Gods, Drugs, and Rock and Roll
"Top God" Plot Summary:
Picking up where we left off with Zeus apologizing for Alcmene's death, Hercules demands to know why his father never did a thing for himself or his mother. Zeus responds that it's not his place to interfere with fate, so he had to let Alcmene die, and Serena, and other people Hercules loved. Hercules demands to know what Zeus wants: his father announces that he wants Hercules to come to Olympus with him to rule at his side.
Hercules recalls the last time he tried to be a god - his brother Apollo appeared to him in his youth, admired his fighting skills, and created a magical flying surfboard like the one Apollo himself traveled on. He took his half-brother to his own temple, where mortals indulged in fleshly pleasures with immortals. Apollo revealed to Hercules that he'd heard a lot about him as Hera complained about him all the time, and offered him ambrosia. Hercules swallowed it and became a full god.
Ariadne, Apollo's girlfriend of the moment, admired Hercules' new prowess and Hercules showed off with a fireball, but nearly trashed the temple. The two had a fun flying competition through the woods, and Hercules announced that that was the best day of his life. In the present, Hercules announces to Iolaus that today is the worst day of his life - he misses Alcmene, Zeus wants him to come live on Olympus. Iolaus says that he thinks that's a terrible idea.
Hercules rememebers Jason telling him that playing at being a god was a terrible idea. Jason was the King of Corinth and had real problems, like raiders on his borders. Hercules offered to use his new powers to take care of them, but when Jason declined, Hercules and Apollo traveled in a flash, invisibly, to Jason's troops to embarrass him in front of his men. Apollo warned Hercules that mortals always resent gods and he should not care for them, but Hercules was ashamed of his behavior. When Apollo left, Zeus appeared to him for the first time in his life, announcing that he was ashamed of young Hercules's behavior. Hercules was very frustrated that he'd finally gotten his father's attention, and it was all critical.
In the present, Jason tells Hercules that they've both learned a lot since then, and Hercules should follow his heart to Olympus if he wants. Hercules remembers that he asked Ariadne how Apollo behaved, and tried to comfort her when the god dumped her. When Apollo then began to harrass her entire town, Hercules challenged him. Then he asked Zeus to take back the godhood given him by the ambrosia, declaring that being a god wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Zeus agreed, and made Hercules a mortal.
With Jason's coaching, Hercules went to Apollo's where Ariadne was tied to the wall with a burning rope over a giant fan. The mortal Hercules managed to whomp Apollo in a fight, primarily since the god used only fists and glasses against Hercules whereas he took out Jason with a bolt of fire. Apollo got bored and left just as Ariadne's rope burned through; Hercules rescued her, telling her he was unimpressed with godhood.
In the present, Hercules tells Zeus that being a god was not for him, but Zeus points out that he was very proud of his son that day and that Hercules has learned so much since then. Hercules tells his friends that he can do so much more for people on Olympus, and they tearfully bid him goodbye. He calls Iolaus his brother, then goes with his father to Olympus in a shower of light.
A charming Young Hercules episode with two important messages for adolescent viewers: don't do ambrosia, and don't become a groupie to an undeserving god. Unfortunately there was nothing about also not acting like you're immortal and can do anything, since even Jason can kick the butts of the gods. Seriously, though, this was a nicely balanced episode between the angst of the senior Hercules trying to resolve his Oedipus complex after all these years, and the action-packed story of young Hercules with his flying surfboard and his immature antics. My favorite scene was the Return of the Jedi-ripoff flying through the woods on the boards.
The sun god's a creep; hard to believe this is the oracle of the Urn of Apollo from Xena. He did resemble Aphrodite pretty strongly, however, so it was amusing to hear him call Hercules "brother" - and then to hear Hercules call Iolaus by that title at the end. I rather enjoyed the negative views of drugs and star worship, though the latter was pretty amusing on a show that sells worship of a demi-god with great pecs. Ariadne was likeable even if she did want Apollo for the shallowest of reasons.
Hercules' meetings with Zeus, however, were shockingly anticlimactic, considering the guy has waited his whole life for some substantive communication with his father. Their bickering seemed superficial, and Zeus was right when he said Hercules spent too much time whining about his own personal losses. Hopefully next week, when Zeus introduces his illegitimate son to Hera, the fireworks will start to fly. I love the pun in the title of this episode; now if only someone starts acting like top dog, it'll be a lot more fun.