After being attacked by four sword-wielding bounty hunters, Xena saves the life of Demophon, one of the attackers who has been badly wounded in the fight, and waits out a terrible storm with her captive and Gabrielle in a local tavern.
When both Demophon and a loudly coughing customer in the bar suddenly die -- and a man's howling scream is heard over the sound of the thunder -- Xena realizes that Prometheus has been captured by the Olympians. Gabrielle explains to the innkeeper that according to legend, if Prometheus is ever bound, mankind will lose all the gifts he gave them, including fire and the ability to heal themselves.
Determined to free Prometheus, Xena consults the oracle Io and is put through a series of dangerous trials to prove how much she is willing to sacrifice. After passing the tests, Io tells her she must go to Vulcan Mountain and enter the cave of Hephaestus where she will find the only sword that can break the chains that bind Prometheus. Io warns her, however, that warriors loyal to the Temple of Hera will stop at nothing to keep her from her mission. Xena accepts the challenge.
While traveling to Vulcan Mountain, Xena asks Gabrielle what she would do if she died. Gabrielle tells Xena she would become a traveling bard, to which Xena responds she would be good at it. They stop by a traveling salesman shop, Xena asks him directions to Vulcan Mountain and leaves Gabrielle behind.
Xena enters the cave and is immediately pursued by a number of Hera's fiercest soldiers armed with broadswords and battle axes. As she flees deeper into the cave, she must also evade spikes popping out of the cave floor and giant hammers swinging down from the ceiling like deadly pendulums. In a third passageway, Xena turns to fight the remaining soldiers, but a pit opens and both her and the two soldiers fall in, Xena eventually manages to get out of the pit.
Finally, she reaches the Sword of Hephaestus which is embedded in a large stone and with a mighty heave, she pulls it free. Emerging from the cave, Xena is surprised when Hercules suddenly appears and asks her to hand over the sword. She charges him with a fallen branch and after a flurry of skillfully parried kicks and blows, she flees on horseback.
Later, as Hercules and his friend Iolaus help her fend off another ferocious attack by Hera's soldiers, it becomes clear why Xena avoided Hercules: whoever wields the sword to strike the blow that frees Prometheus will be destroyed. Each will not allow the other to complete the suicide mission but for the moment, they agree to work together.
On the way to the mountain where the chained Prometheus is dangerously close to being devoured by a giant eagle, Hercules and Xena rekindle their deep friendship. Gabrielle and Iolaus are also very drawn to each other. When Gabrielle discovers that he has been hiding a wound he received during the battle with Hera's soldiers, Iolaus bravely asks her not to mention it to Hercules and Xena since there's nothing they can do for him until Prometheus is freed.
As the foursome make their way upwards through the cavern inside Prometheus' mountain, Hercules reveals that he had been here long ago with his father, Zeus. Xena and Hercules realize Iolaus has been wounded when he is further weakened in a sudden cave-in. Knowing Iolaus will not survive the climb, Gabrielle remains behind with him as Hercules and Xena continue on together.
As Xena and Hercules continue through the cave, Xena tells Hercules she has been meaning to tell him how much he changed her life, and she'll never forget it. Hercules also admits, that when his wife died, he never thought he'd meet anyone who made him feel the way she did until he met Xena. Hercules and Xena kiss and Xena moves to steal the sword, but Hercules stops her again.
Elsewhere Iolaus rests his head in Gabrielle's lap. Iolaus tells Gabrielle if he doesn't make it tell Xena, there are no hard feelings, and he is proud to know her. Gabrielle says she's something special, and Iolaus tells Gabrielle she has such a pure heart.
Xena and Hercules moving along, notice their torch go out. The torch with Gabrielle and Iolaus goes out too. Xena and Hercules reach the end of the cave, and both notice the opening that leads to the surface of the mountain. As Hercules throws the grappling hook to make it secure, Xena distracts Hercules and knocks him out. Taking the Sword of Hephaestus, kisses him, sheaths the sword and climbs up the rope.
Xena gets to the top. She cuts the rope, as Prometheus sees Xena and smiles. Hercules wakes up and sees the sword is gone. With the rope gone, Hercules now has to climb the wall without it. Elsewhere, Gabrielle tells Iloaus a story to try and keep him awake, but he loses consciousness.
In the end, the two join forces to free Prometheus by battling a horde of lizard men who have hatched from huge eggs encircling the god's chained body, as well as the gargantuan eagle which captures Xena in its claws. In the process, they manage to avoid direct contact with the hurled Sword of Hephaestus which severs Prometheus' chains, so both are able to survive the ordeal. Elsewhere, The torch is lit and Gabrielle is overjoyed when Iolaus wakes up.
With Prometheus free and his gifts to mankind restored, the four friends bid each other a sad farewell, while Gabrielle tends to Iolaus under a tree, she asks him if he heard the story she told him, Iolaus reveals he was out of it. Gabrielle changes the subject and tells him it was nice getting to know him before they both share a kiss.
Hercules and Xena's goodbye isn't easy. Xena tells Hercules that he taught her what to look for in life, as well as the pair kiss before parting ways, though it seems certain they will meet again. Xena and Gabrielle move off as Hercules and Iolaus watch them go. Gabrielle looks back and Iolaus holds up a hand and Gabrielle waves good-bye. Xena raises her hand and smile at Hercules as she rides off with Gabrielle.
Iolaus was harmed during the production of this motion picture. However, the Green Egg Men went on to live long and prosperous lives.
