The Prize Shooting Draft

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The Prize

Episode #38
Production #V0838

Story by: Michael Edens

Teleplay by: Julia Lewald

Directed by: Chris Graves

Shooting Draft - November 05, 1998
Pages 8, 12-12A, 14-16, 18-21 - November 09, 1998
Pages 2, 6-6A, 12, 15A-16, 20-21 - November 16, 1998

Pacific Island Pictures, LTD, All Rights Reserved © 1998

Cast List

Hercules
Iolaus - (ee-OH-lus)
Kora
Ares
Strife
Discord
Theseus (Non-speaking) *
Pythagoras (Non-speaking) *

Set List

Interiors:
Kora's Inn
Ares' Temple

Exteriors:
Kora's Inn

Teaser

FADE IN:

INT. ARES' TEMPLE - DAY

HERCULES is being violently hurled around the room by various energy blasts from a delighted ARES.

ARES
(CACKLING)
You having fun yet, Little Bro? 'Cause I sure am!
HERCULES
Stuff a sandal in it, Ares.

STRIFE and DISCORD observe from the corner like two sports commentators amid the blasting. Hercules hurtles past them from an energy blast.

STRIFE
That's gotta hurt!
DISCORD
Ares is the master.
STRIFE
Ooh, that's gonna leave a mark tomorrow!

Hercules is tossed like a rag doll by energy blasts. Even Discord and Strife are getting nervous.

ARES
I've wanted to do this since the day you were born! I just never dreamed it could be so... satisfying!
HERCULES
(growing fear)
Ares, wait!
ARES
Aw, but I'm hogging all the fun. Discord? Strife? Now's your chance. Take your best shot.
STRIFE
(anxiously)
Ya know, Unc, not that I'm ever one to criticize, but, um, are you sure you don't want to lighten up just a teensy little bit here?
ARES
Lighten up? I have Hercules exactly where I want him!

Discord gingerly steps forward.

DISCORD
But what about the protection order? You destroy Hercules and Zeus'll send you straight to Tartarus!

With a wicked sneer, Ares shoots out another blast that sends Hercules crashing into a wall.

ARES
I don't need to worry about Daddy's protection order anymore.

Discord and Strife stand back, agape. Ares opens his hand to reveal three crystal shards (three of the five pieces that make up THE CRONOS STONE). They glow with a special energy.

STRIFE/DISCORD
(GASP)
Pieces of the Cronos Stone!
ARES
They've already made me stronger than I've ever been! Once I get my hands on the other two, I'll be in charge!

Ares takes special aim as he readies to destroy Hercules. (NOTE: with the Cronos Stone, you hold it (or a shard) in one hand, and can shoot energy bolts from EITHER hand. The stone amplifies a god's powers, so the energy is coming from the god's body, not from the stone.)

ARES
In the meantime, Strife, no more 'Unk'. You can just call me King of the Gods!
HERCULES
(determined)
Never!

A horrific energy blast shoots out, straight at the helpless Hercules.

ARES
I'm really going to enjoy this!

In that split second before impact and annihilation, there's a tapping on Ares's shoulder

STRIFE (O.S.)
Unk? Hey, Unk! We're back...

It's Strife -- and we're pulled out of what was Ares's delicious daydream, back to the "real world" inside Ares' temple. Strife stands there, holding out a small sack (Discord's with him). Ares spins on him, enraged that Strife interrupted the daydream.

STRIFE
...here's your double-double ambrosia, side of fries.

Angry, Ares blasts him across the room (but neatly catches the sack as Strife drops it).

ARES
You interrupted me!

Ares controls himself.

ARES
I was having the nicest daydream about my plans for the Cronos Stone.

Discord shrugs.

DISCORD
What plans? The Cronos Stone doesn't exist anymore.

Ares produces a fancy locked box, which he gently opens, peering greedily inside.

ARES
(not responding to her)
Zeus used it to increase his own powers to defeat the Titans and become master of Olympus!

Discord peers into the box. Two shiny shards are inside.

DISCORD
(frowns)
But then he 'broke it into five pieces and threw them to the ends of existence...

Strife dusts himself off and joins them, finishing Discord's thought, repeating the well-known legend.

STRIFE
...so no god could ever use the Cronos Stone to amplify his or her own power ever again.'

When Strife reaches for a shard, Ares slaps his hand away.

ARES
He didn't throw them far enough.
STRIFE
(GASPS)
Pieces of the Cronos Stone!
ARES
It's taken me eight hundred years just to find the first two.

