Whoosh! Online
Edition Check
out the FAQ!



Season 4, episode 5
Series 405
1st release: 10-27-97
2nd release: 03-02-98
3rd release: 12-21-98
1st USA strip release: HELD BACK
2nd USA strip release:
3rd USA strip release:
Production number:
Approximate shooting dates:
Last update: 01-31-99

SYNOPSIS by Liz Sheppard
COMMENTARY by Beth Gaynor

Michael Hurst (Iolaus 1 & 2)
Lucy Lawless (Xena 2)
Renee O'Connor (The Executioner)
Ted Raimi (Joxer 2)
Alexandra Tydings (Aphrodite 1 & 2)
Kevin Smith (Ares/God of Love)

Kevin Sorbo (The Sovereign)
Dean Stewart (Gravus)

Written by Paul Robert Coyle
Directed by Michael Levine

Hercules: There must be one of everybody in both worlds
Iolaus: You're a heartless psycho that kills for pleasure [to Hercules]
Hercules: Release the executioner
Xena: You're so good when you'rr bad [To Hercules]

Herc and Iolaus find themselves in parallel worlds, each saddled with lookalikes of the other who act very differently. Meanwhile, Zeus appears to be dying.

Following a fierce battle with Ares, Hercules races to rescue Iolaus from a cutthroat parallel universe and save the life of his father, Zeus.

1st RELEASE: 10-27-97
An AA average of 6.1
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) X-FILES 6th with 7.8
(2) XENA 8th with 6.2 ("Gabrielle's Hope")
(3) HERCULES 9th with 6.1
(4) STAR TREK DS9 11th with 6.0 ("Favor the Bold")
(5) WALKER 17th with 4.6
(6) EARTH FINAL CONFLICT 23rd at 4.3
(7) NYPD BLUE 25th at 4.1

2nd release: 03-02-98
An AA average of 5.2
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) X-FILES 7th with 6.8
(2) XENA/STAR TREK DS9 12th with 5.5
(3) HERCULES 15th with 5.2
(4) WALKER TR 18th with 4.7 3rd release: 12-21-98
An AA average of 3.7
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) X-FILES 9th with 6.1
(2) ER 12th with 5.1
(3) WALKER TR 19th with 4.0
(4) XENA/BAYWATCH 21st with 3.8
(5) Hercules 3.7
(6) Star Trek: DS9 3.5
(7) Stargate SG-1 2.8
(8) Mortal Kombat 2.7
(9) Earth: Final Conflict 2.3
(10) The Crow 2.2
(11) Honey, I Shrunk the Kids 2.1
(12) Night Man 2.0


Synopsis by Liz Sheppard

Fight fight fight yadda yadda yadda. Herc and Iolaus are saving a princess from thugs, when a thug suddenly dies. Iolaus gets confused. Ares shows up and gets really mad. Herc and Ares fight. Alot. Ares gets struck by lightning and a hole in the universe opens. A jester followed by guys on horses run out of the hole. They take Iolaus away, with the hole disappering behind them. Herc finds that the jester looks exactly like Iolaus.

Iolaus is taken to "Hercules", who punches our blonde sidekick.

"Iolaus" sees Herc and starts cracking jokes and running around. Ares is NOT entertained. While "Iolaus" is acting like a chicken, Ares and Herc get very confused. Aphrodite "drops" in and explains that Zeus is dying. Ares figures that where "Iolaus" came from is what's causing Zeus to die and decides to help because he fears for his own life. Aph goes bye-bye and "Iolaus" gets scared and runs away. He's scared of Herc, but finds out that Herc is the good guy.

Iolaus wakes up in a cell in a jester outfit. He plays with teeth and excapes from the cell. He then runs into the bearded "Herc", who gets mad at the name of Alcmene and smashes stuff. "Herc"'s getting married to "Aph". Iolaus finds the body of the guy that dropped dead. Also good Herc and good Iolaus find out that if someone dies in Weird World, they're other half dies in the Real World. A fully dressed "Aph" comes in and acts very sophisticated. "Aph" tells "Herc" that Zeus is dying. Zeus has been poisoned and "Herc" has the antidote. She is too scared to stand up to him. A short haired "Xena" who plays with her fake fingernails alot comes by and they do some majorly wild foreplay. Kind of like Break-All-The-Furniture-In-The-Room type of wild. "Herc" takes a necklace of "Xena's" for a wedding present for "Aph". "Xena" also has a bit of Hinds blood to use on Zeus.

While Iolaus is walking around, "Ares" the god of love that's dressed on a white version of his outfit from the last season, minus his facial hair, has shown up. "Ares" tells Iolaus to find "Xena's" Hinds blood. "Ares" is a lover not a fighter, so he won't do it himself. "Cupid" is the god of war, but he's not in this ep.

