I'm going to take a break from movies for my next review, and instead try and do 12 episodes of the lost first season of the classic NBC sitcom Friends. I've always had a love/hate relationship with this show, and I've watched every episode since it came on the air in 1994. I loved it because all the characters were my about own age, and watching it was like daydreaming about how my life should have been. I remember everyone in my dorm at college gathering around the TV in the lounge every week to watch it. The hate part of the relationship is because Jennifer Aniston's lawyers filed that silly restraining order against me and the police said I couldn't mail her pictures of my junk anymore. [Editor Pam: The course of true love never runs smoothly.]
It's a little known fact, but the series was first envisioned to be five close friends living in a brutal post-apocalypse New York City, facing killer mutants, radioactive toxic smog, and vicious slaver bandits while trying to stay alive for one more day. This being 1982, and with Reagan seemingly trying to poke the Russian Bear every chance he got, it was only natural that pop culture television shows reflected the national uneasiness about the future. Five relatively unknown actors were cast and shooting began in late 1982, with the premiere slated for spring 1983. Sadly, horrified test audiences bagged it halfway through production and the studio quickly replaced it in the lineup with reruns of the insipid Joanie Loves Chachi. It wasn't until 1994 that the series was revived, this time with a totally different cast and timeframe, and the rest is television history.
Thanks to an "unnamed source" within the archival department at NBC, I have been able to view these 12 lost episodes of Friends, burned to a DVDR from old grainy VHS tapes. They had been consigned to a dusty box in a warehouse in Santa Barbara, but they are now comfortably locked away in my office, awaiting the day when I sell them on eBay and make a fortune and buy a beach house in Costa Rica and live the rest of my life eating bananas and chasing underage native girls.
Ok, so here are the 12 episodes, listed in order. The Friends quirky trademark way of naming their episodes ("The one where...") started here, so I've included their titles. I'm not going to go screen-cap crazy like I normally do with my reviews, but I'll try and add in some nice representative caps for each episode.
Let's get started...
EPISODE 1.1: "The one where we meet Ross and Joey"
Like the later series, this was set entirely in the New York City area, though one that looked a whole lot different than the Manhattan of 1994. A nuclear war has devastated the city and the world, reducing western civilization to a barbaric wasteland populated by violent savages and desperate survivors.
In the pilot, we meet three of our main characters; Ross, his sister Monica, and their friend Joey. They are traveling merchants, wandering the wastelands of southern New York, doing smalltime business deals and trying not to get stabbed or eaten.
Ross is played by total unknown David Goss, who fell off the face of the planet soon after the series was cancelled. Unlike David Schwimmer's wimpy milquetoast Ross from 1994, this Ross is a hardened and resourceful survivor, quick with a sword and good on his feet. He's also quite the lady's man, with hunky looks and bouncy permed hair.
His sister is Monica, played by bit part actress Elena Wiedermann, who you might recognize as "Second Virgin Warrior" from Thor the Conqueror, but more than likely you'd know her as the third shift cashier down at the Wal-Mart in Porterville.
The other friend is Joey, played by Harrison Muller, yet another low-rent hack, probably best known as Jab in 2020: Texas Gladiators. Joey might be the one character who retained much of his personality from 1982 to 1994. He's brash and bold, but pretty dim-witted and would be fairly lost without Ross around to keep him out of trouble. He's also smooth with the girls, though not as much as he thinks he is.
Ok, the pilot episode opens on a ferry boat crossing a river. Total guess, but I'm assuming this is the Hudson and they are now on the upper end of Manhattan Island, having crossed over from New Jersey. They head to a smallish outdoor market where salvaged 1980s stuff is sold (corn flakes and Atari games and the like). The three friends are here to sell homemade soaps and shampoo and rubber gloves. Business is brisk, so they must be selling cheap.
Suddenly, the market is attacked by a cavalry unit of Norks! The "Norks" live down in the nuke-ravaged canyons of Manhattan's lower end, and they are feared by all as killers and savages. They seem to be here just to take female slaves, murdering anyone who stands in their way.
