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A detailed episode review by Ryan Bechtel of the third episode of the Dune mini-series

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Dune: Dune: Pt.3 “The Prophet”

All right, it’s night three, the finale of Dune! And what better way to begin an episode then with lots of stuff blowing up? The episode starts off with a handful of Fremen infiltrating a Harkonnen warehouse/hanger. While the soldiers are loading thopters with pure spice, the Fremen are lurking around, planting explosives all over the hanger.

After securing the last explosive, Korba (remember this guy) sneaks around a corner, temporarily hiding before he can make his escape. But before he can leave, a Harkonnen lieutenant, spots the explosive and sounds the alarm. Almost at the same time, Korba detonates the explosive and gets the #$% out of dodge. Behind him, the entire omplex explodes, charring several Harkonnens, the spice, and all the profits that go along with it! Outside on a cliff-face Paul, Stilgar, Chani and some other Fremen see the explosion. Stilgar says that the city is theirs for the taking. A Fremen exclaims that they should attack now. Paul stoically says that its not time yet. Stilgar  and the Fremen reluctantly accept his decision and take their leave of him for the night.

Chani is disturbed by Paul’s behavior, and tell him that she’ll be joining their son in a far away seitch. Back at Seitch Tabr, Jessica is midwiving the birth of a new Fremen boy. After a the birth, we meet Alia, now about three years old. But despite her immature body, she has the wisdom of all her ancestors, and the cruelty of hardened Fremen. After looking at the child briefly, she says that the child appears to be from Bela Tleguse, a race of humans that were beat into submission long before her birth. The other women in the room are scarred at Alia’s knowledge, and they begin to mutter things to each other. Jessica understands that Alia is pre-born (born with the memories of all her ancestores), but the other women believe her to be possessed. Which leads into Alia’s rant to her mother, that the other children won’t play with her.

Apparently the other children are scared of her. With glowing blue eyes and the wisdom of a great elder, all in a tiny 3 year old body, Can you say Children of the Corn? On Kaitan, Emperor Shaddam is being briefed about how the spice flow is being disrupted by the Fremen guerilla raids. He confronts Baron Harkonnen about it, but Vladimir gives an evasive reply. Shaddam decides to take matters into his own hands. He will transport with his entire palacae to Arrakis, to oversee the conquering of the Fremen raiders and their mysterious Muad’Dib. Shaddam also asks that the major house also contribute part of their armies to the task of destroying the desert insurgence. Everyone in the Imperium is eager to see the threat dispelled of. So much so, that the spacing guild has lowered its troop transport costs, to take the armies to the planet Arrakis.

The money hungry guild never lowers it fares! They must’ve been very desperate for a resolution to the problem. Paul’s visions are getting stronger and more confusing. At this point in his life he’s not sure if something is happening now, in the past or even in the future! To him, all things have occurred, and at the same time have yet to occur. Muad’Dib is still getting used to his new found powers. It will take many years before he finally gains complete control over his visions.    After awakening from a particularly bad vision, he exits his tent only to find Chani, standing over the dead body of a man who came to challenge him. And this wasn’t the first time either!

Chani has been screening challengers for Paul for a while now. She figures that after word gets out that, his woman has defeated all his challengers, that new usurpers would be hesitant to fight Paul, through her, because of the horrendous embarrassment when they lose. Paul is annoyed by the perpetual challenges, and tells the Fremen to summon a worm. Paul intends to control a worm by himself, for the first time.

A way of showing that he is a true Fremen and that the challengers should back off. Most Fremen boys, control their first worm by around age twelve. It’s something of a Fremen Bar-Mitzvah. Soon afterwards, a thumper is sounded, and the summoning has begun. Stilgar gives some last minute nervous advice, the whole time acting like he was Paul’s father. Quickly a worm arrives. And what a worm it is! Apparently this is one of the largest worms the Fremen had ever seen! After much excitement, Paul climbs upon the behemoth worm, and controls it with ease.

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This only adds to the legend of Muad’Dib. Later that morning, Gurney in a thopter spots the worm, minus its passengers. He also spots a spice field. Gurney orders the smuggler thopter to land an investigate the field. Upon further inspection, he notices that the spice is a trap. Seconds later, the Fremen attack his smuggler party. Many of Gurney’s men are killed within seconds. But the expert fighter Gurney manages to grab a Fremen by surprise and gets ready to slash the desert mans throat. Before he can cut him like a turkey, Paul calls for Gurnery by name to stop.

Halleck reacts with obvious surprise, wondering how the robed figure knows his identity. Paul removes his hood to reveal to his boyhood teacher, that he is alive. Gurney throws down the Fremen, and embraces Paul in a big hug. The two start to catch up on old times. In the meantime, the other smugglers are rounded up, and taken as quasi-prisoners to a nearby seitch with Paul, Stilgar and Gurney.

