Saturday, August 31, 2013


Original Air-Date November 6, 1995

After being attacked by four sword-wielding bounty hunters, Xena saves the life of Demophon, one of the attackers who has been badly wounded in the fight, and waits out a terrible storm with her captive and Gabrielle in a local tavern.

When both Demophon and a loudly coughing customer in the bar suddenly die -- and a man's howling scream is heard over the sound of the thunder -- Xena realizes that Prometheus has been captured by the gods. Gabrielle explains to the innkeeper that according to legend, if Prometheus is ever bound, mankind will lose all the gifts he gave them, including fire and the ability to heal themselves.

Determined to free Prometheus, Xena consults the oracle Io and is put through a series of dangerous trials to prove how much she is willing to sacrifice. After passing the tests, Io tells her she must go to Vulcan Mountain and enter the cave of Hephaestus where she will find the only sword that can break the chains that bind Prometheus. Io warns her, however, that warriors loyal to the Temple of Hera will stop at nothing to keep her from her mission. Xena accepts the challenge.

While traveling to Vulcan Mountain, Xena asks Gabrielle what she would do if she died. Gabrielle tells Xena she would become a traveling bard, to which Xena responds she would be good at it. They stop by a traveling salesman shop, Xena asks him directions to Vulcan Mountain, and leaves Gabrielle behind.

Xena enters the cave and is immediately pursued by a number of Hera's fiercest soldiers armed with broadswords and battle axes. As she flees deeper into the cave, she must also evade spikes popping out of the cave floor and giant hammers swinging down from the ceiling like deadly pendulums. In a third passageway, Xena turns to fight the remaining soldiers, but a pit opens and both her and the two soldiers fall in, Xena eventually manages to get out of the pit.

Finally, she reaches the Sword of Hephaestus which is embedded in a large stone, and with a mighty heave, she pulls it free. Emerging from the cave, Xena is surprised when Hercules suddenly appears and asks her to hand over the sword. She charges him with a fallen branch and after a flurry of skillfully parried kicks and blows, she flees on horseback.

Later, as Hercules and his friend Iolaus help her fend off another ferocious attack by Hera's soldiers, it becomes clear why Xena avoided Hercules: whoever wields the sword to strike the blow that frees Prometheus will be destroyed. Each will not allow the other to complete the suicide mission but for the moment, they agree to work together.

On the way to the mountain where the chained Prometheus is dangerously close to being devoured by a giant eagle, Hercules and Xena rekindle their deep friendship. Gabrielle and Iolaus are also very drawn to each other. When Gabrielle discovers that he has been hiding a wound he received during the battle with Hera's soldiers, Iolaus bravely asks her not to mention it to Hercules and Xena since there's nothing they can do for him until Prometheus is freed.

As the foursome make their way upwards through the cavern inside Prometheus' mountain, Hercules reveals that he had been here long ago with his father, Zeus. Xena and Hercules realize Iolaus has been wounded when he is further weakened in a sudden cave-in. Knowing Iolaus will not survive the climb, Gabrielle remains behind with him as Hercules and Xena continue on together. In the end, the two join forces to free Prometheus by battling a horde of lizard men who have hatched from huge eggs encircling the god's chained body, as well as the gargantuan eagle which captures Xena in its claws.

In the process, they manage to avoid direct contact with the hurled Sword of Hephaestus which severs Prometheus' chains, so both are able to survive the ordeal. With Prometheus free and his gifts to mankind restored, the four friends bid each other a sad farewell, while Gabrielle tends to Iolaus under a tree, she asks him if he heard the story she told him, Iolaus reveals he was out of it, before sharing a kiss. Hercules and Xena's goodbye isn't easy. Xena tells Hercules, that he taught her what to look for in life, and the pair kiss before parting ways, though its seems certain they will meet again.


Lucy Lawless as Xena

Renée O'Connor as Gabrielle

Michael Hurst as Iolaus

Kevin Sorbo as Hercules

John Freeman as Prometheus

Jodie Dorday as Io

Paul Norell as Statius

Russell Gowers as Demophon

Sara Wiseman as Young Woman

David Mitchell as Innkeeper

Iolaus was harmed during the production of this motion picture. However, the Green Egg Men went on to live prosperous lives.


Once, a long, long time ago, all people had four legs and two heads. And then, the Gods threw down thunderbolts, and split everyone into two. Each half then had two legs, and one head. But the separation left both sides with a desperate yearning to be reunited, because they shared the same soul. And ever since then, all people spend their lives searching for the other half of their soul.

-- Gabrielle

"You're not much for girl talk, are you? Then of course you're not like most girls."
-- Gabrielle

"You've been helping people."
"Someone taught me it's the only reason to be on this earth."
"Now who would that be?"
"Some legendary hero, I forget his name."
-- Hercules and Xena


Paul Norell, who plays the salesman in this episode, frequently appears playing various small roles. He also plays the recurring role of Falafel on HTLJ.

Michael Hurst broke his arm during the filming of this episode (making the disclaimer 'Iolaus was harmed during the making of this motion picture' have dual meaning, as Iolaus is injured in the plot, and Hurst was injured filming).

This is the first time the four stars of the Xenaverse (Sorbo, Lawless, Hurst and O'Connor) appear on-screen together. The others, all episodes of HTLJ, are Judgment Day, Stranger in a Strange World, and Armageddon Now: Part 2, though in the latter two, at least two of them were playing alternate versions of themselves.

In the original Greek myth, Prometheus was chained and tormented by Zeus, not Hera, as punishment for bringing fire to humanity.

Xena did not use the chakram in this episode. Ironically, Xena later discovers that it can break the Metal of Hephaestus (XWP: Dirty Half Dozen) and thus she never needed the Sword of Hephaestus in this episode.

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