Restrained by the Stone of Creation until sunset, Dahak orders his followers to kill the weakened Ares. Doing so will give him the power to break free. While Morrígan and Nebula leave to protect Ares, Hercules and Zarathustra begin the exorcism. Dahak proves quite resistent – soon leaving Hercules on his own. While being shown how Dahak managed to enter the world, Hercules doesn't give up trying to reach Iolaus and separate him from the demon god.
continuing from the previous episode--
Dahak (in the form of Iolaus) has been chained down to an alter in his own temple by the Gem of creation and its power of light forces Dahak down.
Hercules is there along with Jason, Nebula, Morrigan, and Zarathustra. They intend to exorcise Iolaus from Dahak and must do it quickly, 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 had seen it done only once in his 1000 year life. Dahak knows this, and 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. Hercules calms him down and tells Jason to leave.
Even though he is chained up, Dahak still has a lot of power, he uses it to wreak havoc with their minds, or throwing them around the room, meanwhile Dahak is just acting very happy cheery.
He uses his powers to summon his priests and sends them off in search of Ares, if he kills the God of War and thus captures his soul/energy/just like what he did with the Sumerian and Celtic gods, it would make him strong enough to break the chains. Hercules realizes this and sends Nebula and Morrigan off in search of Ares to find and protect him.
Zarathustra says that Dahak will lie or say anything to wear them both down, but Hercules points out that he gets the feeling that they are not alone in this struggle, and that "Something is watching over them". He cannot explain it, but he feels that they are not alone in this battle.
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 to do one of his acrobatic flips, but this time he twists his ankle. 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. Both Zarathastra and Hercules 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 cannot come be with them. Zarathastra tells him that he is 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. Hercules threatens to kill Dahak, placing a dagger to Iolaus' throat; but that is what Dahak wants Hercules to do, so he simply laughs. eventually Zarathastra ends up being slashed really bad and he dies in Hercules' arms.
At Ares' temple, 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, manages to make a good case about it and gets to Morrigan's mind (who has a soft spot for Hercules), but 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 cannot deal with that. She threatens physical violence if Ares tries to leave and this of course thrills the God of War.
Back at the altar, Hercules tries to get through to Iolaus. The talking continues, and Dahak shows Hercules 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 is not buying it though saying that this cannot be the Elysian Fields since he did not die in Greece. The figure morphs into Nebula, and then into his friend Hercules. So now we know this is Dahak.
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. Iolaus 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 Hercules and Dahak begin to argue over whether this was murder or not and Hercules begins this thing about Iolaus' character and what a good man Iolaus was. He tells Dahak that he cannot imagine what his life would have been like without Iolaus there. This appears to have triggered something inside Dahak, because it sends spasms of pain through him. His chest opens up and Iolaus' arm reaches through and begs Hercules to help him. Hercules 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.
Ares, Morrigan and Nebula have now found a hiding place behind a waterfall. He manages to convince Morrigan and eventually Nebula, that maybe they should return and check on Hercules. So they set off.
Back at Dahak's temple, the banter continues. Hercules 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 other 2 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 is 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 arguing, just then 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 Hercules that he has had his chance and now its his turn. He intends to kill Dahak/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.
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" but Hercules jumps into the opening in Dahak's chest. This sends him into the 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 Hercules does this.
Hercules and Iolaus meet once again, shake hands and begin to talk about their friendship. Dahak shows up in the form of a hideous monster that looks a lot 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 Hercules of Iolaus. The duo is hard pressed to stay alive with this thing bearing down on them and Hercules 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 often, they employ the "Thermopile" where they perform a sort of tag-team wrestling maneuver, using Dahak's own 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 gone.
Hercules and Iolaus talk a little about their old times and friendship and how they never gave up on one another. Then Zarathustra 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. Hercules and Iolaus say their good byes and then Iolaus ascends into the light and fades out with Zarathastra.
Now Hercules wakes up in the arms of Morrigan and Nebula stands nearby. Apparently Hercules fought this battle in that realm but his body remained behind. They smile, put their arms around one another and walk out of the temple.
- Finally, the demon Dahak was destroyed during the production of this motion picture.
- This episode concludes the Dahak storyline, which began back in XWP's third season episode, "The Deliverer".
- Ares and Dahak are the only characters to appear in both the first and last episodes of the storyline.
- The clip of Iolaus's death in "Faith" is reused.
