Whoosh! Online Edition Episode Guide



Season 1, episode 3
Series 103
1st release: 01-30-95
2nd release: 04-10-95
3rd release: 07-17-95
1st USA strip release: 08-04-98
2nd USA strip release: 11-24-98
Last update: 12-24-04

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COMMENTARY by Kerrie Barney

Norman Forsey (Tiresias)
Portia Dawson (Jana)

John Sumner (Broteas)
Peter Rowley (Ephadon)
Sela Brown (Leda)
Stephen Papps (Teles)
Andrew Kovacevich (Odeon)
Maggie Tarver (Hesame)
Christopher Saunoa (Ixion)
Julian Arahanga (Bounty hunter)
Emma Turner (Leucosia)
Bruce Allpress (Old Man)
Patrick Kake (Hercules Double)

Edited by Steve Polivka
Written by Andrew Dettmann and Daniel Truly
Directed by Doug Lefler


Hercules accompanies a town's citizens, cursed by Hera because of a theft at her temple, on a perilous journey to a city offering safe haven.

Herc shepherds a band of war refugees from a "cursed" town to a "charmed" city. But the curse may still be with one of them.

Hercules leads a group of people, cursed by Hera, to the safety of Calydon.

Hercules aids a band of refugees as they search for a new home.

1st RELEASE: 01-30-95
An AA average of 5.3
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) STAR TREK DS9 4th with 8.2
(2) BAYWATCH 6th with 7.9
(3) HERCULES 18th with 5.3

2nd RELEASE: 04-10-95
An AA average of 5.3
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) STAR TREK DS9 3rd with 7.1
(2) BAYWATCH 10th with 5.5
(3) HERCULES 13th with 5.3

3rd RELEASE: 07-17-95
An AA average of Unavailable


This commentary is by Kerrie Barney

Watching this episode, I have to wonder if TPTB weren't going through a sort of "sidekick" tryout during the first few episodes of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. Was Michael Hurst unavailable for some reason? First we have Iolaus, then Salmoneus, and now Tiresias the seer. It's interesting how each character manages to retain his individuality while still fulfilling the same basic function, i.e. giving Hercules an ally who isn't directly involved in the crisis of the week, someone to provide exposition and a little comic relief. But I'm an Iolaus fan at heart, and it's strange to see such an integral part of later seasons apparently relegated to his blacksmith's forge back home while Herc runs around with all these other dudes. I look forward to Iolaus's return.

Hercules comes across a group of war refugees, who have recently settled in a mysteriously abandoned village. Tiresias, the same blind seer who informed Hercules of Iolaus's death in "The Wrong Path", tells everyone that the place has been cursed by Hera. Why? Once again, Zeus's philandering is the reason...seems that Zeus once fell for a lovely maiden who lived here, to the point of giving her a golden chalice forged by Hephestus. Hera turned the girl into a dog and cursed the entire village.

Hercules shares his food with the refugees and tries to convince them to move on, but the refugees will have none of it. Oh dear...I think it's time for Hera to flex some of that nasty curse throwing muscle... A series of Bad Things happen, including a vicious storm and the transformation of the water supply into red paint...err, blood. Broteous, the leader of the refugees, tries to sacrifice Hercules's gift of food to Hera. Hercules stops this (hands up, anyone who didn't see that coming!), redistributes the food to the hungry, and then offers to take the refugees to Calydon. Calydon is a charmed city protected by Apollo where Hera's curse will be broken.

I'm not terribly impressed with Hercules's leadership skills at this point. Broteous doesn't want to go to Calydon, and he has at least one very good reason: the way lies through the Stymphalian swamp, which is guarded by a fierce winged monster. Hercules challenges Broteous's decision in front of every body, which is a very bad idea. One of the first things any leader should learn is to praise in public and chastise in private. If Hercules wasn't willing to give Broteous time to come around to his way of thinking without shaming him in front of his people, he should have seen to it that the man left the group altogether. A humiliated former leader is always a dangerous thing to have around. Oh well.