To verify the power increase, Ares simply SNAPS his fingers. A mega-bolt blasts out, nearly taking off Strife's head, who's forced to duck and roll.

STRIFE
Yikes!
ARES
Zeus decreed that the pieces of the stone would be powerless unless a god received each one 'freely from the hands of a mortal'. Do you know how hard that is?
STRIFE
Aw, come on, with your winning personality and good old-fashioned people skills...

Ares SNAPS his fingers at Strife, who's flipped over backwards by a large energy bolt.

ARES
The third piece may be within my grasp.
STRIFE
(MOANING)
Oh, joy...
ARES
It's at some dusty roadside inn. A prize in a mortal talent contest, of all things.
DISCORD
But you just said if you grab it, then the thing won't work. And if you order a mortal to give it to you, it still won't work.

Discord gives an involuntary shiver of disgust.

DISCORD
You're willing to mix with mortals?
ARES
Whatever it takes to get my hands on that crystal.

Off Ares' sinister smile...

INT. KORA'S INN

At Kora's, Hercules and IOLAUS are helping get ready for the contest. There's a large prize basket on a table. Iolaus paws through it, to see if there's any good stuff. Near the basket there's a sign-in scroll.

HERCULES
People have sure donated a lot of stuff for the prize baskets.

Iolaus takes out the Cronos Stone chunk and nonchalantly tosses it in his hands.

IOLAUS
Crystal scroll weight, cheese wheel, goat jerky, bath salts -- aha! Ding-ding-ding-ding-ding! Dinars!

Iolaus tosses the Stone chunk to Hercules and scoops out the dinars. Neither of them see that the chunk stone starts to glow in Herc's hand.

Hercules, distracted by Iolaus, sets the chunk back in the basket (where it stops glowing) and grabs the loose dinars away from Iolaus.

HERCULES
Put those back! You want 'em so bad, then enter the contest.

As they talk, KORA walks up.

IOLAUS
Like I'm going to get up in front of all these people.
HERCULES
You can sing! I've heard you!
IOLAUS
In the shower, maybe. And I'm not going up there naked for anything, believe me.
KORA
Could one of you help me bring out a few more chairs? I don't know where all these people are coming from!
IOLAUS
I am so on it, Kora.
(to Herc)
She likes me. She really likes me.

Iolaus and Kora head off. Hercules rearranges the items in the prize basket as three hooded FIGURES approach, reaching for the scroll.

HERCULES
Welcome to Kora's. You here for the talent contest?
ARES
You read my mind.

Hercules looks up at the voice. Under the hoods we see Strife, Discord, and Ares, all smiling sweetly.

HERCULES
Ares?! What are you doing here?!
ARES
What you just said. We're here for the talent contest.

Strife leans in.

STRIFE
Three guesses who's gonna win? First two don't count.

Ares raises his hand and we assume he's about to blow away Hercules. PUSH IN on Hercules's horrified face as, we:

FADE OUT.

Act One

FADE IN:

INT. KORA'S INN - CONTINUOUS

Ares doesn't blow away Hercules; instead, Ares pushes back his hood, takes the scroll and signs the sign-in scroll. The talent contest is underway. On stage, CONTESTANT #1 is spinning plates on sticks. THESEUS and PYTHAGORAS are on stage as part of the musical back-up group (with 1 or 2 more players).

HERCULES
(incredulous)
The God of War wants to enter a mortal talent contest?
ARES
(jovial)
What? You don't think I have enough talent?
HERCULES
Oh, you've got plenty. For starting wars. For ruining people's lives. For destroying whole countries.
ARES
Stop You're embarrassing me.

Strife jerks a thumb toward the state where the plate-spinner is still performing.

STRIFE
This is what passes for art around here?
HERCULES
(challenging)
Yeah. You got a problem with that, Strife?

Hercules gets in Strife's face as Discord sends a small energy blast at the plate-spinner's plates, sending them crashing. (NOTE: it's a small blast, and it's not supposed to draw attention to itself. To everyone else in the crowd, it just looks like the plate-spinner lost control.)

HERCULES
All right! That's it! Whatever you're trying to start with me, we're going to finish it outside.
DISCORD
Oh, like it's always about you.
HERCULES
(wary)
It's not? Then why are you here?
ARES
(all innocence)
I'm here to enter the contest. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go warm up.

Ares walks away, vocalizing to himself. Discord and Strife follow. Ares passes CONTESTANT #2, a musician whose lyre rests by her feet. Ares shoots a small energy blast at the lyre (unbeknownst to the musician). All but one of the strings snap. Contestant #2, unaware of the damage, picks up the lyre and heads up on stage.

