Legendary Journeys
Legendary Journeys

Just Passing Through
Series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
Season 5
Antagonist Panther
In-Universe Date Year 4
Production # V0702
Filming Dates 4 May to 11 May 1998
Original Air-Date 8 February 1999
Written By Gene O'Neill & Noreen Tobin
Directed By Charles Siebert
Episode Chronology
Order in Series 95 of 111
Order in Season 14 of 22
Order in Franchise 221 of 304
Previous Episode in Series "Stranger and Stranger"
Next Episode in Series "Greece is Burning"
Previous Episode in Franchise "The Head That Wears the Crown"
Next Episode in Franchise "Devi"
Title Image

Facing difficulty with his new life, Iolaus 2 feels the need to leave Hercules to escape his double's shadow. Hercules hopes to convince him to stay by taking him to a special place. Along the way, he tells Iolaus 2 a story about an adventure he and Iolaus once had. Per the story, Autolycus steals the sacred ruby of the cursed panther of Ipithia, which will come to life by sundown as a result. The panther will then hunt down and kill whoever stole its ruby (including anyone that gets in its way). The only remedy is returning it, but Autolycus swallowed it. While Hercules and Iolaus try to resolve this situation in time, much of their daily routine and friendship are seen.


Hercules and the Jester waking up in the morning. The Jester is already awake and Hercules, still groggy from just having awakened, thinks it is Iolaus. Then he remembers that Iolaus is gone and the Jester is with him now.

The Jester is having a lot of trouble dealing with his new life with Hercules and feels he is living in Iolaus' shadow. He looks and sounds like Iolaus, but he is not Iolaus by a long shot. For one thing, this Iolaus can cook. Still, he tells Hercules that he is having difficulties and that maybe he should just move on. Hercules respects his wishes, but asks that the Jester accompany him on a short journey as well as listen to what he has to say about his old friend. Hercules begins to describe the things that he and Iolaus used to do. For instance, the old Iolaus used to like to sleep in and he was not the best cook on Earth.

He tells him that he used to have trouble trying to get Iolaus to wake up and do his early morning exercises. Iolaus was sneaky and would do just enough to make Hercules think he was going to do his whole routine, then after Hercules went for a run, Iolaus would go back to sleep.

He also tells the Jester about a morning that started very similarly to this one. In a town somewhere, a sacred ruby in a museum is stolen from its setting on a large onyx figurine of a panther. Legend has it that if the ruby is removed, that the panther will come to life by dusk and kill everyone in sight. A runner is sent to ask Iolaus and Hercules for aid. Hercules tells the runner to go back and tell the people that they will be there soon and for them not to worry because the "gold shipment" will arrive at noon. The runner looks a little confused but agrees to relay the message.

While telling this story, Hercules learns that the Jester, though a bit of a wimp, is actually a pretty good inventor. He invents the lighter and also eyeglasses. So the guy does have some skills other than simply being a fool.

Hercules returns to his story and in it, Iolaus remembered that it was in this town that a girl named Lucretiana had developed a crush on Hercules after he had saved her life. He really gives our hero a difficult time about this and claims that Hercules has a problem saying "no" to people. This is what gets them in most of the hot water they find themselves in.

After their morning exercises, Hercules used to enjoy a quick dip in the ice-cold river. Iolaus, on the other hand, was one of those "I had a bath last month" type of heroes. He does not want to take a bath, but Hercules shames him into approaching the water. By now Hercules has gotten out and toweled off. Iolaus takes off his shirt, leans over to look at the water and Hercules pushes him in with his foot.

The ruby is cursed and Hercules suspects that Autolycus took it. Only Autolycus is arrogant enough to think that the curse would not affect him. After Iolaus complains that he ripped his pants in the pond, Hercules offers to sew him a new pair. Iolaus declines after Hercules tries to take his inseam though.

On their way to the town, the boys spend their time telling bad jokes and throwing rocks. They do pretty much the things that most boys would do during the long summer days. Finally, they arrive at the town and the girls mob Hercules. Lucretiana fights her way through the mob to get to Hercules and Iolaus goes off in search of Autolycus. It seems that now Lucretiana wants to marry Hercules.

