Hercules: The Legendary Journeys

Season 5 Episode 1


Aired Monday 5:00 PM Sep 28, 1998 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
38 votes

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Episode Summary


Nebula took Hercules and Iolaus to Sumer, where the angry Gods were leveling cities. To remedy the situation, King Gilgamesh took Hercules with him on a series of physical trials in a pyramid, where they retrieved a chalice of sacred Nectar. But Gilgamesh betrayed Hercules by drinking the Nectar and crushing the cup, becoming a disciple of the demon Dahak. Next, Gilgamesh tried to sacrifice a warrior heart -- Nebula's. But Iolaus, who was in love with Nebula, saved her by taking the dagger himself. Hercules destroyed Gilgamesh, but he was too late for Iolaus, who died in his arms.


Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Michael Hurst directs the fifth season premiere, as Hercules and Iolaus sail to the land of Sumeria with Nebula, to help King Gilgamesh who claims he is under attack by Gods. But nothing is as it seems, in this great start to the fifth season...moreless

    This review contains spoilers.

    After the fourth season, which had seen a number of silly and sometimes rather childish episodes, the fifth season comes along and feels like it has had a new lease of life given to it. After some of the shaky fourth season stories, the fifth season looks set to bring with it darker and more challenging tales.

    King Gilgamesh is played by Tony Todd, who had appeared in the great first season episode 'Gladiator', and 'Xena: Warrior Princess' under-rater 'Lost Mariner'. Todd always brings a great presence to the roles that he plays, and here he does exactly that.

    I like the concept that there are different Gods in different areas of the world, and that the Olympian Gods are not alone. Also interesting is Hercules' theory that the world is round – something that Iolaus refuses to believe!

    I also like the fight on the dock with the electric eels. After the last half of the fourth season very much saw a dip in action sequences for various reasons, it's great to see a return to the over-the-top fight sequences for which the series is well established.

    It comes as a real shock when, after having ventured through the pyramid together to find the goblet of nectar, Gilgamesh without warning turns on Hercules and clouts him over the head with his helmet. There was no forewarning of this, as the fact that Todd usually plays heroic characters makes it even more of a shock.

    Iolaus, meanwhile, is getting very close to Nebula. After a simmering will-they won't they relationship ever since they first met (in the fourth season's 'Web of Desire'), they finally get it together here.

    Sadly, this happiness is short lived, as Iolaus is killed when he blocks a dagger aimed at Nebula, and meets his maker.

    Iolaus has died before in the series, in the very first TV movie 'Hercules and the Amazon Women', and in the third season episode 'Not Fade Away', only for him to be brought back to life, but here, it is clear that his fate is more permanent.

    The final battle, as Gilgamesh tries to being Dahak into the world, is exciting and well shot, and one of the best action sequences that the series has seen for some time.

    Michael Hurst does a great job direction this season opener, which packs a lot of surprises and has a lot of action. If the season keeps this standard up, it should be a very good one.moreless
Ross Duncan

Ross Duncan


Guest Star

Tony Todd

Tony Todd

King Gilgamesh

Guest Star

James Gaylyn

James Gaylyn


Guest Star

Gina Torres

Gina Torres


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • Tony Todd (who plays Gilgamesh) previously appeared in the Hercules episode "Gladiator" and the Xena episode "Lost Mariner", each time playing a different character.

    • Nitpick: Odd that the emissary says Gilgamesh is the son of Ra, as Ra is an Egyptian God and was not worshiped in Sumer. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh is the son of the Goddess Ninsun. The Sumerian religion was highly varied between city-states, and there was no organized hierarchy of Gods.

    • Hercules takes over the Dahak arc from Xena, after getting exposed to it the season before in "Armageddon Now pts I" and "II".

    • This episode marks the third time Iolaus dies, though it's the first time he stays dead at the end of the episode. The previous times occurred in the TV movie "Hercules and the Amazon Women" and the episode "Not Fade Away". It is actually debatably the fourth time Iolaus dies, considering that in the first episode, "The Wrong Path", Iolaus is turned to stone and later revived, and tells Hercules stories about his time in the Underworld.

    • Goof: As Gilgamesh squashes the chalice after drinking the Nectar of the Gods, the chalice springs back to it's original shape, but when he tosses it to the ground it is crushed flat again.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Hercules: Hang in there, buddy.
      Iolaus: Can't.
      Hercules: Sure you can. Come on.
      Iolaus: Hercules... (he dies)
      Hercules: Come on. Don't you give up on me. Come on. Come on! Don't you give up on me!

    • Gilgamesh: This is really gonna hurt.
      Hercules: You took the words right out of my mouth.

    • Iolaus: Where's Hercules?
      Gilgamesh: The One God has been good to him.

    • Gilgamesh: There's nothing you can do to stop Dahak from entering our world. It's his destiny.
      Hercules: And it's my destiny to shut you up.

    • Hercules: Well that's it. We go down in history as the guys who ticked off all the Gods.
      Iolaus: If something's worth doing, it's worth doing well, right?

    • Iolaus: I understand you better than you think.
      Nebula: Do you now?
      Iolaus: (quoting her) 'My country, my borders'. You don't like people to get too close to you. You don't want to be tied down.
      Nebula: (pulling him close) I never said I didn't want to be tied down!

    • Gilgamesh: In a way, you're your own worst enemy.
      Hercules: Wrong! Now I'm yours!

    • Hercules: (referring to Iolaus) I can't believe he's gone.
      Nebula: It's not your fault, Hercules. You stopped Gilgamesh, the people are safe.
      Hercules: Should have been me.
      Nebula: He loved you so much, he wouldn't have wanted that.
      Hercules: I know. He was... my hero.

  • NOTES (1)

    • Disclaimer: In order to protect the environment and for the benefit of all mankind, Imara's Beard was recycled and restored immediately upon completion of production of this motion picture.


    • Gilgamesh: In mythology, Gilgamesh was the king of Uruk, a city in Sumer. The Epic of Gilgamesh claims that his mother was the goddess Ninsun, and that he was 2/3 god, and 1/3 human. He was a harsh king until the gods sent the wild man, Enkidu, to be his friend. After the two fought the Bull of Heaven, the gods punished Enkidu and he died. Gilgamesh, distraught at losing his friend and fearful of one day dying himself, went on a quest to the underworld to try to find the secret of immortality, and succeeded. Unfortunately, on his way back to the land of men, he dropped the flower that held the key to immortality, and had to reconcile himself to remaining mortal.