In the country of Bajan-Du near the Himalayas, Ki tells the monks that the five Golden Lions have been returned and await the return of the king. He says that he will set the alarms and post the guards, and his henchman Jaru brings the lions in. Ki places them on a font and Jaru asks what purpose is served if the Lions he brought in--which are fakes--are exact duplicates of the originals. His superior explains that their weight is different than the originals. The new king must place them on the font without disturbing the balance, and if the balance is disturbed then the blades will be released and the new king will be released.
An old head priest comes in and wonders what they're doing. Ki says that someone has tampered with the fonts and one side is out of balance. He takes the priest over and triggers the blades, and the priest is instantly killed. Ki tells Jaru to get rid of the corpse.
Jim picks up his briefing at the San Francisco Zoo and is informed that Bajan-Du is on the verge of a political crisis. The late king was determined to lead his people into the modern world, and his widow Lady Michelle Faulkner had their son Miklos educated in England. he will be the next king unless the king's brother Ki--who has Communist sympathies--stops Miklos. He has devised a plan to kill Miklos, and the team must block Ki's plan and give Miklos a fair chance to claim the throne.
At the briefing, Jim explains about the statues and how the would-be king must solve the puzzle or die trying. They've found out that Ki has commissioned fake statues and already substituted them. The fake lions are of different weights, meaning that Miklos will fail. Michelle has requested a tutor for Miklos, and Jim will take the tutor's place. Meanwhile, the others will go in posing as reporters and security. Grant confirms that the fake statues are on the font, and the team has to find the real ones... and they have three days until the coronation.
Jim arrives in Bajan-Du and goes to the capital. Max and Casey are already there posing as journalists there for the coronation. Meanwhile, Grant parachutes into Bajan-Du with his equipment, and Nicholas arrives in a wagon and picks him up.
Miklos comes to see Jim and explains that his father taught him that the student should go to his teacher. Jim offers his condolences on the death of Miklos' father, and Miklos admits that he doesn't know how to be a king. He worries that he won't pass the test, and tells Jim to teach him about puzzles, insisting that they're the only thing that matters.
At the tent where they've set up their base, Grant goes to work.
In Ki's quarters, Jaru tells Ki that the bribed doctor has attributes the priest's death to heart failure. Ki checks the real lions, hidden in a safe, and says that if Miklos refuses to take the test then they'll cast them out. If he does, then he'll die. Either way, Ki will step forward and solve the puzzle, claiming the throne. Jaru points out that Michelle and Miklos can still appeal to the international courts, and Ki tells him that as the future high priest of Bajan-Du, Jaru must make sure that they're dead before they cross the border.
Nicholas prepares his credentials as an insurance representative from Lloyds.
Michelle visits Jim to discuss Miklos' studies. Jim wonders if he should discuss the test, and Michelle tells him that it's a matter of state. She asks how things are in England, and Jim figures that she misses her homeland and her father's estate where she grew up. Jim realizes that she wants him to convince Miklos to go back to England without taking on the test. Michelle figures that they can live on the king's inheritance in England, and her husband's work killed him. She apologizes for burdening Jim with her concerns and leaves.
Casey confirms that Nicholas is in the palace, and Max reminds her that her interview is in an hour.
Nicholas meets with Ki and says that since his company covers the lions, he is concerned about the security of the Lions. He claims that they have information that someone will attempt to steal the Lions and asks to see the security measures and stay through the coronation. Ki considers his request.
Jim and Miklos go through the city and review Miklos' studies. Miklos doesn't see the point of learning things when he'll have advisors, and Jim points out that Miklos' father send Miklos to England to see what was needed to bring Bajan-Du into the 20th century. The boy says that he doesn't want it, and he could be killed trying to solve the test. Jim points out that the king solved the puzzle and asks him what Miklos' father said. Miklos remembers that his father said that each Lion represents a balance, and it was a step to become a man. He admits that he misses his father and that he's not ready.
Ki shows Nicholas the font and points out the guards surrounding the location. When Nicholas questions the security, Ki hits a remote and alarms go off as soon as Nicholas approaches the font. Ki explains that he knows the combination to the sonic network at ground level, and he's the only one who has the remote to turn the system on and off.
Grant gets into the trunk of Casey's car, and Max drives her to the palace. Once there, she interviews Ki after Max takes photos. Casey assures him that her article has nothing to do with politics, and flirts with him. She suggests that they meet unofficially, and Ki invites her to dinner with him that night.
Grant emerges from the trunk and slips into the palace.
Ki takes Casey and Max through the temple, font room, where Nicholas is making a sketch of the font. Casey thanks Ki for his hospitality and leaves. Nicholas tells Ki that Casey's credentials don't add up on their background checks.
Grant climbs up to the room Jim is using, and Nicholas comes in through the door. He goes to work on making a mask with the equipment that Grant bought.
As they go through the city, Max easily spots the tail Ki put on them.
Nicholas disguises himself as Jaru.
