Hercules: The Legendary Journeys

Season 1 Episode 9

The Festival of Dionysus

Aired Monday 5:00 PM Feb 06, 1995 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
55 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

The Festival of Dionysus
A power struggle threatened to send the peaceful kingdom of Meliad into war. Fearing the worst, Queen Camilla summoned Hercules to the annual Festival of Dionysus. If Dionysus, the god of wine, did not find King Iphicles worthy to rule another year, ten lovely virgins would become drunk and slaughter the King in a terrible frenzy. Good king or not, someone wanted him dead.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
  • hecules is trying to stop king's unfair murder at the festival of dionysus by his older son

    the series continue with a good episode but not as much as the 2 first episodes.The story is interesting,nice not to see the mean hera again,this episode has a dark climac showing us with this way the diferrent pontentials that the series can have,i like the fact that new gods make their apearance.Ares is representing by a moon that it has more the looks of a smiling skeleton,i prefer the human version of ares at the next seasons,this apearance was kind of weird reminds me more a devil and not an olympian god,i dont like the skeleton worship.Other elements that are turning me off is the bad direction like it was at the lost kindom movie,we see the people having dress and be painted like they were mayas or some tribes from the amazon.Bad scene also was when ares controled the body of the older brother,the fighting was iteresting but the voice when he talked to hercules was awful.The virgin who was demanded by the 2 brothers was very charming to me and this gaved points to the episode.We see again tiresias,well i think that this role isnt for many episodes,so i am glad not seeing him at a regular base.Interesting episode.moreless
  • The beginning of a new enemy for Hercules ... Ares

    I completely forgot that initially Ares took a feather out of mama Hera's cap as a "face in the sky". As he comes in the form of a skull in the sky in the "The Festival of Dionysus". The funny thing about this episode is they completely ignore the fact that much like many other Gods (Venus/Aprodite, Ares/Mars, Eros/Cupid) that Dionysus IS Bacchus. And Bacchus (as seen in Young Hercules and Xena) is anything but a peaceful and happy guy that Hercules would like. This has a lot to do with the changing concept of Gods in the coming evolution of the series though. While they are played as super powerful forces in the early Hercules concepts and very rarely seen, they come to be seen a lot and have little more than the ability to teleport and a little zap to bother people in the later end of the series. Giving them human form reduced them to either beast (like Bacchus) or comedy (as Ares became in the end, especially on Xena). It's hard to imagine this creepy laughing "force of evil" as the guy seen in the Xena ep "Old Ares had a Farm" or any episode of "Young Hercules" for that matter (not that he was never powerful there or on Xena).

    But anyway, this episode is all about a Queen having a "dream" or "Premonition" about her husband's death. He doesn't worry about it as he believes that if their patron God (Dionysus) wants his life then it's his time. The Queen doesn't buy into his faith and sends her youngest boy to find Hercules. Of course he finds them and comes to the kingdom only to discover the Queen's older son has a faith different from the father's. He's a devote of Ares and is planning to kill his father. Much like Hera has done before, Ares eventually possesses the body of a mortal in order to have his first fight with Hercules.

    There's a whole thing with young lovers and jealousy. There's the return of the sidekick Tiresias (the old man/blind seer) from the previous episode and really it's all kind of whatever for the episode. The big deal for me was Ares being the villain. As an Ares fan (mostly because of Kevin Smith) I was disappointed to find out this was Ares' beginning (as I wanted Kevin Smith to pop out somewhere), but liked that Hercules finally had to fight someone that wasn't Hera for once. Besides, I think even without Xena as a reason to do so, Ares sooner or later required an active body. As I think every ep with him that follows he posses someone to fight with Hercules. All in all, the episode was a bit of a dud, but it gets extra points for introducing Ares into Hercules' life.moreless
  • Hercules is summoned by a Queen who has had dreams of her husband being murdered during the Festival of Dionysus, and must try and stop the visions from becoming reality, in this slow and uninteresting instalment...moreless

    After two good episodes ('The Wrong Path' and 'Eye of the Beholder') and one fair-to-good episode ('The Road to Calydon'), things come down to Earth with a bump with this rather dud episode.

    The episode's best moments come near the beginning, where Hercules is tricked into a drinking contest against a thug - which is actually two twin brothers posing as one (who were also one of the many identical guards in 'Hercules and the Lost Kingdom').

    The plot of this episode takes an age to really get going. I was going to say mid-episode it gets a bit confusing, but I'm lying – actually I found it all a bit boring and my attention wandered a bit.

    Tiresias the seer, from the previous episode 'The Road to Calydon', makes a return appearance here, making it seem even more that the writers were trying him (along with both Iolaus and Salmoneous) out as potential recurring companions. This would turn out to be Tiresias's last appearance in the series. Although I quite like him, and Norman Forsey plays the part very well, I think he was a bit too gruff and dark to work as a recurring companion, especially so early in the series when things were more light-hearted.