They leave, but ill fortune continues to follow them. First they're hit with a rain of rocks, then pursued by a particularly ugly and gruesome example of Hera's supernatural army. Unlike the Executioners from the previous episode, these guys have the ability to travel underground like moles on steroids, and can't be killed with a sword--but if you hit them hard enough, their heads and limbs will break off from their bodies. (Yuck.) One evil mole monster informs Hercules that "Hera won't give up until she has what is hers!" Hmmm...I wonder what that could be... Tiresias knows! It turns out that the aforementioned golden chalice was stolen from Hera's temple the night before the refugees left for Calydon! The refugees turn their suspicions on each other, leading to some of the funniest dialog in the episode. (Refugee: "Olyean was a prisoner in the Azanean salt mines!" Olyean: "It wasn't for stealing. It was for killing!"

Way to go guy, defend you honor!) Hercules, of course, suspects Broteous. But he doesn't have enough evidence to accuse him.

They journey on. Broteous takes advantage of the lull to try to raise a mutiny against Hercules, and Hercules spends the time befriending Jana and Ixion two refugees the rest of the group has been shunning since the beginning of the episode. (Hmmm. Won't Ixion get a stone named after him during Xena's season 2?) Jana is a former prostitute, an orphan who was raised in a brothel; Ixion is a fellow orphan she's raising like her son. Hercules sees to it that the pair has water and food, and does his best to get the other refugees to accept them.

We enter the Stymphalian swamp, a place curiously reminiscent of the Fire Swamp in the Princess Bride, complete with the sucking sand pits. But instead of a RUS, this swamp is home to the Stymphalian Bird, a flying lizardy sort of thing that attacks just as Jana and Ixion fall into a sand pit. Time for Hercules to do the hero thing once again!

Hercules's fight with the Stymphalian Bird deserves special note, as it's one of the most preposterous fights of the series so far. But it's also very entertaining, for exactly the same reason. The quick sand pulls Jana and Ixion up to their shoulders in a matter of seconds, but then seems to lose interest: the refugees stay at that level for almost the rest of the fight, conveniently placed to give desperate glances and shout for help. Hercules tosses them a vine and prepares to pull them to safety, only to drop it again when the Bird pulls him backwards--if he'd only hung on, he could have used the Bird's strength to pull them free, but no. When Herc does finally manage to trap the Bird into a sand pit of its own (Poor birdie!) Jana and Ixion's sand pit finally remembers its sand pitly duty and pulls the prisoners in over their heads. Herc must wrap a vine around his feet and dive in to rescue them. The Dread Pirate Roberts could not have done it any better.

Meanwhile, the other refugees have finally discovered that Broteous did steal the chalice, and are about to sacrifice the misguided leader to Hera when Hercules catches up. He saves Broteous's life, but the villain must be disposed of somehow: Hercules comes up with the rather novel solution of using his strength to throw the chalice far, far away. Broteous is clearly a bit unbalanced at this point. He goes chasing after the chalice, and the Tiresias informs us that he will spend the rest of his life on an endless journey to find it.

And in the distance...Calydon, at last! It's a very pretty place, a bit like the Emerald City of Oz placed atop a lovely New Zealand mountain range. Ixion and Jana, now accepted and welcome by the other refugees, go to the blessed city, leaving Hercules alone with Tiresias, whose love of doom and gloom will not allow him to join the refugees. They start to head off together, but wait! The dog from the village, presumably the young lady Hera transfigured at the start of the curse, joins Tiresias and begins licking the seer's face. Hercules says that Tiresias has a new travelling companion (which seems a bit harsh on the poor girl/dog to me, but oh well) and leaves to continue his journeys. The end.

There's not a lot of depth here. Mostly, this episode is exactly what it says it is: Hercules must help a group of refugees defeat Hera's curse and find their way to Calydon. If you work at it, you can make an argument for Hercules appearing as a kind of Christ figure: he does feed the hungry, almost miraculously provides water for Ixion and Jana, counsels compassion toward a prostitute, and ultimately leads the seekers to a kind of paradise. But that's REALLY stretching to see a deeper meaning. Still, it's a decently-crafted episode, with much better drawn characters and conflicts than "Eye of the Beholder" had. TPTB are well on their way to creating some very memorable television.


Click here to read a transcript of THE ROAD TO CALYDON.


[No humorous disclaimer for this episode]

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