King of Thieves Strikes Out; Salmoneus Triples
"Genies and Grecians and Geeks, Oh My!" Plot Summary:
A Sultan who collects rarities is buying art from Salmoneus, including some of the abstract paintings of Hercules created in "If I Had a Hammer" last season. The Sultan offers to trade either gold or several minutes in his treasure room, with Salmoneus able to leave with anything he can carry; he chooses the treasure. While in the room, he spots Autolycus trying to steal a blue glass lamp. When they struggle, a genie pops out, promising the requisite three wishes. Overhear the Sultan sending his army in to kill Salmoneus, Autolycus gets them out through the roof.
The genie informs the pair that their wishes must be for selfish gain - not acts of altruism like world peace - so Autolycus asks to be invisible, thinking that will make him a better thief, while Salmoneus wonders whether he'd be better trying to retrieve his inner child or getting tougher, settling for wishing he could get more done. When they awaken the next morning, Autolycus is indeed invisible to everyone but Salmoneus, while there are three of the latter: one inner child, one tough guy, and the usual harried trader. Autolycus goes to rob the Sultan, but discovers that he's intangible as well as invisible: he can walk through walls but can't pick up objects. He rushes back to warn the Salmonei, only to find that the Sultan's men have arrived in search of the lamp. They capture the tough Salmoneus, while the childlike Salmoneus trades the lamp for coffee and the real Salmoneus fights with Autolycus about whose fault it is that they lost the lamp and with it the ability to contact the genie.
The tough Salmoneus agrees to tell the Sultan where to find the lamp in exchange for gold, but of course when they arrive the soldiers discover that the childlike Salmoneus has made off with the lamp. They arrest him and learn he traded it to the coffee merchant, but he has an identical coffeepot so they mistakenly bring that back to the Sultan. While the real Salmoneus demands to know what Autolycus is going to do, the genie calls the King of Thieves "limp" and refuses to help. All are reunited at the palace, where Autolycus and the three Salmonei work together to steal back the lamp. They are successful, but when they rub it and announce that they forfeit their final wish because the first two were such duds, the genie reveals that since they didn't fulfill their part of the bargain, their souls are hers.
Autolycus and Salmoneus find themselves trapped inside the lamp along with many other men who didn't get their last wish, some because they were already satisfied (like a shepherd who loved his sheep). They get the other prisoners to help them tip over the lamp so they can burst free, and promptly have to fight off the Sultan who has the lamp back in his treasure room. Once they have defeated him, Autolycus tells the genie that he alone is responsible for the breakout; she sobs, he realizes she's lonely, and the men agree to pool their last wishes to help her. While Autolycus vows never again to covet anything he can't earn or steal himself, the Genie finds herself among clones of herself inside the bottle, all with the same terrible taste in clothes that she has. Autolycus and Salmoneus agree that this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Very silly but great fun, this episode offered some comic relief from the very dark Hercules arc and let Autolycus and Salmoneus do what they do best. This wasn't quite on par with the antic cross-dressing episodes of last season, but it did skewer the Aladdin legend and get some great lines out there: Autolycus announcing to the Sultan that they're going to rock the Casbah, calling himself the Sultan of Suave, etc.
Salmoneus also got some character range as we saw his inner child and inner tough guy...the latter of which resembled an overweight, aging Hercules, while the former was more like a Monty Python sketch. The best lines involved a threat by the Sultan to cut out one Salmoneus' tongue, after which he later decided to cut "lower" (he meant his head, but that's not what Salmoneus thought). The message about being careful what one wishes for is hardly original on this series but the laughs were all well-earned.