Surprise (Hercules episode)

Surprise (Hercules episode)

Infobox Television episode
Title= Surprise

Airdate=27 January, 1997
Writer=Alex Kurtzman
Director=Oley Sassone
Guests=Hudson Leick (Callisto)
Liddy Holloway (Alcmene)
Jeffrey Thomas (Jason)
Kevin Smith (Iphicles)
Paul Norell (Falafel)
Prev=Long Live the King


Hera frees Callisto from Tartarus and sends her on a mission to kill Hercules.

Plot synopsis

Callisto, still in Tartarus, is visited by Hera. She tells Callisto she will give her one more day of life so that she can continue her crusade against Xena, by killing Hercules, the person who redeemed Xena from her evil past. Callisto agrees and Hera sends her back to the land of the living.

Elsewhere, Hercules and Iolaus are walking through the village market. Iolaus is trying to cheer up Hercules, because it is his birthday. While walking through the village Falafel runs up and gives his greetings to Hercules. Accidentally, Falafel discloses the fact that they had been planning a surprise party for Hercules. Iolaus tells him that Alcmene just wanted to celebrate the day. Hercules tells him, "Since Hera destroyed my family, I'm just not too excited about celebrating birthdays." Iolaus says there are others who care for him who want to celebrate his birthday.

Later, at the Alcmene's house, as the guests prepare for Hercules, Callisto appears. She deceives them into letting her into the party by telling them that Hercules saved her and her child and she wanted to leave a gift for him on his birthday. Alcmene invites her to join the party; meanwhile she secretly drugs the punch. Some time later, Hercules arrives and finds all the guests unconscious. A stunned Hercules stands looking at the comatose guests and Callisto reveals herself to him, telling him, "Surprise."

As Hercules rushes to his mother, Callisto informs him they have been poisoned by Xanthalian venom; by sunset they will be driven mad, if they do not kill each other first. Callisto tells Hercules that there is a cure; a bite from the Tree of Life cures any illness. She says she wants safe passage to the Labyrinth of the Gods to the Tree of Life. Hercules knows that eating the whole fruit confers immortality onto those who consume it.

Callisto says she knows the way to the labyrinth and Hercules reluctantly agrees to go with her. Meanwhile, the guests regain consciousness and Iolaus deduces that they had been poisoned. The guests split up to look for Hercules and Callisto, leaving Falafel behind.

With the guest all split up, Alcmene and Iphicles are together. Alcmene begins getting really worried about Hercules and Iphicles becomes angry that she is so worried about Hercules, when he is the one who ensures her safety everyday. Angry, Iphicles runs off and leaving Alcmene all alone. Hercules then appears to her, telling her it will be all right.

Hercules and Callisto arrive at the Labyrinth, as Callisto tries to enter, she is prevented by shooting flames; they need to solve a riddle before they are allowed to enter.

Callisto thinks the answer is Mount Olympus, but the guardian shoots flames at her again. Hercules finally solves the puzzle, telling the guardian the answer is, "The past." The guardian's flames recede and they are allowed passage into the Labyrinth.

Elsewhere, Alcmene discovers that "Hercules" has passed over to the other side. She says she will go to the other side with him and they walk of together. Inside the Labyrinth, Hercules picks up an old oil pouch and Callisto quenches her thirst in an old well. Callisto tells Hercules that all people are wicked and should be punished. Hercules says he has seen to much good in the world to believe what she said. Callisto replies that if mortals were good, why would the world need Hercules.

Back at the castle, Jason hears something and leaves Iolaus alone. Iolaus runs off looking for him. In the kitchen, Falafel is cooking imaginary food. Iphicles arrives and thinking Falafel is mad, swipes at him with his sword. The sword accidentally slices through a rope that was holding up some pots and they fall, knocking him unconscious.

Iolaus imagines a group of young women, who begin seducing him. Hercules and Callisto arrive at a junction and Callisto can not remember which path to take; she chooses the wrong one and becomes trapped in vines. Hercules saves her and they continue to the Tree of Life. Iolaus delights in being seduced by the young maidens and follows them when they beckon him to follow.

He follows them to a group of young girls being harassed by an old man. When the man turns to face Iolaus, he sees an old lecherous version of himself. Shocked by the vision, Iolaus runs off and trips. As he hit’s the ground he finds himself back in the castle corridor and screams for Jason.

Iolaus meets up with Jason, who tries to kill him; Iolaus thinks that he is his older self trying to kill him. The two men begin fighting. Meanwhile, Alcmene follows the apparition of Hercules, who leads her to the castle ramparts. Callisto tries to trap Hercules behind a spiked door, but he manages to stop it and gets through to the other side.

Hera reveals the Tree of Life to Callisto and she eats the fruit, becoming immortal. Hercules tries to find Callisto, but cannot find her. She then jumps on his shoulders and the two begin fighting, with the now immortal Callisto more than a match for her. While fighting, Callisto takes a torch and sets the Tree alight. Hercules throws her against a wall and retrieves one of the fruits, which has not been burned yet.

Callisto teases Hercules, saying even if he can get out of the Labyrinth by himself, he will never make it to his friends in time to save them. Hercules holds up the oil pouch and tells her it is empty, she looks confused. He throws a torch onto the ground, which then lights a path back to the entrance. Callisto pulls the lever for the door and angrily attacks Hercules and she is thrown into the burning tree, blinding her.

As he approaches the door, Callisto pleads with him not to leave her and Hercules goes back to help her and she attacks him again. He throws her off and rolls under the door, leaving her alone. Hercules rushes along the path of fire back to the entrance. Meanwhile, a trapped Iphicles is attacked by Falafel, who believes him to be a trapped pig. Hercules rushes into the castle and gives Jason and Iolaus some of the fruit. They hear Falafel screaming and Hercules runs and gives them some of the fruit too. Hercules finds Alcmene talking to his "ghost", he saves her and gives her some fruit.

They go to find the others and Alcmene tells Hercules about the woman who wanted to leave a gift for him. He says she did, saying, "she made me appreciate my family more than ever."

Cultural references

Hercules' use of oil to mark the path back to the entrance is a very subtle reference to the myth of Theseus and Minotaur, in which, Ariadne gives Theseus a ball of twine to find his way back to the Labyrinth's entrance.

Main cast

*Kevin Sorbo as Hercules
*Michael Hurst as Iolaus

External links

*tvtome episode|id=38974|title=Surprise

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