Hercules: The Legendary Journeys

Season 1 Episode 6

The Wrong Path

Aired Monday 5:00 PM Jan 16, 1995 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
72 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

After Hercules and his friend Iolaus stopped a band of hoodlums from robbing an innkeeper, Hercules went home to his family. The horror that followed was over almost before it started. A huge ball of fire burst through his bedroom window and consumed his wife, Deianeira. In the next instant the fireball took Hercules' three young children. His step mother, Hera, was to blame. Consumed by hatred, Hercules set out on a path of destruction. But the beautiful slave girl Aegina helped Hercules overcome his grief and set him back on an honorable path, but not before he learns that his friend Iolaus is possibly dead.moreless

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  • hera burns herc's family with a fireball,hercules starts a war against hera until he realizes that his purpose to life was diferrent so he starts by helping one man who had asked his help before about a monster called she demonmoreless

    a good start.I always thought that the way was killed herc's familly wasnt very clever and the excuse of zeus absence wasnt good but for an unknown reason antony quin couldnt be at the series.This episode takes points from the very good acting of sorbo and the drama that makes you feel more keen on with the characters and the story.The story with the she demon is interesting like a typical adventure of hercules.I find the start quiet usless but the show was concetrating to attract mainly kids,so they put it,i think that this was a big mistake to the show,if they cared more about the quality,this could be one of the greatest shows not only for me.This episode was one of the very good episodes of the show cause it had a lot drama adventure and it is how it begins the journey.Great episodemoreless
  • The snake B!tch

    A middly interesting opening of a middly interesting show.

    It begins with Hercules and his friend Lolaus in a bar fighting crime.

    That same night Hercules looses his kids and wife because of his step mother who killed them with her fireballs.

    That was a little too cheesy, bad special effects and very bad acting/

    But ignoring that, the episode was okay. Not as good as a pilot should be, but good enough.

    When Hercules goes to pay his revenge he meets a girl who takes him back on his path.

    Meanwhile his friend Lolaus is trying to save a village that has a demon who is turning men into stone. It’s a very pretty half woman, half snake.

    Anyway, Lolaus is turned into stone but Hercules comes to save him and turns the she-snake into stone by using her own tail.

    Hercules eventually ends on his path and is going back to save people,

    All in all, an interesting episode with many flaws but the feeling of it was great and that makes it better than it actually is.

    Still, something keep me wanting to keep watching this show.

  • The regular adventures of Hercules begins with tragedy...

    The regular adventures of Hercules begins with "The Wrong Path". Hercules' family is killed in the first scene in a slight alteration from the myth (where Hercules is driven mad and murders them himself). Angry at the world's cruelty (in the form of Hera) he begins to attack her temples. He also forgoes helping a troubled villager who calls on him for help. Iolaus, sympathetic to Herc's loss, takes on the job of ridding the village of it's Demon Woman (who sort of has Medusa like powers, a serpent's tail that turns men to stone). Iolaus fails in his mission and "dies again" when he's turned to stone. (Mind you, at this point Micheal Hurst has played a lot of "deaths" already, first as Iolaus in the first movie, again as a random villager in the "Underworld" movie, and now again as Iolaus in the first episode of the regular series). Meanwhile, Herc rescues a lady-sacrifice (his 'girl of the week' Aegina) while destroying one of Hera's temples. The girl, again, reminds me of Deianeira (1) played by Renee O'Connor in "Lost Kingdom". Aegina is spunky, fun, but in no way made out to be a romantic girl of the week (as Hercules has just lost the family and all). In a grand coincidence, the girl's home village is the same one suffering from the Serpent Woman and Hercules' accompanies her there only to find out his friend is "dead". Of course Herc takes on the beast and wins and Iolaus returns to the land of the living with a message from Deianeira and the kids, who want Hercules to continue on the hero's path and help the world... hence begins the story of the wandering Hero Herc.