Hercules takes the sign-up scroll and moves off to kind Kora and Iolaus. They're off to one side, setting out more chairs. On stage, the hapless Contestant #2 plucks away at the single string.

HERCULES
Kora! We've got a big problem!
IOLAUS
No kidding. A talent contest with no talent.
KORA
The crowd's starting to get ugly.
HERCULES
It's going to get worse. Look who just signed up.

Hercules hands her the sign-up scroll. Iolaus looks over her shoulder.

KORA
'Ares.' That's kinda of cute. Like the God of War.
HERCULES
Not 'like'. 'Is.' As in, Ares is right here, right now. With Strife and Discord.

Kora and Iolaus both react, concerned.

IOLAUS
(says the word)
Gulp.
KORA
This can't be good. We've got to get everyone out of here.
ARES(O.S.)
(gracious)
I wouldn't hear of it!

Kora, Iolaus and Hercules turn to see Ares, right behind them. Ares turns up the charm, but Kora isn't buying.

KORA/IOLAUS
Ares!
ARES
Please. Why all the fuss? I just want to enter your little talent show.
KORA
I don't believe you.
ARES
Then just give me a few moments on that stage and you'll see that I mean business.
KORA
(tense)
I can't exactly kick out the God of War, now can I?
ARES
Then it's settled.

Hercules pulls Ares aside.

HERCULES
You hurt one person here tonight and I will dedicate my life to making you miserable.
ARES
Trust me, Little Brother, you already have.

On the other side of the inn, Strife and Discord are conferring. On stage, Contestant #2 staggers off the stage.

Contestant #3, a juggler, goes up.

DISCORD
You know, Strife, about this Cronos Stone... I've been thinking --
STRIFE
(LAUGHS)
You? Thinking?
(then)
Oh, you're serious.

Glaring at him, she continues.

DISCORD
We know Ares has talent to burn, but mortals are, well, they're mortals. No accounting for taste.
STRIFE
And your point would be...?
DISCORD
What if we helped Ares really sell his number? You know, add a little sizzle. Give 'em the old razzle-dazzle.
STRIFE
And do what? Give Ares a reason to blow us away?
DISCORD
Work with me here. If we push him over the top, then he doesn't win... the three of us win.
STRIFE
Earth to Discord. You really think Ares would share part of the Cronos Stone with us?
DISCORD
If some mortal hands it to all three of us, then it'll work for all three of us, whether Ares likes it or not!

Strife grins greedily -- then they strike a dance-couple pose. Hercules comes up behind them, grabs their shoulders and spins them around to face him.

HERCULES
Whether Ares likes what or not?
STRIFE
Can't you knock first?
DISCORD
Ew, ick. Half-god cooties!
HERCULES
What's going on?
DISCORD
Zip it, Strife. Why tell him anything?
STRIFE
You're right. Let's go limber up. Ares'll be on soon.

They move past. On stage, Female Contestant #3 performs with "poi" balls on strings. Suddenly they catch fire. Startled, Contestant #3 drops them.

KORA (O.S.)
Thank you!
(forced)
Let's hear it for 'The Amazing Amarta!'

Hercules glares across the room to Ares, who feigns innocence. Kora takes the stage as Contestant #3 steps down.

KORA
Coming up next... we have a very... unusual act for you here at Kora's. Let's give a great big warm welcome to...Ares!

The audience freezes in mid-clap as Ares bunds on stage.

AUDIENCE
(in unison)
The God of War?!

Ares holds out his hands pleadingly. He's really working the charm.

ARES
Don't think of me as the God of War. Tonight I'm... the King of Swing!

That's his musical cue, and the band picks it up. Ares launches into a ripping swing number, and he can sell it. The audience slowly warms to him.

DURING THE NUMBER: Off to the side, Hercules moves next to the table with the prize basket. He studies the basket as Iolaus joins him.

HERCULES
This doesn't make sense. What is Ares doing up there?
IOLAUS
Actually, he's rocking the house. Hey, maybe he wants to win the prize basket. Maybe they're out of goat jerky on Olympus.

Discord and Strife spin past by as they head to the dance floor. Iolaus stumbles back, knocking over the basket and spilling the contents.

IOLAUS
Oh, great!
HERCULES
Here, I'll help...

Back on stage, Ares is oblivious to the accident. He continues to rock. Discord and Strife dance out in front of him. He's not happy sharing the spotlight, but the audience is really getting things.

Back at the prize basket table, Hercules crawls out from under the table, handing things up to Iolaus, who sets them back in the basket.

