Whoosh! Online Edition Episode Guide



Season 1, episode 5
Series 105
1st release: 02-13-95
2nd release: 05-15-95
3rd release: 07-31-95
1st USA strip release: 08-05-98
2nd USA strip release: 11-27-98
Last update: 12-24-04

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COMMENTARY 2 by Kerrie Barney

Cory Everson (Atalanta)

Marise Wipani (Janista)
Callum Stembridge (Aurelius)
Peter Malloch (Titus)
Taungaroa Emile (Ximenos)
Peter Muller (Fallen soldier/Gregor)
Mark Newnham (Ares)
Al Chalk (Voice of Ares)
Kelson Henderson (Kid #1)
Nick Clark (Kid #2)
Rebecca Hobbs (Woman #1)
Rebekah Mercer (Woman #2)

Edited by Daniel Cahn
Written by Steve Roberts
Directed by Harley Cokeliss

Hercules confronts his half brother Ares, the god of war, in his attempt to prevent a teen-age boy from becoming one of the evil deity's soldiers.

Ares, God of War, is mustering a young army of hoodlums to do his evil bidding.

Hercules opposes another of Ares' schemes--in which the god of war lures young boys to kill for his pleasure.

1st RELEASE: 02-13-95
An AA average of Unavailable
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) STAR TREK DS9 4th with 8.1
(2) BAYWATCH 5th with 7.7
(3) [HERCULES not within top 20, made less than 5.2]

2nd RELEASE: 05-15-95
An AA average of 5.6
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) STAR TREK DS9 4th with 6.9
(2) HERCULES 10th with 5.6
(3) BAYWATCH 11th with 5.5

3rd RELEASE: 07-31-95
An AA average of 5.5
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) HERCULES 5th with 5.5
(2) STAR TREK DS9 8th with 5.3
(3) BAYWATCH 10th with 5.2


This commentary is by Silenus

This is a very interesting episode, not least because it introduces Atalanta, played by Cory Everson. Cory has a superb physique, muscular yet still retaining her feminine curves. Her costume is designed to let us appreciate her assets to the full as we see her sweating over her forge, arm-wrestling with Hercules and she even gets her own wet-look moment. Corrrrry!

The episode continues the show's theme that women can work and fight alongside men with complete equality. At this stage of the series this is still a point that needs to be explicity made. Atalanta has to help Herc get over his "You're a woman, it's too dangerous for you" attitude. By the time Xena comes along, a woman's equal right to fight is taken for granted, without anything having to be said.

Despite Atalanta's copious charms, Hercules seems to find her easily resistible. I guess it's going to take a *very* special woman to fire his ardour. ;-)

Ares, in this his second appearance in the show, is portrayed very differently from the way we are used to seeing him in Xena. Most of the time he is a disembodied presence. When he does appear, it is as a monstrous, inhuman figure. He is put across as a personification of pure evil, with no redeeming features. I think the way he appears later is far more interesting. It makes it possibe for him to interact at the human level as a complex character who can be very personable, even seductive and can make a case for his point of view that can't be dismissed out of hand.

For Ares, war is good. Any war. The way of the warrior is simply to fight, to kill and be killed. In this episode he rallies a small army of young boys to his banner, turning them into ruthless killers. Hercules, of course, believes that the only good fighter is one who defends the weak. His task in this episode is to convince Ares' "soldiers" of the truth of this. He does so, with his usual style, ably assisted by Atalanta.


This commentary is by Kerrie barney

This is a really chilling episode. It's also a departure for the series in a lot of ways. Much more serious in tone, with a truly message-driven rather than character-driven plot, "Ares" has a lot more blood and gore than any of the previous episodes. I'm not a big fan of blood and gore as a rule, and so "Ares" will never make it into the stack of H:TLJ episodes I re-watch for pleasure. But with the introduction of Atalanta the Blacksmith, one of my all time favorite supporting characters, and some of the tightest, most gripping writing of the series so far, it is certainly an episode every Hercules fan should see once.

Y'know, after all these years, I STILL don't know what to make of Atalanta's costume. My reaction is almost identical to Hercules's in their first scene together at the forge--I look, but I don't particularly want anybody to catch me at it. In a post Brittany and Janis age, Atalanta's wardrobe still has the power to raise my eyebrows. Fortunately for my embarrassment factor, Atalanta is much more than a scantily dressed body; she's also very strong, very smart, and very funny. Most importantly, she doesn't take Hercules's semi-divinity too seriously, which allows her to treat the Son of Zeus with a playfulness the show badly needs. For heaven's sake, Herc, you can't be the brooding angsty hero all the time.

It's nice to see a character who isn't in awe of you for once. Atalanta's playfullness is especially nice given the darkness of the rest of the story. From the very first moments, when we see Hercules walk across a battlefield and speak to a dying soldier who tells us "The art of the warrior is not to kill. It is to fight against the forces of darkness" the theme of the episode is obvious. Violence is not glamorous, and to prove it, TPTB are going to show us a LOT of it--from boiling pools of blood to brandings to a very chilling band of mass-murdering boy warriors.

Borrowing heavily from "Lord of the Flies" , the ep doesn't lose any power because of the obvious homage. Instead, the use of children helps drive home the notion that violence is a seductive, powerful force that can easily corrupt the most innocent. Perhaps it is a bit hypocritical for a series that relies on fight scenes and monster slayings to bring in the viewers to make this point. I personally have problems with the unspoken "but fighting is fine as long as the bad guys are REALLY evil" caveat present throughout the show. But Hercules never claims to be a pacifist, and the "If you have to fight, fight for peace" ethic is still pretty darn sophisticated for a show largely targeted to children.

On a lighter note, the Hercules celibate streak remains unbroken, despite a passionate kiss from Atalanta, an invitation to move in from Titus's mother, and a whole village full of masculine-company-deprived women. Go Hercules!


From Candi McBride. In Norse by Norsevest the demon in the darkness tells Loki to "use my blood" to kill Balder. Ares tells Aurelius to "use my blood" to kill Herc in the episode Ares.


Click here to read a transcript of ARES.


[No humorous disclaimer for this episode]

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