Some random Nork footsoldiers.
The guys try not to get involved with what is "not their problem", but eventually have to try and fight their way out of there. The Norks are all dressed in wild costumes and armed with a variety of weapons. The 1994 Friends was always known for its trendy, up to date fashions, and for creating numerous fashion trends of their own, and the 1982 Friends seems to have started that. Well, trendy for a post-apocalyptic wasteland, I guess.
Ross and Joey duke it out with the Norks.
There are guys in silk boxing robes, guys in Halloween skeleton costumes with scythes, guys in football pads and tights with clubs, guys in top coats and tails with knives, guys who look like Alex from A Clockwork Orange, guys in pink pajamas and crossbows, every manner of silliness you can imagine. You'd think that Ross and Joey could take these clowns, but they prove to be adept fighters. In the end, Ross and Joey are beat down and left for dead. Poor Monica takes a harpoon in thigh (!) and is drug off by the Norks to be their sex slave.
EPISODE 1.2: "The one where we meet Rachel"
In the second episode we meet Rachel, who is the strong female lead of the series. Predating the yummy Jennifer Aniston, the "old" Rachel was played by the intimidatingly stunning 31-year old Sandahl Bergman, a six-foot blonde with strong arms and retro flippy Farrah Fawcett hair. Despite her Scandinavian-sounding name, she is actually from Kansas City, Kansas, which is pretty cool. What's not cool, however, is that her career tanked after this and she has since had little more than episodes of Murder, She Wrote and Cheers to her credit.
Sandahl Bergman! Can you possibly get more early 1980s than this picture???
Rachel seems to be a cult leader in this series, commanding a chunk of territory on the Upper West Side, and a large castle of sorts, filled with ornate, baroque paintings and lit with smoky candles. It looks like a former art gallery or maybe a cultural center of some sort. This is a closed-loop matriarchal society, with Rachel firmly in control and all men either genuflexing vassals or abused slaves. A cadre of well-armed female warriors is fiercely loyal to Rachel, and quick to kill anyone who disagrees with her ways. All the girl soldiers are dressed like hookers, however, which is fine by me.
Oddly, her followers seem to want to call her "SHE", but to keep you from getting confused, I'll continue to call her "Rachel". The theme of worshiping of Rachel would continue in the 1994 series, as millions of horny college students (read: me) would routinely drop to their knees and pay homage to Jennifer Aniston's awesomely sexy abs.
Rachel's second in command, and best friend, is Phoebe, who will also act as traveling companion and bodyguard for the series. She was played by Quin Kessler, whose acting resume highlight before getting this gig was the challenging role of "hatcheck girl" in an episode of The Greatest American Hero. She would go on to pump gas at Rajah's Chevron station at Exit 22 on the 405.
Phoebe, looking fine. I always thought Lisa Kudrow was neglected in the "hottest friend" discussions.
As this episode opens, Rachel enters her throne room and looks over a number of captured men dressed only in loincloths and straining at ropes. She picks the beefiest of them and then walks off. That chosen dude will get the pleasure of sex with Rachel that night, but then the pain of a sword through his heart instead of a warm, post-coital snuggle. Still, Rachel's pretty damn hot, so I think I'd take my chances and die happy.
Rachel picks a man for the night's festivities.
EPISODE 1.3: "The one where Ross and Joey meet Rachel"
This episode begins with Ross and Joey stumbling into a nearby village after being thumped and left for dead by the Norks in the pilot. They meet a seemingly-kindhearted woman who takes them in and feeds them soup. She drugs their food, however, then chains them up. She keeps Joey as her personal servant and sells Ross to Rachel and her followers, as men folk are at a premium.
The cook, I dig those meaty thighs.
Ross is taken to Rachel's castle and tied up in a dark cell with some other luckless dudes. Rachel and Phoebe come down to see the new slaves. This is the first time Ross and Rachel have met in this series, and there is no hint of the previous relationship issues that made the 1994 Ross and Rachel such a dynamic character set. Here, Rachel just coldly orders him taken outside.