HERCULES
...cheese wheel... goat jerky... crystal scroll weight...

As Hercules hands up the crystal, it's glowing brightly in his hand. As soon as Iolaus takes it, it stops glowing.

IOLAUS
Hey, do that again.
HERCULES
Do what again?
IOLAUS
Make this thing glow.

He hands it back to Hercules. The crystal piece glows brightly. They look at each other, startled.

ON STAGE: Ares is rocking, Strife and Discord are dancing. The audience is loosening up.

BACK WITH IOLAUS AND HERCULES: The crystal piece is glowing in Hercules' hand. A small energy blast shoots out of his hand. He's so startled he nearly drops it.

IOLAUS
Whoa! What was that?!
HERCULES
(puzzled)
I don't know...
(gets it)
That's the reason Ares is here!
IOLAUS
He wants to win that crystal?!
HERCULES
I'm only half-god, but look what it does for me! Think what Ares could do if he got his hands on it!

Iolaus and Hercules look toward the stage where the band is rocking, Ares is wailing and Discord and Strife are swinging.

IOLAUS
Guess we're going to find out. He's got this contest nailed!
HERCULES
Iolaus! We can't let him win!
IOLAUS
He's really good! We can't stop him!
HERCULES
We have to!

Hercules clutches the glowing crystal piece in his hands and stares at it. Suddenly, both of his hands start to glow. He drops the crystal piece and stares at his glowing hands, scared.

HERCULES
Iolaus...

Iolaus turns from looking at Ares back to Herc.

IOLAUS
What?

Herc is still staring at his glowing hands, which now shoot energy bolts, which send Iolaus flying across the room with a startled CRY. Hercules looks on in horror.

HERCULES
Iolaus!

FADE OUT.

Act Two

FADE IN:

INT. KORA'S INN - CONTINUOUS

Iolaus lies in a heap in a corner, faint smoke wisping up from being unintentionally blasted moments before. Herc rushes to him.

HERCULES
Iolaus?! Are you okay?

Iolaus shakes his head to clear it as Herc helps him up.

IOLAUS
(woozy)
Yeah... remind me not to make you mad in the near future.

Meanwhile... the crowd goes nuts APPLAUDING Ares. Strife and discord take elaborate bows. Ares steps off the stage, and through gritted teeth he HISSES at them

ARES
What do you mean, muscling in on my act?

They all three smile at the crowd.

STRIFE
Why, Unk, we just wanted to help.

Kora moves over to Ares, smiling though clenched teeth herself.

KORA
(tightly)
Congratulations. You won. Now take your bows and go.

They step back on the stage. Kora holds her hands up to calm down the crowd.

KORA
People! People! It looks like we have a winn--
HERCULES
(CALLING OUT)
Wait! There's one more act! Us!
IOLAUS
What do you mean 'us'?
HERCULES
Me playing, you singing.
IOLAUS
(seriously)
Now hold it right there.

Hercules waves the sign-in scroll as he half-drags a very reluctant Iolaus towards the stage. Ares seethes, but struggles to cover it.

HERCULES
If we don't do something, Ares is going to win!
IOLAUS
B-b-but --
HERCULES
Come on!

Ares steps down reluctantly, grabbing Discord and Strife. They head to the side. On stage, the back-up musicians give a terrified Iolaus a thumbs-up. Iolaus smiles wanly.

HERCULES
Just close your eyes and pretend you're in the shower.
IOLAUS
This'll never work.
HERCULES
This'll have to work.

Iolaus is frozen. He misses the first musical cue. He's not going to sing. Then he looks over to the side and sees Ares yelling at Strife and discord. Then Iolaus steels himself and surprises everyone with his heartfelt singing.

(BEGIN MUSICAL NUMBER)

Off to the side, Ares is YELLING at Strife and Discord.

ARES
You figure if you're part of the act, you'll get part of the prize! Well, that's not going to happen!
STRIFE
Now, let's be reasonable. We had the place rocking!
ARES
I'll show you rocking!

Ares pulls back, ready to hurl an energy blast at 'em. Discord grabs Strife's arm.

DISCORD
Maybe we'll just leave now...

Ares blasts just as Discord and Strife 'POOF' out.

ON STAGE: Iolaus is warming to the MUSIC. The band is cooking. As the song comes to an end, the audience APPLAUDS heartily. Ares steps from the shadows, grabbing Kora by the arm. He's growing testy.

ARES
Can we move this thing along, please?
KORA
We're moving, we're moving.

