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aka Retribution

Season 5, episode 11
Series 511
1st release: 01/18/99
2nd release:
Production number: V0714
Approximate shooting dates:
Last update: 02-10-99

SUMMARY by Bluesong

Michael Hurst (Ioladak)
Tamara Gorski (Morrigan)
Gina Torres (Nebula)
Kevin Smith (Ares)

George Henare (Zarathrustra)
Jason (Jeffrey Thomas)
Bruce Allpress (Stouras)
Stephanie Liebert (Antibus)
Mark Newnham (Dahak)

Written by Lisa Klink
Directed by Bruce Campbell

(Zarathustra touches Dahak-Iolaus' forehead and is shocked by lightning.)
(Ares fights two soldiers.)
(Light hits Dahak-Iolaus' chest and he screams.)
(An arrow hits a post between Nebula and Morrigan.)
(Dahak-Iolaus' eyes flash red.)
(Hercules is sucked into Dahak-Iolaus' chest.)

(Dahak-Iolaus laughs evilly.)
(Zarathustra touches Dahak-Iolaus' forehead and is shocked by
(Iolaus' hand reaches out from Dahak-Iolaus' chest, and Hercules extends his hand.)
Hercules (to Ares): I will kill you myself if you get in the way!
(Ares fights two soldiers.)
(Light hits Dahak-Iolaus' chest and he screams.)
(Ares fights a guard.)
(An arrow hits a post between Nebula and Morrigan.)
(Dahak-Iolaus' eyes flash red.)
(Hercules is sucked into Dahak-Iolaus' chest.)

Hercules attempts an exorcism to save Iolaus' soul from the demon Dahak.

Herc, Morrigan, Nebula and Zarathustra battle to rid the world of Dahak and free the spirit of Iolaus.

1st RELEASE: 01/18/99
An AA average of 4.3
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) X-FILES 10th with 6.2
(2) XENA 17th with 4.4
(3) ER 18th with 4.3
(4) HERCULES 19th with 4.3


Summary by Bluesong

Hercules and friends prepare for the exorcism of Dahak and Iolus. Dahak makes Jason see things, and he leaves. Dahak tells his followers to kill the god who helped him out, that is, Ares. Hercules sends Morrigan and Nebula to protect Ares, because if Ares dies Dahak will grow stronger. Dahak plays mind games with the immortal who is helping Hercules. The immortal is immortal no longer, and he dies. Morrigan and Nebula protect Ares, fighting the white- robed goons. Hercules talks to Dahak. Dahak shows him how he "seduced" Iolus. Ares turns on Morrigan and Nebula, letting the goons chase them, while he makes his way to the temple where Hercules is trying to exorcise Iolus from Dahak's grasp. Morrigan and Nebula make their way to the temple, and there is a big fight. Hercules somehow makes his way into Iolus' body, where Iolus is, and together they fight off Dahak (a big ugly walking tick). They win, and the formerly immortal fellow returns to take Iolus into the light. Ares gets his powers back. Hercules "wakes up" when Morrigan calls his name.


Synopsis by Hawk.

We pick up from last week with Dahak (in the form of Iolaus) strapped to an alter in his own temple. This was accomplished because Herc had retrieved the Gem of creation and its power forced Dahak down. Unfortunately the chains appeared for all the world to be simple bicycle chains, but apparently this was enough because Dahak cannot get up from the alter.

Hercules is there along with Jason, Nebula, Morrigan, and Zarathastra. They intend to exorcise Iolaus from Dahak and must hurry to do so because when the sun sets, the power of the Gem is broken. The problem is that only Zarathastra knows how to perform the exorcism, and he'd seen it done only once in his 1000 year life. Dahak knows this and immediately begins to work on his enemies. He gives Jason a vision of worms crawling just under his skin. Jason panics and begins to hack at his hand with a dagger. Herc calms him down and tells Jason to leave. Now there are only four.

Michael Hurst does a good job playing the demon-possessed Iolus and it is obvious he studied Linda Blair's role in the Exorcist before filming this episode. Though chained up, Dahak is far from weak and he proves it, using his powers to play havoc with the minds of those around him or physically throwing the observers around the room. All the while, Dahak is cracking jokes.

He uses his powers to summon his priests and sends them off in search of Ares. His plan is to kill the God of War and thus capture his godly might. This would make Dahak powerful enough to break the chains which bind him and then he can deal with Hercules. Herc realizes this and sends Nebula and Morrigan off in search of Ares to find and protect him. Now there are two.

One interesting thing I noticed here is that Zarathastra points out that Dahak will lie or say anything to wear him and Hercules down, but Herc points out that he gets the feeling that they are not alone in this struggle; that "Something is watching over them". He can't explain it, but he feels that they are not alone in this battle. Could he be referring to Iolaus? Or maybe something far more powerful?