"Iolaus" is explaining to Herc how he got there when Aph and Ares show up. Zeus is getting worse. Ares gets mad at "Iolaus" because he called him the god of love. Herc wants to fight Ares to open the portal again, but Ares doesn't want to. He plans to take over once Zeus is gone.

"Herc" decides to lower the population in the prison and releases the executioner. The executioner does this weird tazmanian devil thing while swinging an axe. Not very safe in my personal opinion. Iolaus has to make "Herc" laugh in order to save the prisoners. He sings a weird song that "Herc" and "Xena" don't like. "Aph" and "Ares" are quite amused. Since "Herc" didn't laugh, he orders a prisoner dead. The executioner kills him.

Iolaus is taken to a cell where he finds "Joxer", who beats him up. Baaaaaad Joxer! Once the guard leaves, "Joxer" lets go of Iolaus and Iolaus finds out that the "Iolaus" in this world is an assasin. "Joxer" wants Iolaus to kill "Herc" at the wedding. Actually, "Joxer" is a good guy in this world, he's just not an idiot. They have a meaningful conversation about killing in cold blood. Iolaus decides to kill "Herc".

"Iolaus" wants to change his ways and figures that Herc can help him change. They realize that if "Herc" dies, then the real Herc could die too. Herc trashes the place to get Ares' attention. Aph shows up and plays dress up with a statue. Ares shows up with smoke coming out of his ears. The brothers "step outside".

Th wedding starts(with "Xena" changing the statue of "Aph" on the cake to a statue of herself). "Ares" is the one who marries them. "Aph" is dressed in "virginal black" and she's not too thrilled about the wedding. Iolaus tries to kill "Herc" but fails and a fight breaks out. Ares and Herc are fighting the real world, when the portal opens.

"Joxer" and the rest of the prisoners break out and add to the fight. "Xena's" necklace falls off and Iolaus saw that the necklace held the Hind's blood. "Aph" and "Xena" have a food fight, while "Ares" showers the place with his love rose petels. The executioner is released, but Iolaus punches her and reveals her as Gab. "Xena" uses her shoes as the chakram. "I guess I have more skills than I thought".

The portal opens and Iolaus runs to it, with "Herc" following behind him. Meanwhile, "Iolaus" and Herc run into the portal. Herc punches "Herc" and the Iolaus's end up in the correct places. "Herc" is now trapped in this black void thing.

Happy ending. Ares -hates- happy endings. Herc thinks about getting a beard.


The commentary is by (a href=="mailto:bgaynor@compuserve.com">Beth Gaynor.

Lucy Lawless and Alexandra Tydings get into a cake wrestle. WHAT was XenaStaff thinking? They could have sold tickets to that day's shooting and financed the next season and a half!

Lucy put a WHOLE lot of Meg into that alternate Xena, didn't she? I loved the incessant giggling and the swooshy sounds for her finger-wiggling. She gets Line of the Episode for "I guess I have more skills than I thought" after caroming her shoe through the wedding party like a chakram.

Lovely Gabrielle cameo! I had originally heard that Xena and Gab would both be in this cross-over. Then all the previews, all the mentions, all the clips showed Xena only. Oh well, says I, I guess the Gabster got cut. Great unveiling and "did anyone get the number of the Mac truck?" line. Watching Xena reveal the executioner's entrance like Vanna White becomes doubly funny when you know it's Gabrielle she's introducing.

And a clean-shaven Ares! As the disco god of love! I just really, REALLY wish the two Ares could have met. Our God of War would have been shaken for months to come.

Worst pun of the month: "And the tooth shall set me free." Somebody throw some vegetables at Iolaus!

All in all, an episode where most of the folks involved had WAY too much fun. Those are always a good time to watch. Break out the popcorn and hit the rewind button!


01-13-99. From CR. As Iolaus is thrown into jail, he yells "I am not a numeral. I am a free man!". This is a direct quote from the title sequence of the British 1970's TV series 'The Prisoner', featuring Patrick McGoohan as 'Number 6'.

01-13-99. Sharon Delaney at the Phoenix (05/31/98) Convention said that the dialogue during the cake fight between Xena and Aphrodite in STRANGER IN A STRANGE WORLD (H64/405) was ad-libbed: the director just said, "Ok girls, have at the cake."

01-13-99. Michael Levine (director) at the Burbank II (01/98) Convention said that when he asked executive producer Robert Tapert about how the comedy should go in Stranger, he said that Tapert said, when you think you've gone too far, you haven't.

