Legendary Journeys
"The Gauntlet" | Episodes of Hercules: TLJ | "The King of Thieves"

Unchained Heart
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Hercules and Xena
Series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
Season 1
Antagonist Darphus, Graegus
Setting Elysia
In-Universe Date Year 0
Production # 76613
Filming Dates 23 January to 1 February 1995
Original Air-Date 8 May 1995
Written By John Schulian
Directed By Bruce Seth Green
Episode Chronology
Order in Series 13 of 111
Order in Season 13 of 13
Order in Franchise 18 of 304
Previous Episode in Series "The Gauntlet"
Next Episode in Series "The King of Thieves"
Previous Episode in Franchise "The Gauntlet"
Next Episode in Franchise "The King of Thieves"
Title Image
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Darphus and Graegus return, prepared to wreak havoc on the enemies of Ares. Hercules and Xena must work with Salmoneus and a reluctant Iolaus to stop them once and for all. The stage is set for a battle which will see the death of Ares's deadliest warrior, and the rise of a new hero.


Darphus' army is killing more villagers, he spares the life of one man, telling him to find Hercules and tells him that "Darphus rides again" and he lets the man go free. Meanwhile Salmoneus is trying to convince Hercules to let him write a celebrity biography about him. Hercules says, "I don't think of myself as a celebrity." As they talk, the man arrives and tells Hercules that there is an army in Elysia, led by Darphus. Xena tells him that Darpus is dead, but when he describes the scar on his chest left by Xena when she killed him, Hercules says that only the gods have the power to bring people back from the dead. Xena says, "That means nothing to me. I'm still going to Elysia to stop Darphus. I won't fail this time." Hercules says he will go with her and Salmoneus tags along "for literary reasons."

Elsewhere, Darphus returns and throws a man into a temple, inside the man hears growling and an unseen creature attacks him. As Hercules, Xena and Salmoneus travel to Elysia, they stop to eat. While Salmoneus is catching the food, he is caught by Iolaus who takes him to meet Hercules. Xena tells them she will scout ahead. She finds a group of men looting valuables from some corpses and attacks them, one manages to escape and Xena calls after him, "Tell Darphus I'm coming for him."

Xena returns to the camp and Iolaus is not pleased to see her. Hercules tells him they are now on the same side. She tells them that Darphus knows they are coming. Hercules explains to Iolaus how Xena has changed and is now fighting Darphus. Hercules says he needs Iolaus to fight with them. Iolaus agrees, but says, "Both of us better watch our backs."

The following day, the group is ambushed when Darphus causes a pile of boulders to fall onto them. The rock fall does not kill them and they dig themselves out. Salmoneus says he was a coward because he froze and did not help them to escape, but Hercules says he is not and reminds him of the time when he helped him against the Centaurs when he had been blinded.

At the camp later that night, Xena and Hercules talk about her past. She says, "I have done terrible things. I've killed so many men, that I'll never wash their blood from my hands." Hercules says she has already started by saving the baby from Darphus. She says that when Hercules fights he honors his family but she has nothing in her life that moves her in the same way. Hercules says, "You're wrong. There's the goodness in your heart."

The next day, Hercules and Iolaus try to convince people at the diamond mine to flee before Darphus and his army can attack. The head miner says he will not leave the mine. Hercules says it is not only Darphus they should fear, but also Ares. The man says that Ares bears them no ill will. Then Hercules catches an arrowed fired at him. Xena looks around and the group sees Darphus. Hercules, Xena and Iolaus fight the men. Xena sees Darphus and throws a dagger, which impales him in the chest. He pulls it out saying he cannot die with Ares on his side. Darphus calls the troops to retreat and Iolaus informs Hercules that Salmoneus is missing.

Hercules goes looking for him, he finds Salmoneus' journal. Back at the mine, Iolaus and Xena talk about the last time they met. Xena says she regrets her previous actions and Iolaus forgives her. Hercules comes back and tells them that he found footprints that may be Salmoneus', heading back to Elysia. Elsewhere, Darphus berated his army for failing in their mission to kill Hercules and Xena. He says if they fail again, he will feed them to Graegus.