We switch scenes and Nebula and Morrigan have found Ares cowering in his very own temple. He retains little of his godly powers and it shows. He tries to throw a fireball at them, but it sputters out, moving Nebula to remark that this sort of thing happens to all men eventually. Then Ares tries one of those acrobatic flips that Xena's always doing, only this time he twists his ankle. Truly Ares has seen better days. Dahak's priests show up and try to break in, so he decides to run.

Back at Dahak's temple, Zarathastra begins the exorcism and we learn that he was given power by Dahak long ago, but he turned against the demon. Dahak taunts Zarathastra and Hercules, trying everything he can think of to get them to kill Iolaus' body. I never understood that part because I thought Iolaus was already dead. Apparently this didn't matter though because Dahak keeps going on and on about it. Both Zarathastra and Herc have moments of weakness and each time the other bolsters his morale. Dahak summons forth a vision of Zarathastra's long dead son. They talk and he keeps asking his daddy why he can't come be with them. Zarathastra tells him that he's sorry and asks forgiveness, but the son morphs into a sort of creature and tosses Zarathastra across the room before disappearing. Dahak laughs and levitates Zarathastra, tossing him around and slashing at his face with invisible talons. Herc threatens to kill Dahak, placing a dagger to Iolaus' throat; but that's what Dahak wants Herc to do, so he simply laughs. Dahak should have kept his mouth shut for a second or two longer, because I've little doubt Herc would have gone through with it and slit Iolaus' throat. But I guess villains don't know when to leave well enough alone.

So anyway, Zarathastra ends up being slashed to ribbons and he dies in Herc's arms. Pitiful death scene. Too bad too because I was just beginning to like the guy.

Now, back at Ares' temple, the priests have managed to get inside Ares' temple and they are fighting them as best they can. This isn't too difficult as the priests appear to be Power-Rangers rejects and are tumbling all over the place without really doing much fighting. Eventually though, the trio must flee, Ares taunting the priests as they leave through a back door.

Later, when Ares learns from the women that Dahak is chained up, he immediately wants to go to the temple and kill him. Nebula and Morrigan are against it, but Ares, in his silky serpent-like manner makes a good case and begins to create a little doubt in Morrigan's mind. Nebula is dead set against going back to Dahak's temple because she sees that Ares intends to kill him. This would mean the end for Iolaus as well and she can't deal with that. She threatens physical violence if Ares tries to leave and this thrills the God of War. He begins to hit on her like a lounge lizard.

Meanwhile Hercules is still trying to get through to Iolaus. The banter continues and Dahak shows Herc a vision of how he tempted Iolaus and tricked him into committing murder. In the vision, Iolaus is confronted with a vision of his father, who welcomes him to the afterlife. Iolaus isn't buying it though saying that this cannot be the Elysian Fields since he didn't die in Greece. The figure morphs into Nebula, and then into his friend Hercules. So now we know this is Dahak and he's blown his cover once again.

He offers Iolaus god-like powers and entices him by giving him the opportunity to help mankind. He shows Iolaus a vision of a man crossing a chasm using a rope. The rope frays and he tells Iolaus that he can save the man if he likes using his new god-like powers. Iolaus begins to repair the rope and then Dahak shows him a vision of the immediate future. The man is going to meet up with a man, his wife and a little girl and he intends to murder them. Then he asks Iolaus what he will do. Iolus lets the man fall to his death and Dahak congratulates him on committing murder. He explains that now Iolaus has executed a man for a crime he has yet to commit.

So now Herc and Dahak begin to argue over whether this was murder or not and Herc begins this thing about Iolaus' character and what a good man Iolaus was. He tells Dahak that he cannot imagine what his life would've been like without Iolaus there. This must have touched a nerve because it sends spasms of pain through Dahak. His chest opens up and an arm, Iolaus' arm, reaches through and begs Hercules to help him. Herc reaches for his hand but Dahak uses his powers to rip a loose stone from the temple wall and hurl it at Hercules. Then the arm slides back into Dahak's chest and the wound closes. Dahak smiles and looks around as if nothing happened. (Not really. Dahak looks like he's been ridden hard and put up wet).

Ares, Morrigan and Nebula have now found a hiding place behind a waterfall. He's still hitting on Nebula and she's still threatening to kill him. In between their crude flirtations, he manages to convince Morrigan that maybe they should return and check on Hercules. So they set off.

Back at Dahak's temple, the banter continues. Herc is hoping that Iolaus will continue to resist Dahak and fight his way free. Dahak is merely biding his time until the sun sets, the gem loses its power and he will be released from the chains which bind him.