    One question though – whatever happened to Tiresias' dog, whom latched on to him at the end of 'The Road to Calydon'? I thought it made a nice pairing, and was niggled that the dog had suddenly vanished.

    Although 'The Road to Calydon' was partly studio filmed, this episode is also the first instance of being predominantly stupid based; all three of three previous episodes had extensive location work. Locations always bought stories to life for me, the heavily studio-based ones usually seemed a bit static in comparison.

    The episode has several fight scenes, but they are all rather generic compared to some other episodes. The only possible moment of excitement is when Hercules and Nestor are trapped in a pit with a giant eel-type-monster, but it is over all too quick.

    This episode is generally less 'monster' based than the previous three episodes, and notably is not Hera-heavy, which is good because already, shoe-horning Hera in to every single story is being slightly tiresome. Instead, we meet the God of War, Ares. But this is not the Ares as played by Kevin Smith that we would become used to – instead, as with nearly all of the Gods early on, is represented in a more abstract way; Ares is represented by a laughing skull over the moon, giving him an almost alien-like feel. Although I came to like Kevin Smith et al and the life that they breathed into Gods (although I felt there was one-too-many 'comedy God's later on), in a way I quite like these faceless Gods that we see here and in other early episodes; It makes them feel somehow more powerful and indestructible.

    Of course, regarding Ares' different appearance in these first season episodes, there is nothing that can't be explained away, as it seems the Gods (including Zeus) can change appearance at will.

    This episode, other than the different appearance of Ares, almost feels like an episode from the second season onwards, especially in that you'd get a few good episodes and then a really dud one mixed in.

    When I originally saw this episode, I was frankly quite bored by it, and never really bothered re-watching my recording of it. When I caught a re-run of it a few years ago, I was still very disappointed in it. When I came to re-watch it to review recently… I tried hard to give it another go, but I'm afraid it just doesn't do it for me. I would point to this as the weakest episode of the mostly strong first season. Maybe I would like it a bit more if Tiresias still had his dog!!!moreless
  • The evil prince

    Finally an episode that uses the potential it has, well some anyway.

    The casting and special effects were so much better. Also the acting and writing improved quite a bit.

    This episode is the first time they mentioned the great Ares.

    The episode is about a king being killed in his wife’s dream. She is afraid and calls Hercules who meets an old friend again, that old guy. What happened to the dog he ended with the previous episode?

    But anyway, the older Son wants to become king and the only way to that is by killing his father. He’s planning on making the virgins drink a wine that will make Ares posses them and then kill the king and queen. One of those virgins is the girlfriend of the younger brother.

    Anyway, Hercules arrives and a guy who works for the older prince noticed him and they try to kill him by throwing him in the dungeon but Hercules frees himself and then stops the ritual and Ares, the prince tries to kill Hercules by drinking the wine but Hercules still wins and the king and queen lived happily ever after.

    The episode worked pretty well, the storyline was darker and the dialog was pretty funny. This is how Hercules should have been more often only a bit better.


Watch Online

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • This is the first episode with Ares, though he does not appear in the flesh. He appears as a skull superimposed over the moon with an evil laugh, and later possesses Prince Pentheus.

    • Nitpick: In this episode, Nestor says that his father is having coffee imported (a new import and they are the first to have it so far). Coffee did not start reaching the Middle East and Europe until the 15th century, long after Hercules' time.

    • This episode marks the third appearance of Tiresias.

    • Dionysus never appears in human form in this episode.

    • We learn that while Hercules is hostile to most of the Greek Gods, he considers Dionysus better than most.

  • QUOTES (14)

    • Priest: For over a thousand years, Dionysus has watched over Meliad. And each year, we have celebrated with this holy festival. Now, you have been selected to play its most sacred role. Tonight, when the moon reaches its full height the new wine will flow over your lips and with it Dionysus himself. Then, you will know his will either to confirm King Iphicles' reign, or to end it. If you must spill the king's blood, don't think.
      Pentheus: All right, good priest. There's no point in scaring these pretty girls. Let them go and enjoy their preparations.

    • Nestor: Tell me about your adventures, Hercules. Danger around every corner? Death up every tree?
      Hercules: Sometimes, not usually up a tree, though.
      Nestor: I've always wanted to be a hero... Killing monsters, fighting all sorts of battles.
      Hercules: Well, believe me, battles and killing make better stories than they do memories. Besides, your time will come. It's Prince Nestor, now. Someday, it'll be King Nestor.
      Nestor: Me? No. That's for my older brother, Pentheus. He's the heir to the throne.
      Hercules: Well, that's just as well. You know what they say about power.
      Nestor: No, what?
      Hercules: Well, that it corrupts. Makes men into demons.

