1.39 - The Skeptic

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Title The Skeptic
Episode # Season 1, Episode 39
First aired February 22, 1999
Directed by
Written by
Summary A new cadet doesn't believe in the Gods. Strife objects. Hercules mediates.

FoxKids Spoilers

  • As Hercules is struggling against Strife -- who is showing off for his new, mopey sidekick, the seer Fatuus (sound like 'fatuous') -- a new cadet walks in that claims the gods don't exist. He's Pythagoras, a confident, cerebral young man (think Mr. Spock) who believes that the Olympian gods are just superstition, or tricks con-men use to take advantage of simpler minds than his. While Herc, Iolaus, and Lilith all want to convince Pythagoras that gods do exist, Strife has a far more pressing concern: Fatuus foresees that one day mortals will cease believing in Olympian gods, and because of that the gods will cease to exist. Strife wants to nip this gods-doubting in the bud. Strife tries to convince Pythagoras, but nothing works. So out of desperation, Strife and Fatuus go to Zeus's closet and borrow a bag containing the frigid North winds. This will convince Pythagoras. When the bag is opened at the academy, ferocious cold winds are unleashed that could level the building Only when Hercules (might) and Pythagoras (mind) work together are they able to put the winds back in the bag. In the end, Pythagoras realizes that his unbending skepticism might be as wrong as other's blind belief or obsession, and he and Herc discover they may have more in common than they thought.
  • A new cadet doesn't believe in the gods of Mount Olympus, so Strife makes a wager with another god that he can make the lad believe.

TV Guide Promo

  • When a new cadet named Pythagoras claims he doesn't believe in the gods of Mount Olympus, Strife bets another god named Fatuus, that he can make the cadet believe in gods. Fatuus, who can only see prophecies of bad things to come, takes that bet and Strife's stunts cause a bigger threat as his attempts put Hercules and the academy in danger.


Title card - End credits can be found here.

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Trivia & References

Continuity, Yay! - In the beginning of the episode, Hercules is practicing alone with a blindfold. This harkens back to the Young Hercules (Movie Pilot) where Hercules continues to practice when the gym is empty, and Cheiron ups the stakes by making him perform the exercise blindfolded. Cheiron also makes cadets fight blindfolded in 1.08 - Keeping Up With the Jasons.
Continuity Warning - Pythagoras is seen wearing glasses. However, in HtLJ "05.14 - Just Passing Through", Iolaus II holds a pair of curved glass frames to his face and Hercules appears to have never seen such a thing before.
Reality Check - Pythagoras was a Greek philosopher living in Italy. He taught mathematics and music as part of his system, as well as teaching that men experience metempsychosis, or in other words, they go through multiple rebirths in new forms each time they die, sometimes as men, other times as animals or plants. His mystic teachings are thought to be connected to Orphic tradition.

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