"Pearls Before Swine" (Season 1, Episode 12)

[Contributed by Chris Hadgis (chrish@mincom.com)]


Monkey is flying towards Codslow, "Paradise On Earth". What he finds is a town with dead people in the street. Soldiers walking through the town discover a living man and take him with them while the bodies are to be burned.

Monkey reports this to Tripitaka who finds it hard to believe. He orders Sandy to convince a tired Pigsy to keep going. Sandy does this by telling Pigsy how wonderful this place is. Pigsy believes him. As they are about to leave, the pilgrims see a group of peasants - Sandy says they are going towards Codslow.

Pigsy sees an old man and his grand-daughter. The man is carrying a sapling. Pigsy rushes over to "help" them. Sandy warns him they could be monsters. The man collapses from hunger and thirst so they take him to Tripitaka. Monkey and Sandy are sent to look for food. While they are gone, the old man says that things haven't been too good since three immortals arrived in town three years ago.

Monkey and Sandy discover barren fields - they have been neglected for quite some time. They return to the others.

The girl tells Pigsy about the paper mulberry tree - it produces phosphorescent paper and is very valuable. People used to travel from everywhere to buy it. She also mentions that her father is to be executed for organizing a revolt against the immortals.

The immortals arrived three years ago, killed the king, and took over control of Codslow. The prosperity of the town depended on the export of paper, wine, and precious stones. They killed and tortured people for fun because they enjoyed the suffering of others. Her father escaped from the work camp with the sapling because he was afraid they would all be destroyed. He was recaptured, and is soon to be killed.

Pigsy offers to fight them and runs off before the girl mentions they are also sorcerers.

Pigsy wanders into town and is soon in trouble when the soldiers discover he has no papers. When they try to arrest him, he fights. One of the soldiers reports back to the immortals that they are under attack by a 'being of incomparable strength'.

"Incomparable? No-one compares to us" [Stag immortal]

They go outside where Pigsy is still fighting the soldiers. They link arms. The sky fills with clouds, and moments later, bolts of lightning shoot out from their linked arms. Pigsy is shot in the backside as he runs away from them.

Sandy applies a healing patch to Pigsy's tender backside. He tells the others about the three immortals and the bolts of lightning. Sandy accuses Pigsy of being a coward because he was shot in the backside as he was running away. Monkey says he has a plan to deal with them. Sandy says they should leave but Tripitaka decides they should stay and help.

"Don't we always have trouble when he wants to help?" [Sandy]

Monkey asks Sandy to help him polish a large metal table to use against the immortals.

The three immortals are feeding. The tiger spirit is drinking wine, the stag spirit is eating pearls, and the ram spirit is eating paper. They want the prisoners, the girl's father among them, whipped while they feed so they can enjoy their meal more.

Monkey, disguised as a wasp, stings some guards as they enter town. They have the polished table with them. The battle begins. The three immortals link arms and start shooting lightning bolts at the pilgrims who are hiding behind the table. It reflects the lightning bolts, but soon heats up and starts melting. Having freed the prisoners, they make their escape.

The immortals have run out of power. The tiger spirit realises that they have encountered Tripitaka's disciples. They soon recharge their power.

The pilgrims and prisoners return to Tripitaka. The grandfather is shot in the back by a lone soldier. He tells them to look after the paper mulberry tree and dies. The father thanks Tripitaka for his help but tells them they should go on - the scriptures are more important. However, Tripitaka decides they should stay.

Pigsy digs up the tree, thinking that the others will follow him away from this place. Tripitaka conducts a funeral for the grandfather. Some villagers have risked their lives to bring the father some food as a token of their thanks. They want him to lead them. Pigsy arrives with the tree and tells them all they should go. The father once again tells Tripitaka to go and take Tao-Lee (his daughter) with them. She wants to stay with her father and he agrees. They take the tree from Pigsy and tell him it won't grow anywhere else but in Codslow, so they must stay with it.

"I have had some weird reasons for women turning me down, but I've never never before lost out to a rotten mulberry plant" [Pigsy]

Tripitaka still wants to stay and help. Some soldiers have seen them and rush back to report to the immortals.

The pilgrims have indeed left, but Monkey has second thoughts about helping them, so they turn back. Pigsy is happy because he will see Tao-Lee again.

The father tells them that the immortals' strength depends on special food kept in store-rooms. They are well guarded inside a mountain with one entrance - a cave at the top. The cliffs are sheer. One of the villagers knows how to get in there. Monkey goes off on his own mission while Sandy and Pigsy follow the villagers. Tripitaka and Tao-Lee stay behind to pray. They are captured by the three immortals!

Sandy and Pigsy, who has a table strapped to his back, start to climb the mountain with the help of the villagers.

Tripitaka tries to reason with the immortals but they beat him.

A guard tells the immortals that a girl called Tao-Lee has brought some food for them. They are suspicious that there are two girls with the same name in the one place.

Pigsy can't climb with the table strapped to his back, so Sandy undoes it and it falls down the mountain making a horrible noise. The soldiers hear it and are alerted.

Monkey, disguised as Tao Lee, brings the food in. The immortals know who he is and capture him by threatening Tripitaka and Tao-Lee. Tripitaka orders him not to fight.

The soldiers find the villagers and kill some of them before Sandy and Pigsy drive them off. The one who knows how to get to the store-rooms tells the others.

Monkey, Tripitaka, and Tao-Lee are tied up. A soldier enters and reports of the attack on the store-rooms. Monkey sneezes and creates an illusion - three copies of himself. The immortals join hands to fight, but the tiger spirit is stung on the hand, by Monkey disguised as a wasp, so they can't use their power.

Tripitaka and Tao-Lee have made it outside where the fight is still going.

Monkey, now disguised as the ram spirit, tries to talk the immortals out of using their power. However, when they link arms, it doesn't work anyway.

Tao-Lee tries to save Tripitaka by leading him away from the fight, but he tells her that no-one is more important than anyone else.

Pigsy finds the way into the store-room where they smash the jugs of wine and destroy everything.

Tripitaka and Tao-Lee finally meet up with the others. The rest of the prisoners have been freed.

The immortals discover the destroyed store-rooms. Monkey reveals himself and fights the tiger and stag spirits. Pigsy and Sandy wait outside because they are unsure how many immortals are in there. Eventually they join the fight, along with the ram spirit, and the immortals are soon defeated.

Monkey says he shouldn't kill them, but he is going to because of the suffering they have caused. Tripitaka interferes just in time. He orders that their bracelets be removed and they be left alive. The three of them are vanquished.

"I'd kill you all twice over, speaking personally" [Monkey]

Everyone is happy now. The paper mulberry tree will be okay. Tao-Lee announces she is getting married. A heart-broken Pigsy presents her with a string of pearls.

Later, Tripitaka realises that Pigsy stole the pearls, and punishes him by making him walk one hundred yards behind them.

"Sometimes to make the stupid grow, discipline is essential. The wrong in stealing something so useless as jewels is less that they belong to someone else and more that you offend against yourself by coveting them at all" [Narrator]

The pilgrims continue their journey.

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