At the seitch, Paul quickly finds out that Gurney’s smuggler companions are not what they seem. Duh! They’re smugglers, they’re never supposed to be honest and straight forward. If they were honest and dependable, they’d be legitimate businessmen. one of the smugglers, a suardikar in disguise, tries unsuccessfully to kill Paul. Instead, he just gets his ass handed to him. Repeatedly!  Elsewhere in the seitch someone else is about to get their butt kicked. Gurney sneaks up on Jessica and intends to slay her. Gurney believes Jessica was to blame for Leto’s death.

The miniseries doesn’t do a good job of explaining why though. In the book, Leto wanted to make the true traitor believe that things weren’t going so well between him and his wife. Leto just didn’t tell anyone aside from Paul, and many loyal Atreides began to think she was the traitor, because she fell out of his good grace. Before Halleck can kill the Bene Gesserit, Paul’s barges in and tells him the truth. That it was Yeuh, and not Jessica. Gurnery begs their forgiveness, and in the book, even offers Paul his life, for such an egregious insult. Paul, annoyed by Gurney’s foolish request, scolds Gurney for having such thoughts. But at the same time he forgives Gurney for his trying to kill Jessica.

After Gurney leaves, Jessica confronts her son about his recent fit of megalomania. She accuses him of believing all the legends they made up to help them to survive. To Muad’Dib, they aren’t really legends, to him and everyone else, they are the truth! Paul, asks Jessica what his destiny is, and how he fits into the Bene Gesserit breeding program. Jessica tells him about the Kwitsatz Haderach, and how he is to be a paragon of man. A human capable of being many places at once. Someone who can see into the future will the ultimate certainty. The sisterhood wanted to make a super human, that would propel them to the ultimate leaders of the universe. Unfortunatly for them, Jessica had a son, instead of a daughter.

Thus effectively destroying their plans for universal domination! Paul leaves his mother in disgust. But he has a plan. He intends to become the Kwitsats Haderach, and to do so he must undergo the spice agony. Without anyone’s knowledge, he drowns a worm and consumes the water of its death exhalation.   When Muad’Dib dropped acid, I mean took the water of life, he fell into a coma. The entire time he was in an internal struggle to overcome the poison, and awaken his mind. But, its not that easy. For what seems like only moments to Paul, is three weeks to everyone else. With Jessica unable to help him, she summons Chani for advice. Chani, feeds a little more water of life to Paul, hoping that it will nudge him in the right direction. It works. Muad’Dib breaks free of the spice agony and awakens his mind to his full powers. Immediately, everything makes sense to him now, and he can start to figure out when events have occurred in relation to the present. He now also understands what it is he must do.

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Muad’Dib summons the Fremen of Seitch Tabr, and gives them a roaring speech about how the Emperor is coming to Dune, and how the Fremen will retake their world once and for all! But the Fremen aren’t listening very well.

Korba, tells Muad’Dib to call out Stilgar, to kill him in single combat. “No one respects leadership without combat.” Muad’Dib is pissed. He takes his crsyknife and throws it down between Korba’s legs.

Everyone is stunned. Muad’Dib asks: “Would you smash your knife before starting that war [against the Harkonnen]? Would you cut off your right arm and leave it bloody on the floor? Do think the Mahadi is that stupid?!” He’s piqued their interest, keep it up… “There isn’t a man among you who could defeat me in single combat, Stilgar included.

Must I prove it by calling out the naib of every seitch on the planet? Must I cripple myself by killing our wisest and strongest leaders, just for the sake of some mindless ritual?!” He’s got ’em hooked, now just to reel ’em in!

“You say I am the mahadi” Paul raises his hand wearing the ducal ring and shoots, “I say I am your Duke!” Do’h. He couldn’t have turned them off more! Maybe he can get back the momentum. “Its time now to wipe Arrakis clean of the awful Harkonnen stench! Its time to drive their name into the depths of hell, so that we may reclaim the planet, so that we can create a paradise! Together!” Good Job! The Fremen are stunned at first.

But then Chani gets them rolling. Soon afterward people start shooting “long live the duke”, “long live Muad’Dib” Moments later, water starts falling from beneath Paul’s feet, and the crowd now believes him to be their messiah. Their chants turn to “Mahadi!, Mahadi”  Muad’Dib’s army is ready to depart for battle. And Unfortuntaly so are the Imperials.

The armies of the the Emperor and all the great houses are in orbit around Arrakis. Muad’Dib’s only hope for success is a diversion, and he has one in mind. Before leaving the seitch, Muad’dib orders some of his most loyal soldiers to find a large pre-spice mass, and wait there with the water of life. If given the order, the soldiers must dump the poison water over the mass. Doing so will effectively kill all the sandworms on Dune in enough time. Paul knows this, and will use it as collateral against the imperials in the near future.  The fighter of seitch Tabr and a dozen other seitches board worms and make their way to Arrakeen.

