"Beanstalks and Bad Eggs"
by Michelle Erica Green

Fly Me To The Moon

"Beanstalks and Bad Eggs" Plot Summary:

A dying old woman begs Hercules to search for her mother, who has been missing since her abduction by a giant decades before. She tells him the secret location of the key to the mystery. Hercules enlists the help of Autolycus, King of Thieves, to steal a pouch the old woman told him of, but when Autolycus discovers that the pouch contains only a bean, he throws it away in disgust. A beanstalk grows where it falls, and when Hercules and Autolycus are pursued by an army bent on retrieving jewels the latter stole, they climb it.

In the castle above the clouds, Hercules and Autolycus encounter the sad Lianna - who has scarcely aged since she vanished - and Typhoon, brother of Typhon, a giant of Hercules' acquaintance. The woman is indeed unhappy to be stuck in the castle, but reveals that she must remain there because of a deal with Hades, who removed the harpies afflicting her village years earlier on the condition that she remain with Typhoon and the harpy eggs until they hatch.

While Hercules hears Lianna's story, Autolycus gives Typhoon lessons in wooing her, but his efforts are for naught when Lianna spurns Typhoon and the giant flings Autolycus into a pit with the golden harpy eggs. The cracked eggs hatch, and the adorable, troublesome harpies set out to escape from the castle. Hercules and Autolycus haul the critters back up to the castle in the clouds, the giant and Lianna realize they can't live without each other and can raise the harpies as children, and Autolycus gets away with just a little thievery.


One could predict everything that was going to happen in this episode from the title, but it was fun to watch anyway. I liked all the gimmicks on the Jack and the Beanstalk fable - the giant ranting, "I smell the blood of a Grecian man," the golden eggs, the unhatched harpies nicknamed Fee, Fi, Fo, and Fum. Autolycus is always a trip, and he was in his element here, trying to teach the giant to dance and impress women; I particularly enjoyed watching the King of Thieves knocked flat on his butt when Typhoon tried to practice blowing kisses.

"Beanstalks and Bad Eggs" had a monster in the moat, an army beneath the beanstalk, and various other requisite action sequences, so the pace moved rapidly. It didn't have as much visual humor based on size as I expected - no Hercules drowning in a bowl of soup or anything of that nature - but it also resisted the temptation for cheap David-fells-Goliath scenes for the most part, with the exception of a sequence where Hercules knocks an anvil on Typhoon's head to shut him up and get him to listen.

I loved the baby harpies - a cross between Ewoks, and Gremlins - though I was disappointed that we didn't get to see the adult harpies and Hades. Lianna was far less impressive, but even worse was Hercules' analysis that she clearly loved Typhoon; if she did, it was as a captive sometimes falls in love with a jailer upon whom he or she has become dependent, and I was rather disgusted that he didn't encourage her to see the world a little before settling permanently in the clouds with a bad-mannered husband and a bunch of bratty "kids." This was not an episode for fans of strong women.

It did, however, have its share of one-liners: Herc saying "Too much iron in his diet" when the monster belched up a suit of armor, the giant translating Autolycus' suggestion that he compliment Lianna's full, luscious lips as, "You have a big mouth!", Autolycus warning that someone was going to lose an eye if the harpies didn't behave. Inconsequential, but a perfectly fine way to spend an hour, and one more to add to the legendary journeys of a man who's already a Greek god but has yet to fill Grimm shoes.

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