Alexander the Great “Pilot” (part 4 of 7)
Antigonus enters another part of the tent and meets with the other generals. They want to declare Antigonus leader of the army to succeed Alexander, but Antigonus refuses. “My day has passed.” Sadly, that was true for Mr. Cotten, as well. He says what they really need is a younger man in charge, namely, Karonos.
Antigonus pulls something out of his cloak and hands it to Karonos, which I guess is the rock that gives someone power, or Alexander’s pet rock, or something, and all the generals swear allegiance to Karonos and his Pet Rock of Power. Karonos then delivers an obligatory “assuming command” speech, first paying facile tribute to Alexander while laying a hand on his throne, then declaring that Greece is their sole responsibility. He says the army is tired and stretched too thin, and so they should return to Greece.
No one objects to this plan, so Karonos says they’ll begin marching home tonight, ordering “Attalos” (the beefy mob-looking dude) to get the men ready to break camp. As he says this, he plops himself right down in Alexander’s throne. Geez, at least wait until Alexander’s butt-print is cold.
Aristander steps forward and says his men will not follow the others back to Greece. Instead, he swears to find Alexander’s body, in order to give him an honorable burial. Karonos calls this admirable, but warns of General Memnon and his amassing forces. However, Aristander has no fear of big fat Memnon.
Karonos screams back, “Then you’re a bigger fool than I thought you were!!” Whoa, hey, where’s all this sudden hostility coming from? Take it down a few notches, Karonos. Remember your blood pressure. There’s tense looks all around, and then Aristander and Karonos unsheathe their swords, ready to duel. Well, you can’t say the Greeks didn’t have constructive ways of dealing with interpersonal conflict.
But drums pound outside, and a man on a horse rides through camp, and men scream things like, “Alexander!” “It’s the king!” “All hail to the king, baby!” I made up part of that. Yes, the Shat-Man has made his triumphant return to the camp, alive and well!
Alexander hops down from his horse and is warmly greeted by Aristander and Antigonus. Okay… but what about that duel? Did anything important happen there? Okay, I guess not. Thanks.
Antigonus says he was convinced of Alexander’s demise when his horse returned without him. Shatner gets a slightly clever line when he offhandedly says he’s not surprised. “Among horses, he too is a god!”
Suddenly, Ada runs up and kneels at his feet. Alexander picks her up and tells her to dry her tears, and then go prepare a hot bath for him. Yep, you were about to commit suicide a minute ago because you thought I was dead, but here I am, now fix me a bath, woman!
Alexander somehow knows the men were preparing to march. He asks who gave that order, and Karonos steps forward, saying he was sure Alexander was dead. Alexander is sort of peeved that they gave up on him that quickly, but Karonos points out it’s been five days. Shatner smirks, and breaks the tension by declaring the following, being all rapid-fire and Shatner-rific the way we know him and love him.
Everyone has a good chuckle over this, because, you see, Cleander hasn’t said a word the whole time. It’s that kind of role.
Alexander says that Karonos’ order stands, and walks off. Antigonus follows, while Karonos stands there looking like he’s been punched in the gut. Sorry, Secretary Haig, but you’re not in control here!
In the other room, Alexander gets his mack on with Ada, while his nubile slave girls pour hot water into a bath. Antigonus enters, and Alexander realizes it’s pointless to ignore him. So Ada leaves him to discuss all that important men folk stuff with Antigonus.
Antigonus scolds him for being irresponsible and going after Cleander. Alexander says that Cleander would have done the same for him. Antigonus reminds him that Alexander is king, and Cleander is not. “Of which Greece can be thankful!” Ouch. Cleander, you just got served.
Alexander takes off his shirt, giving us a hearty helping of Shatner beefcake. He says, “I admit I tempted the gods! But they’re good to their own!” He gets naked off-screen, then jumps into the bath, groaning loudly. Well, this has certainly gotten gayer.
Antigonus laughs at him for calling himself a god, so Alexander explains that he’ll call himself whatever he wants as long as it suits his purposes. He sees Antigonus hovering over him and tells him to just say what’s on his mind. “You chew your tongue like a camel!”
Antigonus finally says Alexander takes too many risks, and then he demands to know where they’ll be marching next. But he’s constantly being interrupted by Shatner’s grunts and groans and more nubile woman entering and dumping pitchers of “hot water” (TV speak for “carafes of lukewarm water covered in dry ice vapor”) into his bath.
In a bit that plays a little differently today, Alexander responds to Antigonus’ lecture by pulling the older man closer and saying, “If you insist on talking, join me!” Wow, the gayness reading on this one is off the charts. Understandably, Antigonus declines the offer to bathe with Alexander.
As Alexander babbles on in his lively, devil may care way, Antigonus gets fed up. He grabs a bucket of “hot water” from one of the nubiles and dumps it on Alexander’s head. Alexander simply laughs and splashes around, and I wish they’d just give him a rubber duckie already, and Antigonus storms out.
That night, the Persian prisoner is lying on the ground in a remarkably low-security holding tent. Outside, a guard screams and falls to the ground, having just been stabbed by an unseen someone. This same Unseen Someone enters the tent, where he’s only shown from the waist down to obscure his identity.
It looks like one of Alexander’s men is plotting a coup, because Mr. Unseen Someone stoops over the prisoner, cuts him free, and whispers, “Tonight, dressed as a Greek soldier, you will kill Alexander! If he dies, you live.” Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me. “If he lives, you’re dead!” Damn. I knew there was a catch. On that note, we fade out.
I know you’re already forming complex theories in your mind about the identity of Mr. Unseen Someone, but don’t bother. This isn’t exactly a Hercule Poirot mystery we’re watching. Mr. Unseen Someone will turn out to be, literally, the most obvious suspect. And considering we’ve only met four characters so far, it’s safe to say they weren’t trying very hard for a shocking twist here.