"Hercules, Tramps and Thieves"
by Michelle Erica Green

The King of Thieves Meets His Queen

"Hercules, Tramps and Thieves" Plot Summary:

Walking in the woods, Hercules gets the impression that he's being followed. Sure enough, Autolycus falls from the trees. "You're a funny man...in fact I think I busted a gut laughing," notes the King of Thieves when Hercules says it's nice of him to drop in. The son of Zeus is going to Thrace to help the city open a bank, which Autolycus thinks is the best idea since the Kama Sutra. Putting all the valuables in one place makes it that much easier for a robber like himself to steal it. So he can keep an eye on Autolycus, Hercules reluctantly agrees to let the man accompany him to Thrace, but first he makes the King of Thieves promise that he won't rob the bank. Since Autolycus has heard about Salmoneus' arrest and imprisonment, he agrees to behave.

Autolycus steals some small items in Thrace and follows Hercules into the local bar, where the sheriff is too busy watching a strip show to talk to the visiting hero. A waitress isn't interested in his request for a Horizontal Mambo on the Rocks, but the handsome crook soon has bigger problems. The woman onstage, introduced as "the cherry in your cola, the wood in your pecker," makes his jaw drop. "You know that lady?" asks Hercules. Exclaims the King of Thieves, "That's no lady. That's my wife!"

Turns out that Luscious Deluxe, who sings that she'll put men's money where they'll never find it, was Autolycus' first love. The two embarked on a life of crime together, but passion blew them apart...not to mention the fact that Autolycus let her rot in prison for a crime he committed. The two had a tradition of exchanging clothing before heists, and he lost her monogrammed garter belt while stealing a bust of Cleopatra. Though they had an agreement not to tattle if either got caught, she divorced him the day she was charged with the crime. Seeing him now, Luscious hits Autolycus...and then hits on Hercules, inviting him to visit her later.

Now free from distractions, the sheriff demands to know why Hercules brought the King of Thieves to his bank opening. In the end, he accepts the hero's word that Autolycus can be trusted. While Hercules fends off an admirer who wants to be his new sidekick, the criminal in question visits his ex, apologizing for letting her suffer. She throws him out, saying she needs to rehearse or she'll be replaced with a nude mime. If only she owned the joint, she could guarantee her employment and that of her sidekicks Cuff and Link...but that will take more money than Luscious has got.

As the bank opens with much celebration, Autolycus rejoices that he's been forgiven. He tells Hercules' would-be apprentice to impress the demigod by calling him names and "put[ting] a boot print on his ass," bragging that he stole the arms from the Venus de Milo. All too soon, word arrives that the bank has been robbed. Because his grappling hook was found at the scene, Autolycus is the only suspect. Hercules has a suspicion that his friend is not guilty for once, however.

Visiting Luscious, he asks whether it's a bad time. "When you're with me, sugar, it's never a bad time to come," she assures him. Luscious knows about the grappling hook before Hercules tells her. Meanwhile her happy ex orders booze and toasts to the forgiveness of ex-wives, but a posse arrives to arrest him for theft, and the townspeople throw their drinks on him. Although he escapes, steals a new outfit, makes jokes about standing around with his schnitzel flapping in the breeze, performs gymnastic feats, and taunts his opponents as he flees, Hercules tracks down Autolycus and tells him he's going to jail for his own good. Herc's suspicions about his friend's innocence are only strengthened when the King of Thieves confesses to the crime.

Turns out that robbing the bank is a capital offense, and Autolycus will die at sunset if Hercules can't find a way to get the money back. Visiting Luscious again, Herc says it's too bad her ex is going to be executed when he didn't even get all the loot out of the secret back room. Squealing at the thought of diamonds, Luscious breaks into the bank again, foiling the combination lock to the safe. Inside, instead of wealth, she finds Hercules. "You are so busted," he says.

Luscious warns that she knows Eastern martial arts, but she's no match for a superhero, even after she slices an L for Luscious on his clothes. Hercules tells her that the sheriff has agreed to drop all charges if he gets the money back, so she'll be spared punishment...and no matter how bad their marriage was, he can't believe she wants Autolycus dead. Reluctantly she takes Hercules to where she stashed the loot, trying to seduce him along the way. Hercules says that if Autolycus is willing to die to make amends with Luscious, the least she could do is forgive him. The stripper kisses Hercules thoroughly. "You coming? I mean, let's go!" stammers the befuddled hero. The two must fight off Cuff, Link, and some cronies to get the stash, plus evade Hercules' would-be sidekick.

The thief in question eats his last meal in jail, has tomatoes thrown at him by angry townspeople, then says, "That's noose to me," when shown the platform where he is sentenced to die. Asked if he has any last words, Autolycus admits that he does...and starts reciting the dictionary. The entire town is asleep when he finishes and makes his last request...for a ripe peach. But peaches are out of season. "I'll wait," he says generously. Then Hercules shows up to announce that the money is back in the bank. This was all a test of security...if the King of Thieves can break in, the bank needs to work on its flaws! A grateful town releases Autolycus, who says, "No noose is good noose."

Luscious, "the wind beneath your wings, the zippity in your doo-dah," kisses her ex and invites him to stick around after the show. Hercules says he helped her get a loan so she can buy the place. It's news to his crooked friend that a bank will give you money, but then he finds out about the high interest rate. "That's highway robbery!" objects Autolycus, who then realizes, "I gotta get into this bank racket!" Hercules tells the King of Thieves he may have found his calling.


A charming final episode for Autolycus, this installment featured most of the elements that made his previous outings so enjoyable...and I don't just mean skimpily-clad singing women and lots of sex jokes. Bruce Campbell's trademark physical humor and ability to pull off terrible puns were much in evidence, though I am sorry there was no cross-dressing, nor an appearance by the Widow Twanky whom we apparently will not see again before the end of this series...a real loss. Traci Lords' Luscious wasn't as interesting as Cupcake, the Autolycus love interest who became a princess, but she looked pretty typical of the King of Thieves' "type." Because of the chemistry between the actors, she was entirely plausible as his former wife, and I also got a kick out of watching her trying to seduce the virtuous Hercules, who at least gets the "come" jokes.

The wanna-be-sidekick plot was just plain weird; Iolaus wasn't in this episode, but we've had no suggestion that he's gone for good. Was this aired out of order, which would suggest that Herc and his best friend choose to go their separate ways, or has the world not learned yet that Iolaus is back from the dead? I can't imagine why the writers would have broken up the mighty duo so close to the end of the series, so I hope this was just an aberration and the final scene of Hercules features Michael Hurst in his familiar place at the hero's side.

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