"Congo, January 1917" is the sixth episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, and the sixth episode in season one. The episode originally aired on ABC on April 8, 1992. For home video, it was paired up with "German East Africa, December 1916" to become Oganga, The Giver and Taker of Life.
The episode pairs nicely with the previous episode ("German East Africa, December 1916") as it is the continuation to both the storyline in 1916/1917 (the mission across the Congo is told in two parts: the first part, traveling westward, and the second part, the return trip), and to the bookends segments (Jones is in the hospital waiting room and tells the first part of his tale to a fellow patient, and then tells the second part of his tale to his doctor).
While the episode is named after Congo, nearly all of the story takes place in the Gabon colony of French Equatorial Africa - which is in the Ogooué River basin, and not any part of the Congo river basin or the French or Belgian colonies called Congo. It may be that the name Congo, while not factually correct, would best convey the imagery and sense of the episode's setting to the television audience.
Old Indy is still in the waiting room of the hospital with a bee sting, when Dr. Jeffers realizes that the old man has not yet been helped, after the emergency treatment of a young girl who was a bystander in a shootout. Indy explains that Jeffers lost some of Indy's paperwork during the commotion. During the examination for Indy's swollen toe, from a bee sting, the doctor vents his frustration at the criminals who get shot and patched up, and the innocent bystanders who are hurt in the process. Jones is reminded of another doctor making a difference despite the overwhelming odds, and tells about when he met a German doctor in Africa.
Congo, January 1917
After finishing the story, Jones reveals how Dr. Schweitzer helped to lift his spirits about humanity, and Jones came to accept that Schweitzer was right about their mission being a fool's errand. He then reveals that, in spite of being deported from Africa as a prisoner of war, after the war Schweitzer returned to Africa and rebuilt his hospital, bigger and better than it was before, and continued his humanitarian efforts. Doctor Jeffers escorts his patient out of the exam room, feeling hopeful. A nurse mentions that the girl is going to be fine, and that her parents have arrived. Jeffers excuses himself to tell the good news to the parents, and Old Indy saunters off, pleased with the girl's prognosis.
Cast and characters
- Sean Patrick Flanery as Indiana Jones
- Ronny Coutteure as Remy
- George Hall as Old Indy
- Bryan Pringle as Zachariah Sloat
- Emile Abossolo M'bo as Joseph
- Isolde Barth as Helene Schweitzer
- Yann Collette as Colonel Pernod
- Friedrich von Thun as Albert Schweitzer
- Abisa Abisa as Zimu
- Christian Cloarec as Captain Rostand
- J. Leon Pridgen II as Jeffers
- Abdullah Sohado as Pahouin Chief
- David Odero as Chief's Son
- J.F. Chavrier as Military Gendarme
- Antoine Valenti as French Sergeant
- Philippe Bernard as French Corporal
- John Chavanga as Private Juba
- Female Doctor (bookend)
- French Equatorial Africa
- Congo (Belgian Congo) (Mentioned only)
- Lake Tanganyika (Mentioned only)
- Tabora, German East Africa (Mentioned only)
- Lingenkopf, Germany (Mentioned only)
- Produced by: Rick McCallum
- Created by: George Lucas
- Music by: Joel McNeely
- Written by: Frank Darabont
- Based on a story by: George Lucas
- Directed by: Simon Wincer & Carl Schultz (bookends)
Used several times in the production is the piano piece "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring" by Johann Sebastian Bach.
The broadcast version of "Congo, January 1917" included a scene that was later cut when the episode was edited into Oganga, The Giver and Taker of Life. In this scene, Remy Baudouin, delirious from a tropical disease, and infested with jiggers, goes into a mad rage and fires the machine gun into the rain forest on the river bank. Jones, nearly unconscious at the helm of the boat, thinks they are under attack and draws his pistol. Coming to his senses, Jones manages to calm his friend down.
In 1996, the episode was edited into Oganga, The Giver and Taker of Life, which was released on VHS in 1999 and DVD in 2007 (as part of The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Volume Two, The War Years).
The episode was adapted as Issue 8: German East Africa, January 1917 of the comic series of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. Note that the issue title is German East Africa, and not Congo.
Dr. Jeffers: I feel like that little Dutch boy trying to plug holes with my fingers while the whole dam collapses around me.
Old Indy: I met a Dutch boy like you, once... German, actually. He was in Africa during the First World War.