Hazama and company are taken to a village by their captors, where they are subjected to torture and eventual imprisonment. The situation looks bleak for all involved, and especially for Steve, who is in great need of proper surgery to repair the damage to his neck. A particularly gross scene shows Hazama flicking maggots away from the wound. When Phan is drug away by the villagers, Bob begins to despair; however, her torture is postponed as the soldiers are called away from the village. In a particularly fortunate turn of events, one of the would-be torturers who had a previously positive experience with Phan slips her a key, which she uses to free herself and her co-captives, enabling them to flee into the jungle. As time passes and the jungle environment takes its toll on the party, they begin to drop into despair before passing out, but are thankfully saved by Yabu, who takes them to a nearby village where he is staying. There, Steve is finally able to get the help he needs from a doctor who answers a radio call for help. While there is some tension between this new doctor and Hazama (who is adamant that Steve is his patient), the two ultimately work together in the surgery before sharing a peaceful moment together.
While the historical accuracy of the scenes shown are up for debate (this reviewer knows nothing about the methods or attitudes of the Viet Cong to determine whether the torture and treatment of Hazama and his cohorts was accurate), it can certainly be said that the episode keeps viewers on their toes. From the beginning, we are left with this question of how the characters would make it out of their captors’ hands, or even if they would. Granted, we know that Hazama would at least make it out since this is a prequel series, but the others were certainly expendable. Even when they do get out, they are left in an “out of the frying pan, into the fire” situation as they wander the jungle with no apparent sign of help. It could be argued that Yabu being the one to find them was a bit of convenient writing, but on the other hand it could also be argued that stretching the search for Yabu out for too long could have become tedious and uninteresting. Prior to this, Young Black Jack had been a fairly concise series with self-contained episodes, so a two-part (going onto three-part) is already a departure from the norm. Having Yabu be the one to ultimately rescue the group would seem to be the best way to resolve the current conflict without dragging out the overall plot for too long.
The episode also deserves credit for managing to display some of the horrors of the main characters’ imprisonment without being overly disgusting. Specifically, the photographer is shown shackled between the other characters and needing to use the bathroom. While he ultimately reaches the point of not being able to hold his bladder, this isn’t explicitly shown, though there may have been sound effects. In fact, the worst thing shown is probably the maggots around Steve’s wound which, admittedly, is a disgusting scene. Granted, there is something to be said for authenticity, but there is also something to be said for being able to convey the horror of a situation without having to descend into disgusting imagery to get the point across. Young Black Jack chooses the latter, and in doing so probably creates an episode that is more accessible to a wider range of viewers.
In discussing this episode, one cannot neglect to mention the doctor introduced near the end, a doctor who seems to be just as fanatical about operating as Hazama himself. While his initial introduction seems to suggest a rival role (Hazama argues that Steve is his patient while the new doctor tells Hazama to get out of the way), the end result suggests something of a friendly relationship between the two. Perhaps this new character will even serve as a mentor to Hazama in episodes to come. As of now, his role is unclear, but Hazama certainly recognizes the other doctor’s skills, and it would seem to be a waste to introduce a highly skilled doctor and not have him play some role in Hazama’s growth. Only time will tell, but that’s one thing that Young Black Jack does well—it leaves you with questions that draw you back for the next episode.
A Christian Perspective:
1 Peter 5:5 – In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
Hazama’s behavior when confronted by the new doctor ultimately, if imperfectly, exhibits the qualities shown in this verse from 1 Peter. At first, Hazama certainly seems intent on being the one to perform Steve’s surgery; however, he never seems to pose much of a roadblock to the new doctor getting into the operation. While Hazama does insist on being in the operating room because Steve is “his patient”, he willingly stands back and only gets involved when asked, all the while marveling at the new doctor’s skills. When it all is said and done, the two actually seem to exhibit something resembling friendship, a result that would not have happened had Hazama not humbled himself and instead insisted on his own way.
Much like Hazama, we may sometimes feel like we deserve to be the ones to do something or serve some role within the church, but a church elder may feel that we aren’t qualified for it yet or that someone else is more qualified. We may feel slighted, and feel as though the elder does not know what they are doing. Nevertheless, Peter makes it clear that we are to submit to the elder, although it may not be unreasonable to politely ask the elder to explain why the particular decision was made. The point is to not pridefully insist upon our own way, because that could lead to more problems, much like if Hazama had insisted on his own way with Steve’s surgery. Now, I feel there is probably something to be said if an elder teaches something that is clearly unbiblical, but that is probably a topic for another day.
Language: 1 “bullsh*t”, 2 “cr*p”, 3 “sh*t”, 1 “b*tch”, 1 “d*mn”
Alcohol/Drug Use: Hazama and the new doctor drink something at the end of the episode, but it may just be water
Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Hazama is shown shirtless; other men are shown shirtless; Phan’s top shows cleavage
Violence: Hazama is tortured; a man is hit with a rifle; Phan is beaten
Blood/Gore: Steve is shown with blood on his bandage; Hazama vomits; Steve’s bloodied wound is shown, and Hazama is shown flicking maggots away from it; a simulaiton of maggot therapy is shown; Steve’s wound is shown in the operating room; droplets of blood are shown as another doctor cuts into Steve’s neck; two ends of a vein are shown while they are operated on; blood is shown rushing through a vein; the episode preview shows a bloody man