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Season 1, episode 13
Series 113
1st release: 05-08-95
2nd release: 07-10-95
3rd release: 10-23-95 (In the XWP slot)
1st USA strip release: 08-19-98
Production number: 76613
Last update: 11-08-01

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Michael Hurst (Iolaus)
Lucy Lawless (Xena)
Robert Trebor (Salmoneus)
Matthew Chamberlain (Darphus)

Stephen Papps (Pylendor)
Mervyn Smith (Village Elder)
Robert Pollock (Villager)
Shane Dawson (Warrior #1)
Ian Harrop (Camp Boss)
Mario Gaoa (Quintus)
Bruce Allpress (Enos)
David Mercer (Surviving Warrior)
Gordon Hatfield (Lieutenant)
Campbell Rousselle (Sentry)

Edited by Steve Polivka
Written by John Schulian
Directed by Bruce Seth Green

Xena's former lieutenant, Darphus, rises from the dead to carry out Ares' evil plan. While working together to stop the marauding Darphus, Hercules and the warrior princess Xena take their personal relationship to a new level.

Herc and Xena team up to stop the evil Darphus, the mortal lieutenant of Ares, the god of war who's intent on ruling the world.

1st RELEASE: 05-08-95
An AA average of 4.7
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) STAR TREK: DS9 4th wth 6.7
(2) BAYWATCH 10th with 5.5
(3) HERCULES 18th with 4.7

2nd RELEASE: 07-10-95
An AA average of 4.7
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) BAYWATCH 4th with 6.5
(2) STAR TREK: DS9 12th with 5.2
(3) HERCULES 18th with 4.8

3rd RELEASE: 10-23-95
An AA average of 5.2 (aired as XWP episode)
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) Star Trek: DS9 9th with 7.2
(2) Hercules 14th with 5.8 "The Gauntlet"
(3) Xena 18th with 5.2 "Unchained Heart"


Synopsis by Kym.

Xena repents, finds her good side, has a roll in the hay with Hercules, slowly makes friends with Iolaus, saves Salmoneous (helped by Herc), and decides that an unchained heart is okay. She tells Hercules that although her heart is now unchained, she must hit the road to redeem herself and discover this thing called "do-gooding".


Synopsis by Kym.

Xena and Hercules are basking in the afterglow of battle when news of Darphus' return reaches them. Iolaus stumbles upon them and before you know it they are fighting mano-a-mano with Darphus' men. The battle is a draw. Salmoneous is kidnapped. Iolaus and Xena make up (Xena: 'Sorry I seduced you and tricked you into almost killing your best friend. You see I was evil then. Now I am aflame with good and moral stuff like that. I guess it just rubs off of Herc, you know.' Iolaus: 'Yeah, I know. He unchains a lot of hearts.').

After acting upon the afterglow, Hercules and Xena rescue Salmoneous, correct most of Iolaus' misconceptions, get Graegus and Darphus to terminate each other, and make the world safe for Athenian democracy once again. Xena then ditches Hercules to make amends for her sins of the past.


Synopsis by CR

A lovely day in a peaceful little village when (you could've guessed) savage warriors appear, killing and generally causing mayhem, led by Darphus (he who Xena transfixed to the ground last episode). Darphus sends one surviving villager as a messenger to Hercules.

Herc, Xena and Salmoneus are just settling down to eat and discuss Sal's literary proposition (60-40 - he doesn't say who gets the 60) when the villager arrives with his message. Xena, (who by the way looks absolutely stunning in her new hairstyle), decides she's going to fix Darphus permanently. Herc points out that only Ares could have brought Darphus back to life, and insists on coming along, and Salmoneus, in a moment of insanity, does too. The villager has more sense and keeps going in the opposite direction.

Meanwhile, at the temple at Elisia (Darphus' headquarters), Darphus is busy feeding captives to Gragus, Ares' pet 'dog', which he's keeping in the temple cellar. When Graegus gets big enough, he'll be able to chomp anybody who gets in the way, such as Herc, and Ares can fulfil his scheme of World Domination (R).

Back on the trail, our heroes are hungry too. Salmoneus volunteers to catch the food, Xena goes off scouting and leaves Herc stuck with the cooking. Way to go, Warrior Princess! Salmoneus, quail-hunting, gets hunted himself by Iolaus, who is looking for Herc with the news (out-of-date) that Xena's on the loose again. Meanwhile Xena, who has her own unique definition of 'scouting', comes upon five of Darphus' thugs and just tears straight into them, (that demure hairstyle hasn't mellowed her behaviour any), yelling at the survivor as he rides off, "Tell Darphus I'm coming for him!". Darphus promptly feeds the survivor to Graegus.