In the town where Dahak's temple is, there are priests everywhere. Ares and the women warriors are trying to figure out how exactly to slip by the priests and get inside the temple. Ares tells them that he has just enough godly power left to create a diversion and allow them to slip past the priests. He mugs a priest and steals his robes, then uses his power to manifest himself high above the people. They think he's Dahak the God of Light and kneel to him. The women try to slip by and just as they do so, Ares betrays them and points them out to the priests. Ares then laughs while the women fight for their lives.

Now the sun is setting. Hercules and Dahak still engage in their verbal swordplay and Iolaus begins to fight to be free again. Dahak's chest opens up and Iolaus' arm reaches out. Hercules reaches for it just as Ares walks into the temple. This diverts Hercules' attention, Iolaus screams "He's too strong.." and the arm again recedes back into the chest. Ares tells Herc that he's had his chance and now its his turn. He intends to kill Dayak/Iolaus. Knowing that this will doom Iolaus and make Dahak even more powerful, Hercules tosses Ares across the room. Dahak chuckles and uses his power to strangle Ares. (Remember, Ares' death makes him extremely powerful, so Dahak has nothing to lose at this point).

Nebula and Morrigan rush into the chamber just in time to slam the doors and hold the priests at bay. The sun sets, Dahak laughs and says "Time's up" and Hercules leaps into the opening in Dayhak's chest. This sends him into the spiritual realm where Dahak has trapped Iolaus. Apparently this gives Dahak a severe case of heartburn because he convulses and thrashes around on the alter when Herc does this.

So Hercules and Iolaus meet once again, shake hands and begin to talk about their friendship. I guess Herc forgot that the sun was setting, I don't know. But he certainly seems to be in no hurry at this point. Dahak shows up in the form of a hideous monster that looks strangely like the monster that gave Loki that poisoned blood. They begin to fight and the monster is able to move far more swiftly than either Herc of Iolaus. The duo is hard pressed to stay alive with this thing bearing down on them and Herc has to save Iolaus' life more than once. It begins to back them toward a precipice.

Meanwhile the women are still fighting to keep the priests outside and Dahak/Iolaus is thrashing about on the alter due to the ongoing battle that is raging inside him. Hercules then remembers a trick they had used in Thermopile. They perform a sort of tag-team wrestling maneuver, using Dahak's' momentum and sheer weight to throw him over the cliff and into the fiery pit below. The spell is now broken! The priests wander off, Iolaus' body ceases to thrash about and Ares can now breathe. He regains his divine power and disappears. Dahak is no more.

Hercules and Iolaus talk a little about their old times and friendship and how they never gave up on one another. Then Zarathastra appears in a radiant glow and calls Iolaus, saying that he was always a champion of the light and has earned his place in the light. Herc and Iolaus say their good byes and then Iolaus ascends into the light and fades out with Zarathastra.

Now Herc wakes up in the arms of Morrigan and Nebula stands nearby. Apparently Hercules fought this battle in the spiritual realm but his body remained behind. They smile, put their arms around one another and walk out of the temple in search of other adventures.


This commentary is by Xorys.

Well at least they *finally* got rid of Dahak. And let's really hope he's gone for good!

Perhaps inevitably, his final defeat seemed a little cheesy... I mean come on! All we've been through with this nonsense, and it comes down to Mark Newnham in a budget monster suit being flipped off a ledge? I don't really have any sympathy with TPTB though - they should never have started the whole Dahak thread at all.

In general I found the demon / exorcist trappings odious. I don't think it was a good idea dragging the Manichean principles of Zoroastrianism into the show in the first place, and I thought what they actually did with Zarathustra as a character was in rather doubtful taste.

OTOH, to give credit where it's due, they did push the exorcism business rather to one side, and concentrated instead on the conflict more in terms of the relationship between Hercules and Iolaus, which was much more true to the show's own roots and better traditions... it's humanism that this show draws its strength from, not hocus-pocus about ultimate forces of evil and demonic possession.

And it was nice to see Ares again... in many ways I preferred the scenes from his strand of the plot. The business with Herc contacting Iolaus, and Iolaus' decision was ok, but the exorcism parts up until Zarathustra died had little to be said in their favour, and I'm afraid I found Michael Hurst's rendering of Dahak fairly tedious... demons are *boring*!


By Xorys.

As mentioned last week, when he appeared in Let There Be Light, George Henare, who played Zarathustra, has previously been seen on XWP as Hidsim in Lost Mariner. He was also in Rapa Nui, the (rather dreadful) epic about young lovers on ancient Easter Island, and in the (vastly better) Once Were Warriors, a NZ film focussing on the Maori people - both these are available on video... but if you rent Rapa Nui, don't say I didn't warn you! George also did an episode of the Ray Bradbury Theatre (like many Xenaverse actors, including Lucy), appearing in Here There Be Tygers.

