Legendary Journeys
"Web of Desire" | Episodes of Hercules: TLJ | "Two Men and a Baby"

Stranger in a Strange World
Iolaus 2 in gateway.jpg
Iolaus II
Series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
Season 4
Antagonist Ares, Sovereign
Setting Strange World
In-Universe Date Year 2
Production # V0302
Filming Dates 12 May to 21 May 1997
Original Air-Date 27 October 1997
Written By Paul Robert Coyle
Directed By Michael Levine
Episode Chronology
Order in Series 64 of 111
Order in Season 5 of 22
Order in Franchise 119 of 304
Previous Episode in Series "Web of Desire"
Next Episode in Series "Two Men and a Baby"
Previous Episode in Franchise "The Deliverer"
Next Episode in Franchise "Gabrielle's Hope"
Title Image
Strange world title.jpg


Hercules and Iolaus are fighting a group of men so they can rescue a princess. as one man is about to deal a blow to Iolaus, the man drops dead. Elsewhere we see the man's head in a basket after being decapitated. Ares appears, saying that he had great plans for Gravus and the person responsible for his death will pay. Hercules fights Ares in order to save Iolaus. As Ares is about to land a blow to Hercules with his sword, a bolt of lightning strikes the sword and both Ares and Hercules are thrown in opposite directions. As both men lie dazed a vortex opens and a man comes running through. Iolaus catches him, but he is able to break free. A group of men on horses come through the portal and capture Iolaus and take him back through the portal as it closes behind them. Iolaus is brought before a man who turns out to be a twin of Hercules, with a goatee and dressed in black leather. This man strikes Iolaus across the face, knocking him out. In the main universe, Ares laughs telling Hercules he found someone to take Iolaus's place. Ares, holding the man who came through the portal, turns him around and reveals him to be Iolaus in a jester costume.

Iolaus wakes up in the alternate universe in a cell and demands to see Hercules. The guards tell him that the Sovereign will call him when he is ready to speak to him. In the main reality Aphrodite appears and tells Ares and Hercules that Zeus is dying. Iolaus manages to escape from his cell but the Sovereign (Hercules' bearded twin) finds him. Iolaus tries to get away from the Sovereign, but he tells Iolaus that he is lucky to have him as his best man on his wedding day. Hercules tries explaining what has happened to Jester Iolaus. Jester Iolaus explains that in his reality Hercules is an evil tyrant. He point to the body of Gravus to make his point. The Sovereign shows Iolaus his new exhibit, while Jester Iolaus recognises Gravus as the man whom the Sovereign had just had killed in his reality. Iolaus recognises one of the men from the exhibit as Gravus, the man who dropped dead in front of him. Hercules and Iolaus both conclude that there must be one of everyone in both universes and that when one dies the other does too.

Iolaus tries to explain to the Sovereign that he switched places with the Iolaus from his universe. The Sovereign explains that he is marrying Aphrodite, the Queen of the Gods. Aphrodite tells the Sovereign that Zeus is dying and to call off the wedding. The Sovereign refuses, sending her off to prepare for the wedding. As Iolaus and the Sovereign talk a woman sneaks up on him and the Sovereign grabs her into his lap. The two flirt and it is revealed that the woman is Xena, the Sovereign's mistress. Ares, the God of Love appears to Iolaus and asks for his help in finding where the alternate Xena is hiding the Hind's blood. While Hercules is talking with Jester Iolaus, Aphrodite and Ares appear, telling him that Zeus is still no better. Hercules plans to fight Ares again in the hopes that Zeus will throw another lightning bolt and open the vortex again.

Back in the other reality the Sovereign prepares to kill the people held captive in his dungeon. Iolaus begs him to spare their lives, he agrees but only if Iolaus can amuse him. Iolaus tries his best but the Sovereign says he failed. He proceeds with the execution and locks Iolaus up. Iolaus joins with the other rebels already held in the cell. An alternate Joxer gives Iolaus a dagger, saying he is the only one the Sovereign trusts enough to be able to get close enough to kill him. Iolaus says he cannot kill a man in cold blood, realizing also that to kill the Sovereign in this reality means that Hercules will die in the other. Jester Iolaus tells Hercules that the Sovereign is killing Zeus and that he must be stopped. Hercules begins smashing up Ares' temple to goad him into a fight. Ares appears and tells Hercules to take it outside. In the other universe Iolaus agrees to kill the Sovereign.

As the Sovereign and Aphrodite are being married in the other universe, Ares and Hercules fight in order to get Zeus to open the gateway. Iolaus takes the dagger and strikes at the Sovereign who catches his hand and throws him across the room. Meanwhile Hercules and Ares continue their fight and Zeus sends another lightning bolt and the gateway opens once again. While Iolaus and the Sovereign fight, the other rebels manage to escape from their cell and join the fight. Iolaus manages to deduce that the Hind's blood is hidden inside one of Xena's pendants and enlists the help of the alternate Ares and Aphrodite. Xena and Aphrodite begin a food fight with the giant wedding cake and Ares goes around the fight dosing the enemy up on love, while the rebels beat them up.