Ross and Rachel meet for the first time, and it's not at the prom.
Ross is drug out into a muddy flood plain by a group of armed women and forced to endure the "Path of Blood". This consists of having to run an obstacle course of razor sharp pointed sticks while the girls line up along the sides and beat on him with sticks and whips! Oh, and he's blindfolded and has his hands tied behind his back, which just doesn't seem fair. Despite that, Ross manages to get through to the end with only a dozen or so bleeding puncture wounds and collapses on the ground in agony. Phoebe wants to kill him right there but Rachel says no, and they just walk off and leave him to die.
Path of Death!
But Ross doesn't die here. A lone guy comes out of the wilderness and carries him from the stake place back to his alchemy lab. The guy tells Ross about the Norks, Rachel, all that stuff that he needs to know to get the plot rolling. He also tells Ross that only Rachel would know the way to the Nork lands.
Ah, buddy, blindfolded, bound, cut up and left for dead by a woman...been there.
EPISODE 1.4: "The one where Ross and Joey capture Rachel"
Ross figures that the only way to get his sister Monica back is to travel down to Lower Manhattan and take her back from the Norks. The problem is that he doesn't know the way. Since Rachel knows the way, Ross decides to kidnap Rachel and make her show him the way into the city.
Ross looking all buff, he's clearly not a vertebrate paleontologist.
Ross now goes back to save Joey, who is still in chains, forced to peel onions and cohabitate with smelly goats. They exchange some lame banter (the quick, witty back-and-forth that characterized the 1994 series never really takes root here, another reason why this season never aired) before Ross frees Joey from his bonds and they sneak off.
They slip into Rachel's castle now, dressed as monks with their faces covered by hoods. They arrive in time to witness Rachel choosing another mate for the night.
Butchy lesbian castle guards, which is a whole other story.
We now follow Rachel as she goes off on some sort of quest. This is a confusing scene, but it seems like she goes down into the subway tunnels, which are stocked with killer mutants and robots and the like.
This sequence is one long, bloody sword fight, with Rachel literally fighting for her life every second of it. Attackers come at her one after the other, swinging blades and clubs with malicious intent. This is yet another fashion show, with each attacker dressed to kill (ha). There are ninja swordsmen dressed like Arthurian knights, a robotic Frankenstein monster, and roadies from an Adam Ant concert.
Rachel fights in the subway.
Rachel is eventually victorious, but cut in numerous places and bleeding badly in the end. She stumbles through to a grotto of sorts and meets an old seer/sage. Rachel strips down (!) and enters a pool to restore her health and beauty. The exact chemical composition of this murky pool of leaking toxic chemicals, radioactive seawater and industrial waste is never said, but in short order Rachel's wounds are healed and her skin regains that shimmery glow.
Lord knows if Jennifer Aniston went topless in Friends it would be the highest rated television show of all recorded human history.
The next night, Ross and Joey sneak into Rachel's room and kidnap her at sword-point. Alerted by the scuffle, Phoebe pursues, but is too late to prevent them from exiting the castle with Rachel.
EPISODE 1.5: "The one where they meet the mutants"
The fifth episode opens with Ross and Joey fleeing on foot with a bound and resisting Rachel. In hot pursuit is Phoebe and some other girls on horses, mad as hornets.
Girls on horses, coming to the rescue.
The guys stop along the way to eat and talk, making sure to tie Rachel up to a post first as she's definitely a flight-risk. Joey makes a move on Rachel but gets smacked for his efforts. This Joey is not as smooth as Matt LeBlanc's Joey, and not once says, "How yoooouuu doing?".
Joey makes a move on Rachel, but gets kicked in the face for his efforts.
Moving along, they soon arrive at an abandoned factory of some sort and sleep for the night. They are quite rudely awakened by diseased mutants with chainsaws! This is a band of radiation-poisoned lepers who favor medical gauze bandages for clothes, cod pieces, power tools, and bad sunglasses.
