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Land of the Lost
Season 3, Episode 12
Air date November 27, 1976
Written by Ian Martin
Directed by Rick Bennewitz
Episode Guide
Ancient Guardian
Medicine Man

Scarab was the Twelfth Episode of the Third Season of the Land of the Lost.


Cha-Ka abuses a scarab beetle whose bite unleashes the darker side of his personality and places him on a path to self-destruction.


Holly and Cha-Ka are gathering firewood in preparation for an impending thunderstorm. After encountering and fleeing Torchy, their attention is arrested by a large, beautiful, multi-colored scarab beetle. Despite Holly's admonition, Cha-Ka stubbornly refuses to continue gathering firewood, preferring to capture the scarab.

Back at the temple, Jack and Will arrive with more firewood. Cha-Ka is inside, playing with the scarab he captured. The family expresses some irritation at Cha-Ka's unwillingness to help out, and Jack attempts to explain to him the difference between self-interest (playing with the scarab he captured) and group interest (working for the benefit and survival of the group).

Holly advises him to let the scarab go free, but Cha-Ka is determined to keep it. As he attempts to cage it, he is bitten and the scarab escapes. Seized with intense pain from the bite, Cha-Ka tells Holly to go on ahead and he will catch up.

After Holly leaves, Cha-Ka is suddenly overtaken by mean-spiritedness. Baring his teeth in a malicious grin, he takes Will's knife and begins knocking over the furnishings in the temple. He also extinguishes the fire by pouring a pot of boiling water on it, then runs out of the door.

Nearby, the Marshalls are gathering firewood. As Cha-Ka observes them unseen, Will notes that the temperature is dropping and Jack anticipates the expected thunderstorm will hit that evening. Cha-Ka then moves off and baits Grumpy into charging and leads him to the Marshalls, sadistically gleeful as the Marshalls flee. After the Marshalls escape, Will observes Cha-Ka heading toward The Lost City.

Jack tells Will to go after Cha-Ka while he and Holly continue gathering firewood.

At the Lost City, Cha-Ka's newly found evil, calculating nature instigates him to enter the Sleestaks' cave. At the pit of the Sleestak god, he distracts a Sleestak guard with a thrown rock. When the guard is out of sight, Cha-Ka knocks a pillar into the pit, prompting angry bellows from the god of the pit below.

Nearby, at the Skull of the Voice of Wisdom in the Library of Skulls, the Sleestak sense that their god has been angered and go to the pit to investigate. When the Sleestak leave, Cha-Ka then steals the Skull, leaving Will's knife embedded in the pedestal. The theft, however, does not go unnoticed by Enik. Even as Cha-Ka leaves, Enik calls out to him to wait, but Cha-Ka ignores him and flees the Sleestak cave.

Outside the caves, Will is calling out to Cha-Ka. Cha-Ka appears, still carrying the stolen Skull, and hides from Will. Making his voice sound distant, Cha-Ka calls out for help. Hearing Cha-Ka's cries for help, Will charges into the Sleestak's cave. Pleased that his ruse was successful, Cha-Ka again presents his wicked grin.

After attempting to placate their angry god, the Sleestak return to the Skull, only to find it missing and Will's knife embedded in the pedestal. Although Enik attempts to explain that the humans are not responsible, the Sleestak don't listen.

Will has entered the cave looking for Cha-Ka and is quickly captured by the Sleestak.

Jack and Holly are back at the temple surveying the mess Cha-Ka left. Jack instructs Holly to keep the fire going while he investigates what happened to Will and Cha-Ka. Jack finds Cha-Ka outside. Cha-Ka attempts to run away, but Jack catches him. Cha-Ka resists, demanding to be let go, even biting Jack on the arm. Not understanding what has gotten into Cha-Ka, Jack bodily carries him inside.

Being interrogated by Jack and Holly, Cha-Ka attempts to blame the mess he made on a wild pig which Cha-Ka ran from. Neither Jack nor Holly believe this explanation, since a wild pig could not have poured boiling water onto their fire. When asked about Will, Cha-Ka denies having seen him.

In the Sleestak caves, by the pit of the Sleestak god, Will is being blamed for the theft of the Skull. While Will admits the knife found in pedestal is his, he maintains he doesn't know how it got there and had nothing to do with the theft of the Skull. Enik again attempts to make himself heard, but is forcibly removed.