    If you've seen the films and how much Zeus loves his boy, you immediately wonder why he's absent for such a tragedy, but a quick trip to Mommy Alcmene clears that up. Hercules visits his mother (played by a different actress from the films) and his shame over allowing this to happen is the explanation for dad's sudden absence in Hercules' life. There are few problems with the episode, Hercules' tragedy is a quick shock for obvious reasons (namely, they have about 45 minutes to kill his wife and kids, have him rampage about it, and get him to move on from it). In my opinion, I think they should have done a two episode arc to properly deal with Herc's pain after his wife's death. It just feels like he moves on from the pain of it all too quickly and easily seeing as they were trying to present him as blind to anything but revenge for the first half of the episode. But hey, the show is pretty lighthearted from this point on as the show hadn't quite hit it's serious "drama" side and in the long-term of the series I prefered the light-hearted early simple "hero's mission" episodes.

    All in all, it works okay enough. It sets up everything needed to start the series.. the incident that made Hercules a wanderer, the primary villain of the piece, the hero's best friend (sidekick) who's courageous and loyal, and an excuse for Zeus to be absent for awhile.moreless
  • When Hercules' family is wiped out in one foul swoop, he sets swearing vengeance against Hera, while Iolaus is left to deal with a half-woman, half-snake demon that turns her victims to stone, in this uneven but enjoyable first regular episode...moreless

    The Hercules television movies had proven so popular that a full series was soon commissioned.

    One of the main hurdles of this episode is to make the transition from the five movies into a regular series. After opening with a well choreographed but rather regular bar fight, Hercules returns home for Deianeira and his children to be suddenly wiped out by a fireball from Hera. This seems very sudden and abrupt.

    It is a real shame that Tawny Kitaen doesn't appear as Deianeira in this episode, to make her sudden death more realistic and hard hitting – the woman in her bed is clearly not her (just a double with a wig) and we only see her briefly in a flashback montage. Kitaen makes a couple of return appearances as Deianeira in future episodes, so I don't know why they didn't use her in this one.

    In myth, Hera drove Hercules mad and it was he who killed his family. This would have made a great story, but although the series might have delicately trod into this sort of territory later on, it was far too dark for the first episode of the series. It is a shame that they didn't make a 'in-between' movie, transitioning from the first five movies to the series, and telling this story, in a dark vein similar to 'Hercules in the Underworld'.

    Also with move to a regular series, there is no Anthony Quinn as Zeus. Quinn's scenes with Kevin Sorbo were one of the highlights of the five TV movies, and it is a real shame that he couldn't be convinced to appear in the series, even if it was on a small, semi-regular basis. The sudden disappearance of Zeus after such a constant presence in the movies is another thing that makes this transition episode a bit bumpy. Zeus would finally appear much later in the series, but played by a different actor, and severely lacking Quinn's presence.

    As it is, we get this watchable but slightly disjointed and uneven series of events. For all of the unevenness and sudden, disjointed events, it is still a great adventure, and gets the series off to a good start.

    With Hercules swearing vengeance on Hera, it is left to Iolaus to try and defeat a half woman, half snake she-demon that is luring men from a nearby village towards her and turning them to stone with her tail.

    Iolaus, by the way, seems to have suddenly lost his family too, but is not played upon here or any episode to any real extent. This episode showcases how Iolaus is a hero in his own right, but – with him being turned to stone – also shows that he works better as a team with Hercules.

    The outline for this episode is much as it would be for the bulk of the series – action packed and sometimes mildly scary, but definitely tongue in cheek, and slightly camp at times, but not over-the-top. It also has some good effects for a quite moderate television series budget, particularly one in its experimental first season.

    Of course, after Hercules has unwittingly saved a feisty damsel in distress from one of Hera's temples, he eventually becomes convinced to spend his life coming to people's aid, and deals with the snake-woman himself. The battle of wits in the snake-woman's cave is well shot and has some very reasonably effects.