Xena, returning, finds Herc trying to break it to Iolaus that she is now on their side. Iolaus would rather feed Xena to the worms but agrees, reluctantly, to tag along.

After some incidental chat on the trail between Salmoneus and Xena ("Have you dreamed up some more get-rich-quick schemes?" "How about love slave? I'm versatile." "You're deluded!") the party encounters a canyon which Herc realises looks a perfect place for an ambush. So, instead of detouring round it, Herc tells them to keep close together (to make a better target?) and leads them straight into it. Is Herc trying the double bluff - nobody would expect them to walk into such an obvious trap? Is he just out to lunch? Darphus predictably obliges by dropping an avalanche on them and goes off to celebrate their deaths. Doesn't he know our heroes have Xenastaff on their side? Herc (of course) holds up the boulders while Iolaus and Xena tunnel their way out, and Salmoneus sits in a corner twitching, for which he is suitably disgusted with himself when Herc finally drags him out. Iolaus curtly refuses to let Xena bandage his head. "Should be a lot of laughs round the campfire tonight", observes Herc. Iolaus takes off to check the perimeter, leaving time for some soul-searching by Xena and consolation by Herc.

Darphus, meanwhile, is plotting to sieze a diamond mine and feed the miners to Gragus; "Death to all who stand before us" he shouts at his warriors. Our heroes are trying to convince the miners to leave when Darphus' commandos appear. A spirited fight ensues, during which Salmoneus disappears, Xena saves Iolaus life (without getting a hair out of place), and plants a dagger a foot deep in Darphus chest from a range of thirty feet - very impressive. Darphus, however, is unimpressed ("Don't you know you can't kill me? Ares is on my side") and rides off to harangue his men and feed another one to Gragus (doesn't he ever have a problem with deserters in his army?)

Herc finds Salmoneus' notebook with a bit of speculative Herc-Xena matchmaking in it, while Iolaus and Xena reconcile their differences. They find some wagon-tracks heading towards Elisia and suspect Salmoneus has got a lift, which he has, and that he may be captured by Darphus, which, shortly thereafter, he is. Darphus sits Sal down at table to fatten him up for Gragus (touching, the way Darphus cares for that animal, isn't it?).

Meanwhile, on the trail, our threesome make camp - Iolaus goes scouting this time, Xena: "I'll go get some wood, but I'm still not cooking!" Nice one, WP! Iolaus sees Sal eating with Darphus and concludes he must be a traitor (is this guy paranoid or what?).

Herc and the Warrior Princess meanwhile have found much, much better things to do around campfires than cooking. They're sitting on a rock looking like they'd be smoking cigarettes if they'd been invented yet when Iolaus returns suddenly. All in all, this isn't Iolaus's happiest day. Like a good soldier, Iolaus grits his teeth and reports that Darphus has Gragus with him, and our Herc hatches a plan to 'defeat evil with evil'.

Herc and Iolaus happen upon the abandoned wagon, a soldier confronts them, Xena bops him from behind, another one appears behind her and Iolaus shows he can do the knife trick too. Xena is a little less gracious about having her life saved ("Any closer and my ear would have been stuck to his chest!" "Well you didn't give me a very good angle". "I knew you could handle it".) Herc and Xena get into position and wait for Iolaus to set fire to the wagon. Meanwhile Darphus has dragged Salmoneus into the cellar and chained him up for dog food. Iolaus, however, is no good at the firemaking thing and just pushes the wagon, himself on board, down the hill into the temple yard.

An inspiring fight ensues, during which Herc fights his way into the cellar, socking Darphus mightily on the way, and battles Gragus with whatever junk comes to hand. Darphus, recovering, is set upon by Xena, and they fight their way in best Douglas Fairbanks fashion down the steps into the cellar. Herc gets a chain round Gragus, Xena meanwhile is fighting Darphus just behind Herc, just as Gragus' chain snaps Herc gets down and yells 'Now', Xena abandons all swordfighting etiquette and kicks Darphus neatly on the chin, making him do a backflip over Herc's back and into the path of Gragus, who by now is more than ready for lunch. Unfortunately for both of Ares' pets, eating Darphus causes Gragus spontaneously to combust. Or as Herc says, "Evil defeated evil".

End of story. Salmoneus sets off to peddle bios of the rich and famous (or at least, Herc) in Athens. The Warrior Princess (possibly sensing that if she sticks around she'll get in the way of this buddy thing that Io and Herc have going) bids a sentimental goodbye to the big guy and sets off to atone for her past misdeeds and find her own series. Did I say she looks absolutely stunning with that hairstyle? I did? Oh well...

