Review and Media by Jon T
Episode #18 - Rama-Tut
Notes: Based on "Prisoners Of The Pharaoh!" from Fantastic Four #19 (October 1963), written by Stan Lee, art by Jack Kirby.
Original Airdate - December 9, 1967
Ben is insulted by the Yancy Street Gang and becomes depressed over his appearance. The rest of the team visit an Egyptian museum and find an ancient tablet apparently depicting Ben returning to his human form. Reed tells him about the tablet, and the Four travel to Dr. Doom's castle to use time machine to travel back to 10th Century B.C. Egypt. There, they quickly come under attack by soldiers, but Reed notices that their attire is from another time. The team then all pass out, and are taken to Rama-Tut, ruler of Egypt. He tells them that he is from the year 3000, and seeking adventure, constructed a time machine and travelled back to ancient Egypt. He imprisons the team as hypnotised slaves, but a passing comet returns Ben to his human form and restores his will. As Rama-Tut prepares to marry Sue, Ben rescues her and the rest of the team. As the comet moves away, Ben becomes the Thing again, and the Four follow Rama-Tut for their final confrontation.
Review: I've always been partial to time-travel stories, as long as they're told well, and fortunately this episode fits the bill.
Having Ben's human and Thing faces appear on an ancient Egyptian tablet is a wonderful idea to set-up the story as it raises so many questions, not the least of which is; how did it get there? Tied up with this, is some more exploration of Ben's sadness at being the Thing, which is nicely handled.
Some vestiges of the original comicbook story remain, as Dr. Doom's castle and time machine (previously unseen in this series) make their 'return' appearances, but this is a minor point.
Rama-Tut's motivation is less clear though, since he claims to have been very interested in the Fantastic Four's career, yet ultimately ends up trying to destroy them. Perhaps this simply indicates a case of power corrupting...and so on!