The Sovereign orders the release of the executioner. The executioner heads straight for Iolaus who, with one punch, knocks him out cold. Iolaus pulls off the hood, revealing that the executioner in that universe is Gabrielle of Poteidaia. The portal opens in the alternate universe and Iolaus bids farewell to Joxer, Hercules says goodbye to Jester Iolaus, who says he will try to be a hero when he returns to his own reality. Iolaus grabs the Hind's blood and runs through the vortex with the Sovereign in pursuit, as Jester Iolaus and Hercules enter on the other side. Hercules strikes the Sovereign in the face. He tells Iolaus to run and the Jester Iolaus flees from the Sovereign back to the other reality. As Hercules, Iolaus and Jester Iolaus all return to their correct universes, , the Sovereign, who has managed to wrestle the Hind's blood from Iolaus, is left behind as the vortex closes, sealing him inside.


"No Heart-throwing, Love-spewing, Smooth-talking Ares impersonators were harmed during the production of this motion picture."


Background Information[]

  • The title references the 1961 novel "Stranger in a Strange Land" by Robert Heinlein.
  • This episode references many other popular films and television series such as "The Prisoner" and "Star Trek."
  • The Sovereign's goatee may be a reference to Star Trek's Mirror Universe, where some characters' counterparts (such as Spock) wore goatees.
  • The music in Iolaus's song to the Sovereign is similar to The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down (a staple of Looney Tunes shorts). The whole number seems particularly inspired by a memorable scene in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
  • In addition to the Strange Universe's Ares and Aphrodite having different roles, Hera II is said to be the goddess of music and Cupid II the god of war.
  • Iolaus references The Prisoner by exclaiming, "I am not a numeral! I'm a free man!"
  • All four stars (Sorbo, Lawless, Hurst and O'Connor) of the Xenaverse appear together in this episode, though O'Connor's appearance is limited to a surprise throwaway gag.
    • This is the only episode of the entire Xenaverse to feature the four stars plus Joxer, Ares, and Aphrodite – the three most recurring characters – in the same episode.

Memorable Quotations[]

(laughs) "You lose your little buddy? Well, I found someone to take his place." (laughs again)

Ares introduces Hercules to Iolaus 2

"You are insane!"
"Er, thank you. Imagine a bastard like me, reigning supreme as King of the Gods."

Iolaus and Hercules 2

"Aphrodite's shy. Wow."


"Xena, you're with him?" (She kicks him in the balls)
"When I want a eunuch, I'll ask for one."

Iolaus and Xena 2

"Here, sit on it till the wedding."

Hercules 2, throwing a jewel to Iolaus

"Their foreplay's gonna get me killed."

Iolaus on Hercules 2 and Xena 2

"If you mean "Where would our plan be without my secret stash of hind's blood", I guess you do kind of need me."

Xena 2 to Hercules 2

"I noticed before, you're awfully fond of that pendant."
"Well, a girl's nothing without her baubles."
"Ah, the Xena I know's a lot smarter than that. My guess, you are, too!"

Iolaus and Xena 2

"Oh, baby, you are going to scream now."

Hercules 2 to Xena 2

"I'm sorry. Did that hurt?" (attacks again)
"No, but that did."

Hercules 2 and Iolaus

"Oh, it is times like these I regret the fact that I'm a lover, not a fighter."

Ares 2

"Herc, I know things have never been exactly copascetic between you two, but maybe you oughta think about paying him a visit."
"Well, we have had our problems, but I always thought there'd be time to work things out. Tell Zeus that I'll do what I can."

Aphrodite and Hercules

"Wait, wait, wait, wait! Who's the god of war around here?"
"Shh! No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Don’t even think about him. The last thing we need around here is that maniac Cupid showing up. Mmm!"
"Cupid? God of war? Weird."

Iolaus and Ares 2

"Ares? The god of love?"
(Iolaus 2 nods) "Weird."


"Here you can use this." (passes Iolaus a knife)
"What for? To cut the cake?"

Joxer 2 and Iolaus

"Amazing. She can smile without cracking that frigid little face."

Xena 2 to Aphrodite 2

"Ares, don't wig out on us."

Aphrodite throwing a wig over Ares' head.

"Thanks! It worked!"
"I helped him?"

Hercules and Ares after the Gateway is reopened by Zeus' thunderbolt

"Guess we better see how Dad's doing. Good to have you back, curly."
"How I hate happy endings."

Aphrodite and Ares

"You know, I almost did a terrible thing over there. I—"
"You did what you had to do, Iolaus. I'm just glad it didn't work out like you planned. So, do you think I look better with a beard or without a beard? Ah."

Iolaus and Hercules

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