Destined for Greatness
"Two Men and a Baby" Plot Summary:
Hercules rescues a baby, then is shocked and delighted when his former love Nemesis arrives to tell him that he's the father. But when Nemesis disappears, Hercules suspects that she's in trouble and pursues her. The baby, Evander, exhibits extraordinary powers, like being able to make rocks fly and Iolaus float above the ground...but nobody seems to worry much about this except Ares, who tells Discord to find Nemesis and the baby for him. She does, and prepares to burn Nemesis at the stake.
Hercules and Iolaus stage a rescue, with the help of the baby's powers. Afterwards, Nemesis feels obligated to confess that she lied: the father is really Ares, who promised to make her a god again if she gave him a son. This is why Evander has such extraordinary powers. Hercules still feels close to the child: they're both sons of male gods and human women, with qualities other people can't understand. He vows to protect the baby, but while Ares quarrels with him, announcing that this baby has the power to kill Hercules, Discord captures Iolaus and Nemesis and suspends them from a tree, threatening to kill them unless Hercules hands the baby over.
Discord thinks about killing the child just to keep Ares all to herself, but when she tries to throw him off the roof of her castle, Hercules catches him in the nick of time. Discord battles Nemesis while Hercules and Iolaus fight Ares and his men, with the help of Evander's levitation tricks. The baby knocks Discord off the roof and flies to his mother, helping Hercules and Iolaus against Ares until the god gets frustrated and leaves. Hercules tells Evander that it won't be an easy life being a superhero, but it has its rewards.
This episode of Hercules actually feels more like the sequel to last week's episode of Xena than does this week's episode of Xena. Evander's in a similar situation to Gabrielle's Hope: an illegitimate, originally unwanted newborn half-deity, possessing powers he can't possibly understand or control, fought over by both his parents and people who want to kill him to protect themselves. "Two Men and a Baby" isn't as dark and the child never seems to be in any real danger, but there are definite similarities.
It's always fun to see Hercules' family values; he's adorable with children, as is Iolaus, who's a loving uncle except when it's diaper-changing time (and after the baby pees in Hercules' face, who can blame him?) Hercules also has a nice relationship with Nemesis, his first lover - free of recriminations and sympathetic to her difficult position as a former god, now vulnerable to mortal threats. She does seem incredibly dumb not to realize that Hercules would protect a child even if he knew it was Ares' rather than his own, but she never comes across as manipulative nor weak, though she does need rescuing several times.
The sadistic undertones of Ares' flirting with Discord were too unsubtle to be funny, though I did like Discord asking Hercules whether he was still carrying a torch for her or if he had come to see his old flame Nemesis, right before she set fire to the captive woman! Discord was mostly overshadowed by the big boys, not sounding particularly impressive whining that she would have been a better nemesis than Nemesis. There were a couple of other good lines, and a touching moment where Nemesis and Iolaus discussed their affection for Hercules - this wasn't a terrifically memorable show, but it was full of warm fuzzies, an easy trip down after the manic material of last week. And next week, Herc takes on the Amazons! Let's hope they strike a balance.