01-13-99. Kevin Smith at the Burbank II (01/98) Convention commented that he always had seemed to play bad guys, and he enjoyed the opportunity to play the "God of Love" in the HERC episode STRANGER IN A STRANGE WORLD. He said they didn't want him to appear too "wussey" so they have him the "lounge lizard/lothario" look.

01-13-99. From Beth Gaynor. Sharon Delaney (official fan club president) at the Cherry Hill NJ (08/98) cited this moment to watch for: In Stranger in a Strange Land, when Xena and Hercules/the Sovereign are engaged in their... ahem... fun and games, the Sovereign throws Xena over his shoulder and starts to carry her off. Apparently, Xena's laughter is the real article; Kevin Sorbo wasn't scripted to do that. He just threw it in, much to Lucy Lawless's amusement at the time.

01-13-99. From Beth Gaynor. Alexandra Tydings (Aphrodite) at the Cherry Hill NJ (08/98) said that for the grand opening of Aphrodite's cake fight with Xena in the Hercules episode Stranger in a Strange World, Xena and 'Dite had to trade punches. This began Alexandra's complaints that Lucy Lawless gets tons of practice with stage fighting; she described Lucy swinging one punch at her, the director calling out "OK," then switching the angle around for Aphrodite's punch, which Alexandra tried. And tried. And tried again, never quite getting close enough to look real. "An hour later..." she joked. She also mentioned being tempted to throttle Lucy when she offered the advice to "just relax," much to everyone's amusement. But the day's fun had just begun... now the cake came out. There was only one cake to use in the shoot, so they had to get everything in one pass and use what they got. "Now bear in mind *I'm* a goddess," Alexandra reminded everyone as she pointed out the problems with trying to fight against someone who gets lots of practice... plays a warrior... and is TALL. She scrapped the best she could, but described getting thoroughly outclassed by Lucy's cake-fighting prowess. Alexandra says that if you listed closely to the episode, even with all the added sound effects, you can still hear her laughing. She claims it's nervous laughter because big ol' Lucy was pounding her so bad. Then she and Lucy had to twiddle their thumbs for five minutes, covered in cake, while the film in the cameras was changed to get some final shots. The eggs and cream in the cake was curdling on their skin as they waited, no one was willing to get near them, and that curdled smell, she says, stays with you for days.

01-13-99. From Beth Gaynor. Alexandra Tydings (Aphrodite) at the Cherry Hill NJ (08/98) was asked what her favorite episodes were. She stated The Apple and Stranger in a Strange World.

01-13-99. From Beth Gaynor. Karl Urban (Eros, Caesar) at the Cherry Hill NJ (08/98), when asked what other episodes of Xena or Hercules he had enjoyed, Urban mentioned A Day in the Life (is there anyone who DOESN'T love that episode?) and Stranger in a Strange World.

10-26-97. Sharon Delaney at the Valley Forge Con (10-05-97) said that in STRANGER IN A STRANGE WORLD, Ares is the God of Love and it is an homage to STAR TREK with Herules having a goatee just like Spock's. Aphrodite will be in it as well.

10-26-97. TV Guide 11-01-97 writes: "Xena's Lucy Lawless appears on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys as a not-so-nice Xena lookalike, who's plotting with an equally rotten Herc lookalike to take over Olympus"

10-17-97. Lucy Lawless in a 09/97 on- line chat described this crossover episode as where Ares is the God of Love and she is a gangster's moll, "a cheaper, more low rent version of Meg. It is Xena 2: In an Alternative Universe."

TV Guide reports that "Lucy Lawless (of Xena:Warrior Princess) guest-stars as a 1930's style mobster moll in a parallel universe episode.

Zeus creates a rift in the Universe and Iolaus is thrown into a parallel universe. Kind of like the Bizarro world in Superman comics. Everything is different: Hercules is a baddie in this universe. Everyone is in it, Aphrodite, Ares, Xena, Gabrielle, Joxer, etc. Xena is on screen quite a bit. A crossover Hercules. Was originally set for season opener, but they changed their minds as TPTB are wont to do! This will show in the November sweeps time.


The Soverign is his name.
His game is fear and pain.
He'll watch you die, won't even cry.
He really is insane!

This is really not my trick.
They call me Herc's sidekick.
If this don't work, I'll be a wreck.
And we'll all lose our necks.

His girlfriend Xena's crass.
A heartless witch, no class.
If Zeus was well, he'd cast a spell
and knock them off their a--!
[falling over coffin]


When Iolaus was singing that song for "Herc" and "Xena", he tripped over the same coffin that Gabrielle was placed in, in BLIND FAITH.


Click here to read a transcript of STRANGER IN A STRANGE WORLD.


No beard-wearing, love-spewing, smooth talking, Ares impersonaters were harmed during the production of this motion picture.

Guide Table of ContentsBack to Whoosh!