Panther Girl of the Kongo, Chapter 10 – Blasted Evidence

People often say that cats aren’t good swimmers. So, I’m going to assume that panthers aren’t exactly swimming champs either. As for Panther Girls, they don’t seem to fare too well in the water, either, especially when their hands are tied. That’s precisely the position Jean is in right now, having been sent tumbling into the river after being hit by a wayward box, which good ole Larry ducked out of the way of. Is it the end of our beloved Panther Girl? Let’s find out in chapter 10 – Blasted Evidence.

As Jean sinks under the water, the dutiful Larry leaps in to save her. Figuring Larry just dove into a watery grave himself, Cass and Rand make a quick exit. A moment later, both Larry and Jean emerge from the depths, a bit soggy but otherwise fine. Now our heroes head back to the village to develop the footage they took of the claw monsters. Meanwhile, the villains meet with the evil Dr. Morgan, who tells them they must make sure that the footage is destroyed and that Larry and Jean are killed. He then informs them that he has the means to create for them a bomb that will take care of all that all at once.

Back at the village, Larry and Jean have invited the commissioner to come and see the footage of the claw monster for himself. He is shocked and horrified by what he sees and asks our heroes to give him every last detail of how they discovered the monsters. They then tell about their first encounter with the beast. Remember back in Chapter 1, poor Jean gets grabbed by a giant claw and screams until Larry rescues her? Well we see that again. In fact, we see several scenes from past episodes again. We get the fistfight from when Cass and Rand tried to steal the film back in chapter 2. Oh and the bit where Larry lies stiff as a board so he can stay safe as a jeep rolls over him, we get that again, too. Yes, ladies and gentleman, we have reached the Clip Show! Then, after a heapin’ helpin’ of deja vu, Cass and Rand show up to toss their bomb into the hut. We have a huge explosion before we are instructed to come back next week.

Clip shows became a staple of many long-running TV series’. Shows like The Simpsons have had quite a few over the years. However, the practice of creating an episode out of footage from previous episodes began here in theatrical serials. Republic’s Robinson Crusoe of Clipper Island was the first to do this way back in 1936, nineteen years before Panther Girl of the Kongo. This was primarily done for budgetary reasons. I get that it’s a time-honored practice, but it’s still lazy. Plus, considering that last week’s installment was so weak, it’s a bit of a letdown to be hit with the clip show this week.

Still, the moments that are chosen for the flashbacks are some of the highlights. The giant claw reaching over a rock to grab Jean by the arm is still one of the most delightfully cheesy moments of the series. The fist fight from chapter 2 is also a solid one to pick out of the many fisticuff sequences. I wouldn’t have minded a repeat of Jean’s crocodile fight, but that was only a few episodes ago.

The only new moment of action in this chapter is the cliffhanger explosion, and it is pretty spectacular. It is a little strange that suddenly, ten chapters in, it is revealed that Dr. Morgan has the skills and the materials to build a bomb. Seems like this might have been a skill that would’ve come in handy in a few other chapters, but fine. What matters is that Jean, Larry, and the commissioner appear to have been blown up in dramatic fashion. How can they possibly survive? We’ll find out next time in Chapter 11 – Double Danger.

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