Hercules: The Legendary Journeys

Season 1 Episode 15


Aired Monday 5:00 PM Mar 20, 1995 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
53 votes

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Episode Summary

Menas Maxius, the wealthiest man in Apropus, enslaved innocent men and forced them to fight wild animals for the amusement of his friends and his wife, the evil Postera. One of those imprisoned was Gladius. His wife, Felicita, explained the situation to Hercules and Iolaus, who got themselves thrown into prison so they could free Gladius. Menas forced Hercules and Gladius to fight each other by threatening the lives of both Iolaus and Felicita. But the two men turned on their captors and fought their way to freedom, denying Menas and Postera their sadistic pleasure.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Hercules frees slaves from a jail,after meeting an african woman who informed him that her husband was in it

    that episode was intersting and is an episode that you want to watch again.Ok,the fact that the episode was seemed placing more at ancient rome than greece,cause of the existance of the arenas and african slaves,doesnt bother me that much,i have already seen worst description mistakes at xena or hercules with less interesting plots,but ofcourse wasnt something that liked me.Hercules fights the slavery again,but this time without the overdoings of the episode the march to freedom,also seems that iolaus apearances have consecrated.The actor who plays cladious is the same actor who plays deihak at the 5 season,that was a very good episode.moreless
  • Hercules finds himself in prison and forced to fight for his life as a Gladiator in a cruel arena.

    The season continues with "Gladiator", another anti-slavery story. I think you can figure out the story from the title. Arena, spectators, Gladiators fighting first beast and then each other. The story stars the incredible Tony Todd as Gladius, a man who's been in prison for about 15 years and has adapted to being a show piece in the evil Menas Maxius tournaments. Meanie isn't really the appealing villain here though, it's the wife...Postera (played by Alison Bruce who would go on to play at least 2 or 3 different roles in Xena and a minor Amazon on Young Herc). It sucks they never gave this actress a solid role to sink her teeth into. Anyway, Postera's a true viper in this and I think she would have made a good Hera. Interestingly enough, she and her husband are Hera worshipers. I just can't say how much I love the way she played Postera's exhilaration with cruelty. There's was a certain feirce and scary joy in her at the sight of other's cruelty. Her husband only seem to be in it to bask in the joy she recieved from it and the muscles warriors she used to recieve her joy (in more ways then one). It was obvious her husband was little more than a pet to her and happy to be so. I mean let's face it, she was hot and he was very much... not. In additon to Alison Bruce, I also can't say enough about how great Tony Todd was as the "broken" man who then rose to stand up against his oppressors. He just has a way of talking that reflects nobility and pain that can break your heart. He moved me as a character in a way most Hercules/Xena guest rarely do. But it kind of bothered me that because Gladius and his wife were black they tried to Africanize them. I mean the baby had on Kente cloth bunting. I'm glad when black actors played Greeks later on they just let it go. Doesn't take away from the episode though, it's still great.

    On a side note. I also happen to recognize Gladius' male lover... I mean friend Leutis (Stewart Turner) who appears in a Xena episode "Chariots of War" as a love interest for Gabby. It's always fun to think "hey, that guy was in [insert episode]".moreless
  • Trying to reunite a woman and her young baby with her imprisoned husband, Hercules and Iolaus enter a slave prison where the inmates are forced to fight in to-death gladiatorial tournaments, in this excellent episode...moreless

    This is 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys'' own take on the classic 'Spartacus'.

    Many television series over the years have had 'prison' episodes - 'The A-Team''s early first season episode 'Pros and Cons' features prisoners being forced to compete in to the death fights. Even the 'He-Man and the Masters of the Universe' cartoon series has an episode called 'A Tale of Two Cities', where He-Man is captured and forced to fight un a gladiatorial arena - and the opponent slave even looks like Gladius here! This is effectively 'Hercules'' own prison episode.

    Generally I'm not so keen on the studio set-based episodes, preferring those that mostly use location work; but I really like this one, and it is one of my favourite studio-based episodes of the series.

    Tony Todd cuts in impressive figure as the mighty (and appropriately named) Gladius. I would like to have maybe seen the character make a return appearance at some point. In fact, all of the characters in this episode are interesting, and add to an already appealing tale.

    The story is gripping and exciting, and you wonder how it is going to be resolved. Of course, Hercules could probably use his strength to break out of the prison, but then he wouldn't be resolving the slave problem.

    All-in-all, I really like this episode; I'd probably rank it as one of my personal favourites from the first season.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Hercules: There's no shame in getting sucker punched.
      Iolaus: A couple of years ago it wouldn't have happened.
      Hercules: Would you forget about it? You're driving yourself crazy.
      Iolaus: How can I? I... found a gray hair this morning.

    • Highwayman: (when Herc and Iolaus refuse to surrender) Maybe you don't count so well. There's six of us and there's two of you.
      Hercules: Good point. Uh, Iolaus, what do you think, six to two?
      Iolaus: Well, it's not really fair.
      Hercules: Yeah.
      Iolaus: Maybe we should let them go.
      Hercules: All right. (Waving them on) Uh, you can go.

    • Postera: (to Hercules) You've made quite an impression in a short time. (to the guards) Take his clothes off.

    • Hercules: (in reply to Postera's proposition) I'd rather sleep in a dungeon with rats than share a pillow with a viper.
      Postera: (laughing incredulously) You have a strange sense of humor.
      Hercules: Am I laughing?

    • Gladius: For twelve years I was like these bars... strong, hard... nothing could pierce me. Then Leutis came. He was like the brother I never had. He gave me enough hope to reach out to Felicita. Her coming was like the night suddenly pierced by the sun.

    • Hercules: Freedom is more precious than revenge.

  • NOTES (2)


    • Movie Similarities: This episode was meant to emulate the blockbuster Kirk Douglas movie Spartacus, which in turn was based on an actual gladiator who led a slave rebellion against the Roman Republic. The rebellion was a success at first, but eventually Pompey defeated the rebels and crucified them all.

    • Thumb's Down:

      When Maxius shows a fist with a thumb pointing downwards at the gladiatorial bout, he is mimicking the sign given at Roman gladiator games. But contrary to popular belief, the sign of mercy wasn't a "thumb's up", but instead a closed fist with the thumb tucked into the rest of the fingers. The thumb was meant to symbolize a sword, and the tucked thumb meant the sword was to stay in the sheath.