I Am Arthur, King of the Britons!
"A Greek Hero in King Arthur's Court" Plot Summary:
Camelot, 500 A.D. A power-hungry Arthur is welcomed by Mab after a battle. He tries to pull Excalibur from a stone, but Merlin intervenes, sending Arthur and Mab through time to an era when heroes strong enough to defeat the king roamed the world. Hercules is saving a school when a young traveler from Britain begs him to come to his homeland to help save millions of lives. The traveler is a much-younger Merlin.
Arriving in the north, Hercules meets Morrigan, who has come to stop the tyrannical Arthur from trying to take over Ireland. Merlin has a vision of Arthur as a good and just king, but at present, the villain from the future is conquering local kingdoms and eating the livers of his enemies with Mab. She complains that this savage era is boring and wants to track down Merlin, who's a thousand years old in their true era - she figures that if she kills him now, he won't be around in the future to send them back in time. Taking Arthur to the shore, she has him summon the Lady of the Lake and claim Excalibur.
When Hercules and Morrigan battle soldiers loyal to Arthur, Merlin is spotted by the king himself. Hercules attacks and catches Excalibur, but Mab kidnaps Merlin and vanishes with him. As Morrigan ties Arthur's wrists together, he justifies killing "savages" to Hercules - who has figured out that Arthur comes from the future. The king tells the son of Zeus that he seems intelligent, demanding to know why Hercules is not a ruler. Hercules explains that a real ruler leaves a legacy after he's gone rather than subjects who want to dance on his grave. Arthur claims his subjects appreciate him, but when they run into a group of soldiers who don't recognize the king without his crown, they beat him up. Hercules uses Excalibur to save Arthur.
Meanwhile, Mab is disgusted to learn that this young Merlin cannot send her back to her own time; she criticizes him for advising rulers instead of siezing powers himself, then tries to drop a chandelier on him, but Merlin uses his own fledgling powers to protect himself. Morrigan tries to kill Arthur behind Hercules' back but cannot bring herself to stab a man in cold blood. She tells Hercules her fears that she's too weak to be the Guardian of Justice, but Hercules reminds her of Merlin's vision of Arthur as a good king, telling her that her instincts are good and fair. To prove to Arthur that a sword alone cannot make him strong, Hercules gives Excalibur to the king, then fights him and wins it back. "Strength comes from leadership, not the other way around," he advises.
Hercules rescues Merlin and tells Mab he killed Arthur. Mab scoffs that the king was dumb and impressionable, then is disconcerted when a living Arthur enters with Morrigan. The three fight the sorceress and Merlin uses his powers to trap her in ice. They leave, but Mab thaws and creates a giant soldier which terrorizes a village until Hercules fights it. Merlin knocks Mab out with a lightning bolt, but the giant keeps coming even after Hercules uses Excalibur to cut off one of its arms. The hero is knocked out momentarily, but when Arthur distracts the giant with the sword, Hercules uses the giant's giant shield as a discus to cut off its head. It dies, falling backwards to crush a prone Mab.
At Camelot B.C., Hercules moves the stone throne which blocks the stone from the start of the episode and sinks Excalibur into place. After Arthur thanks him, he touches the sword and disappears. Arriving in his own era, the king greets Merlin warmly and welcomes a new era of peace, which Merlin says he has been waiting a thousand years to hear him say. Back in Britain, Hercules and Morrigan say a sad goodbye to one another, then Hercules accepts Merlin's offer of tea.
A perfectly silly but fun episode in which Hercules influences yet another great mythological figure - at least he doesn't get the credit for dreaming up the Round Table or the Quest for the Holy Grail. There were some gross liberties taken with Celtic myth - for one thing, Merlin was supposed to age backwards, getting younger as the years passed in the usual manner, so the man who greeted Hercules in Camelot's distant past should have been a thousand years older rather than a young sorcerer. But I suppose that would have defeated the idea that Hercules taught Merlin as well as Arthur to find his own strength.
Morrigan stayed out of most of the fighting and still needs Hercules for pep talks. Mab didn't come across as very bright either: her logic for wanting to kill Merlin was badly flawed since if Merlin had never lived, he not only never would have sent her back in time but also never would have trained her as a sorceress. And as mythological women go, The Lady of the Lake was an amusing variation - not clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful, but dressed like Lady Pendragon, sexpot, airhead. Ah well, this whole show's a comic book - and I really doubt any Wiccans will launch a campaign for censorship the way some Hindus did over Xena's "The Way."
I did like the Monty Python and the Holy Grail reference having Hercules cut off the giant warrior's arm, though no one said, "We haven't got a king, we're an autonomous collective!" Best line: Herc knocks four men down by hitting a stone with Excalibur as if it were a golf club, then declares, "I knew this thing could slice!" Sorbo's supposedly a pretty good golfer. and he looked to be in fine form. Maybe Hercules will give us a baseball episode one of these weeks...surely the son of Zeus invented that, too.