- As Iolaus's life flashes before his eyes, stills and clips from previous episodes are shown. If one watches the stills carefully, they can see Hercules, Jason, Alcmene, Autolycus, Discord, and Erythia. The clips include "Hero's Heart", "Web of Desire" and "Faith".
- Hercules knows that Ares briefly allied himself with Dahak, which was seen in XWP's "Sacrifice: Part 1" and "Sacrifice: Part 2", yet again suggesting that Hercules and Xena are keeping in contact off-screen.
- Iolaus mentions how Hercules previously saved him from being dead – specifically referencing "Not Fade Away". Dahak counters by referencing Hercules' failure in "Descent" (though stating it as something that will happen, not that it already did by that point).
- Originally there was talk of including Xena and Gabrielle in this episode, as a way to bookend the Dahak storyline since both characters played important roles in it. Ultimately, though, there was no constructive way they could be included while still featuring Nebula and Morrigan.
- While talking with Iolaus, Dahak takes the form of Skouras, Nebula, and finally Hercules.
- Iolaus's ascension into the Light was meant to be the last appearance of his character. When producers bowed to fan pressure to bring him back for the partial last season, Michael Hurst was initially unavailable because he had already moved on and was going to be directing a feature film.
- The symbol that was carved on Iolaus's chest for the exorcism consisted of a triangle with an inscribed circle and a vertical line through the middle. That same symbol was used later in the Harry Potter series, to represent the deathly hallows. It is possible that that symbol was created ad-hoc for this episode, and was borrowed from it for the Harry Potter series, but another possibility is that it is an obscure occult symbol that was used independently by the creators of Hercules and Harry Potter.
- Final appearance of Dahak.
- Final appearance of Nebula.
"You never gave up on me."
"What do you expect? You're the best friend I ever had."
"Oh, but I betrayed you, Hercules. I betrayed you and everyone else that had faith in me. I just hope you can find it somewhere in your heart to forgive me."
"I already have."
- –Iolaus and Hercules
"Oh, spare me your contempt. I gave him immortality. It was mine to take away."
"I have no contempt for you – only pity. Zarathustra saw his immortality as a curse. Releasing him was an act of mercy and since you don't know the meaning of the word, I'd say I'm getting through to Iolaus."
"Uh-uh-uh-uh. Zarathustra was the only one who knew how to perform the ritual. Now, it's just you and me… buddy."
- –Iolaus/Dahak and Hercules
"Zarathustra, have a thousand winters taught you nothing? I am as much apart of this world as the light that warms the day."
"You sold him a lie."
"I didn't have to sell him anything. The seeds of doubt were already in his own heart."
"Iolaus was a hero in his own right."
"That's what you tell yourself to placate your guilt, but you know the truth, don't you? You used him merely as a traveling companion on the road to your destiny." [Hercules laughs] "What's so funny?"
"You obviously don't know Iolaus very well. You're too selfish to understand. Whenever I lost sight of what we were fighting for, Iolaus reminded me through his own courage and strength. I don't know what his life would've been like without me, but I can't imagine my life without him."
- –Hercules and Iolaus/Dahak
"Iolaus still has the power to fight you."
"Your faith in your friend is misplaced. He invited me into his heart, and now we are one and the same."
"Then why do you refer to him as 'he?'"
- –Hercules and Iolaus/Dahak
"You know what has to be done. You're just not man enough to do it."
[grabs Ares] "I swear, I will kill you myself if you get in my way!"
- –Hercules and Ares
"Congratulations, Iolaus, you just committed murder."
"He was gonna kill those people."
"So, you took it upon yourself to punish him for a crime he hadn't committed yet. Technically, he died an innocent man."
"I am tired of your games!"
"But you're learning, aren't you? The abstract notions of right and wrong that you've held so dear no longer have to mean anything. With the power I give you, you can reshape the world as you see fit and fulfill your true destiny."
- –Hercules/Dahak and Iolaus
"I never thought the day would come that I'd be rooting for my dear brother, but the truth is I have little faith in his chance for success."
Links and References
- Michael Hurst as Dahak
- Gina Torres as Nebula
- Tamara Gorski as Morrígan
- Jeffrey Thomas as Jason
- George Henare as Zarathustra
- Kevin Smith as Ares
- Bruce Allpress as Skouras
- Stephanie Liebert as Antibius
- Daniel Logan as Zaylan
- Mark Newnham as Dahak