Kora glares at him as she scoops up the prize basket and steps on stage.

KORA
What a show! Let's hear it for all the contestants! And now for the winner! It's down to two! Audience! Do you love Ares, God of war? Or Iolaus and the cadets?

As Kora holds her hands over Ares' head, there's loud APPLAUSE. She holds her hand over Iolaus' head, and there's equally loud APPLAUSE.

KORA
I'd say we have a tie!
ARES
A tie? How can we have a tie?
KORA
Don't worry, you can have first pick.

She holds out the basket. Ares paws through it, knocking things out.

ARES
Where is it? Where's the crystal?!
HERCULES
Oh, you mean this?

Herc holds up the crystal.

ARES
Give it to me!
HERCULES
You didn't say the secret word.

Ares startles Hercules by shooting an energy blast not at him but at Iolaus.

HERCULES
Iolaus!

Hercules spins on Ares, shooting off an energy blast that knocks Ares backwards. The crowd panics.

HERCULES
Everybody! Get out of here!

Kora ignores the plea and rushes over to Iolaus (everyone else heads for the doors). Iolaus is dazed, in a heap on the floor. She quickly helps him move under a sturdy table.

KORA
Iolaus! Are you all right?
IOLAUS
(moony)
I am now...

Hercules jumps on top of a nearby table.

HERCULES
Ares! Think fast!

Ares glares up at Hercules. Ares hurtles a quick energy blast as he gets to his feet. Herc is knocked backwards.

ARES
So you finally got a little juice! Let's see if I can squeeze it out of you.

As Hercules hurtles backward, he shoots small, wild blasts. He doesn't have a lot of control yet. They explode harmlessly in mid-air. Ares marches across the room, tauntingly.

ARES
Typical. You don't know what you've got, and you don't know how to use it.

Hercules gets to his feet, moves behind some furniture.

HERCULES
Doesn't matter. Whatever it is, I've got it and you don't.
ARES
Not for long!

Hercules shoots out a seemingly mis-aimed blast. It goes wide. Ares SNORTS at him.

ARES
This is so you. Get your hands on a piece of the Cronos Stone, and you can't hit what you're aiming at!

Hercules smiles tersely.

HERCULES
Actually, I can. I just did.

To Ares' surprise, Herc's strategy works. Herc's blast has loosened a MASSIVE SQUARISH CHANDELIER hanging over Ares -- which falls on the startled god, burying him.

ARES
No!

Hercules rushes over to Kora and Iolaus.

HERCULES
We've got to get out of here!

The trio rushes for the door as Ares smashes his way out of the rubble.

EXT. KORA'S INN - CONTINUOUS

The trio make their way outside. Iolaus looks at the glowing crystal.

IOLAUS
What's the Cronos Stone?
HERCULES
It gave my father the strength to defeat the Titans.
IOLAUS
No wonder Ares wants a piece of it.
HERCULES
He'll have to find it first!
IOLAUS
'Find it'? It's right here...
HERCULES
Not anymore...

Hercules takes the crystal and winds up like a pitcher, just as Ares rushes out. Hercules hurtles the crystal. It streaks out across the sky. Track with the crystal to show that it streaks out over the ocean and falls, sinking out of sight.

ARES
Nooooo!
HERCULES
Yes!
ARES
(turns)
This isn't over, Hercules!
HERCULES
It never is.

Ares vanishes. Kora, Iolaus and Hercules take a moment.

KORA
Could someone tell me what just happened here?
HERCULES
I'm not sure we can, but we'll try.
IOLAUS
While we help clean up.

Kora heads back in. Hercules hangs back a beat, looking at his hands. No more spark, no more energy glow. Iolaus interrupts his thoughts:

IOLAUS
Bet it was fun while it lasted.
(mimics blasting)
That 'zzzz' thing. The power.
HERCULES
(grins)
Yeah...

As the turn back toward Kora's, Iolaus starts glorying in the memory of his performance "victory".

IOLAUS
Kind of like the power I exhibited on stage.
HERCULES
(incredulous)
What?
IOLAUS
(ecstatic)
The song and I became one. I was toying with the audience!
(SIGHS, matter-of-fact)
It really wasn't fair to the other competitors.
HERCULES
Iolaus, all the other competitors messed up.
IOLAUS
That's what they're telling themselves now -- to hide the pain of losing to my incredible performance.
HERCULES
Iolaus...
IOLAUS
I think I'll change my name for the stage.
(thinks a moment)
'The King.' Yeah. Not too fancy. Has a real ring to it.

FADE OUT.

THE END