The Pitch: Gilligan’s Island (Season 4)

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Geoff Harris

Season Four opens inside The Professor’s cave. His great work, a tower of garbage and twisted metal, looms before the castaways like a madman’s idea of a Christmas tree.  The reevaluation of The professor’s dark secret sends a shudder through all the gathered witnesses. Before anyone can comment, The Skipper, who has previously shown a tendency towards violence, unloads a series of devastating blows onto an unsuspecting Professor. The Professor weathers the attack well and retaliates with a swift series of moves of his own. The Skipper is felled in a matter of seconds. Bloody but not incapacitated, The Professor informs all in earshot of his multiple black belts in a variety of martial art styles. He muses a certain recently acquired understanding that perhaps having built the still would have been a more prudent endeavor. Keeping the hulking brute docile and drunk would have avoided the bruises tomorrow would bring.  With an unerring accuracy, The Professor steps down and crushes The Skipper’s windpipe. Gilligan, in shock, grabs Mary Ann’s hand and drags her out of the cave. The two begin running aimlessly into the jungle. The Howells stand and wait to see what happens next. The professor politely asks for assistance with moving the corpse. They volunteer immediately. He then remarks to having to readjust the transmitter to compensate for the loss of matter and heads out and up to a higher level above the cave’s opening.  The castaways follow silently. Lovey was well-aware of the transmitter’s existence since starting her affair with The Professor. He was very proud of his work.  Even a lunatic has lucid moments and during some of those he had managed to cobble together a working radio transmitter which could reach the trade lanes. She had scoured over his rambling notes and discovered coordinates of where they may have washed up. After contacting a passing freighter, some course corrections, and a little bribery, she had made arrangements to be picked up within the week. It was just a matter of time to play along and wait until her rescue. The others would be in her debt. Thurston, however,  was another matter .

Gilligan and Mary Ann wander for good portion of time until they come across a clearing. The remains of another small village lie scattered among the brush and vines. Mary Ann is overcome. There were others on the island! By the look of things they were here long before the castaways but still to find such a place. What else? Are the head hunters real? She expresses this to Gilligan, who smiles and then compels her to follow him into one of the remaining huts. Inside is vacant except for a hatch in the ground. He opens it and directs her to climb inside. Reluctantly, she abides. The ladder descends into a larger cavern. Electric lights hang in concentric rows across the ceiling which is arched and disappears into darkness. The low hum of a generator can be heard somewhere in the distance. The floor is covered in dirt and ash. There’s a huge rubbish pile at one end under a vent. The smell of burnt leather and acrid water can be smelled the closer she walks towards the heap. Gilligan stays a few feet behind. The remnants of luggage and personal effects, half-burnt, make up a majority of the pile.

Reaching the summit above the cave entrance, The Professor goes about the business of adjusting knobs and making notes to himself as he calculates the new frequency variations for three people. Thurston pulls Lovey to the side and berates her. The affair was one thing but this is a line too far to uncross. He’s already killed The Skipper. Maybe he also killed Ginger and concocted the whole “head hunter” nonsense to cover it up? Clearly her taste in men has waned towards the truly perverse. She retorts by informing him the real reason his empire was falling apart. A rival company had launched a hostile takeover of Howell’s major shares. Not being there to intimidate or bully his board of directors, they cashed in and sold the company right from beneath him. He is of course floored by this but also confused. She’d be wiped out too. No money meant she would receive nothing upon his demise. She fires back one fatal shot;  She’s the silent partner of the rival company. The only one who was getting wiped out was him.

Thurston strikes Lovey hard enough to knock her down. She cries out “Roy!” and The Professor, now distracted from his work, intercedes on the fight. Thurston warns if a single finger is laid on his person the results will be epic. The Professor informs his would-be adversary that he has heard  every word between the man and his wife. She believes in his vision and has sworn to fund his research once they return to normality. Obviously the stress of being in an alien landscape has affected Howell more than it has the others. Nonetheless, they, meaning himself and Lovey, would make sure Thurston receives the “help” he needs.

