March 28, 2009

El Viejo del Monte in Terminator

To the Lighthouse, the 3/27/09 episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, opens with another Native-themed voiceover:

Episode RecapAs Sarah continues packing to leave their temporary home, she begins to reminisce about John's early years, when the legends of the jungle were his fairy tales. His favorite story was about El Viejo del Monte, The Old Man of the Forest, a merciless killer of animals, who left them to rot in the soil. The Gods turned him into a half-animal-half-man, condemned to defend the jungle for all eternity. In her memory, she recalls a trek through a Central American jungle with John, part of his training. El Viejo's curse, his punishment, was to be forever vigilant, to forever protect, a role Sarah, too, has for her son.Apparently Sarah and John were in Nicaragua at the time, because that's where the legend originated:

More Fairy TalesYour last bedtime story is El Viejo del Monte. This story originated in the Solentiname Archipelago in Lake Colcibolca (Lake Nicaragua). There was a hunter who mercilessly killed any animal that crossed his path. Worse, he didn't eat these animals and just left their carcasses to rot. Because of this disrespect, the gods decided to teach him a lesson and turned him into an half man/half ape creature and made him keeper of the wildlife. He protects the birds, reptiles, and mammals of the islands from poachers and disrespectful hunters.I couldn't find much information on this legend. I presume it's mostly indigenous, although it may be partly Spanish.

Another "indigenous" bit

Soon we see John Henry, the reconstituted Terminator robot, building an island out of Lego toys. "Engaging in imaginative play helps my development," he says. "This is Mount Valmai, hiding place of the Mask of Life. The Toa protect the Mask from the Dark Hunters."

This sounds like something out of the South Seas--maybe New Zealand or Fiji or Easter Island. But no--it comes from the pseudo-Polynesian legends of the Bionicle set of toys.

Anyway, with the 2008-2009 television season almost over, Terminator has taken the lead in terms of including indigenous content. At this point it'll be tough for another show to catch it.

Previous Native references in the show:

"Indian country" in Terminator
Coyote in Terminator
Native souls in Terminator
Cabeza de Vaca in Terminator
Modoc War in Terminator

For more on the subject, see TV Shows Featuring Indians.

El Viejo del Monte:

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