Virdon agrees to race a chimpanzee Prefect's horse against Urkos best horse, in exchange for a condemned boy's freedom. Urko has never lost a race, but of course, as Virdon finds out, Urko ...
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Virdon agrees to race a chimpanzee Prefect's horse against Urkos best horse, in exchange for a condemned boy's freedom. Urko has never lost a race, but of course, as Virdon finds out, Urko doesn't play fair. Despite Urko's treachery and cheating, Virdon prevails in the end. Written by
This episode sees Virdon, Burke and Galen in a village where Urko has challenged the local prefect, Barlow, to a horse race; no one refuses Urko and nobody ever beats him; he has the best horses and if that isn't enough he will cheat to see his horse win. Our trio are staying with the local blacksmith and his son, Gregor; the latter enjoys horse riding even though it is a capital offence for humans. When Galen is stung by a deadly scorpion Gregor offers to ride into town to get the antidote. He manages to get it but is identified by Urko's men who arrest him and sentence him to death. In an attempt to save the boy Virdon offers to ride for Barlow in the upcoming race. Barlow initially laughs and gives Virdon an unbroken horse so show that he can in fact ride. Inevitable he manages to ride it and all is set for the race a race Urko is determined to win by fair means or foul but mostly foul!
While this is another 'skill of the week' episode where the humans show how they know more about something than the supposedly superior apes in is rather fun. We get to see a lot more of Mark Lenard's Urko than usual; it is great to see that he is unpleasant to apes as he is to humans as he tries to cheat Barlow out of his land and horses. John Hoyt's performance as Barlow is nicely nuanced; he appears to be sympathetic to humans but it is clear that this sympathy is limited to what is in his interest. Morgan Woodward and Meegan King are solid as the blacksmith and is son; decent but not unflawed characters. The race itself is well handled; they even find a plausible way to explain why Urko won't immediately recognise Virdon which was good.
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