Hercules and the Arabian Night
|"Hercules and the Arabian Night"|
|Hercules: The Animated Series episode|
|Episode no.||Episode 44|
|Original air date||February 10, 1999|
As Hades goes through his usual job of bringing fresh souls in, Pain and Panic tell him that one of the souls is not cooperating. The soul approaches Hades, introduces himself as Jafar and all but demands to be sent back. Hades is at first unconcerned, but they find a common ground: Jafar tried to overtake Agrabah, Hades is trying to overtake Mount Olympus and they both have been defeated by "upstart boys", but each villain thinks his nemesis is superior. They make a bet that they can defeat each other's respective hero. So Hades gives Jafar a new snake staff, which makes him flesh and blood so long as he holds it, and tells him to attack Hercules while he's training on Philoctetes's island.
At said island, Phil is trying to teach Herc not to "barrel through" and to "use his noodle" from time to time. Suddenly, Jafar pops up and creates a huge bull-like red beast, a griffin, and a minotaur to go after Hercules. With Phil tied up, Herc does his best to wrestle the beasts. Jafar laughs at how slow Herc is, until Herc picks up Phil's "statue head" house, bashes the beasts and proceeds to smash it on Jafar, who gets knocked all the way back to the Underworld. Hades decides to send Pain and Panic to Agrabah to take Aladdin out. When the minions arrive in the Arabian city, they first mistake Abu for Aladdin, but the real Al, along with his wife Princess Jasmine, arrive on Carpet. After a scuffle, Pain and Panic are about to finish Aladdin off, but Aladdin convinces them to look into his lamp (by telling them not to look into it). Genie's hand punches them all the way back to Greece and down into the Underworld (this is Genie's only appearance in this episode).
Hades admits that Aladdin is tough, but wants to concentrate on beating Hercules first. Then Jafar offers an idea: what if Herc and Al had a misunderstanding between them and get into a fight? Hades likes the idea and puts the plan into motion. The first part is kidnapping Abu from Agrabah and Icarus from Prometheus Academy (both using bananas as bait). When Herc can't find Icarus, an old man (Jafar in disguise) fools Herc by telling him that a "young rogue named Aladdin" kidnapped him. Herc gets angry and runs off to find Al. Later, in Agrabah, Al and Jasmine can't find Abu, and Pain and Panic disguise themselves as Herc and tell him that Herc kidnapped Abu.
When Herc, Phil and Pegasus arrive in Agrabah, Al, Jasmine and Carpet give them a not-so-warm welcome. Herc and Al start the fight, Herc barreling in and Al sidestepping each blow. Al gets Herc to chase him through the alleyways of Agrabah to an old abandoned building. He then gets Herc to punch enough holes in the walls to bring most of the house down on top of Herc. When Herc holds it up, Al demands Herc to tell him where he hid Abu. Herc responds by wanting to know where Aladdin took Icarus. This leads Al to realize there has been a mistake. Before they can work it out, though, the building collapses on both of them.
While Jafar and Hades believe the heroes have been destroyed, Herc gets himself and Aladdin out of the rubble. They piece together that it was a setup and that Hades and Jafar are holding Icarus and Abu in the Underworld. Aladdin wants to charge in to rescue them, but Hercules thinks of another way. While Hades tells Jafar of his plans for Olympian domination (and offers Jafar the 'Lord of the Dead' title while doing this), Pain and Panic yell that Herc and Aladdin are coming their way.
Jafar is sent to stop them. He blasts Aladdin in an ice block and creates a giant scorpion to take on the slow Hercules. But there's one problem: the man in the ice is Hercules, disguised as Aladdin, and the one fighting the scorpion is Aladdin disguised as Herc. Shocked, Jafar is unable to stop Aladdin from nabbing the snake staff and tossing it to Herc, who snaps it in half. The spirit of Jafar is dragged down into the River Styx for good. Icarus and Abu meanwhile have escaped and begin punching Hades, until he threatens to make them "permanent residents".
Herc and Al congratulate each other before Al takes Jasmine, Abu and Carpet back to Agrabah. Aladdin tells Herc that he'll make a great hero someday. Icarus, having bonded with Abu, asks Hercules if they can get a monkey.
- Tate Donovan as Hercules, a hero-in-training who is learning to not just barrel through, but use his head. He first encounters Jafar when Hades gambles that he can't beat him; Jafar is proven wrong, despite Hercules' clumsiness, and so they capture Hercules' friend Icarus. Jafar, in disguise, frames Aladdin, who Hercules pursues to Agrabah, being defeated due to unfamiliar surroundings and Aladdin's agility, and his overuse of strength. Once the two realize that both their friends have been captured, they deduce that Hades and Jafar have teamed up. Hercules then teams up with Aladdin to rescue Icarus and Abu by disguising himself as Aladdin, while he does likewise, as opposed to head-on assault. At the end of the episode, Aladdin tells Hercules he'll make a great hero.
