Hercules: The Legendary Journeys

Season 1 Episode 4

Hercules in the Underworld

Aired Monday 5:00 PM Nov 07, 1994 on USA

Episode Fan Reviews (4)

Write A Review
out of 10
41 votes
  • Hercules visits Uncle Hades and meets his little doggy.

    The Fourth and Next to Last installment of the Hercules TV movies is about a trip to the Underworld , but Hercules, now a husband and father therefore not to keen on self-sacrificing missions that take away from his home life. Obviously (considering the ages of the children) it's been a few years since he and his wife retrieved fire and returned it to Man, but it's the same ol', same ol' for Herc. Just like the last few film this one starts with a random pet of Hera's being sent to annoy Hercules. And (happy in domestic bliss with his two little boys, baby girl, and lovely wife, Deianeira) he's even more pissed off then usual about Hera's interference. Zeus, ever the little boy, is amused cheering his son on as he fights a demi-giant.

    Of course there has to be a village in danger and this one is being threatened by a crack to the underworld... but who cares there's relationship drama to sell. In this case our messenger from the troubled town comes in the form of an attractive young virgin named Iole who has the same Destiny complex that the "other Deianeira" from "Lost Kingdom had". While the whole "crack in the underworld is Hercules "mission" for the story, the real enemy to be destroyed here is jealousy. For it seems Hercules' centaur buddy Nessus is in love with his wife. Nessus is also a devote of, who else, Hera. And the young Iole gives him just the ammo he needs to plant the seeds of doubt in Hercules fidelity in Deianeira. She struggles to believe in her husband's fidelity, but upon discovering it is, in fact, the young virgins job to seduce Hercules (she in fact has been trained for it) her faith begins to break. Then on his death bed Nessus gives her a cloak he claims will ensure Hercules' fidelity (of course it does no such thing). Iole does seem to semi-succeed in attracting Hercules, but when she offers the dirty deed he easily refuses. Unfortunately the cloak is tool enough to convince Deianeira of Herc's death and so she follows him into the underworld. Of course, now along with healing the "crack to the underworld" (which was caused by the 3 headed dog Cerberus getting loose) he now has to save his wife. All in all, I didn't like Deianeira in this much. As an insecure wife she was just less fun. And it's kind of sad that I know he goes through all this trouble to save her from death only to see her die in the first episode of the regular series (which for me is two episodes away). The actor who played Nessus (the first centaur of the series) did a BRILLIANT job. His acting was top notch. Quinn was once again charming as Zeus, but seriously he has an ENTIRE universe to run and he has nothing better to do than stalk his son! Hades turned me off, I'm so glad they revamped and recast the character of Hades. Once "Uncle Hades" actually turned up I was very disappointed as I was use to his other incarnations in the Herc/Xena world and this one didn't work for me at all. I personally am a big fan of the Hades character in general (even in that sad excuse for a Hercules movie made by Disney) so that says a lot. Iole was cute enough, but her destiny issue has been done before and better by Renee O'Connor in "Lost Kingdom". And at this point I'm aching for a good ol' "this is how much Ares hates his brother" episode.

    The early creature work seen here was top notch for it's age. The first Centaur featured is a convincing blend of Man and Horse, the dead of the underworld (the Tartarus end anyway) are horridly wonderful. And finally Fluffy... I mean Cerberus the three headed dog was well done. Even though he's a tricky blend of Puppet heads and early cgi work, I think they sell it better than most full scale CGI work sells itself these days.

    Also, (along with a Hades I'm not to fond of), I again hit a continuity bump considering Young Herc and the Underworld visit. Again, this is a fault of Young Hercules (a series that too much wanted to do what was already done) Charon has never met Hercules before here, but Hercules visits the underworld as a teen in young Herc. However Hades' guards and Hades' himself seem to know Hercules in a pretty casual way. So Herc's trip to the underworld is a mixed bag. In some ways you can say he's been there before, but other things...well. Xena presents almost the same problem with Charon's memory as he goes on about live people not visiting the underworld even after Hercules has been there not only alone, but with friends (Jason, namely, who visits his dead father in the Underworld when he drops in with Hercules). It's possible Herc has been there before and Charon just doesn't connect this man to the teen visitor he'd had awhile ago. I don't think Herc ever identifies himself to Charon by name when he initially visits as an adult. It may have only come to him later. It's also funny, they seem to flip flop on the idea of people's "memories" in the Allesian fields. In Xena, Solan didn't want to go and lose his mother's memory and Deianeira did lose her memories entirely in order to be at peace here. Also, in a Herc episode later Deianera and the kids don't know they're dad. But in other episodes (like when Jason and Hercules visit the fields in the Young Herc series or the episode where Herc visited his family and wife to tell her he's getting remarried) the people they visit seem entirely aware of their former lives. Not to mention, Marcus (Xena's lover, at least one of them) said the dead hear the thoughts of the living, but what if they are thoughts that will hurt them? Like the thoughts of a lover they can't be with. Of course, Marcus was in Tartarus first so he was coming from a different perspective. And when she left him at last in the Allesian fields it's possible memories that would hurt him were then taken away. And on a sidenote... poor Micheal Hurst again dies early into a Herc movie. He's playing a random villager instead of Iolaus, but it's sad he's now twice played someone who dies early into a Herc film. Of course he played Charon who was very much... well sort of... Alive. In the underworld, but not really "dead", but I'm not sure... well he's not eactly mortal... so... ah forget it. Okay film, but not the best of the lot at all.
  • this was a good ep

    in this ep of show hercules he comes arcross this women that he meets that she is introuble and she has come acrros this portal that leads to the underworld she kills herself in disapper and that hercules must lead his family and all mankind from the clutches of hades from the underworld and his dog this was a good ep i thougth and it was very exciting with all the action scenes and it was very intense with the things that were happeing and that is why i found this to be a good show and that is why i gave it a 9
  • Hercules, now married to Deianeira and a father, is called upon by a beautiful young woman – who may or may not be trying to lure Hercules to his death – to deal with an abyss leading to the Underwold, in this scary tale...