    [Very mild spoiler] Of course, after Hercules has tricked the snake-woman, all of her victims – including Iolaus – are suddenly, miraculously turned back from stone to their living selves. No explanation of why this happens is really given, but the episode doesn't really need it (and it allows for a nice moment of Iolaus telling Hercules that he said Deianeira and the children in the Underworld). [End of mild spoiler]

    The ending of this episode is a bit strange, as it really plays out like Hercules and Iolaus are parting ways. Of course, it's quite the opposite – but watching this episode for the first time, you'd be forgiven for thinking it is the last time we shall see them together!

    All-in-all, this first episode his noticeably uneven in places, but beyond that acts as a very good starter to the regular television series, and leaves you wanting to see the next episode.moreless
  • Start of the series - could have been better.

    Having already established the Hercules universe in the TV movies, little time is wasted on backstory, and we get right into the action on this one, which is good. I like Hercules and Iolaus' entrance into the tavern at the beginning, cheesy as it is.

    What I don't like is the scene that follows. I mean, I do realise that with this being a family-friendly show, it can't keep to the original myth here (which is that Hera struck Hercules with madness and he slaughtered his family himself) but the fireball was a bit of an easy way out. Plus I agree with my co-reviewer, the so-called "grieving" scene was absolutely hideous, one of the worst I've seen in the series. Not all blame can be put on the actors, however; it was badly written. The dialogue is terrible!

    It goes uphill from there, thankfully (where else could it go?), with Hercules going on his quest for vengeance and Iolaus going to do the right thing in his place... which gets him killed. Again. So Hercules has to abandon his desire for revenge to save Iolaus (and a bunch of other people) by doing the right thing after all, and he finds redemption. I liked that arc, that was well done.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

  • QUOTES (15)

    • Hercules: Iolaus didn't die so you can turn tail and run.
      Lykus: The She-Demon's killed enough people.
      Hercules: Then let me end it for her here, right now.
      Lykus: How do you know you can?
      Hercules: I'm undefeated.

    • Iolaus: Well, you sound like you're not comin' home.
      Hercules: I'm not. If I'm going to accomplish anything in this life, it's in another direction. Goodbye, my friend. (he walks off)
      Iolaus: You don't know what's down that road.
      Hercules: That's what I'm gonna find out.

    • Lykus: Where's your respect for the Gods?
      Iolaus: In a pig trough, where it belongs.

    • Lykus: How can you call this Hercules a hero? He's too busy ravaging his own home to help anybody. He must be crazy. You people think it doesn't matter 'cause the blood of Zeus runs in his veins!
      Iolaus: Hey! Why don't you pipe down till you know what you're talking about?!
      Lykus: I know what I saw with my own eyes. That's all I'm saying.
      Iolaus: You didn't look into his heart. If you did, you'd have seen it was broken.
      Lykus: You don't make any more sense than Hercules did.
      Iolaus: He lost his family. You understand that? They were swept away in a fireball sent down by his stepmother.

    • Alcmene: Hercules?
      Hercules: Mother. How did you know?
      Alcmene: Zeus told me.
      Hercules: He doesn't have the courage to talk to me, huh? My own father.
      Alcmene: No, Hercules. Not now. There's plenty of time for anger. But your grief has to come first.

    • Iolaus: Don't doubt me, Lykus. I've fried bigger fish than your She-Demon, you know? When Hercules and I were battling the Titans, we were up against bearded behemoths, eight feet tall. No, ten. Even twelve! We still managed to beat back two waves of those ugly brutes. I tell ya, my head was echoing with the clang of swords for weeks after that... Oh, yeah.
      Lykus: I thought Hercules always fought his battles by himself.
      Iolaus: Yeah, well not when I'm around, he doesn't. We're a team, Hercules and me.
      Lykus: Not what the stories say.
      Iolaus: Stories?! What stories?!

