"Return to the Planet of the Apes" Escape from Ape City (TV Episode 1975) Poster

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Run Bill, Run
bensonmum226 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The second episode in Return to the Planet of the Apes, "Escape from Ape City", primarily follows the plight of Bill as he is taken to Cornelius and Zira's lab for experimentation. Bill quite naturally proves to be brighter than the average human. But when brain surgery is suggested, Bill blows his cover and the apes discover he can speak. Not wanting to see him put to death, Cornelius and Zira agree to help Bill escape.

As with the first episode, "Escape from Ape City" doesn't provide many surprises for those familiar with the basic storyline found in Planet of the Apes. The plot closely mirrors Taylor's ordeal from the movie. One interesting change is that ape city and the civilization presented in this episode more closely resembles Pierre Boulle's original book. It's a more advanced culture with transportation, communication, and other "modern" infrastructure. Also, I feel I should mention that I do enjoy the way the story arc continues from one episode to the next. It gives the overall series a more natural flow.
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Surprisingly sophisticated themes in this second episode
Fluke_Skywalker22 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Plot; Bill, one of three astronauts who crash landed on a planet controlled by intelligent simians, is taken to the capital where a compassionate pair of scientists discover that he's no ordinary human.

I enjoyed the first episode of Return to the Planet of the Apes enough to, uh, return. I'm glad I did, because I was rewarded with a much stronger second episode. The basic plot continues to more or less mirror that of the original movie. Here Bill is a stand in for Heston's Taylor. The big difference is in the finer points, and it's here that the cartoon actually surpasses the original live action film. As I mentioned in my previous review, Dr. Zaius is portrayed differently here, showing a reason and compassion lacking in the movie. But when Bill is found to have the ability to speak, Zaius and his council order the death of all humans. This is because only they know that humans once ruled their planet and if the humans show the capacity to once again rise above their primal state, they would be a threat to apekind. The portrayal here shows Zauis acting out of reason and preservation for his kind. It's not unlike his live action counterpart, but the difference is in the tone Zaius takes. It's quite easy to see things from his point of view and even sympathize. Taking a much harder line is General Urko, who sees no value in humans whatsoever and would see them used strictly for slave labor and sport. It creates a nice dynamic with varying shades.

Another thing I liked is that the technology of the ape society here is much like that of 20th century earth. The apes have automobiles, electricity and televisions. The architecture is Greco-Roman, adding an imperial feel. The voice acting was also much improved. It's still a little stiff, but when Bill reveals himself to his captors, Tom Williams puts a nice thrust of emotion into his performance. Henry Corden's General Urko is similarly full tilt.

The animation is still basic and some of the dialog is cringeworthy, but I'm very impressed by the sophisticated themes and how they're woven into the story as a whole.
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