A not-so-heroic Hercules imposter, Hercules' mortal half-brother Iphicles, is about to wed the stepdaughter of an evil warlord.
As the story opens a group of chanting monks led by a priest approach an alter. They are minions of Hera. The chief priest sees that Hera has left a sign and locates a sacred Mandrake root. He praises Hera and states he will await the "messenger" who will bring the deadly root to Hercules.
In Flagra Pallaeus shows Rena the house he is building for them. Rena is hesitant as she has recently begun a relationship with Hercules, although she was promised to him by her stepfather Gorgas. She apologizes and leaves. Pallaeus complains to his leader, Gorgas (Pallaeus is Gorgas' right hand man) but Gorgas is unsympathetic since Hercules marrying his stepdaughter is more valuable. Elsewhere, Rena is getting ready when she gets a visit from "Hercules" now revealed to be an imposter
Meanwhile the real Hercules is traveling with Iolaus. As they help a woman with her broken down cart she tells them about "Hercules" and reveals he is going to marry Gorgas' daughter. Concerned, they then set off to get to the bottom of things.
Back in Flagra Pallaeus has finally had enough after listening to the imposter tell stories to the troops of capturing Cerberus. He visits Hera's temple and meets with Priest who is pleased that now he has his "messenger." He then instructs Pallaeus on how to use the Mandrake to kill Hercules.
Along the way Hercules and Iolaus visit Hercules' mother, Alcmene who gently questions his motives. Hercules explains that his name is usually associated with good deeds and he does not want an imposter harming people. He and Iolaus also encounter an Elderly Man who first mistakes them for Gorgas soldiers. The man explains his daughter and son-in-law died fighting Gorgas, and his disappointment in the imposter Hercules.
On arriving in Flagra, Hercules and Iolaus intervene when a group of soldiers attempt to arrest a young man named Josephus who is trying to inspire the people to rebel. After the battle the imposter Hercules arrives.The real Hercules instantly recognizes the imposter as his half-brother, Iphicles. While the brothers leave to talk Iolaus tries to reach out and inspire Josephus while trying to convince him that the "Hercules" he knows is not the real one. Josephus explains how bad things have gotten as Gorgas has plundered the countryside to fund his wars. Iolaus is then apprehended by the soldiers he and Hercules defeated earlier.
Meanwhile Hercules and Iphicles talk. Iphicles explains that he has done nothing to harm the people, or assist Gorgas in his cruelty. Hercules argues that it is not enough, and his goal should be to fight for the people. Iphicles is also hesitant to reveal the truth to Rena. Iphicles begs Hercules to leave but he refuses. Declaring that they are now enemies Iphicles leaves. Unseen by both, Pallaeus has been observing and is now suspicious of the truth. Later, Iphicles speaks to Rena who also becomes suspicious.
Iolaus is taken to Gorgas who orders him put in the catacombs to starve as bait for the Hercules. There the soldiers taunt him by enjoying a feast while Iolaus remains unfed. Iolaus tries several attempts to eat but is thwarted by the guards and their dogs. Hercules meanwhile, battles through a labyrinth in an attempt to rescue him.
Pallaeus finally confronts Iphicles with the mandrake jar and is thrilled when it does nothing. A slip of the tongue by Iphicles further confirms the deception. Pallaeus goes to inform Gorgas and Rena while Iphicles leaves to confront Hercules.
When Pallaeus tells Gorgas that they have all been tricked Gorgas does not believe him. He is about to kill Pallaeus when Palaeus mentions that to kill Hercules would mean his rule would remain unchallenged forever. Tempted, Gorgas orders his army readied. As they prepare Rena does her own asking around and learns of the situation and makes her own plan to find the truth.
Back in the labyrinth Iphicles attempts to induce Hercules to fight him. Hercules refuses. Before the two can continue Rena comes forward revealing that she had heard the whole confrontation. Iphicles finally tells the truth. Rena is horrified and runs off. Hercules goes after her and speaks for his brother. Confused and hurt, Rena listens but leaves to think about what just happened.
Hercules finally reaches Iolaus just as Gorgas and his men arrive to attack. Pallaeus unleashes the Mandrake which attacks Hercules while the rest of the troops confront Iolaus and Iphicles. During the battle Gorgas battles Iphicles while Iolaus battles the men who were starving him. Pallaeus holds Rena captive. Eventually the Mandrake is imprisoned and defeated, Gorgas is knocked out and arrested, and Pallaeus is subdues as well. Just as it ends, Josephus arrives with the townspeople rallying behind him to join the fight, albeit too late to take part.
Rena decides to stay with Iphicles and travels to meet he and Hercules' mother. Iolaus joins too, relieved to finally have a full meal. Hercules states that he is family too.
No Mandrakes were harmed during the production of this motion picture.
- Kevin Smith would later go on to play Ares, first appearing in XWP's "The Reckoning", which premiered three weeks after this episode. He would continue the role on a regular basis in that series, this one (starting with "Encounter"), Young Hercules and Young Hercules. Smith would reprise the role of Iphicles as well, given how different the characters looked.
- While claiming to be Hercules, Iphicles says he once took Cerberus out of the Underworld to King Eurystheus and then brought him back. This is a reference to the twelfth of the Twelve Labors from Greek Mythology.
- Liddy Holloway takes over the role of Alcmene from Elizabeth Hawthorne. Holloway would continue as Alcmene in all of her appearances on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, although the role would be recast with younger actors in Young Hercules.
- The running gag about Iolaus being a master of "Old Hunter's Tricks" continues in this episode as he tries to steal food when imprisoned by Gorgas.
- Josephus is the name of a first-century Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded first century Jewish history, such as the First Jewish–Roman War which resulted in the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE. He has been credited by many as recording some of the earliest history of Jesus Christ outside of the gospels.
- Iolaus doesn't recognize Iphicles when they first meet (Iolaus say to Hercules, "Do you know this guy?"), but that was later retconned.
- "Who makes these things!"
- —Hercules, on seeing yet another deadly labyrinth trap
Links and References
- Liddy Holloway as Alcmene
- Ross Duncan as Pallaeus
- Paul Glover as Josephus
- Lewis Martin as Priest
- Joy Watson as Peddler
- Simon Prast as Soldier #1
- Jason Garner as Young Trooper
- Bernard Moody as Elderly Man
- John McKee as Gruff Soldier
|<< Season 1||Season 2||Season 3 >>|
|#01||The King of Thieves||#09||The Fire Down Below||#17||The Apple|
|#02||All That Glitters||#10||Cast a Giant Shadow||#18||Promises|
|#03||What's in a Name?||#11||Highway to Hades||#19||King For A Day|
|#04||Siege at Naxos||#12||The Sword of Veracity||#20||Protean Challenge|
|#05||Outcast||#13||The Enforcer||#21||The Wedding of Alcmene|
|#06||Under the Broken Sky||#14||Once a Hero||#22||The Power|
|#07||The Mother of All Monsters||#15||Heedless Hearts||#23||Centaur Mentor Journey|
|#08||The Other Side||#16||Let the Games Begin||#24||The Cave of Echoes|