    • Deianeira: That's who you are. People call for help, and you are.
      Hercules: And I always go, I know.
      Deianeira: Yes.
      Hercules: But I can't stand to see the Gods play with people's lives, you know... Anybody's lives.
      Deianeira: I know that. And I love that about you. You're Hercules. Don't try to change that. Not for me... Not for the kids. You'd only be lying to yourself. Who's the mighty Hercules going to help next?

    • Hercules: Pay attention for a moment, would you? The people in my life get killed. That's the price they pay for my friendship and my love.

    • Iolaus: What are you doing here?
      Hercules: I heard you were in trouble.
      Iolaus: Yeah, I guess I was. I was trying to help you.
      Hercules: You did, Iolaus. You taught me what a friend really is.

    • Iolaus: Death is the only cure, but they don't want you to die. They know how much good you have left to do. Hold them in your heart... 'til it's time.

    • Iolaus: Revenge is all that's left, Hercules. We wage a war against Hera, you and me. We'll turn everything she ever touched into rubble.

    • Hercules: Damn you, Hera! You'll pay for this till the day I die!

    • Aegina: I really was right, you know.
      Hercules: About what?
      Aegina: About how you should forget about that witch you have for a stepmother. About how no amount of revenge will ever bring your family back.
      Hercules: Nothing is, that's the trouble.
      Aegina: I'm sorry. I mean, I don't think I've said that. You really do have my sympathy. But you can't let it turn you into something you're not.

    • She-Demon: Don't you wanna touch me, too?
      Hercules: I had something else in mind.
      She-Demon: You're scaring me, Hercules. I don't like being scared. I like being loved. Don't you like being loved, too?
      Hercules: Not by somebody with scales on her rear end.

    • She-Demon: Don't hang back in the shadows, Hercules. Step out where I can see every wonderful inch of you. I know you can see me.

  • NOTES (1)

    • Using peacock feathers for symbolizing Hera was originally done to save money, but was kept because the viewers had stated that they did indeed like it.


    • The death of Deianira and the kids being the impetus for Hercules's legendary journeys is based upon the death of Heracles's first wife Megara. After killing Megara and their children in a fit of madness, Heracles proceeded to redeem himself by undertaking the Twelve Labors. In the myth, Hera is still the root cause, having been the one to curse him with madness in the first place.

    • Lykus: (briefing Hercules on the foe he will be facing) A She-Demon. She turns the men of my village into stone, and then steals their souls and gives them to Hecate in the Underworld.

      In Greek mythology, Hecate was the chthonic goddess of magic and the moon, as well as childbirth and crossroads.

    • Mythology: Hera

      In Greek mythology, Hera was the queen of the gods, married to Zeus, who was also her younger brother. She is said to have had much contempt for Hercules for existing because it was a constant reminder of her husband's affairs and try to diminish his life at every opportunity.

    • Mythology: Zeus

      In Greek mythology, Zeus was the king of the gods on Mount Olympus. He was the god of the skies and of thunder. He was married to Hera, yet was known for having affairs. One of these included Hercules' mother, Alcmene.

    • Mythology: Alcmene

      In Greek mythology, Alcmene was the mother of Hercules. She was married to Amphitryon. While he was away, Zeus came to her disguised as her husband and thus was the conception of Hercules.

    • Mythology: Turning men into stone.

      The She-Demon was not the known character in Greek mythology who turned men into stone. The best known character to do this is Medusa. She was said to have had snakes for hair and turned men into stone by them looking at her.

    • Mythology: Deianeira

      In Greek mythology, Deianeira was the third wife of Hercules. She was the daughter of Althaea and the king of Calydon, Oeneus.

    • Mythology: Hercules is the Roman name for this half-God; set in Greece, they should be calling him Heracles, which means "the glory of Hera". In mythology Alcmene, Hercules' mother was devoted to Hera, and some stories say she was her priestess.