Hercules: The Legendary Journeys

Season 5 Episode 8

Darkness Rising

Aired Monday 5:00 PM Nov 16, 1998 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
36 votes

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Episode Summary

Darkness Rising
Hercules and Morrigan were enjoying life on the island of Eire until they found the Druids slaughtered. Recognizing the work of the demon Dahak, Hercules and Morrigan returned to Sumer. There, they found Nebula had been bothered by waking dreams of her dead love, Iolaus. When Hercules visited Iolaus' tomb, he found it empty -- and turned to find Dahak behind him, in the body of Iolaus. As they fought, Hercules could not bring himself to slay his friend, even though he knew it was no longer Iolaus. Dahak escaped, with Hercules, Morrigan and Nebula in hot pursuit.moreless

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  • Hercules is enjoying life in Eire, where he is getting close to Morrigan. But visions of Nebula in danger lead himself and Morrigan back to Sumeria, where they find Nebula on the brink of insanity after visions of the dead Iolaus. A brilliant episode...moreless

    This review contains spoilers.

    At the outset of this episode, Hercules is living happily in Eire. He is getting very close to the reformed Morrigan, and with her and daughter Brigid, almost feels like he has a family again.

    Ordinarily, I wouldn't be so keen on such a talky, action-less fare, but this season is so well executed, and with such strong characters, that I enjoyed watching it. Hercules is cautious about getting romantically involved with anyone again, as everyone he loves dies (very Stringfellow Hawke from 'Airwolf'), but Morrigan wins him over.

    But things are turned on their head when the other Druids are killed, and Maven tells him in his dying breath that Dahak is responsible. That Dahak, he gets everywhere! Herc has had visions of Nebula in danger back in Sumeria, so off he and Morrigan set to investigate.

    When we see Nebula, we are in for a shock, as she has been driven to the edge of insanity. Normally such a strong character, it is a real shock to see her in such a condition.

    (Without having seen the US promos for the episode), the opening credits give away that Michael Hurst appears in this episode, but one might be forgiven for thinking he is billed just for his appearances in Nebula's recollections. Little do we know...

    The plot of the seemingly dead Iolaus visiting Nebula from beyond the grave is well played out, with great performances from both Gina Torres and Michael Hurst.

    As Hercules investigates, the awful truth become apparent – Dahak has possessed Iolaus' dead body. This is terrifying to watch, as such an easygoing and likable character is now turned into a supremely evil being.

    Not seeing this episode for sometime after it was broadcast in the US (Channel 5 here in the UK had pretty much abandoned showing the series by this point), I had already heard that Iolaus comes back possessed by Dahak, but that didn't make watching it any less shocking or scary.

    For trivia fans, when Dahak speaks backwards, I reversed it to see what says, and it is "You... Haven't... Seen... Anything... Hercules".

    The battle between Hercules and Iolaus-- sorry, Dahak, is excellent, and leaves you in on a real cliff-hanger and gagging to see the next episode.

    With great performances and a great (not to mention terrifying) storyline, this is a classic episode. In many ways, this season is the best of the entire run of the show.moreless
Nicko Vella

Nicko Vella


Guest Star

Tony Hopkins

Tony Hopkins


Guest Star

Alistair Browning

Alistair Browning


Guest Star

Tamara Gorski

Tamara Gorski


Recurring Role

Gina Torres

Gina Torres


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • This is the last episode in which Hercules wears his Celtic clothing.

    • When beginning his story, Dahak says, "It's the story of a time long ago." This references the narrations of the TV-Movies and the series.

    • Goof: When Nebula and Iolaus/Dahak were standing at the palace window talking about their love for each other, Nebula lightly touches the side his face with her fingers, and you can visably see the painted tattoo on the inside of her upper arm was smudged off. Later in the episode, you can see it was redone so that the tattoo goes all the way around her arm.

    • The final scene with Dahak throwing around weapons telekinetically is highly reminiscent of the one involving Hope (Dahak's daughter) when she reappeared in the Xena episode "Sacrifice Part II".

    • When Dahak talks backwards, if reversed he says "You... Haven't... Seen... Anything... Hercules".

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Hercules: I don't know where you came from, Dahak, but you're not staying.
      Iolaus/Dahak: (crying) I come back all the way from the dead just to see you and this is the thanks I get!
      Hercules: You may have his body, but you're not Iolaus.
      Iolaus/Dahak: Really? Then who am I? Hmm, I guess this is a question everybody asks themselves sooner or later, don't ya think? Pity I had to die to find my answer. Still, better late than never, huh?

    • Iolaus/Dahak: Hercules, you've gotta help me! Please. C'mon. (laughs) I knew you couldn't kill me. You're still holding on to what we were. Well, it's time to grow up. It'll be a whole new day in Greece, buddy.

    • Iolaus/Dahak: You still don't believe it's me, do ya? Okay. Lemme tell ya a little story. It's the story of a time long ago. We open on our hero, Hercules. A broken man, a shell of his former self, he wanders the world aimlessly

    • Mabon: But you and Morrigan share an extraordinary heritage.
      Hercules: What heritage? My father was Zeus!
      Mabon: And Morrigan's mother was Babh, Goddess of War. You were raised a half-God among humans, she, a half-human among Gods. Similar wounds cause similar scars. What heals one wound...
      Hercules: Heals another.

    • Nebula: (to Iolaus, who appears nightly in her dreams) Well, this is a sad commentary on my social life when the best way I can think of spending an evening is dreaming about some dead guy!

    • Agenor: (to Nebula as they hide behind a table from Iolaus/Dahak) I'm sorry! I thought you were crazy!
      Nebula: I'm starting to wish I were!

  • NOTES (1)


    • Badb
      Mabon states that Morrigan's mother is Badb, who was herself an Irish Goddess of War that often takes the form of a crow. In Irish mythology, Morrigan, who is associated with war and sometimes considered a Goddess, was Badb's sister, not her daughter.