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Not the best season.
on 4 May 2017
Initially, i was wary of buying the third and final season of this classic seventies series. Its highish price and region one issue were dissuading factors. Additionally, i did not have especially fond memories of how things concluded. I decided to relent, when the price became a bit more reasonable, so as to complete the journey.
How does it stack up, after all this time? Well, I suppose not too badly. The early episodes are actually quite good. "A Small Beheading", with a wiggy, bewhiskered William Shatner in the role of a Scottish sea captain, is a major highlight. The middle episodes see things taking a bit of a turn for the worse, however. There are a couple of weird episodes, set in a cave. We also get quite a few which take us back to Kwai Chang's time in Chiina. Thematically, it almost felt as though they would fit better into season one. And then we get through to the four-part arc where the search for Danny Caine finally concludes. Here, with a view to getting things across the finish line, the storytelling feels relatively conventional. The eastern philosophical elements are largely absent. Indeed, Philip Ahn is completely missing from the proceedings and Keye Luke makes only the odd appearance. (Might health issues have had something to do with this?) The other oddity, is that we get three episodes which were aired AFTER the Danny Caine search had ended. (Although clear reference is made to his continuing search which, well, had concluded.) From a narrative point of view, they should absolutely be viewed BEFORE the "Barbary House" epiosde which opens the concluding arc.
The good news is that this Japanese-looking edition plays perfectly well on my very finnicky region two player. Potential purchasers should not, therefore, be put off by this potential compatability issue.