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Hercules: The Legendary Journeys

Season 2 Episode 1

The King of Thieves

Aired Monday 5:00 PM Sep 04, 1995 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
53 votes

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Episode Summary

The King of Thieves

Iolaus thought he was helping aman in need when he defended Autolycus from five attackers, but Autolycus took off, leaving Iolaus with the box of stolen jewels from King Menelaus' treasury. When Hercules learned Iolaus had been arrested and sentenced to die, he worked with Dirce, the king's daughter and Iolaus' lawyer, to clear his friend's name. Eventually Hercules caught up with Autolycus, the "King of Thieves," in an abandoned castle, where they fought each other and faced many other dangers. Ultimately, Hercules saved Iolaus from execution.


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  • Autolycus,king of thieves,robes king's treasure and Iolaus acussed instead of him.Hercules tries to capture him and lead him back to the king to save Iolau's unfair execution

    the season begins with a great light adventure episode.One new character is introduced Autolycus,who will make several appearances at the series.The episodes mixes adventure with light comedy that makes it proper to have a good time.There is a monster surprise a giant snake that puts the episode at action as well with the agony about Iolaus lack,Hercules must rush if he wants to save iolau's life.Iolau's testings are too excessive to take them serious but dont bother you at all if you cacth episode's atmosphere.As concerning the actor who played Dirce had also played at the episode the pride comes before a browl and to say the truth i dont like her too much,especially when later i realised that she was playing many diferrent roles.The castle is more medieval than an ancient castle,but comparing this with other episodes,the castle mistake is nothing.The star of the episode is Autolycous and it tries to show us Autolycus personality,propably the had decided to put Autolycus character at a regular base.Remarkable episode.moreless
  • Meet Autolycus.

    Hercules season 2 begins far less tragic then Herc season 1. Having found it's rhythms, it sort of ready to just be pure light-hearted week-to-week adventure. Unlike Xena (who's lifeblood IS the Xena/Gabrielle relationship), Herc is still the more independent Hero and is as likely to be seen with Iolaus as he is to be seen without him. For the first episode of the season, he's with him. So enters the first episode of the season, the very lighthearted "King of Thieves" which introduced Bruce Campbell (who had already directed in Season 1 of Herc) as Autolycus. Iolaus is in it – in fact in the first scene, but after being framed for a crime Auto committed, spends most of the episode in prison and with the towns' princess & his lawyer (who develops a thing for him). The major point of this episode is to create a Hercules/Autolycus relationship and to establish the clever "King of Thieves" as a good man an ally to the heroes. I think he was a great addition to both series as the use of his skills lead to several good stories. He's the first real hero of the series that lives in a gray area as he is a thief (unapologetic about it, but a good man). Also, I like that even when Iolaus is "tucked away elsewhere" he still gets a significant story in the piece. Him and non-typical Princess Dirce have cute scene after cute scene while Hercules is out trying to capture the king of thieves in order to clear his friend's name.

    Fun start to season 2. Luckily this is before they decided high drama must start and end the season.moreless
  • In this enjoyable second season opener, King of Thieves Autolycus leaves Iolaus to take the fall for a jewel robbery. As Iolaus faces execution, Hercules tries to track down the slippery Autolycus, but that's just the start of it...moreless

    This opening second season episode is an enjoyable comedy-adventure.

    The opening to the new season is slightly odd, in that it opens with Iolaus, and almost the entire teaser deals with himself and Autolycus, who leaves him to take the rap for a jewel robbery. It kinds of reflects how already Iolaus has become a firm part of the series, and able to carry things himself away from Hercules. Even so, for the start of a new season it struck me as slightly strange.

    Autolycus is played to perfection by Bruce Campbell, a long time Sam Raimi cohort and most notably star of the cult 'Evil Dead' film trilogy.

    Autolycus himself is a sort of hybrid Robin Hood – robbing from the rich to give to the poor, and completely selfish and vein.

    By the way, the second season opening credits remain the same from the first season, except for one picture (Hercules carrying Iole from 'Hercules in the Underworld' replaced with Nemis the centaur grabbing Penelope from 'As Darkness Falls' if you want to get trivial. Maybe they thought it matched the "...wherever an innocent would suffer..." dialogue).