Gilligan tells Mary Ann that The Skipper showed him this place when he was a boy. It was once used as a government testing facility for the study of aggression management or some such. The Skipper wouldn’t go into too great detail. Flashback to a younger Jonas Grumby being punished for striking a fellow sailor while on duty. After serving his time in the brig, Jonas is approached by a man in a black suit. The man tells him of a project which may help curb his anger and still allow him to serve his country. Jonas agrees, if only to get away from the seamen he has made enemies. The process involves a double blind study. Volunteers are either given a sugar pill or a new serum being tested to deaden pain response and emotional reaction. Many of the test subjects react negatively to the serum. They become psychotic. Some even go so far as to harm themselves. Jonas seems unaffected. The serum has worked. He is exposed to stressful stimuli and is able to maintain a measure of calm resolve. He is almost ready for returning to active duty when the war ends. He is granted the honorary rank of captain and discharged with little fanfare. Civilian life is a different world for a military man. Things aren’t as organized. As orderly. Too much chaos. Too much foolishness. It comes to a head one night in a diner. Some loud-mouthed traveling salesman doesn’t know when to quit “selling himself” to the waitress. Jonas asks him to stop and finish his meal. The salesman shrugs off the suggestion and continues, miserably, in his flirtation. Jonas waits until the man finally gets a clue and leaves. Following the salesman to his car, a confrontation ensues. Jonas beats the man almost too death. Doctors say the trauma will render the man unable to operate machinery of any kind, including driving a motor vehicle. Jonas moves to a seafront town and gets a job as a dock worker until his eventual retirement.

Thurston has had his fill of The Professor, his fellow castaways, the island, and life in general. His enemies were growing in number and he needed off this rock by any means necessary. With whatever funds he could scratch together, he was going home…and then to war! He lunges at The Professor, who sidesteps easily. The two circle each other until ultimately The Professor gets tired of their little dance, and like a bullfighter, sidesteps one last time except he pushes Thurston along his trajectory and over the cliff’s edge. The elder man flies through empty air and lands, head first, on the beach below as the tide slowly starts to come in. The Professor and Lovely look down. The fallen man is still breathing although more than likely paralyzed. His death will be a slow one. Lovey convinces The Professor to return to the cave. There has been enough for one day. He begrudgingly agrees starting to feel the bruises forming.

Mary Ann is in shock. There is too much to absorb all at once. Her husband told her of a fight he had had but it must surely have been with someone else! There’s just no way…

Gilligan snaps her out of the fugue with an enthusiastic suggestion of exploring more of the base. Still semi-shell shocked, she agrees. Gilligan rambles on and on about the many rooms and what used to occupy them.  The kitchen and its endless stores of food and fresh water. There’s even a rec room with a juke box and a ping pong table! Does she like ping pong? It’s his favorite. He used to play The Skipper all the time, except when the old man was having one of his dark days. He escorts her to a room still containing furniture.  A simple bed and a small dresser. A dress has been laid on the bed. A fashion a few years out of style. As Mary Ann examines the dress, Gilligan swiftly moves to the door. Before she can react he slams it closed and through an open panel slit assures her he’ll be back. He has to go make sure of a few things first. She calls after him. “What things?”

A storm is brewing outside the cave as Lovey and The Professor make love once again. This time more passionately than before. The more he hurts the more he loses himself in her embrace. She is torn between how good it feels and wondering how much longer she must continue this facade. Lightning crashes and she sees a figure stalking towards them wielding a machete.

The woman tries to scream but the man with machete is too swift. Her throat is slit open and a spray of scarlet colors the jungle floor. The man then continues down the path. He hears a baby crying. The sound gets stronger as he approaches a raft pulled up on the beach. Inside is a bundle of wet blankets containing a dark haired baby boy. Tears run down his cheeks in long rivets. “There, there, little buddy,” The Skipper says as he puts the machete down and picks up the small child. “One of these days this island will be yours.” he says as he carries the baby back into the jungle. Stenciled on the blanket is the name “Gilligan.”

 

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