Hercules, Iolaus and Xena follow the tracks and then camp in the woods. While Iolaus scouts ahead, Xena tells Hercules that she needs to tell him how she feels about him in case she died at Darphus' hands. The two then share a kiss and it is implied, a lot more, since when Iolaus comes back, they are not fully clothed. Iolaus finds the army's camp and sees Salmoneus and Darphus eating together, he hears a growling sound and then heads back to Hercules and Xena. The moment is more than a little uncomfortable, since it is obvious Xena and Hercules were not discussing strategy.

When he arrives back, he tells them that Salmoneus was sharing a meal with Darphus, but Hercules says that he cannot believe that Salmoneus is a traitor. He tells Hercules that Graegus is with Darphus. Xena asks how that can stop Graegus. Herc says, "Sometimes-- you can only defeat evil with evil."

Hercules and Xena go on ahead, leaving Iolaus to create a diversion. Darphus sends Salmoneus into the temple to be eaten by Graegus. Iolaus gets a wagon and drives it into the center of Darphus' camp, the army attacks him and Hercules and Xena join the fight. Hercules runs into the temple to rescue Salmoneus and fights with Graegus.

Outside Xena and Darphus fight, telling him "I'll make sure you stay dead this time, Darphus!" He says it is her time to die and they continue as their fight leads them into the temple. Hercules manages to wrap a chain around Graegus' foot, while Xena continues fighting Darphus. As the chains begins to break, Hercules calls to Xena to "put evil in its place." Hercules dives out of the way as Graegus lunges for him and Xena kicks Daprhus into the path of Graegus. Graegus eats Darphus and bursts into flames.

After defeating Darphus and Graegus, Salmoneus tells Hercules that he is going to Athens to work on his celebrity biography. Iolaus asks Hercules if he wants to join him back home, Hercules says he has one thing to do before they leave. He finds Xena, and the two share a kiss. She tells him, "There's so much in my life I have to make amends for. I've got to get started." Hercules wants to help but she tells him, "You already have. You unchained my heart."


No Vicious Beasts intent on taking over the world were harmed during the production of this motion picture.


Background Information[]

  • This is the first episode in which Salmoneus mentions he comes from a long line of quail hunters and demonstrates his famous quail "chirp."
  • To cheer Salmoneus up, Hercules mentions his helping him when he was blinded during "As Darkness Falls".
  • The running joke about Iolaus being full of Old Hunter's Tricks continues.
  • Hercules and Xena have their only love scene in this episode. In all subsequent meetings, they greet each other as good (but platonic) friends.
  • This is the only crossover episode with Hercules, Iolaus, Salmoneus and Xena in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
  • This marks the final appearance of Xena's cape and claw-shaped pauldrons. The remainder of her costume would be redesigned for Xena: Warrior Princess, though it would retain the same shape and elements as her armor in this episode.
  • Originally Xena was supposed to die at the end of this episode, but the producers successfully pulled together a spin-off, so the ending was quite obviously changed.

Memorable Quotations[]

"Iolaus is my best friend."
"You never mentioned him to me!"
"Oh, holding out on your official biographer, huh?"

Hercules, Salmoneus and Iolaus

"To get a message to Iolaus, you need a carrier pigeon. It's not me, is it? It can't be you. All I smell on you is hyacinth and cinnamon."
"Are you a biographer or a bad comedian? Or have you dreamed up some other get-rich-quick scheme?"
"How about love-slave? I'm versatile."
"You're deluded."

Salmoneus and Xena

"Everybody helped."
"Everybody except me. All I did is prove what a coward I am."
"You are nothing of the sort, Salmoneus. I remember how you stuck by me when I had to battle the Centaurs without my sight."
"Save your breath. Why should they believe you?"

Hercules and Salmoneus

"There's so much in my life I have to make amends for. I've got to get started."
"I wish you'd let me help."
"You already have. You unchained my heart."

Xena and Hercules

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