. She goes back to the matrix table and lights descend again. This time, the door opens to what appears to be a pristine Lost City from a much earlier time as there is no trace of any jungle or Big Alice. She calls out to an Altrusian resembling Enik who hears her and starts to walk towards her but the door closes again and the column returns. Next, it opens on a noisy, alien jungle with a purple tint to the foliage. A small, animate object resembling a box on springs jumps into the pylon before the door closes and rests on the matrix table. The column reappears over both of them and when the door opens once more, Holly believes she is back in the Land of the Lost. The box jumps out the door but, before Holly can leave, it explodes. Holly then notices that the words "HOLLY DON'T" are written in the dirt just outside the pylon. She takes this as a message from her father and brother not to leave the pylon. The next journey takes Holly to a red-tinted desert with a huge vacuum cleaner-like object that is consuming objects. As it turns to the pylon, Holly steps back frightened and anxiously waits for the door to close. When it reopens, Holly finds that she is in a park on modern-day Earth and watches as kids play with a frisbee. One of them throws the frisbee towards the doorway and Holly catches it before the door closes again.
Back in the Land of the Lost, several hours have passed with the Pakuni apparently having had no success in opening the door to Rick's great frustration and anger. At last, the pylon opens and Holly emerges relieved. That evening, the Marshalls are back in the cave with all their stuff as they discuss the day's events. Rick reveals that be blackmailed Ta into returning all of their things by threatening to tell the other Pakuni how Ta was able to open the pylon. In actuality, all of the ritualistic chanting and dancing were merely a means of stalling for time. Ta had witnessed a prior conjunction of the moons and thus knew when the pylon would open but kept that knowledge to himself for his own benefit. Unfortunately, that particular alignment will not occur again for another few years. But when it does, they can finally go home. Holly thanks her father for scrawling the message in the sand that warned her to stay in the pylon but Rick and Will absolutely deny that they left such a note, leaving an open question regarding its origins.
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