Bruce Allpress, who played Stouras (well, I *think* that was the spelling...) has appeared in The Road to Calydon (as "Old Man"), Unchained Heart (as Enos), Cast A Giant Shadow (as Septus), Not Fade Away (as Skouros) and War Wounds (as Phidias)... sort of one of the omnipresent "character" actors of the Hercverse!

Stephanie Liebert, who played Antibius, appeared as a Young Woman in Reunions.

Mark Newnham was credited as Dahak - I'm assuming this means that it was him inside the monster suit, which would seem to fit with his previous roles, as Ares, in the ep of that name (when Ares was a hideous monster, rather than the suave Kevin Smith...) and the Mummy, in Mummy Dearest; Mark also played Antaeus in Hercules And The Circle of Fire. He has never appeared on Xena - but then XWP has its own regular monster (Anthony Ray Parker - Bacchus, The Deliverer).

Just a couple of words about the familiar figures...

We're very used to seeing Jeffrey Thomas as Jason now - but he first appeared on HTLJ as Bellicus in the ep Gladiator. Most interestingly of all to me, Danielle pointed out that Jeffrey Thomas, who plays Jason regularly on HTLJ, first appeared in the Xenaverse in the XWP ep Chariots Of War... She's absolutely right, and I'd never recognised him or realised it! He's credited as Jeff Thomas, and he plays Cycnus, the evil warlord... just shows what a few fake scars, a wig, and some character acting can do!

Gina Torres, who plays Nebula, of course also appeared in the XWP ep The King Of Assassins, as Cleopatra. She also appeared in the 1996 movie The Substance of Fire, and in the 1994 TV movie M.A.N.T.I.S. (an SF thing... pilot for a series, I believe). She has also appeared on eps of La Femme Nikita (playing "Jenna Vogler" in episode: "Open Heart"), NYPD Blue (playing "Dominican Woman" in episode: "E.R."), and Law & Order (playing "Charlene" in episode: "Purple Heart" and "Laura Elkin" in episode: "Skin Deep").

Tamara Gorski, who plays Morrigan, was in the 1997 movie Murder at 1600 (but just as a woman in a bar). She also played a woman in a bar in the 1995 movie To Die For. On a different note, she appeared as Jenny Nielson in the movies The Lost World and Return To The Lost World (not the Jurassic park sequel...) She was featured in the TV series Psi Factor: Chronicles Of The Paranormal as Dr. Alexandra Corliss, and she appeared in the TV movie of Danielle Steel's A Perfect Stranger as Sarah. She has also appeared on eps of Forever Knight (playing "Claire Gibson" in episode: "Black Buddha") and Highlander (playing "Peggy McCall" in episode: "Vendetta").

Kevin Smith, known to us all as Ares, can be seen in the TV movie Flatmates (also featuring various other Xenaverse faces), the NZ movie Desperate Remedies (ditto), and the TV series "McLeod's Daughters". He's also, apparently, signed up to do a couple of new shows in NZ, in one of which he is featured as a detective of some sort... and the name of the show is "Lawless"! Danielle Walther pointed out to me that McLeod's Daughters (which I noted Kevin Smith had appeared in) was actually a two hour telemovie, rather than a TV series. She also pointed out that Kevin has also appeared in the NZ soap Shortland Street (is there a single Kiwi actor who *hasn't* been on Shortland Street?), and two other series, Gloss and Marlin Bay.

Redemption was directed by Bruce Campbell (most familiar, of course, in the role of Autoloycus)... quite a change from his last HTLJ directorial outing, the knockabout spoof, For Those Of You Just Joining Us, and from last week's XWP, Key To The Kingdom, which he also directed. On X:WP, Bruce previously directed The King of Assassins, and on HTLJ he also directed The Vanishing Dead and What's in A Name?

The ep was written by Lisa Klink... she hasn't written for HTLJ before this season, but she penned Descent and Darkness Rising as well as Redemption - so she's responsible for a fair chunk of this year's Dahak nonsense. I shall valiantly try to hold off forming any firm prejudice against her until she has a chance at an ep that isn't cursed.


12-31-98a. Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman on a RealHollywood on-line chat (12-08-98) stated that the episode REDEMPTION was never named EXORCISM. EXORCISM is either an episode which has been dropped or will show up again on the production calendar. Apparently REDEMPTION was originally called Retribution.

12-31-98a. Bruce Campbell on his website stated in September 1998, "I'm just directing this one gang -- slackin' off. HA! I guess you could say this episode is kind of like 'The Exorcist' meets 'The Last Temptation of Iolaus.'"


Finally the demon Dahak was destroyed during the production of this motion picture.


12-31-98a. Click below for some shots of what I think is REDEMPTION, but I could be wrong.

Click here to see the Herkster in primo-battle mode.

Click here to see Herk and, could it be...DAHAK? I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Click here to see Herk and, could it be...another vortex?

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