Jim goes to the temple and tells Jaru that Miklos showed him a book that the king gave to his son. Jaru insists on Jim taking it to his room where he has the book. When they go in, the disguised Nicholas gasses Jaru unconscious. Grant hides the unconscious Jaru, just as Ki comes in and asks why "Jaru" is there. Jim says that he was asking for additional security when he tutors Miklos in the garden. Ki tells him that Miklos is under constant surveillance. Nicholas quickly excuses himself, and Ki warns Jim not to abuse his privilege. Once Ki leaves, Grant emerges from hiding.
Nicholas meets with Max and the spy gets footage of them as Nicholas hands over money. He warns Casey that it will implicate her as well, but Casey figures that it's the only way to get Max into the temple.
That night, Grant and Jim review the computer data Grant has gathered on the Lions. The challenge is to understand the balance of virtues for manhood. The challenger must place the Lions on the balance float in order of the importance of the virtues. Jim points out that the virtues are of equal balance, and Miklos must place them at the same time. Grant has a remote and says that when the plant it in Jaru's room, it will Miklos a chance to try.
Casey returns to the palace and goes to meet with Ki. Max emerges from the trunk and sneaks into the palace.
Nicholas searches Ki's room with a sonic probe and finds the hidden safe. He places a thread from Jaru's robe next to the door and leaves.
Max climbs up to Jim's room, and he and Grant continue upward.
Ki receives the photos of "Jaru" and figures that he's receiving money from Casey. Casey comes in and Ki quickly hides the photos and welcomes her.
Michelle visits Jim and asks if he's considered what they discussed earlier. Jim says that he's just providing Miklos with the information he needs to make his decision. She says that she called the school in England and confirmed that some of the teachers at Miklos' school doesn't know Jim. Max drops a tool, and Michelle and Jim hear it. Jim tells the queen that he's there to ensure Miklos' safety, and Michelle admits that she feels better. She says good night and leaves.
Grant and Max enter the temple from above.
Ki tells Casey that his brother's ability to solve the puzzle didn't make him a king. He pours more wine for Casey.
Once in the temple, Max lowers Grant down to the font. The guards are standing with their backs to the font and don't notice him. Grant attaches a small gold-colored tab to each of the Lions, and Max pulls him back up. Meanwhile, Nicholas comes in and sees Grant. He then knocks one of the guards unconscious with a can of spray gas. Once back in Jim's room, Nicholas removes his Jaru mask.
Ki asks Casey if she came there for something even more precious than a story. Before she can respond, Grant drops Jaru's necklace next to the font, setting off the alarms. Ki and the guards check the font, and Nicholas comes in as Ki finds the unconscious guard. Nicholas confirms that the Lions are still there, and figures that the alarms frightened off the would-be thief. Ki finds the necklace and realizes who it belongs to.
Max and Grant return to Jim's room and then continue climbing down.
Ki checks on the safe in his room and confirms that the real Lions are safe. He finds the thread that Nicholas planted and wonders if the Lions he has are still the real ones.
Grant and Max get into the trunk of Casey's car, and she drives off.
Jim wakes Jaru up and says that someone has broken into the temple and Jaru has to see Ki immediately. When Jaru reaches Ki's quarters, Ki has his guards tie him up and slaps him, and then sends the guards away. He shows Jaru the necklace and a duplicate of the control system that he found in Jaru's chambers. Jaru denies it, but Ki shows him the photographs and the thread that he found. He figures that Jaru switched the fake Lions for the real ones because the Americans paid him to help Milos. Ki figures that there's enough time to put the statues back, then stabs Jaru in the chest, killing him.
The next day, Jim finds Miklos in the garden. He assures Miklos that he's smart enough to pass the test, and Miklos is aware that Michelle wants him to leave. Jim asks what Miklos would do if he knew the answer, and Miklos figures that nothing good can come from cheating. The boy wonders how to balance the virtues, and Jim tells him to keep asking himself that question and he'll find the answer.
Everyone gathers in the temple, and the high priest presents Miklos with the five Lions on a platter. He places each one on the perimeter of the font, and tells Miklos that he must balance them properly. Miklos considers the test and then realizes that the virtues are all equal. He takes the platter from the high priest, places the Lions on it, and then places the platter on the font. Ki realizes that his plan has failed, and Jim triggers the tabs on the fake statues. They heat up and melt, and Ki opens the safe to discover the melted mess. Furious that the Americans have apparently destroyed the Lions, he goes back to the temple to kill Miklos.
Miklos tells the priests that the Lions shall remain there until his reign has ended. Ki comes in, ranting that Miklos has destroyed the Lions, and the guards surround Milos. When the older man tells the guards to kill Miklos, they hesitate. Ki grabs the lions, disturbing the balance and triggering the blades. He dies, and Jim smiles at Michelle and quietly leaves. He joins his teammates outside and they drive off together.
Written by Gadfly on Aug 12, 2017