To overthrow the Harkonnens and free Dune once and for all. But just as the army arrives at the shield wall outside Arakeen, another army arrives at Fremen seitch. Shaddam’s army. The Fremen of the seitch try to defend their homes from the Sardiakar, but its no use. The imperial troopers slay many of the seitches inhabitants, including Muad’Dib’s son Leto! But they don’t kill everyone, they capture Alia and a few other Fremen. Some inhabitants do managed to escape though to warn Muad’Dib’s army. Paul receives word of the attack as he’s setting up the atomics to destroy the shield wall. Muad’Dib’s plan is to blow a hole in the shield wall surrounding Arrakeen so that a great sandstorm can creep in and knock out the shields of the Imperial and Harkonnen facilities. It’s second purpose is to allow the Fremen riding wormback to enter the town and overwhelm the defenders.

To be fair, Paul did offer the Emperor a chance to surrender and leave the planet immediately. Shaddam relied by raising his shields. Muad’Dib sees this from the cliff-face and orders the nukes to be detonated. With a resounding boom, a section of the cliff is vaporized. At the same time, the sandstorm starts to pour through the new hole. Shaddam sees the sandstorm approaching, but is too inept to give any orders.

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His generals try to intervene but he dismisses them. So after, the 600 kph sand winds strike the shields, overloading the generator, and the shields collapse. Just in time for the Fremen thopters and sandworm raiders to arrive to sack the palace! In the confusion, the Baron Harkonnen grabs Alia, and tries to use her as leverage with the Emperor. As a half-assed way of getting in his good grace. Much to the Baron’s surprise, Alia is prepared for this occurrence. With a gom-jabbar. Alia pricks the Baron’s hand, and moments later, Vladimir is grotesquely floating, dead in the middle of the palace’s audience chamber. Alia uses this opportunity to get away and start needlessly killing imperials on her way out of the palace. Muad’Dib’s army slices through the Harkonnen and Imperial troops like a fish through water. The defending armies are annihilated, inflicting minimal casualties on the Fremen invaders. Soon after, the villagers of Arrakeen begin their own revolt.

Although suffering greater losses then their desert counterparts, they do sack the Harkonnen Palace, and kill the Beast Rabban. The next day, after most of the carnage has taken place, the nobles are rounded up inside the imperial palace. Muad’Dib begins to state the terms of surrender, which the royals laugh off. Paul’s explains his plan with the water of life, and soon after everyone starts to take him seriously. All save two people, the fool Shaddam, and the new Harkonnen Baron Feyd. Shaddam is still unwilling to end 10,000 years of Corrino rule of the universe. But its a pointless, he lost! Feyd steps up and reminds Paul of the kanly (rivalry) between their two houses, and calls him out. Feyd will fight in Shaddam name. Should he win, the Fremen rebellion will end then and there. But if he loses, Paul shall be emperor of the known universe. Paul and Feyd suit up and prepare for battle. Each one is armed with only a dagger. Before begining the fight, Paul proclaims, “may your knife chip and shatter”.

Feyd shrugs it off. What follows is a cool fight scene, with some Matrix-esque fighting moves, but mostly a lot of dagger fighting. Feyd scores first blood, on Muad’Dib’s arm. His knife was even poisoned, but with Paul’s Bene Gesserit abilities his body produces and antidote immediately. The two then exchange a few more hits, until finally Paul is defenseless on his back. Feyd hovers directly above with an (illegal) poison dart in his belt, ready to paralyze Paul, so that he can slowly cut Paul up like a thanksgiving turkey! With a lesson that Duncan must’ve taught him, Paul calls Feyd his cousin, this throwing Feyd off just long enough to switch positions and  plunge his crysknife into Feyd’s chest.

Paul is victorious, and soon wed Shaddam’s daughter Irulan. After which he will become Emperor of the known universe! At this point in the novel, Paul started demanding a lot from the lame duck emperor. He demanded all of his share in CHOAM, the only corporation in the Dune universe, as well as most of the Corrino land and money.

To add insult to injury he demands that Shaddam awards noble titles to all of the Atriedes soldiers who were still alive. And even went so far as to demand nobility to all the major Fremen who helped in his fight to reclaim his birthright.

This may have been the lest episode of the miniseries Dune, but the saga of Dune is far from over!

Discuss this character in the Dune Forum

Dune reviews are © 2003 Ryan Bechtel.
Not for reproduction without the authors express permission.

Dune names, characters and everything else associated with the series are the property of Sci-Fi Channel, New Amsterdam Entertainment, and the assorted publishing companies who own the rights to the various Dune novels.

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