The Sleestak Leader then stabs a suspended bag of sand, allowing the sand to slowly pour of the bag. Will is advised that he has until the sand runs out to reveal the location of the stolen Skull, or else he will be sacrificed to the god of the pit. Enik reappears and insists that the Sleestak Leader listen to him. The Sleestak Leader responds by advising Enik that if the sacrifice of the human doesn't appease the god of the pit, Enik will be sacrificed next.

Later, as the bag of sand has nearly emptied, Will is seen attempting to use a boulder to cut through the bonds around his wrists, but his efforts are thwarted by the Sleestak. Will begs to be released, promising to help the Sleestak find the Skull, apparently to no avail.

At the temple, Holly and Jack are still interrogating Cha-Ka, puzzled by his strange behavior. Enik appears and reveals Will's location and what will be his fate if Cha-Ka doesn't return the Skull. Learning the Cha-Ka was stung by a scarab and hearing a description, Enik explains that the scarab is called Toola, worshiped by the ancient Egyptians. When offended, it stings, unleashing "the evil side of one's nature" in the individual it stings, also putting them on a "course of self-destruction." And further, according to Enik the only way Cha-Ka can be cured is to find the beetle and "treat it with kindness."

Holly and Jack then forcibly bring the protesting Cha-Ka to the swamp to find the scarab, as Will, still prisoner in the Chamber of the Pit, continues to protest his innocence to a disbelieving Sleestak.

Jack and Holly have found the scarab and try to persuade Cha-Ka to feed it a flower. Instead, Cha-Ka flees and nearly runs straight into Lulu. Jack rescues Cha-Ka and carries him back to the scarab. Knowing that Cha-Ka will not act to save Will as long as he's under the effects of the scarab's bite, Jack instead appeals to Cha-Ka's will to survive, pointing out that he nearly got himself killed moments ago.

Persuaded to act in his own interest, Cha-Ka plucks a flower and feeds it to the scarab. The cure is instantaneous and Cha-Ka immediately runs off.

In the chamber of the pit, Will is about to be sacrificed. He attempts to escape, but is quickly subdued. Cha-Ka appears, carrying the stolen Skull and immediately demands Will's release. The Sleestak Leader warns Cha-Ka that if he doesn't surrender the Skull, both he and Will will die. Will begs Cha-Ka to run, but Cha-Ka defiantly raises the Skull above his head, apparently threatening to smash it. He repeats his demand for Will's release and, reluctantly, the Sleestak obey.

Once his hands are unbound, Will takes the Skull from Cha-Ka and tells Cha-Ka to run. Still holding the Skull, Will orders the Sleestak to stand back. Once a safe-distance away, Will tosses the Skull to the Sleestak and flees with Cha-Ka. Pursued through the caves by the Sleestak, Will and Cha-Ka make it outside and meet up with Jack and Holly, who followed Cha-Ka to the Lost City. The Sleestak, unwilling to venture outside into the flashing lightning, break off the pursuit.

Back at the temple as the thunderstorm rages outside, Will and Holly are playing chess. Although it's Will's turn to stoke the fire, Cha-Ka says he will maintain the fire, apparently to make up for the fact that he didn't help gather firewood. When Holly asks Cha-Ka what he wants to be when he grows up, Jack suggests anything but an entomologist. When Cha-Ka asks what that is, Jack explains it's a "bug collector."


  • "Love conquers all."




  • Coming Up


  • Big Alice makes a cameo appearance in this episode, although it is merely stock footage (even used in the introduction). It is her final appearance in the series.
  • This episode provides previously unseen aspects of Cha-Ka's personality. Under the influence of the scarab's bite, Cha-Ka displays a preternatural cunning, as his elaborate machinations very nearly result in Will's death. Once free of the scarab's curse, he also displays great bravery, even willing to defy the Sleestak. Since their first appearance in The Sleestak God, Cha-Ka had always been terrified of the Sleestak.
  • An apparent continuity error occurs when Jack demands that Cha-Ka "lead the way" to the place where he found the scarab. When Cha-Ka refuses, Holly says that she knows where it is because Cha-Ka told her. Holly was present when Cha-Ka first encountered the Toola. She wouldn't need Cha-Ka to tell her where he found it because she was there, and observed it (and spoke about it) when Cha-Ka did.
  • Jack Marshall defines "entomologist" as "bug collector." That is not exact. While term once included the study of any arthopods, including insects, arachnids, myriapods, and crustaceans, entomology now refers to the study of insects only, not necessarily collection.
  • This is Enik's final appearance.