    • Tiresias: (as the people try to get to the wine corrupted by Ares) Go on! Get out! Vamoose! Scram! Ain't you people got homes? Look, it's not my idea. If it were up to me, I'd be filling goblets and watching you idiots drop like flies.

    • Hercules: No. You are not coming with me.
      Tiresias: Oh! You bet I am! Everyone in this city's now so happy, it makes me sick!

    • Phegus: (bragging about beating Hercules) Sure, I did Hercules.
      Man: Phegus, you're lying! You never defeated Hercules.
      Phegus: I sure did! Why, I wiped the streets with him. I had him begging for mercy! Hey, he had more mama's blood in him than Zeus!

    • Camilla: I'm sorry, Hercules. I wish I had more to tell. But at least, now you understand why there had to be so much secrecy. If anyone in the kingdom knew that I had called you here, they would think that I was trying to deny Dionysus' will, and I'd never do that. If it truly is my husband's time to go, then I must abide by that. But it just can't be. He is the finest king that Meliad ever had. It's not his time to die. Nightmares, feelings of gloom, huh?! Maybe, there's nothing wrong at all. Maybe, I'm just being silly.
      Hercules: No. You're not being silly. I ran into an old friend of mine a little while ago. It's a long story, but if he's here, there's a good chance trouble's here, too.

    • Hercules: Oh, I will never... Drink.. Again.
      Nestor: Hercules! I have to find Hercules. I was told he was here. Hercules?
      Hercules: Yeah?
      Nestor: Look, I need to talk-
      Hercules: Shhhhh. Not so loud.

    • Nestor: It's called coffee. My father just started importing it from the East. We're the only kingdom in all the land that has it.
      Hercules: No offense, but this isn't something to brag about.

    • Tiresias: It is if Dionysus wants the king to rule for another year.
      Hercules: And, if he doesn't?
      Tiresias: Well then, The festival becomes my kind of bash! Oh! The new wine drives the maidens into a murderous frenzy, and they slaughter the king! Aww, it's fantastic! Especially for the prince. When the king dies, the maidens crown a new king with a night of unbridled passion! Ahhhh, girls, wine, murder, mayhem! What more do you want?

    • Tiresias: Oh! Ah! It's just as well! I brought this goatskin full of wine! A little bit of the hair of the dog that bit you, huh?! I got some. Got some pork rinds to go with it! Or, how about some fish, huh? Or, garlic toads as well. Stick to your ribs like dung to a loincloth.

    • Hercules: A festival for Dionysus, huh? Ah, I guess that old lush isn't as bad as most of the Gods. Besides, maybe someone there will have advice on hangovers. So, what goes on at this festival?
      Nestor: Basically we pray to Dionysus to bless the new wine, then everyone drinks! You don't have to drink, Hercules. Only the virgins have to drink.

    • Hercules: (when asked for his aid) So, what's your problem exactly?
      Nestor: I don't know, exactly.
      Hercules: Well then, what's your problem vaguely?
      Nestor: I don't know that either. My mother didn't say. She just told me to invite you to the Festival of Dionysus and, well, not to take no for an answer.

    • Hercules: (as they are attacked by the palace guard) Nestor, do you have any idea what you're doing?
      Nestor: (attempting to defend himself) None whatsoever.
      Hercules: Great.

    • Hercules: (seeing Ares' image superimposed over the moon) Ares, you stinking coward. I should have known you'd be behind this.

  • NOTES (0)


    • Mythology: Satyr

      In Greek mythology, a Satyr was a being that was part human and part goat. The bottom half was the goat and the upper half was human. There have been other interpretations of what parts were animal parts and what parts were humans but the show ran with the traditional image.

    • Mythology: Ares

      In Greek mythology, Ares is the god of war. In the series, he gets a more prominent role in the later seasons. Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera.

    • Greek Mythology: Dionysus

      Dionysus was one of the many sons of Zeus, born from the mortal woman Semele. Zeus offered to grant her a wish as a sign of his favor, and swore by the River Styx to give it to her, whatever it might be. She asked Zeus to show her his real, Godly form to her. He begged her to choose something else, since the sight would destroy her. She insisted, and his divine presence caused her to burst into flames. The baby Dionysus was pulled from her ashes by Zeus, who sewed him into his thigh as a substitute womb. Once Dionysus was developed enough Zeus 'gave birth' to him. Later, Dionysus, or Bacchus, as he was known, traveled over the world gathering worshipers. But King Pentheus of Thebes refused to believe in his Godhood, and had him arrested. Pentheus' womenfolk, including his mother, were driven into a "Bacchic" frenzy and tore Pentheus to pieces thinking in their madness that he was an animal for sacrifice in retribution for his refusal to acknowledge Bacchus. This story can be read in the play The Bacchae by Euripides.