Wednesday, 30 July 2014

EPis0dIC! - Ulysses 31 - "Strange Meeting" (S01E24) - 1981

Ulysses is conducting mining operations on an asteroid, Shirka warns him that the materials contained within the rocks he is drilling may be dangerous, so he warns Telemachus, Umi and Nono to keep away.
The children move away from the area and find some caves they decide to explore, however Telemachus runs afoul of a trap set by the Gods and falls into a portal after spotting a statue of Poseidon.
Ulysses runs to Telemachus' aid, and is told by Zeus that Telemachus has committed a grievous sin by falling into a time portal, and Ulysses 31 must travel back in time 5000 years to the time of his distant ancestor, the original Ulysses, and set the time lines back on their original course.

Telemachus 31 emerges from the portal and is immediately captured by a trio of Ithacan warriors and brought before Penelope, wife of Ulysses, who is the ruler of the kingdom of Ithaca.
The original Ulysses has been gone for nearly 20 years, firstly leaving to fight in the Trojan war, and then taking 10 years to return home (as detailed in Homers epic poem "the Odyssey"), and under the Greek tradition, as Ulysses has deemed to have deserted his wife, she must choose a new husband to take over as king of Ithaca.
Telemachus 31 recognises Penelope as looking like his mother, and she recognises him as looking like her son, the original Telemachus, however both of them know they are not who they appear to be. One of Penelopes many suitors, of whom 108 have gathered within the palace to demand Penelope choose a new husband from their number, demands that Penelope choose now, otherwise he will take the boy as his slave, Penelope at first refuses, but as Telemachus 31 is hauled away, she relents and offers a challenge to any would be suitor.
The challenge is simple, whomever can string a bow that once belonged to Ulysses, and then fire an arrow through 12 crossed axes at a target will be chosen as her new husband (knowing full well that none of the assembled suitors will be able to manage it, as they all lack Ulysses' great strength and skill). The assembled suitors relish the thought of finally making a grab for power, but Telemachus 31 is still placed in a cage until the morning.

During the night, Telemachus 31 is freed by his opposite number and doppelganger, the original Telemachus, the two then lead the palace guards on a merry chase as they become confused and try to recapture "Telemachus", eventually though the boys manage to outwit the guards and escape, but in doing so they run  into Antinous, chief amongst Penelopes suitors and the man responsible for Telemachus 31s incarceration. He demands that the real Telemachus identify himself, when the boys refuse, he says that he will now kill them both, as Ulysses heir cannot be allowed to live and contest his claim to the throne. The boys fight with Antinous' men, but the fight goes badly, however, the boys are saved by a mysterious stranger who looks like an old beggar.
After the trio escape, the beggar reveals himself to be the real Ulysses, finally returned to Greece.
Telemachus informs Ulysses of the situation with Penelope, and Ulysses says he will put things right.
The group are then approached by Ulysses 31, Umi and Nono, who have finally arrived in ancient Greece, Telemachus 31 is overjoyed to see his father again.
The two men discuss the situation, and hatch a plot to put Ulysses back on the throne, however the original Ulysses doesn't think he will be able to complete the challenge as he received a wound in the fight with Antinious' men which would prevent him from being able to use the bow.
The following morning, a sage warns the suitors that Ulysses will return, and will punish those who would stand against him, but his warnings are rebuffed. The beggar man joins the assembled suitors at the palace and the trial commences.
One after another, the suitors fail to string the bow, even Antinous fails despite coming close. A pause is requested, with anyone else wanting to try doing so the following day, but the beggar man speaks and says he wishes to attempt the challenge. Antinous mocks the beggar but allows him to attempt it anyway, simply so he can insult him.
To every ones surprise, the beggar not only manages to string the bow, he also fires the arrow through the crossed axes, and thus proves himself as being the best choice to marry Penelope and become king of Ithaca. Penelope asks that the man reveal his face, which he does, the beggar is Ulysses 31, standing in for his injured ancestor. Penelope realises the deception, but Ulysses 31 states that the actual Ulysses is also present, Aninous calls for them both to be killed, however only he carries a sword, as the two Telemachus' hid all of the palaces weapons earlier that day.
Ulysses 31 and Antinous fight, Ulysses easily beats the clumsy and overconfident Antinous through a combination of his skill and his 31st century weapons. Antinous declares Ulysses 31 to be a God, and the suitors bow down before him, Ulysses 31 declares that the days should be one of celebration, as their true king has finally returned.
With the time line fixed, the travellers are taken back to the 31st century, where they return to the Odyssey and leave the area, with all memory of their adventure into the past wiped from their memories.

I like this episode as it is a pretty good retelling of one of the parts of the classic myth from the Odyssey. Although it takes some artistic licence with the events as portrayed in the original poem, as sci-fi retellings of Greek myths go, this one isnt half bad.

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