Whoosh! Online Edition Episode Guide



Season 1, episode 2
Series 102
1st release: 01-23-95
2nd release: 04-03-95
3rd release: 11-27-95
1st USA strip release: 08-07-98
2nd USA strip release: 11-23-98
Last update: 12-24-04

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COMMENTARY by Kerrie Barney

Robert Trebor (Salmoneus)
Kim Michalis (Scilla)
Richard Moll (Cyclops)

Ken Blackburn (Atreus)
Jim McLarty (Myles)
Donald Baigent (Evander)
Michael Mizrahi (Castor)
Derek Ward (The Ferret)
David Press (Glaucus)
Ray Woolf (Executioner)
Nancy Schroder (Head Sister)
Iam Watkin (Inn Keeper)
Arch Goodfellow (Lout)

Edited by Steve Polivka
Written by John Schulian
Directed by John Kretchmer


Hercules learns the real reason why a giant Cyclops has been terrorizing a village.

When Hercules sets out to rescue a town from an evil Cyclops, he finds he doesn't see eye-to-eye with how events have been portrayed.

1st RELEASE: 01-23-98
An AA average of 6.3
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) STAR TREK DS9 7th with 7.4
(2) BAYWATCH 8th with 7.2
(3) HERCULES 12th with 6.3
(4) RENEGADE 18th with 5.5

2nd RELEASE: 04-03-95
An AA average of 5.0
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) STAR TREK DS9 4th with 6.7
(2) BAYWATCH 9th with 5.7
(3) HERCULES 14th with 5.0
(4) RENEGADE 17th with 4.8

3rd RELEASE: 11-27-95
An AA average of NOT AVAILABLE


This commentary is by Kerrie Barney

Well. I'm not quite sure what to say about this episode. In several places "Eye of the Beholder" plays more like an hour-long, live action Saturday morning cartoon for kids rather than a drama for grown-ups: it's filled with skanky one dimensional villains, an extremely simplistic story line, and a VERY heavy handed moral. On the other hand, it has some decidedly adult humor with the 50 Horny Daughters of King Thespius AND it introduces Salmoneus, who will quickly become one of the most beloved recurring characters on the series. It's a very mixed bag, one which proves that that TPTB were still trying to find a direction for the series.

Let's look at it further:

First, the plot. We open with a scene of Hercules breathing heavily, running from an unknown foe. What could possible have struck such terror into the heart of the son of Zeus? A monster? The arch villain Hera herself? No: it's the 50 lovely daughters of King Thespius, all scantily clad and all determined to have Hercules impregnate them. (Quick aside: their costuming is really quite amusing. Not only does the white gauzy material their outfits are made of look hauntingly familiar--could it be that the robes of the Hestian Virgins on Xena will eventually be made of the same stuff?--it becomes very obvious as the women run that their Ancient Grecian Wonder Bras offered little by way of support. One princess must even cross her arms over her cleavage to minimize the bounce. As a woman who has spent many years and dollars on a search for a decent sports bra, I empathize heartily. Ouch!)

Hercules escapes them and stops for a meal at a local tavern, where he learns a Cyclops has diverted the river the locals depend on to provide irrigation for Hera's private vineyard. (That Hera. Always up to something.) The Cyclops's perfidy is further established when he intercepts Salmoneus, good natured Toga Salesman, heading down the road; Salmoneus is promptly picked up by the toga and drop-kicked across the landscape. Don't worry, dear friends: it is not the end for poor Sal. Hercules discovers him unharmed just after the credits, hanging from a tree. Salmoneus quickly tries to talk Hercules into doing the world's first celebrity endorsement for his line of togas and urges Herc to take care of the Evil Cyclops. He also becomes instrumental in Hercules's recurrent escapes from the Horny Daughters, who continue to chase Herc through the rest of the episode.

It quickly becomes established that said Cyclops (nicely played by Richard Moll of Night Court fame) isn't really a bad guy. Instead, he has simply been treated very badly by the villagers since he was a boy, and sided with the first person to treat him decently. Unfortunately, this person was Argus, minion of Hera, who was simply using our noble Cyclops to do the goddess's dirty work. When the Cyclops fails to kill Hercules, a team of supernatural Executioners shows up, kills Argus, and goes after Herc to finish the job.

Of course, the Cyclops teams with Herc to defeat the executioners, saving the life of village girl Scilla in the process. When this act of heroism still isn't quite enough to get the village to stop treating the Cyclops like a freak, Hercules delivers a sermon on the value of treating all human...err, human-like...beings with respect. This causes the villagers to Realize The Error Of Their Ways, and everyone lives happily ever after...even the Horny Daughters of Thespius, who after listening to Hercules's impassioned "Sorry, ladies, but I'm a one-woman man" speech decide to choose Salmoneus as the Future Father of their people instead.

The last scene shows the Daughters closing in on Sal like a predatory wolf pack, presumably ready to carry him off to carnal bliss...or death by exhaustion, whichever comes first. End.

So. As I said, this episode is a very mixed bag. To me the flaws are obvious. The villains are all portrayed in a really over-the-top style that was probably intended to be comic, but just struck me as annoying. The "you should treat everyone with respect, no matter how strange they look" moral is certainly laudable, but falls with all the subtlety of a Cyclops's footstep. For a village that has just lost its water supply, there seems to be plenty of food and ale to go around...and the landscape is so fertile that even Hercules has to say "But look how green the land is around here! Surely there must be other rivers nearby?". (Uh, well, yes, there are, Hercules. But not close enough to be any use, sayeth the villagers.) Oh, and those aforementioned Cyclops's footsteps? They shake the earth with every step...and yet the Cyclops is able to approach the villagers unawares on more than one occasion, and Hercules actually has to tell a pair of men fleeing from the Cyclops that the "monster" has stopped chasing them. Ah, I guess there truly are none so deaf as those who will not hear...

Still, there are some bright spots. Salmoneus, as the avaricious-salesman-with -a-heart-of-gold, provides some much needed comic relief, and even a bit of a mirror on our current consumerist culture.

Celebrity endorsements, indeed! And while we never actually see more than 16 of the 50 Daughters on camera at a time (presumably they left their other 34 sisters at home?) they also serve to lighten the overwhelming moral of the plot. The lead Daughter, played by Nancy Schroder, gives a particularly nice performance--which is amazing, given the material she had to work with. Her closing smile and wiggling shrug will play during the opening credits for the life of the series.

Also of interest is the evolution of Hercules's moral code. Unlike Xena, who from the very beginning was a flawed hero with more than her share of dark side, Hercules has no shades of gray in his makeup: he is 100% white knight. This could make him a very boring character. But the lines where his morality are drawn are interesting, and set him apart from almost all the science fiction and fantasy heroes who came before him. This Hercules is more than willing to walk away from a fight, even when called a coward.

He's also (assuming you don't buy into the homosexual subtext between him and Iolaus, which I still haven't been able to quite make up my mind about) a heterosexual man highly committed to the concept of monogamy, committed enough to turn down responsibility-free sex with 50 attractive women. (Can you imagine how Captain Kirk would have acted under similar circumstances? The mind boggles.) When you add in the series' obvious commitment to multiculturalism and freedom and justice for all, it's quite a refreshing picture, that reflects a definite 1990's moral sensibility. It's more than worth going on to episode three.


Hercules: The Legendary Journeys - Original Television Soundtrack. Joseph LoDuca. Uni/Varese Sarabande; ASIN: B0000014XJ.

(25) 20 Daughters of Thespius/Nemisis


Click here to read a transcript of EYE OF THE BEHOLDER .


[No humorous disclaimer for this episode]

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