Iolaus finds Autolycus waiting near an obelisk for the gold shipment to arrive. Iolaus laughs and tells him that they only planted a rumor of a gold shipment to draw him out in the open. He wants to know where the sacred Ruby is. Autolycus says he does not have it and offers to let Iolaus search him. Iolaus frisks the thief and finds pearls, silverware, and a key to the city, but no gem. He tells Autolycus that the ruby has a curse on it and Autolycus scoffs at the idea, saying that is just superstition to keep the local yokels at bay. That is when the lightning strikes the obelisk, smashing it to pieces.

Hercules shows up and tells Iolaus that Autolycus probably swallowed the ruby. He hangs Autolycus upside down to try and force the ruby to come out, but to no avail. So then they make him eat prunes.

While waiting for the inevitable to occur, Iolaus buys a lute. He figures he can learn to play and that would be something that Hercules cannot do better than him. So he buys one and starts learning to play it. Lucretiana shows up and drags Hercules off to meet her family and get married. Autolycus, worried about the curse, begins to enjoy life and appreciate nature. He marvels over the beauty of a dandelion and the structure of rocks and insects.

Hercules returns after having given Lucretiana the slip. Someone asks him to come visit his sick daughter and they agree to go to the hospice and visit the ill. Hercules stops in to see the little girl, Autolycus manages to con some dying old man out of his will and Iolaus gets stuck with this rude, bratty kid that likes to throw porridge.

As they leave, the curse sets in again and lightning strikes the hospice, setting it on fire. They all have to rescue the patients from the building and Autolycus feels the urge, so he makes a hasty retreat. After they save everyone, Iolaus continues plucking away at the lute. Hercules asks if he can try. He strums it once and hits a power chord. He then rips out a series of riffs, scales, as well as chords to the delight of the startled onlookers. He plays the lute behind his head and wags his tongue as Iolaus looks on in disgust. Hercules has topped him again and he is still living in the big guy's shadow. The female groupies begin to chase Hercules all over town. Hercules shows his savvy by using various methods to elude his pursuers.

Iolaus eventually finds Autolycus and learns that he still has not gotten the ruby back. They all return to the museum and Hercules has rigged up a net that Hephaestus has given him. The net is set up over the panther so that when he leaps from its pedestal, the net will fall and capture him, holding him long enough for them to hopefully return the ruby. Lucretiana shows up demanding that they return to the wedding and gets caught in the net, Autolycus begins having stomach cramps and then the panther springs to life. Hercules and Iolaus begin fighting the panther and Autolycus, fearing for his life, climbs up to where Lucretiana is being held in the net. She falls into Hercules' arms and he gets her to safety while Iolaus does his best dog imitation to distract the panther.

Hercules returns and uses Iolaus' lute to calm the panther down. The music soothes the panther until Hercules breaks a couple of strings on the lute. The panther leaps at Autolycus and rips his pants. He falls and the ruby gets caught in his throat and he begins to choke on it. Hercules fights the panther while Iolaus tries to help remove the ruby.

The ruby pops out and Hercules catches it. He then throws it at the panther and it returns to the setting in its forehead. With the ruby back in place, the panther returns to its pedestal and the threat is over.

Later, Lucretiana called the wedding off because Hercules lives a dangerous life. Autolycus finally runs off in search of a private bush and Hercules gives Iolaus an Afghan he had knitted for him as a form of apology.


Autolycus' intestinal tract was well lubricated and, consequently, was not harm or blocked during the production of this motion picture.

Background Information[]

  • It is never stated when the flashbacks occur chronologically, but they would've had to have been at least somewhere in between "One Fowl Day" and "Faith". (The former being the conclusion of a two-parter that saw Iolaus and Autolycus together for the first time since "The King of Thieves" and the latter showing Iolaus' death.)
  • Iolaus 2 mentions seeing Iolaus "in passing" – a reference to their brief encounter at the beginning of "Stranger in a Strange World".
  • When Autolycus says, "Iolaus, we've always been the best of friends," Iolaus replies, "No, we haven't." This may be a reference to the "Porkules" / "One Fowl Day" two-parter, which saw the two characters constantly arguing.

Links and References[]

Guest Stars[]

Other Cast[]

  • Paul Norell as Falafel
  • Jodie Dorday as Lucretiana
  • Russell Dixon as Astrovo
  • Nicholas Baker as Dardo
  • Tim Biggs as Leandrus
  • Sarah Faris as Groupie #1
  • Sarah-Jane George as Groupie #2
  • Simon Gomez as Temple Guard
  • Lance Cheshire as Old Man
  • David Coddington as Villager

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