    This fourth TV movie is my favourite movie instalment after the excellent 'Hercules and the Lost Kingdom'.

    We find that Hercules is now a family man, married to Deianeira and with three children (two boys and a girl). Seemingly, some time has passed since we last saw him Hercules and Deianeira in the previous adventure, 'Hercules and the Circle of Fire', as the children are several years old (unless, with Herc being a half-God, they grow at an unusually fast rate!).

    Each of the Hercules TV movies seem to open with a demonstration of Hercules testing his strength before the main adventure, and this time he is called into action when villagers are duped into fighting a bloodthirsty giant called Eryx. After a long struggle with Eryx, Herc disposes of the bloodthirsty giant on a broken wooden post.

    Hercules' idyllic life is interrupted when Iole, a beautiful young woman, comes to him for help to save her village, where a crack to the underworld has opened up, literally leaking evil. Deianeira is instantly both jealous and suspicious of the attractive Iole, but still takes care of her – but her concerns deepen when an old lady warns Deianeira that Iole is a Nurian maiden, trained to lure men to their death.

    Hercules has a new friend, Nessus, who is a centaur. This is the first time we have seen a centaur in the franchise (Cheiron the Satyr in the previous movie, 'Hercules and the Circle of Fire', was originally a centaur but changed to a Satyr for sake of simplicity). Considering the modest television budgets, the centaur effects, of merging a man with a horse, are very impressive (if slightly wobbly in a couple of shots).

    Nessus is a hard character to work out. In his first scene, he appears to be good friends with Hercules. But in his next, he is in a bar and speaking very jealously and low of Hercules. He goes on to make strong, forceful advances on Deianeira, and later [spoiler] tries to rape her (though it is presented very tamely) until (spoiler) Hercules kills him with an arrow through the back. Even in the Underworld, Nessus is Hercules' tormentor. [end of spoiler] It is hard to deduce if he has somehow fallen under Hera's spell, as at first he seems very likeable.

    Mid-way on the journey, there is a subplot about Iole's would-be lover, but it is never fully played upon and in some ways seems included to bump up the running time.

    The first half of this movie is well executed and very good to watch, but not exceptional and wouldn't be my second favourite movie entry; It is not until later, that Hercules makes his way down into the Underworld, that things really start to kick in and get impressive.

    Arriving in Iole's town, Hercules examines the abyss through to the Underworld – the neon gasses and the screaming spirits leaking out remind me of the ghosts leaking out of the containment unit in 'GhostBusters' (1984). Examining the abyss, Hercules has to question to his father, Zeus, whether his mortal or immortal. Zeus just angrily warns him away from the abyss, though this causes a slight sense of déjà vu after his actions in the previous story, 'Hercules and the Circle of Fire'.

    Fed up of the games of the Gods, Hercules plans to just walk away from the situation, but, wearing a cloak given to him by Iole, Hercules is attacked by it (you kind of have to see it!) and is so angered (or insane) by it that he plunges into the abyss.

    After making a brief appearance at the start of the story as one of two drunken locals who meet their grisly demise after getting to close to the crack through to the Underworld, Michael Hurst (better known for playing Iolaus) also plays Charon, boatman to the Underworld. Almost unrecognisable under his make-up and costume, Hurst plays Charon in the style of a New York taxi driver. Apparently, another actor was originally lined up to play the role, but fell ill, and Hurst took over. As well as playing Iolaus in the series, Hurst reprises the role of Charon several times. However, I found him playing the drunken villager (complete with dark wig) to be slightly distracting.

    Back on the world of the living, Deianeira receives word of Hercules' seeming death, and is so distraught that she is lured over a cliff by a vision of him, plunging to her own death.

    Once in the Underworld, Hercules encounters three beautiful but deadly maidens, who entangle him with their long, snake like tongues! Once free of them (snapping and tongues!), Herc has to escape a mass of zombies, before advancing to the next level of the Underworld and encountering a horde of villains whom Hercules slayed - including the giant Eryx! The scenes rank as possibly the scariest seen in the entire run of 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' – and are some of my very favourite!

    Hades is here played by Mark Ferguson, a different actor and a very different look (complete with toga) compared to that of the regular television series, where he would be played by played by Erik Thomson and has a much more war-like costume and manner.

    After some bartering, Hercules strikes a deal – Deianeira can return to the world of the living if Hercules can capture Cerberus, the fierce three-headed guard dog of Hades, who has broken three and is wreaking havoc in the Underworld.

    Cerberus has already had several failed capture attempts by a band of rotting hunters, who have some great makeup, and some simple but effective shots of detached limbs, etc.

    All-in-all, this is a very good adventure. The first half is good, but it is the second half, particularly with its scary Underworld scenes and Hercules' capturing Cerberus, that raises this to my second favourite of the five TV movies.
  • A bit muddled and sometimes melodramatic, but nice performances by the supporting cast!

    I felt this episode was a bit overdramatic at times, and again with the different storylines and subplots, but I still enjoyed it a lot. Also, nice to see some of the original mythology being used (although slightly mangled) in the story.
    There are some terrific supporting roles in this one, such as Mark Ferguson as Hades (both the character and the actor completely different from the one that would appear later in the series) wearing a really silly wig, and Michael Hurst as boatman to the Other Side Cheiron, whom he portrays as a sort of undead version of Robert De Niro’s Taxi Driver. It’s hilarious!
    No Iolaus though, which makes me sad.