- Scott Weinger as Aladdin, a street rat turned hero and heir to the throne of Agrabah, who is first encountered by Pain and Panic after they mistake Abu for him. He defeats them by having them look into his lamp. After realizing Aladdin is tricky, Hades has Jafar capture Abu and Pain and Panic frame Hercules for it. Confronting a newly arrived Hercules, Aladdin leads him around the city, dodging his blows but quickly discovering that he is too strong to face head on. After collapsing a building on Hercules, the pair realize that Jafar and Hades have teamed up and set them both up, and they go to the Underworld disguised as each other to defeat the villains and rescue their friends. Aladdin tells Hercules that he'll make a great hero at the end of the episode.
- James Woods as Hades, Lord of the Dead and Hercules's archenemy, who is constantly irked by Hercules getting in the way. After encountering a reluctantly dead Jafar, he makes him alive again so long as he holds his serpent staff, and bets correctly that he cannot defeat Hercules. However, when Hades sends Pain and Panic after Aladdin, he proves too tricky as well. Jafar then proposes that the pair have a "misunderstanding" involving their friends being captured, which Hades puts into effect. He offers Jafar title of "Lord of the Dead" after they are assumed dead. However, the two heroes realize they've been played, and come to the Underworld for their friends, who Hades reluctantly releases after Jafar is defeated.
- Jonathan Freeman as Jafar, the deceased archenemy of Aladdin, who wants revenge on him, and to rule Agrabah. He convinces Hades to make him flesh and bones again; however, this is conditional: Jafar only remains alive so long as he holds his staff. He then attacks Hercules, who proves too strong despite his clumsiness; Hades likewise finds Aladdin too tricky to handle. Jafar then proposes that the heroes have a "misunderstanding" involving their friends being captured, which Hades puts into effect. Unfortunately for them, the two heroes realize the deception and come to the Underworld for their friends; Jafar doesn't realize that they are disguised as each other, and his staff is broken, with his soul going to the River Styx permanently.
- Linda Larkin as Princess Jasmine, Aladdin's wife, who helps Aladdin deal with Pain and Panic. Jasmine and Aladdin give Hercules a not-so-warm welcome after thinking he has captured Abu. She realizes that Hercules and Aladdin have been deceived, and helps deduce that Jafar and Hades are behind it. Jasmine is at first eyed by Phil, until she tells him sternly,"I'm married".
- Robert Costanzo as Philoctetes, Hercules' mentor, who constantly tries to convince him to not just barrel through things, but to use his head once in a while. He is trussed up by Jafar during their initial confrontation after advising Hercules this, but Hercules later uses this advice when invading the Undeworld. He seems attracted to Jasmine, until she replies sternly, "I'm married".
- French Stewart as Icarus, Hercules' best friend, who is captured by Hades and Jafar (using a banana trail). He and Abu bond while they are being held captive, and after Abu frees them, he asks Hercules if they can get a monkey.
- Frank Welker as Abu, Aladdin's pet monkey, who is kidnapped by Jafar using a banana trail. He is held with Icarus in the Underworld, where the two bond. Abu angrily confronts Hades until threatened with death, and leaves with Aladdin and Jasmine for Agrabah.
- Bobcat Goldthwait as Pain and Matt Frewer as Panic, Hades' minions, who are sent first to deal with Aladdin, who tricks them into looking into Genie's lamp; his fist knocks them all the way back to Greece. Pain then disguises himself as Hercules, saying he has kidnapped Abu.
An unusual aspect of this episode is that it indicates that Aladdin and Hercules existed around the same time, though one would logically conclude that they lived at least a millennium apart (Hercules being from ancient Greece, while Aladdin is from the era of the Islamic empires, probably of Abbasid Caliphate). On the other hand, some of Aladdin's enemies, such as Mechanicles, Queen Hippsodeth and Dominus Tusk, could easily be the same vintage as Hercules.
Princess Jasmine mentions that she and Aladdin are married, indicating this episode takes place after the events of Aladdin and the King of Thieves, which would explain Iago's absence in this episode and also explain why Aladdin has the same outfit on which he wore in Aladdin and the King of Thieves, this is additionally backed up by the fact that Aladdin appears physically older than his last appearance. This is a bit strange, though, since the episode seems to indicate that Jafar died recently, though there was an entire movie, and indeed a TV series, between his death in The Return of Jafar and this episode. It is possible that time passed differently in the underworld and that Jafar had to go through a waiting line before meeting up with Hades, as it is mentioned in many ancient texts (such as Virgil's Aeneid) that souls have to wait a long time to cross the river.