Their leader knows Rachel (they share a border apparently) and they banter a bit. It seems he's been looking forward to this for a long time, and is going to enjoy seeing Rachel die a horrible, painful death. Doesn't anyone get along in this world?
So, the mutants force them into a small room. A switch is thrown and the walls start to close in, like the trash compactor in Star Wars! The three of them strain and push, but the walls keep coming inexorably closer. The mutants laugh diabolically and it doesn't look good.
Pushing against that wall of death.
Just when it looks grim, Phoebe and the girls arrive to save the day. They fight their way down to the room, as Phoebe has an awesome battle with a chainsaw-wielding mutant on the stairs. They then turn off the power just in time, after some fumbling with unfamiliar electric switches and levers.
Phoebe flips the power off.
In the episode's best bit, the captured mutant leader warns an aggressive Phoebe, "Careful of my arms, they tend to fall off!" Which one does as Phoebe pulls on it, and the mutant just smiles and says, "I told you so." Priceless.
EPISODE 1.6: "The one where they meet the vampires"
While heading back to her castle, Rachel has a change of heart and lets Ross and Joey go free. She tells an incredulous Phoebe that she's "Curious." She and Phoebe then follow at a distance. I think Rachel wants to see if these guys could really make it all the way to the Nork lands.
Ross and Joey on the move.
So Ross and Joey travel down Manhattan Island, working their way through the overgrown wastelands of the Upper West Side. They suddenly come across an anachronistic group of nihilistic partygoers, living in what seems to be a large mansion. These androgynous party girls and boys, dressed like Greeks with togas and laurels, seem to want to do little more than drink and have sex like college freshmen. The group's leader looks like a lavender gay Sid Vicious, and he quickly invites Ross and Joey in for a drink. Not having much willpower it seems, they agree and join the party.
That night Ross and Joey are treated to fancy dinner in borrowed coats and tails. Everyone is dressed like it's 1929 and there is much dancing and carousing to the tunes of an old record player. Surrounded by pretty girls in loose tops, Joey is quite the pig, but Ross retains his composure and his suspicion. "Your friend seems slightly over-enthusiastic." says the pretty boy, referred to the caddish Joey, to which Ross deadpans, "My friend is an asshole."
That's a dude, seriously, you better watch out, Joey.
Exhausted by dancing and food, everyone falls asleep in a big hedonistic heap on the ball room floor, sprawled out on mats and pillows. As the moon comes up that night, we see that these people are vampires! They show their fangs and jump on Ross and Joey, who wake up quickly and begin to fight for their lives. There are too many vampires, however, and it looks like this is the end for our friends.
Luckily, Rachel and Phoebe burst into the room at this fortuitous moment, and between them and the guys, they manage to slaughter the vampires and escape. There is actually a funny scene at the end, as Joey has to beg Phoebe to scrape off the last vampire girl from his back.
EPISODE 1.7: "The one where they meet the Commie monks"
In this episode, our four friends are riding south on horses, into an area of Manhattan that even Rachel has never seen before. They come across a commune of fascist monks who worship a Commie Red bastard of a man named Godan, the "one and only man-god". I'm going to say that this is the Columbia University campus, a place notable for such socialist progressive thinking.
Columbia campus, your state funding dollars at work.
Godan is a Ben Affleck-looking guy with Spooky Mind Powers and a hammer-and-sickle fetish. He has the power of telekinesis, accompanied by green glowing eyeballs, which he uses to lift Phoebe up off the floor and spin her around when she makes an aggressive move towards him.
Godan asks them what they are doing here. Showing a bit of cowardice, Ross and Joey quickly claim that they are here to join the flock and that they don't even know the girls. Rachel and Phoebe have more guts and refuse to lie and so are led away to be tied up and tortured by hooded monks.
Eeek, didn't need to see this.
Godan's consort is a sadistically sexy little girl in a fire engine red dress, and she goes along with them to the dungeon. Red Dress Girl clearly enjoys watching them suffer and stands there grinning like a German dominatrix as they are whipped and menaced with hot pokers and the like.