Behind the Scenes
|"Kevin Sorbo is great, he's always a pleasure to work with. On the challenge of playing Hercules: If I were in his shoes I would always play the humanity rather than the god. That's intrinsically more interesting."|
|― Lucy Lawless on how she would of played Hercules
Source: Xena: Warrior Princess: The Official Guide to the Xenaverse book 1997
|"Those egg men [Hera's soldiers, emerging from eggshells] oh my God! The worst costuming ever, like something out of an Ed Wood movie..."|
|― Lucy Lawless on The Egg men
Source: Xena: Warrior Princess: The Official Guide to the Xenaverse book 1997 and many thanks to http://jacksonupperco.com/ for personally researched, and transcribed
- Shooting Dates: September 4th, 1995 through September 13th, 1995 (8-day shoot).
- This was the seventh episode to be filmed, but aired as the eighth episode.
- Paul Norell, who plays the salesman in this episode, frequently appears playing various small roles. He also plays the recurring role of Falafel on HTLJ.
- Michael Hurst broke his arm during the filming of this episode (making the disclaimer 'Iolaus was harmed during the making of this motion picture' have dual meaning: as Iolaus is injured in the plot and Hurst was injured filming).
- Renee on working with Michael Hurst: “I love Michael Hurst. I think he’s one of the most knowledgeable actors I’ve ever seen. He’s incredibly talented, and we had this chemistry that clicked right from the beginning. I guess because of the demands of the two shows and our age difference too, it’s probably something that won’t be developed. Too bad!” (Starlog Magazine #236 – April 1997) 
- This is the first time the four stars of the Xenaverse (Sorbo, Lawless, Hurst and O'Connor) appear on-screen together. The others, all episodes of HTLJ, are Judgment Day, Stranger in a Strange World, and Armageddon Now Part 2, though in the latter two, at least two of them were playing alternate versions of themselves.
- Michael Hurst on filming this episode and his injury on set: “It was on Xena [that I injured my arm]. You can’t spot it because in ‘Prometheus,’ there’s a fight we do in the barn, and there’s a move I do on this guy. It’s the end of the fight where I fall on my back, and I’m pulling him over, and he has to go over the top, and he ends up upside of that. Then I reverse-flip back onto him, his chest… The take they’re using is the one that worked. The second take is the one where… my arm got stuck on the floor… and his whole weight came down on it, and it broke across [here]…. And then in the one that works, I punch him and then flip into a close-up and do something like ‘errrr’ (makes a face). And in the one that doesn’t work, I flip up into a close-up, it’s all perfectly in focus, I’ve seen it, but my face is… white, and I’m screaming without making a sound, and I’d broken it. And on the take that the break is happening, you can hear it go [snap].” (Whoosh! Interview – September 1999)
- Lucy on working with an ensemble cast: “… [This episode] turned out great. It was so nice to work with Kevin again. It’s really like an ensemble cast, because everybody knows their characters and you’re not mucking around trying to find something in a scene, so filming went much faster.” (Starlog Magazine #222 – January 1996)
- R.J. Stewart on the Renee's performance in this episode: “I just saw [this] episode again recently and thought, ‘Gee, I would like to get those guys back together for an episode.’ I was wonderfully pleased when I saw how well Renee played [her scenes with Michael], and how well it was received. [This] was another exploration point for the series.” (Starlog Magazine #236 – April 1997) 
- In the original Greek myth, Prometheus was chained and tormented by Zeus, not Hera, as punishment for bringing fire to humanity.
- First appearance of Hercules on XWP. His next XWP appearance, God Fearing Child, four seasons later, would mark the character's final appearance overall.
- First appearance of Iolaus on XWP.
- First appearance of Hera on XWP. Her next XWP appearance, God Fearing Child, four seasons later, would mark the character's final appearance overall.
- This is the second time Prometheus has been captured by Hera, the first time being Hercules and the Circle of Fire.
- This episode marks what is presumably Hercules and Xena's last kiss. By the time they next meet, Hercules has married Serena.
- Iolaus and Gabrielle share a kiss, but their future appearances together don't revisit it. So this is Iolaus and Gabrielle's only kiss in this episode.
- Xena did not use the chakram in this episode. Ironically, Xena later discovers that it can break the Metal of Hephaestus (XWP: Dirty Half Dozen) and thus she never needed the Sword of Hephaestus in this episode.
- The image that Legendary Journeys (this wiki) uses for its title page was taken during the filming of this episode.
Links and References
- John Freeman as Prometheus
- Jodie Dorday as Io
- Paul Norell as Statius
- Russell Gowers as Demophon
- Sara Wiseman as Young Woman
- David Mitchell as Innkeeper (Prometheus)
|Season 1||Season 2 >>|
|#01||Sins of the Past||#09||Death in Chains||#17||The Royal Couple of Thieves|
|#02||Chariots of War||#10||Hooves and Harlots||#18||The Prodigal|
|#03||Dreamworker||#11||The Black Wolf||#19||Altared States|
|#04||Cradle of Hope||#12||Beware Greeks Bearing Gifts||#20||Ties That Bind|
|#05||The Path Not Taken||#13||Athens City Academy of the Performing Bards||#21||The Greater Good|
|#06||The Reckoning||#14||A Fistful of Dinars||#22||Callisto|
|#07||The Titans||#15||Warrior... Princess||#23||Death Mask|
|#08||Prometheus||#16||Mortal Beloved||#24||Is There a Doctor in the House?|