And Herc and Io walk off into the sunset together, presumably to compare notes on the Warrior Princess...


This commentary is by Kym.

It was clear that the writers/producers/creators of XWP were using the Xena trilogy in HERCULES to explore and experiment with the character of Xena.

The first show, "Warrior Princess", Xena apparently was lusted after by all her lieutenants and a promotion usually implied a place in Xena's bed. Her sexual power was used and sought after by her warrior boy toys, even to the point where they willingly or unwillingly would die for her.

The second show, "The Gauntlet", Xena was shown as the noble and misunderstood warrior whose claim to power was through hard work and respect of her troops. There was no implication whatsoever she was sharing favors with Darphus, and the troops. When the troops were given an opportunity to show respect, it was focused toward her military and strategic ability rather than any vague hope of being bedded by the warrior princess. Her troops rallied around her more as one would under the inspiration of Joan of Arc than Mata Hari.

The third show, "Unchained Heart", Xena appeared to forget her previous incarnations and became obsessed with Hercules and his manly ways. Only at the end of the program did she appear to have come to her senses which allowed her to leave Hercules for her own show.


03-12-00. From KSZoneW. Edited down the Hercules and Xena love scene.


11-08-01. From Aarne Rantala. Xena's chakram is completely absent in this episode. She has just her sword and dagger hanging from her belt, and in the battle at the diamond mine it is a dagger she throws into Darphus' chest - not her chakram. Obviously, one thing she did in between disappearing into the woods in the end of 'Unchained Heart' and reappearing in the beginning of 'Sins of the Past' was fetching her chakram where she left it after the fight with Hercules in 'The Gauntlet'. (A more probable explanation is that in the original script - where Xena was about to die in the end - chakram was seen, at least partially, as Xena's link to her dark side, and therefore abandoned when she turned good. When the script was changed in order to save her for her own series the writers just forgot to correct this.)


12-26-00. Robert Tapert, in an interview with WHOOSH to be released January 1, 2001 (#52):

I noticed in both HERCULES and in the early episodes of XENA, there were writing credits for John Schulian, who has always been something of a mysterious guy to me. I haven't seen much information about him, yet he wrote some really good episodes, especially on HERCULES.
He did indeed. Here's really what happened. John said, "I want to do the story of the woman who comes between Hercules and Iolaus." I said, "Great, John, I want to do the story of this evil Warrior Princess and do this three episode arc." I wasn't thinking spin-off at this point. I had a very definite vision of what I wanted that Xena character to be. John wrote the script WARRIOR PRINCESS (H09/109) on HERCULES. If you ever would ask Kevin, he hated that script. Always hated it. Eric Gruendemann and a bunch of other people down here didn't like it. They never believed that a girl could get Herc and Iolaus to fight each other.

After we went to [the HERCULES] series, I gave Bob Bielak the story for THE GAUNTLET (H12/112). Never found the transition in the third act where Xena had her turnaround. The only change we made was originally at the end of UNCHAINED HEART (H13/113) we were going to have Xena killed. We kept her alive so she could go on.

Xena as a Hercules cheerleader can be sickening, but it was made more palatable by frizzing out her hair.

From KSZoneW. The countryside used in this episode was also used for many scenes in the 3rd season Hercules episode ATLANTIS (H59/322)

The following observations are from CR

  • Darphus shouts at his warriors, "Death to all who stand before us". Shouldn't that have been "Death to all who stand against us"? Still, since his warriors were standing before him at the time, and considering his habit of feeding them to Gragus in moments of stress, maybe it was a Freudian slip.

  • Why do Darphus' men ever return to admit defeat? Surely by half-way through the episode they must know they're likely to end up as dogfood? Why don't they just keep going in some other direction, fast? Are they all as dumb as they look?

  • How did our heroes know Darphus was going to attack the diamond mine? Maybe they've finally decided to practise some scouting.

  • There seems to be a 'food' theme running through this episode. The very first casualty is feeding a donkey, our heroes are first seen sitting down to lunch, Salmoneus spends some time quail hunting, Xena of course refuses to do the cooking, Darphus forcibly tries to stuff food down Salmoneus, and of course there's the little matter of Gragus' diet.

  • The dialogue at the campsite scene, where Salmoneus doesn't know Herc and Io know each other, and then when Herc is trying to beak the news about Xena to Iolaus and shut up Salmoneus at the same time, is great to listen to.

  • Xena's new hairstyle is remarkably durable. Even in the hardest fight, it never seems to get more than a very little bit mussed. (And she looks stunning in... OK, OK. )


    Click here to read a transcript of UNCHAINED HEART.


    No Vicious Beasts intent on taking over the world were harmed during the production of this motion picture.

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