Red Dress Girl.
The torture is temporarily stopped when Godan arrives and looks them over. Rachel is taken away by Godan and Phoebe is left to be tortured to death in the dungeon. Red Dress Girl doesn't like that Godan takes Rachel into his chambers, and you can tell she feels betrayed and angered.
Meanwhile, Ross and Joey are allowed to "join" and are given robes and places at the dinner table. There they sit with the other silent monks, munching on bread and soup. But they can't eat when the girls are screaming in agony down the hall. We see them squirming as each tries to work up the courage to do something to save the two women, even though they know that they are free now and could probably sneak off at anytime and continue their journey. This is a strong character scene for the guys, despite the lack of dialogue. In the end, they decide that they must act.
Joey's pained look of frustration says it all.
So Ross and Joey bust into the dungeon and save Phoebe. A truly wicked and bloody fight to the death quickly develops between them and the two torturers. As they leave, they run into Red Dress Girl, who instead of calling the dogs on them, offers to help! She's pissed about Godan's interest in Rachel and she's blazing with jealousy. They are led by Red Dress Girl to Godan's private room, where they interrupt him just when he is about to mount a helpless Rachel. Phoebe and the guys try and fight but the Spooky Mind Powers stop them and it looks like a standoff again.
Godan's Spooky Mind Powers.
But then (and we saw this coming) Red Dress Girl battleaxes Godan in the stomach for cheating on her! In his death throes, he strangles Red Dress Girl with his mind powers and they die in a twisted embrace. Let this be a lesson to you, people, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Godan dies hard.
The door bursts open and the monks surge into the room, battleaxes at the ready. Our friends escape after Rachel rightly tells the swarm of monks that she is their new leader now that Godan is dead. Nice.
Rachel is their new god (and mine, too).
EPISODE 1.8: "The one where they meet the forest collector"
In this episode, they are in what I assume is a badly overgrown Central Park, still traveling south towards Lower Manhattan. The woods are atmospherically scary with skeletons and warning signs everywhere. There seems to be no path to follow, and they just bushwhack their way through the tangled undergrowth, orienting by the sun.
Along the way we see begin to see the first buds of attraction between Phoebe and Joey, which is kinda sweet as he saved her in the dungeon and all. We also see some sparks between Ross and Rachel, but they are both too alpha-dog to admit it to themselves. All the romances in this series seem contrived and forced, though not as badly as the Joey-Rachel disaster in Season Ten. And I never really liked the Chandler-Monica hookup, thought the series jumped the shark at that point, but most people seem to disagree with me on that.
Anyway, they come across a huge, burly, hairy guy in a pink tutu, merrily skipping through the forest. They leap on him but he's a brute and they can barely keep him down. Why they decided to attack him to begin with is a mystery, but they clearly wish they hadn't now. Just then a thick, mustardy fog rolls in, choking them and knocking them out cold. Ross escapes by climbing a tree above the fog, but the rest are captured.
Joey struggling with Tutu Guy.
Tutu Guy puts on an Army surplus gas mask and hauls the three of them off to a "green house" made of transparent plastic. There they are put into these swinging plastic cages, where they soon wake up. This is the home of the "Collector".
Held captive in the greenhouse.
The Collector is nut job in a pastel frock coat, a Texas Rangers batting helmet, skydiving goggles, and powdered wig. He's all 18th Century French in his mannerisms and speech, and looks like a John Cleese character from a Monty Python skit. He collects animals from the woods, gassing them unconscious with that toxic fog and then sending Tutu Guy out to gather them up.
None of our friends are too happy about being specimens and let their feelings be known. The Collector doesn't seem to care, and acts like Buffalo Bob with his victims, speaking to them in third person. Ok, Rachel thinks quick and offers a trade, their freedom for the fabled "Uric Crystal" (which sounds like something you don't want your doctor to tell you that he found in your urine sample). The Collector agrees and frees Phoebe to go and get it. Rachel and Phoebe wink at each other, so you know this is a trick.
