"Catfish, Saint, and the Shape Changer" (Season 1, Episode 14)

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


The pilgrims are walking through a land dominated by a large active volcano. They are arguing again, and Monkey calls Pigsy "totally and utterly illiterate".

Pigsy : "You said I was illegitimate. You better remember some of us aren't just walking statues. I was born in heaven"
Monkey: "In a pig sty"

They see a girl praying. Monkey thinks she might be a monster, but Pigsy rushes over to her regardless. She answers a few of his questions, but when she looks up, she reveals she has no face. She runs away and the disciples split up to chase her. No trace of her is found.

Monkey: "When we catch it, I'll bash its face in"
Sandy : "Stupid, it didn't have a face"

Pigsy is swaggering around, pretending he is not afraid of the monster. Sandy, with Monkey sitting on his shoulders, sneaks up behind him and scares him.

The volcano erupts and there is an earthquake. In the village, the people are praying. Tripitaka offers his services to the headman. He says there have always been earthquakes here. They are caused by the quarrel of two demons. Thirty years ago, San-Chung came and quieted the devils. Tripitaka knows of him. San-Chung gave up his journey to protect them. The headman directs them to the temple.

Tripitaka asks San-Chung why he gave up his quest. San-Chung says that he couldn't continue while there was so much suffering there. A catfish monster is causing the earthquakes. It lives in the lake at the base of the volcano. San-Chun's prayers seem to quiet it. Monkey asks about the face monster. San-Chung tells him it is a shapechanger, and that it has taken the form of one of the pilgrims. They accuse each other until Sandy says they were never apart. But they were when they were chasing the face monster.

The disciples try to figure out which of them is the face monster. Pigsy thinks it is Tripitaka because he was alone when they were chasing the monster. They confront him about it and he denies it. Tripitaka says they can still succeed if they all trust each other. Unfortunately they don't, and eventually the group splits up.

Sandy goes to down the lake where the catfish monster lives. The huge catfish appears and swallows Sandy. He cries out to Monkey for help. Monkey runs down to the lake and finds Sandy's staff, but no Sandy. He jumps into the lake to look for him. He is soon found by the catfish and he swims into its mouth.

San-Chung tries to get Tripitaka to stay and succeed him, especially now that the disciples have left him. Tripitaka refuses, saying his mission is too important, and rides away. San-Chung mutters that his monsters will stop Tripitaka from leaving.

There is another earthquake. San-Chung tells the villagers he will pray. He enters a house and finds the catfish monster, in human form, sitting at the fire-place. The monster is upset because San-Chung failed to deliver him Tripitaka as promised. He strikes the ground with his club and causes another tremor. San-Chung has been sacrificing priests to the monster. The monster reveals that he has in fact eaten the disciples.

Inside the stomach of the catfish, Monkey is looking for Sandy. He opens a 'door' and finds Sandy flirting with a girl. She is a fairy - a spirit of the blue pool. She says the lake was lovely until the catfish monster came and swallowed her. She has been inside him for over a thousand years. She conjures up a meal for them, which Monkey and Sandy enjoy until she tells them it is made from things the catfish has swallowed.

The catfish monster still wants to eat Tripitaka. He drinks some red wine. In his stomach, Monkey, Sandy, and the fairy get drunk.

"I'm only drinking wine, but it feels like spirits" [Catfish]

The fairy says they should have a party and conjures up a gramophone. The catfish becomes sick. Meanwhile, the party is in full swing as they dance to the Monkey Magic theme. They hear a voice - it's Pigsy. He was swallowed two days ago. The fairy says she lost him because Pigsy wanted to do rude things. Monkey realizes that the face monster had become Pigsy.

The face monster, still disguised as Pigsy, meets up with Tripitaka. Tripitaka thinks they should wait for the others, but 'Pigsy' says they are unlikely to return. Tripitaka is glad to have found one of his disciples. 'Pigsy' gets them lost in the forest. Tripitaka then realises that the face monster has assumed Pigsy's form. There is an avalanche, and as they look up, they see the catfish monster. Tripitaka is captured.

Tripitaka has been tied up and the monsters argue over who should kill him. San-Chung appears and Tripitaka is relieved, but San-Chung has arrived to mediate the argument between the two demons. He decides the monsters should play a game, with Tripitaka going to the winner.

The disciples are finally reunited. Pigsy wants to stay because there is plenty of food and drink. Monkey says they should try and escape but the others remind him they don't know how to. Monkey says they should try for Tripitaka.

Meanwhile, the game continues.

The fairy says she knows a way out - the back passage. The others decide against it.

The catfish monster reveals that San-Chung had been forced into helping them because they were powerful monsters. The face monster tries to cheat, but San-Chung stops him. It appears as though the face monster is winning.

The disciples and the fairy are wandering throught the catfish.

Monkey: "Maybe we are getting near the lungs."
Sandy : "Come on Monkey. Fish don't have lungs. Every child in school knows this."
Monkey: "We're not at school, are we."

The face monster wins the game. The catfish monster is upset and challenges the face monster to a fight to the death. They catfish monster beats the face monster back and advances on Tripitaka. As he reaches him, he starts to choke.

Now in his throat, Sandy suggests they tickle him. The catfish monster starts to laugh, but this prevents them from escaping. Pigsy suggest that Monkey turn them into foreign bodies so that the monster spits them out. He does this, and the catfish monster soon spits out three balls which become Monkey, Sandy, and Pigsy. They fight the catfish monster. Monkey beats him and he turns into a regular-size catfish.

The face monster makes a run for it but is stopped by Pigsy. He changes into Pigsy. Monkey goes over to them and tries to find out which of them is the real Pigsy. Monkey is about to hit the real Pigsy, but at the last moment turns and strikes the face monster which turns into a frog.

San-Chung has been hurt in the fight. He asks Monkey to kill him. Monkey is about to oblige when Tripitaka stops him. San-Chung has compromised with the forces of evil and believes he is doomed to Hell. Tripitaka says he will fetch the scriptures and that San-Chung should wait there for him.

The fairy has been released and the lake is returning to normal. She waves goodbye to the pilgrims, calling Monkey by name. This makes the others jealous.

The pilgrims continue their journey.


* Alliteration: 'Is he still simple Sandy walking into deadly danger'

* During the party, we can see strobe lights in the background.

* When the fairy says Pigsy is lost, we see him wandering around a maze. There is even a cow hide on the floor, presumably from an earlier catfish snack.

* The game they play looks like a cross between chess and checkers.

* We don't actually see the fairy being released from the catfish, but she is there at the end of the episode.

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