Hercules: The Legendary Journeys

Season 2 Episode 17

The Apple

Aired Monday 5:00 PM Feb 19, 1996 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
45 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

The Apple
Iolaus was delighted to meet Aphrodite, who offered him a special golden apple. The apple would make any woman Iolaus wanted fall hopelessly in love with him. The spell worked perfectly on Thera, but there was one problem: She was already betrothed to Epius. Their union would bring peace to the cities of Syros and Delos. Aphrodite didn't want peace; she wanted to control both cities and turn their gold into shrines. Hercules managed to prevent a Syros-Delos war by thrusting the apple into the joint grasp of both royals, uniting them as soul mates for life.moreless

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  • In Kevin Sorbo's directorial debut, Aphrodite gives Iolaus a magical golden apple that makes anyone who touches it fall in love with him, but it serves to jeopardise a wedding that will bring together two feuding kingdoms. A silly tale...moreless

    Don't get me wrong, I love many (even most) of Hercules and Xena's all-out comedy episodes. But this one... it just didn't do it for me. I'm just not keen on the story, and although camp and kitsch are always a part of the show, I find them both way too over the top in this one.

    The episode is directed by Kevin 'Hercules' Sorbo, his directorial debut. He handles it ably, and I don't think it was his direction that puts me off of this episode in particularly.

    Also is of note is that the episode introduces Alexandra Tydings as Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. Although Tydings plays the part perfectly – and I know many will disagree here – but I was never over-keen on Aphrodite in the series. I found most of her dialogue a bit TOO tongue-in-cheek modern, and for me sums up the later elements of the series that I wasn't so keen on.

    Aphrodite would go on to make a number of return appearances in both this series, and 'Xena: Warrior Princess'.

    At the start of this tale, Iolaus discovers surfing – although Hercules says it will never catch on – another sign of the series making more and more nods to the present day.

    After Hercules has left for the wedding, Iolaus and a fisherman watch with jaws dropped as Aphrodite emerges from the waves, wind surfing on her clam shell. And that sort of sums up this whole episode – kitsch and camp, and (as several magazines summed up the show at the time) almost like a 1990s version of 1960s 'BatMan'.

    One of the few so-so okay moments of the episode are Iolaus' dreams (inspired by Athena and Artemis respectively) of how he could be a greater warrior than Hercules, or a wise philosopher and scholar. I did note that – probably by coincidence – that in his first dream, of being a great warrior, his torso costume resembled that of He-Man – but then, I'm just a (not so) closet 'Masters Of The Universe' fan!!

    The first act, of Iolaus having to choose the most beautiful out of Aphrodite, Athena and Artemis, suddenly morphs into a completely different story when Aphrodite gives him the golden apple. The previous plot, of having to choose the most beautiful, is suddenly dispensed with, like it belonged to a different episode, and on hindsight almost seems like padding.

    It is interesting that Aphrodite, who we all associate with love and suchlike, is actually the villain of this episode. However, I did find it a bit sudden when Hercules deduced mid-episode that her giving the apple to Iolaus was a deliberate act to set the two kingdoms at war with each other.

    I know others will disagree and love this one, but I'm afraid I just didn't really care for this one. Only a couple of okay moments save it from being bottom of the barrel.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Iolaus: (asking about the beauty contest) Why bother? I mean, you're all gorgeous.
      Athena: Sibling rivalry fostered by a capricious, inattentive father.

    • Thera: (after passionately kissing Iolaus) Nothing like this has ever happened to me before! And I don't even know your name.
      Iolaus: Well, it's...
      Thera: (interrupting him to kiss him again) Shut up!

    • Thera: Hercules, I wonder if you would do me a really big favor. Would you tell Epius that I'm really sorry but I can't marry him?

    • Iolaus: This whole thing is a mistake.
      Aphrodite: Why? You scored, I saw you.
      Iolaus: Yeah, but she's not the right girl. I mean, I didn't think the apple would work and even if it did...
      Aphrodite: You didn't know it was Thera?
      Iolaus: Yeah.
      Aphrodite: Bummer. Not my problem.

    • Iolaus: Why does keeping the peace have to be so violent?

  • NOTES (3)


    • Aphrodite emerging from a shell washing up on the beach is a reference to Botticelli's painting The Birth of Venus, which famously depicts Venus (Aphrodite) rising from the sea on a giant bivalve.

    • Greek Mythology: Artemis

      Artemis was the goddess of the hunt, as well as of the forests, moon, and fertility. She was the daughter of Zeus and Leto (a Titan), and the twin sister of Apollo, the sun god. Her symbol was the golden bow and arrow, and the deer and cypress were sacred to her. She was a virgin goddess, and asked Zeus to grant her the wish of never being confined by marriage.

    • Greek Mythology: Athena

      Athena was the goddess of wisdom, strategic warfare, and crafts such as weaving. She was the virgin patron of Athens. She was the daughter of Zeus and Metis (a Titan associated with wisdom). Zeus was afraid that Metis' child would be more powerful than he, so he swallowed the pregnant Titan, only to have Athena burst from his forehead fully armed. She was usually shown fully armored with a breastplate called the Aegis, helmet and shield. She was also often shown with an owl companion, or with a serpent.

    • Greek Mythology: Aphrodite
      Aphrodite was the goddess of love. She is sometimes viewed as a daughter of Zeus and Dione (and as Hercules would have it, this is the case, as she and Hercules are siblings). Alternately, in early myths, she was born when the Titan Uranus/Ouranos was castrated and his genitals were flung into the sea.

    • Possibly just coincidence, but in Iolaus' dream about being a better warrior than Hercules, his torso armor is similar to that of the cartoon character He-Man of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

    • The story of the awarding of the Golden Apple is important in Greek mythology. When Eris(Discord) wasn't invited to the wedding of the hero Peleus and the Goddess Thetis she threw the Apple into the crowd of celebrants, reading "For the most beautiful". The Goddesses Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite all claimed that it was meant for them, and asked Zeus to be the judge. He demurred, suggesting the Trojan Prince Paris as their judge. Each Goddess promised the young man a wonderful prize if she was chosen, but he chose Aphrodite without hesitation and was given his reward- the love of the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen. He carried away Helen from her husband Menelaus and thus started the Trojan War. For this adaption, it was decided to use Artemis instead of Hera, since having the series' main villain participate in a trumped up beauty contest would be rather inconsistent with her character on the show.