    This is the first real 'comedy' episode of the series, although is much more of a gentle sort of comedy than some of the more outrageous, farcical comedies from later in both Hercules' and Xena's run. I generally prefer these gentle comedies to the one-to-many over-the-top ones later on.

    As with many Hercules and Xena episodes, although set in Ancient Greece, this episode had a rather medieval feel to it in my opinion.

    Lisa Chapell, who had already played Lydia in the first season's 'Pride Comes Before A Brawl', is great as the well-meaning but bumbling ancient-attorney Dirce.

    The giant underground snake that Hercules and Autolycus find themselves up against in the underground caverns is well animated, and makes for some exciting scenes. Meanwhile, the three tests that Iolaus has to go through to 'prove his innocence' get more and more ridiculous, and really funny.

    Spin-off series 'Xena: Warrior Princess' started the same week as this episode. While things there were dealing with Xena's redemption and meeting sidekick Gabrielle, 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' was enjoying this lightweight comedy.

    I really enjoyed this episode. It is easy going, and gentle comedy, and introduces another recurring character in Autolycus, who would appear in a number of future Hercules and Xena stories.moreless
Martyn Sanderson

Martyn Sanderson

King Menelaus

Guest Star

Peter Rowley

Peter Rowley


Guest Star

John Carr Watson

John Carr Watson


Guest Star

Bruce Campbell

Bruce Campbell


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Nitpick: In "King of Thieves", we learn that aside from being an expert thief, Autolycus is also a quick change artist. In an attempt to escape from Hercules, Autolycus turns his tunic inside out and creates a cape. He crossed the bridge, and pursued by Hercules, runs into the castle. He sets his grappling hook along the window's sill and then flips up into the ceiling beam of the room. Approximately three seconds later, he jumps down from the rafters and his green tunic is back into place and neatly belted.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Autolycus: (leaving Iolaus to hold the bag) You got me out of trouble, I'm sure you can do the same for yourself.

    • Hercules: (referring to Iolaus' trial) They don't waste any time here, do they? How are you at stalling?
      Dirce: I may be able to get you three days.
      Iolaus: Hey, what if it takes more than three days to catch him?
      Dirce: Well then I'll make sure that the King feels guilty about beheading the wrong man.

    • Hercules: I thought the King of Thieves would be harder to catch.
      Autolycus: Who are you?!
      Hercules: Hercules. Heard of me?

    • Iolaus: Explain to me again how this is going to prove my innocence.
      Dirce: It's called dunking. You and the rock are thrown into the water. If you drown, you're guilty.
      Iolaus: That makes sense.
      Dirce: Look, I know it sounds ridiculous but it was the only delaying tactic left me. Oh, one other thing.
      Iolaus: What?
      Dirce: Don't swallow the water, it's filthy.

    • Dirce: Don't worry. Winning this case has become personal for me.
      Iolaus: Yeah, it's kind of personal for me, too.

    • Dirce: (refering to Autolycus) He's gone!
      Hercules: Huh, wish I could say I was surprised.
      Bystander: Where's my money pouch?!
      Hercules Can't say I'm surprised about that, either.

  • NOTES (4)

    • A spin-off about Autolycus was briefly in the making, but obviously never occurred. One cited reason was Bruce Campbell's own feelings about what made the character work and what wouldn't.

    • Danielle Cormack (Ephiny) was one of the actresses who tried out for the role of Dirce. She really, really wanted to win the role, since she loved what she saw in the character. She said of her audition, "Here's a woman who stood against her own father. She's got integrity, she's standing on her own two feet. So I went into the audition with a sense of this character, the emotional price she's paid, her mannerisms, her determination to do good. And their response was, 'Could you be more vulnerable?'"

    • Bruce grew up in Michigan along with Sam and Ted Raimi as well as Rob Tapert, and they worked together on a number of productions before Hercules, most notably The Evil Dead trilogy. Rob Tapert recommended him for the part and personally asked him to play Autolycus.

    • Disclaimer: No Subterranean Serpents were harmed during the production of this episode.


    • Dunking: Dunking was an actual method of proving innocence or guilt during witchcraft trials. If you lived through the ordeal, it was proof that you were guilty of being a witch, and if you died, you were declared innocent.

    • Greek Mythology: Autolycus was the son of Chione and the god Hermes. He was also the grandfather of Odysseus.