Alexander the Great “Pilot” (part 2 of 7)
One of Alexander’s men is a big, beefy guy with an eye patch who goes by “Kleitos”, who for obvious reasons I’ll be referring to throughout this recap as either “Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel” or “Cletus Van Damme”. Cletus stoops over one of the bodies, declaring with some surprise that “Oreitus” is still alive.
Alexander runs up and cradles Oreitus in his arms. Oreitus chokes out, “Cleander! He…” Alexander wants to know if Cleander is still alive, pouring water into Oreitus’ mouth to help him speak. Oreitus is finally able to choke out that the Persians took Cleander prisoner. “My lord! They are gathering…” Before he can spit out anything else, Oreitus dies. Bye, Oreitus.
Shatner gets a Big Pathos Moment where he swears vengeance on Oreitus. Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel growls, “Butchers… To mutilate the body…”
This prompts Alexander to start bashing the Persians. Yeah, here we go again. Sheesh, with Alexander, it’s always Persians this, Persians that. He says, “There’s no soul to these barbarians!” In other words, they listen to a lot of Pat Boone?
And then we discover that Shatner’s legendary start-and-stop acting style was cemented a long time before Star Trek, as all of his dialogue is riddled with random, lengthy pauses. In a much too intense close-up, he declares, “If they’ve slaughtered Cleander like this, I’ll… teach them. [long pause] By all the gods, I will [longer pause] bury them!”
I guess Alexander spent too much time standing around pausing, because arrows whiz past his head and strike a tree right next to him. He and his soldiers turn and see men on horseback, and a helpful post-production yell from one of Alexander’s men informs us that these are the Persians, and they have Cleander.
Alexander leaps onto his horse, but one of his less courageous minions grabs the horse’s reins and tries to hold him back. Chicken-Shit Soldier warns Alexander that it could be a trap, but Alexander’s not going to let them escape with Cleander. “He is like a brother to me! The gods will protect me!” Presumably, Cleander is based on Alexander’s actual childhood friend Hephaistion (played by Jared Leto in Oliver Stone’s version), and if that’s true, he was way, way more than a “brother” to Alexander.
Alexander rides off, so Chicken-Shit Soldier turns to his fellow minions and yells, “Even a god needs help!” Though that still doesn’t explain what a god needs with a starship. And so, they all ride off after Alexander, to provide him with backup.
Cue shots of Shatner riding, sword extended out in front of him. The Persians are escaping, but a couple of them stop and turn to face off against Alexander. Fools! Alexander quickly whacks them both with his sword, which causes a couple of dubbed-in screams.
Alexander and his men take out the rest of the Persians in completely uninteresting fights where the Persians don’t even bother to put up any kind of struggle. And as one Persian tumbles off his horse, I could swear he’s wearing slacks and dress shoes.
Alexander’s men use long poles to knock another Persian off his horse, limbo-style. Which I think serves him right for just sitting there, watching them come at him. As they ride past, not only do they knock the guy off his horse, but they grab his horse and take it with them. OMG, PWN3D! Actually, it turns out they nabbed the horse specifically because Cleander is tied to the back of it.
Alexander takes on another Persian, knocking him off his horse and causing the horse itself to tumble onto its back. Ah, the good old days, before the American Humane Society got involved in film and TV productions and ruined all the fun.
Alexander and the Persian engage in about 0.02 seconds of swordplay before the Persian is killed. Alexander runs to Cleander, still tied to that horse. And Cleander is played by Adam West, looking like he got really lost on his way to the Batcave.
You know, I feel sorry for the guy sometimes. West is about as capable an actor as anyone who had his own show back in the ‘60s, but he’s done virtually nothing of note since playing Batman. And no, I don’t consider doing voices for Family Guy to be something of note.
Cleander looks at Alexander, and in West’s usual smooth tones he says, “I thought you’d never come!” Alexander jokingly spanks Cleander with his sword [!] and laughs. “You fool, Cleander, that’s no way to ride a horse!” Wow. Male on male sword spanking. They were a lot more progressive back in the early ‘60s than I thought.
As Alexander cuts Cleander free, Cleander says he was ambushed by the Persians, “as if someone had told them that—” But then he gets interrupted. And that, kiddies, is how you do subtle foreshadowing. Unsurprisingly, we’ll soon be learning of a traitor in Alexander’s midst.
But the thing that interrupts Cleander is a soldier yelling, “Alexanderrrrr!” Another soldier yells, “Loooooook!” Ay yi yi, did Greek soldiers back then always have to yell everything?
Alexander turns to see a line of Persian archers surrounding them from all sides, bows at the ready. Oddly, instead of just letting their arrows fly and turning Alexander and his men into instant shish kabobs, three of the Persians ride forward. This allows Alexander and his men to quickly get back on their horses and ride away. Well, that was quite the cunning strategy on the part of the Persian army there. No wonder Alexander’s men regularly trounced them.
Alas, one Persian is able to catch up with Alexander and grab him, and the two fall to the sand. They tussle for a while before the Persian gets on top of Alexander. He bears down with his dagger, and we instantly fade to black. So, are you wondering if the series’ titular hero was killed in the first five minutes of the pilot? If so, read on, my incredibly dense friend!