Hercules: The Legendary Journeys

Season 5 Episode 13

Stranger and Stranger

Aired Monday 5:00 PM Feb 01, 1999 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
36 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Stranger and Stranger

Hercules jumped through a vortex into the Netherworld. There he found his evil double, The Sovereign, as well as the cowardly double of his late sidekick, Iolaus 2. Disguising himself as the Sovereign, Hercules learned that Nebula, the parallel world's evil ruler, conspired with Ares to imprison the Gods of Olympus in the Labyrinth of Eternal Memory. Hercules and Iolaus2battled a giant snake and entered the labyrinth. After defeating Ares and Nebula, Hercules freed the Gods. The parallel Iolaus 2, wishing for a bright future in a new world, jumped through the vortex with Hercules.


Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Hercules travels back to the Alternate Universe, where Iolaus' parallel double joins him in trying to free the Gods of Olympus, whom Ares has entrapped. Bruce Campbell directs this adventurous return to the parallel universe...moreless

    This review contains spoilers.

    This is a return to the parallel universe established in the fourth season's 'Stranger in a Strange World' and the two-part 'Armageddon Now'.

    One thing that really niggled me was that in 'Stranger in a Strange World' and 'Armageddon Now', it was stated that if someone in one world dies, their parallel counterpart also dies. With that in mind, it is never really explained how Iolaus II or The Sovereign (whom Ares bumps off in this story) remain alive. Not that I really mind; I never really liked that rule and always tried to explain it away anyway.

    Gina Torres plays a parallel version of Nebula, the Empress. This part was quite clearly written for Lucy Lawless as the parallel Xena, as seen in 'Stranger in a Strange World'. She has exactly the same mannerisms and character, not to mention the (regular) Ares' deep infatuation with her. Lawless was seemingly not available and they adapted it to the Empress instead, and this is probably the biggest thing about the episode that doesn't quite work for me.

    'Wheel of Misfortune' was a fun idea, but way too over played and too comedy based; I feel these parallel word stories work best with darker material.

    I was unsure about the information of the Gods being imprisoned in the parallel world by (the regular) Ares. The episode sort of gives the feeling that they've been trapped there for a little while, yet in the previous (terrible) Xena episode, 'If The Shoe Fits...', Aphrodite is seen in the regular world.

    Hercules and Iolaus II's quest into the labyrinth to free the imprisoned Gods is good, especially with the giant snake. And I like the great ending, as Hercules convinces Iolaus II to stand up for himself, and the pair head home through the portal, accompanied by suitably exciting music.

    I wonder how Iolaus II will shape up in the series – whether he'll make a suitable replacement for the regular Iolaus, or how it will pan out.

    This is a quite good return to the parallel universe, but I hope they don't overuse the idea too much.moreless
Kevin Sorbo

Kevin Sorbo

The Sovereign

Guest Star

Kevin Smith (II)

Kevin Smith (II)

Ares God of Love

Guest Star

Gina Torres

Gina Torres

The Empress

Guest Star

Kevin Smith (II)

Kevin Smith (II)


Recurring Role

Michael Hurst O.N.Z.M.

Michael Hurst O.N.Z.M.

Iolaus 2

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Hercules: Think, Ares. I know it's a stretch, but try. You can't rule the world if there's no world left.
      Ares: Nothing wrong with starting over!

    • The Empress: (to a cage full of her subjects) My loyal subjects, as your new Empress I look forward to watching each and every one of you die!

    • Ares: (to the Sovereign) You know, I like you. Under different circumstances, we might have been friends- if we weren't trying to kill each other first.

    • The Empress: The Sovereign's dead?! (she bursts into tears)
      Ares: Please! Like you actually cared for this clown?!
      The Empress: No! I just thought I was going to get lucky tonight!

    • Ares, God of Love: (looking at his outfit in the mirror) Does this make my butt look big?

    • Hemnor: (referring to the portal to the Sovereign's world) What is that?!
      Hercules: It's a doorway. Get everyone out of here.
      Hemnor: What are you going to do?
      Hercules: (getting ready to jump into the portal) Something really stupid.

  • NOTES (5)

    • The statues of people chained in different positions in the Empress' throne room are clearly the repainted petrified victims from Aiden's World in the Xena episode "Paradise Found".

    • This was originally meant to be a 3D episode, but the technique was scrapped. Several 3D images can still be found throughout the episode, including Hercules's tunnel journey, the vortex's first appearance, Iolaus 2 poking the screen, and Hercules's fight with Ares in the labyrinth.

    • Lucy Lawless' character Xena was meant to be The Empress who has taken over The Sovereign's world. But when she was unavailable they decided to use Gina Torres, whose character Nebula came into the forefront in season five.

    • Falafel was meant to be the head chef of the Empress, but they decided that was a one liner, not a useable character, so they made him the game show host. They did retain his wonderful cooking abilities, and it comes up in the episode "Just Passing Through".

    • Disclaimer: If you would like to be a contestant on Wheel of Misfortune, simply send us a postcard and prepare to kiss your bottom goodbye