If I Had a Hammer (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys)
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|"If I Had a Hammer"|
|Hercules: The Legendary Journeys episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4
|Directed by||Steve Polivka|
|Written by||Paul Robert Coyle|
|Original air date||January 12, 1998|
"If I Had a Hammer" is the ninth episode of the fourth season of the television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
The lonely blacksmith, Atalanta, forges a lifelike statue of Hercules out of scrap metal. Hephaestus brings the statue to life, but the new "Hercules" is childlike and nothing like the original. Discord encourages "Hercules" to commit murder, framing the real Hercules for the crime. Hercules and his double fight it out and "Hercules" helps saves Atalanta's life.
Salmoneus is helping the King Armand with his museum and wants Hercules to be one of the artists' subjects. Salmoneus tells Hercules that he should pose nude because, "The purest form of artistic expression is the nude human figure". Hercules refuses, but Salmoneus convinces him to do it because it will help orphaned children. As Hercules agrees, Atalanta greets him and Salmoneus, she introduces them to her boyfriend, Curteus. Salmoneus says he hardly recognizes her all covered up. She explains that she has changed. "I've spent my whole life being competitive in a man's world... and what do I have to show for it?" She has no social life and the men just think of her as "One of the guys". Meanwhile, a group of bullies is picking on Curteus. Hercules goes and sees what is going on, as Curteus is thrown in a trough of water. As more bullies come out, they begin to fight Hercules and Atalanta stands by watching, not wanting to get involved. After a short time, Atalanta takes on one of the women in the gang and her dress is torn off, revealing her normal costume underneath. With her help, Hercules beats off the rest of the gang.
Curteus, shocked by finding out what Atalanta is really like, runs off and leaves her. Hercules tells her he just wasn't the right one. Atalanta storms off back to her forge, where she has a brief conversation with Hephaestus, telling him she humiliated herself again. Later that day, Hercules is getting ready to pose for the artists. Salmoneus hands him a big bunch of grapes through the bushes, where Hercules is hiding. Hercules appears from behind the bushes with nothing but the grapes covering him. Some of the artists are astonished, one woman fainting upon the sight of the naked Hercules. As the artists start their work to capture Hercules' image for King Armand, Atalanta potters around her forge and throws herself into her work to make her feel better. Outside the forge, some members of the gang wait for Atalanta, inside she admires her latest work, a lifelike statue of Hercules. She asks Hephaestus what he thinks of her work, and tells him, "If I can't have Hercules, I guess this is the next best thing". She wonders if it is her destiny to be "a living, breathing sculpture of muscle and flesh... alone forever".
Seemingly shocked by the prospect she runs from the forge. As she leaves, two members of the gang come in and wait for her to return. As they wait, a flash of light and energy travels from Hephaestus' altar into the statue and it begins to glow. The gang members flee as Atalanta returns, she walks into the forge to see that her statue has been made flesh and bone. Someone calls her outside and she leaves "Hercules" in the forge. At that moment, Discord appears in the forge and encourages "Hercules" to leave the forge. Elsewhere Hercules is finishes being naked and, with the help of Salmoneus and a little girl, is judging the artwork. As he looks around he is called away to help rescue some men who have been trapped down a mine. Atalanta comes back to the forge to find "Hercules" has left, and goes after him.
"Hercules" meets a man on the road who asks him to help free his wagon, which had become stuck in the road. "Hercules" helps by tossing the wagon over, sending the wagon's load into the river. At the mine Hercules saves the men from the collapsed mine. Hercules then leaves to go back to judge the art competition. "Hercules" arrives at the competition, and no one realizes that he is not the real Hercules, except for the little girl, who is ignored. "Hercules" says he likes all the pieces of art, but the Goddess Discord, helps him change his mind, inciting him to destroy the art "for making fun of him". "Hercules" smashes everything up; Discord laughs and vanishes. Hercules meets "himself" on his way back to judge the artwork. Atalanta comes along, explains everything and takes "Hercules" back to the forge.
With the help of Discord, "Hercules" and Atalanta have a romantic dinner. Things go wrong and Atalanta sends "Hercules" back to the barn. Discord tells him that there are people who want to hurt Atalanta. Discord encourages him to go after the people who want to harm Atalanta; he finds them and snaps one of the men's necks. The next day, Hercules finds out about the death and thinks the worst. Back at the forge, Atalanta apologizes for the night before, telling "Hercules" that he is a child and she is a woman. He tells her about him defending her honor by killing the bully who wanted to hurt her. She escapes from him and runs into Hercules outside, he goes in after his double and leaves Atalanta outside.
In the forge, Discord appears and throws things at Hercules. She says that "Hercules" has already gone, so Atalanta and Hercules set off after him, along the way they have a heart to heart. Elsewhere "Hercules" tries to kill Salmoneus, but Hercules arrives just in time to save him. An angry mob comes for Hercules, thinking he is responsible for the man's death. "Hercules" grabs Atalanta and drags her back to the forge. Hercules fends off the mob and chases after his double. At the forge the two Hercules' fight and Hercules sends the statue into the furnace. Defeated, Discord blasts the ceiling, causing it to fall on Atalanta. As Hercules lift the fallen roof off Atalanta, the statue reappears from the flames and help Hercules save Atalanta. As they escape the burning forge, the statue is crushed. Later Salmoneus gives Atalanta a new dress to replace the one that was torn in the fight. She tells him, "I've learned my lesson. I like who I am, and I'm never gonna hide that again". While they talk, the little girl comes and hands Hercules a picture she drew, Hercules looks and announces they have a winner for the art competition.
References to popular culture
- The storyline has parallels with the story of Pygmalion and Galatea
- Among the artists present attempting to capture Hercules' likeness are Picassus, DaVincium, El Grecus, Warholius.
- One artist who copies the painting of the artist next to him is named Xerox.
- Another artist unveils a sculpture he calls The Ponderer, a reference to Rodin's The Thinker.[original research?]