Rachel negotiating with the Collector.
Later that night, once the Collector has gone to take a nap, Rachel and Joey plan their escape. Their plan is ingenious, with swaying cages and knocked over potbelly stoves. It's a tense scene as they wait for the fire to burn through their cages, the heat getting almost too much to bear. Escape they do, however, and they run off into the woods to locate their missing friends.
EPISODE 1.9: "The one where Ross meets the bridge guard"
We open this episode with Ross out walking alone. He reaches the outskirts of Lower Manhattan, the land of the Norks, and comes across a muddy ditch spanned by a wooden plank bridge. The soggy field before the bridge is littered with junk and trash, as well as rusting tractors, bulldozers and even a 3-pounder field piece. It looks like a battle of some sort occurred here in the past.
Approaching the bridge.
Guarding this bridge is a single man, who looks like he just stepped out of a Vaudeville stage act from the 1920s. He's dressed in a garish Popeye the Sailor Man sailor suit fringed with gold tassels and sports an eye patch and frizzy hair. He talks like Robin Williams in his coked-out days and carries a long wooden staff. It's quite possible that the later Chandler character was originally this guy, as they are both extremely irritating and need to be shot.
Chandler (might as well...) is not overtly violent, just damn annoying, hopping around and badgering Ross, pestering him with questions and comical accusations. Unable to take it any longer, Ross turns and chops off his arm! In the weirdest bit of the series, the severed limb "grows" instantly into a copy of Chandler! These two now start to harass Ross further, which only makes him more irate. Putting aside good sense, Ross then starts chopping off legs and arms with abandon, despite the fact that as soon as he does, another Chandler sprouts up, Hydra-like, to stand in his way.
The scene ends oddly, as a wave of Chandlers skip and prance towards Ross, fists up and permed wigs bouncing. We are left to assume that they capture poor Ross, but maybe not.
EPISODE 1.10: "The one where they sneak into NYC"
Rachel and Joey reach the same bridge across the ditch now. They have to hide as a column of Norks ride by on horses, giving them a good look at the Nork Leader. It's never really clear if Rachel has met the leader before, but I assume not.
Norks ride by.
They have the same trouble with the Vaudeville guard Chandler as Ross did, but Rachel seems to know what to do. She and Joey toss Chandler over the bridge and onto a minefield below. Chandler goes boom (which would seem to blow him into pieces, which would then grown into new Chandlers, but maybe it only works if you cut them off) and they continue on.
Rachel tosses Chandler off the bridge, nice legs.
We now get our first look at the shattered skyline of Manhattan, which is a bad, bad, bad matte painting. Woof, that is amateur work.
Rachel and Joey work their way into city. The streets are trashy and the walls are covered in graffiti, and they have to dodge patrols of Norks along the way. More fashion statements abound here, as the costume department at NBC scoured every garage sale and flea market in town to dress the extras.
Rachel and Joey slip into the city. The contrast between her skimpy bikini and his dress coat is striking.
They soon find a room filled with dead-eyed slave women in iron bar cages. The beds next to each cage leave no doubt that this is where the Norks go to have a little "recreation". Before they can even think of releasing the women, they have to hide as the Nork Leader and some of his men come in. They don't stay long, and as they leave, Rachel and Joey ambush the last two in line and take their uniforms.
The slave cages.
EPISODE 1.11: "The one where they fight in the arena
Thus in disguise, Rachel and Joey follow the dozen or so Norks down into an underground room where a long dinner table is set up. They all sit down, with the Nork Leader at the head, and are served food and drink by a number of servant girls. There is steak and wine and Joey for one is happy to eat up, but Rachel, conscious of her gender, is nervous behind her mask.
The Nork Leader is a parody of General Patton, with a full dress military uniform, cape and riding crop, and this insane Roman-style gold spiked helmet just to show us that he has a touch of madness in him. He speaks with a regal bearing and commands his men with strict discipline and order, and he is clearly not someone to mess with.
