Episode 5 : 'The Eternal Punishment'
The episode starts with the view of a bleak desert planet (The Desert of
the Tartars). There is one man who lives here. This man is Syssipus, and
he must perform a seemingly endless task of pushing balls of debris into
a deep pit.
After another tiring session, Syssipus rests for a while and recollects
his past, before is current situation. When he was living happily with
his wife, he talks of a goal he was determined to achieve. That of
discovering the secret of the Gods' immortality.
This being the reason for his punishment and exile, he then cries out to
the Gods' asking them why he must continue to live out this punishment
when he believes he has paid for his crime. The Gods' then tell him of
the coming arrival of a man that can take his place on the planet, and so
Syssipus can be free. This man is Ulysses, he has approached the planet
and is carrying out checks for life. He is astonished to find that there
is life on the barren planet. Once the Odyssey has landed, he then
proceeds to investigate with the use of the shuttle.
Upon arrival, Ulysses is attacked by Syssipus and loses his belt that
lets him fly. Syssipus then gets into the shuttle and pilots it back to
the Odyssey while Ulysses is left clinging on to the edge of the pit. The
children and Nono are suspicious when they see the errattic flight
pattern of the little shuttle. On close-up display, they discover that it
is Syssipus flying the craft and they are worried as to what happened to
When Syssipus arrives at the Odyssey he orders take-off. But the
computer, Sherka, will not be commanded by a stranger. The children then
face him with the help of the ship's robots and force him to take them
onto the planet and find Ulysses.
Unfortunately, Ulysses has disappeared when they get back to the deep
pit. After the explanation from Syssipus, Telemachus decides he must go
into the pit to try and find his father. Although when Syssipus tries to
save Yumi and Nono from being crushed, a tumbling ball of debris sends
him into the pit as well.
Inside the pit, there is an assortment of machinery that seems to be
recycling the debris that has fallen in and sending it back to the desert
to be pushed back again. Syssipus is there and he has discovered
He gets very angry.
Eventually, Telemachus is reunited with Ulysses and they, with Yumi and
Nono, return to the shuttle. The planet is being sent to another
dimension, so they must hurry, or they will be cut off from the
Syssipus, however, accepts his fate of eternal punishment and remains
back where he started, on the edge of the pit, next to a newly recycled
ball of debris.