As astronauts Virdon and Burke, along with their Chimpanzee friend Galen flee the authorities they come across two men fighting. They try to break up the fight but this just leads to the men turning on them. It turns out one of the men is training his son to be a fighter as the local prefect believes that the occasional gladiatorial fight to the death will satisfy the local humans' blood lust. During the scrap the data disc taken from their capsule is dropped and picked up by the prefect. The trio head to the prefect's village where Galen visits him and tries to talk him into giving the disc back without letting him know what it means. Things get worse when Virdon and Burke are captured while trying to steal horses. It is decided that they will be the next to fight with Burke being forced to fight the champion Tolar. As the fight reaches its conclusion apes from the capital turn up looking for our protagonists so even if Burke can win their problems won't be over.
This is a solid second episode which appears to be setting things up for a location-of-the-week style of series where the characters encounter a problem, overcome it then head on in much the same circumstances as before. That isn't a problem when the stories are fun and this one is pretty good; there is no real villain, which is nice, the prefect's organised fights may seem barbaric but it is made clear that his motives are good and he treats the humans in his village better than most apes. William Smith does a good job as champion gladiator Tolar; he certainly has the right physique for the role. He is more than just a muscleman though; we see him as a man of honour who feels disgraced at having his life spared. The fight scenes are pretty good and it does look like the combatants are really fighting. Some may find the pacifist message as Tolar's son expresses a wish not to fight a little heavy handed but to my mind it doesn't detract from the story. Overall a pretty good episode.
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