He tells them that they are all "prospective recruits", but first they must prove their strength. So they are all taken into a dirt floor arena to fight each other to see who gets to join the Norks. Of the twelve, only the last two alive will be allowed to join. And now we get a quick meet-and-greet with the Supreme Leader (the Nork Leader's boss) as he presides over the fight.
The beady eyes of the Supreme Leader, who seems to be wearing a NASA spacesuit and sits on a throne made of tractor tires.
And so they fight like gladiators as the crowd roars in bloodlust. The rest of them fend for themselves, but Rachel and Joey stand back-to-back and fight as a team. It's no surprise, then, that soon it's just them and one other guy left, sparing amongst the pile of corpses and discarded weapons.
Fighting to the death in the arena.
Just as they move in for the kill, they realize that this last guy is actually Ross, also in disguise! What the hell? Ah, I see, Ross somehow escaped the raging Chandlers and decided independently to pose as a Nork recruit. Coincidence! Ross then sees his sister Monica up on the stage, clearly the Supreme Leader's rather unwilling plaything at this point. The Norks in the audience figure out what is going on now, and charge the arena floor.
Monica in chains and a flimsy red dress, what can be wrong with that?
The Supreme Leader suddenly stops the fight with a word. He tells Rachel that because she violated the "Nork Laws", the Norks will ride out and smash her kingdom. For some inexplicable reason, the Supreme Leader then allows all the friends (including Monica) to leave unharmed. He tells them that the Norks will ride at sunrise, and we get the hint that the coming battle will not be pretty.
EPISODE 1.12: "The one where they fight the battle on the bridge".
Out on the bridge now as this episode opens. For some reason that's never stated, the Vaudeville guard Chandler is gone, which is a shame as I thought his character was the highlight of the series up to this point. Ross, Joey, Rachel and Monica decide to make a stand here, realizing that the bridge is a perfect bottleneck and easier to defend than an open field. Rachel in particular is insistent on stopping the Norks here, as she is worried that her kingdom will fall to them if they are not stopped here. They set up traps and such along the bridge and the road leading to the city walls and make their plans.
A good look at the bridge that plays such a large role in our show.
They make crude bows and arrows, they pile barrels and boxes up to make barricades and choke points, and they even dig a shallow trench and fill it with gasoline. They also dig up some of those rusty landmines and replant them along the road, which is pretty cool, if more than a little dangerous.
Rachel replants the mines.
Meanwhile, inside the city, the Nork Leader gathers his troops for battle and marches out. The Norks attempt to force the bridge, but are beaten back initially by the mines and the traps. The Leader rallies his men and begins a patterned assault.
The friends conduct a fighting retreat up the bridge, fending off attack after attack by the numerically superior Norks. Flames, arrows, mines, pikes, swords, rolled barrels and tipped boxes all take a heavy toll on the Nork troops, but they keep coming. Then, Joey is wounded by a spear gun bolt to the shoulder, they run out of arrows, they reach the last barricade, and it looks bad for them.
Last stand on the bridge.
It looks very ugly now, and we begin to fear for our friends' lives. Just then, however, Phoebe and a troop of girl warriors show up! And they have with them the Tutu Guy! They rout the Norks on the bridge and drive them back into the ruins. The Nork Leader pledges revenge before retreating with his fleeing men.
Reinforcements have arrived, though I wonder about Tutu Guy.
This episode ends back at the Hudson River's edge, back where the pilot episode began. After a short but sentimental goodbye, Ross and Monica leave on the ferry, headed back towards New Jersey and their old lives. They leave behind Joey, who has decided to stay with Phoebe (good choice). Rachel is sad, but she knows that Ross has to leave.
Breaking up is hard to do.
And that's the last episode that was filmed before the series was axed. One can only wonder what direction the series would have taken had it been allowed to continue. Would Rachel and Ross have reconnected? Would Joey and Phoebe have stayed together? Would Chandler have turned to the good side and ended up marrying Monica? We will never know, sadly.
Written in December 2007 by Nathan Decker and edited by Pam Burda.
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