Back To Sumeria
"Darkness Rising" Plot Summary:
After saving the Vikings, Hercules returns to Eire to check on Morrigan and Bridget. She's ridding the land of injustice despite some who still resent her past and seems to be comfortable as a Druid, but tells Hercules she missed him and asks him to stay with her. Hercules warns her that everyone he gets close to dies, but agrees to stay a few days to help the villagers rebuild from Caesar's invasion. Mabon suggests to Hercules that since he and Morrigan are both half-mortal children of gods, they may be able to help one another find their paths. The son of Zeus takes the daughter of Mab on a picnic and hides with her and Bridget in a cave when a storm arrives. Morrigan suggests that they they belong together, but Hercules insists that they both need sleep.
In his dreams, Hercules has a vision of Nebula on a bed of flames and a dark god descending. He wakes to find that they have been sealed in, and breaks out to discover the Druids all dying. Mabon tells Hercules that they were attacked by evil incarnate; of course, he means Dahok. After the boy Druid dies in his arms, Hercules recalls his vision of Nebula in a burning bed, and decides he must return to Sumeria. Morrigan insists on going with him in her role as Justice to avenge the deaths of the Druids, though she leaves Bridget with Ronagh, her former enemy. On the ship traveling around Iberia, the half-goddess points out that not everyone who gets close to Hercules dies: she survived the massacre of the Druids because she was with the hero. They become lovers.
When Hercules arrives in Sumeria, palace spokesman Agenor treats him strangely, and he quickly discovers that Nebula has been imprisoned to protect her from her own madness. With Morrigan's encouragement, Hercules talks to the withdrawn Nebula about the death of Iolaus, finally getting her to open up to him and learning that she has been seeing visions of his friend and her lover - first in dreams, then awake. In the last of those visions, Iolaus tormented her, asking her to choose death, then trying to kill her by burning her bed when she rejected him. Hercules asks Morrigan and Agenor to guard Nebula and goes to the tombs, where the body of Iolaus is missing from its sarcophagus. From behind him he hears the voice of his dead friend greeting him: "Hello, Hercules." Hercules returns the greeting, but his is to Dahok.
Hercules and the dark god struggle. Dahok uses Iolaus' voice, but he has black eyes and spins his head around. He suggests that Iolaus permitted Dahok to use his body willingly, which Hercules cannot accept. Dahok retorts that he's come back to save the people he loves, and vanishes, appearing to Nebula as Hercules races to her. The dark god descends as in Hercules' vision, killing the guards and threatening Nebula, Morrigan, and Agenor until Hercules insists that they flee. He begs Iolaus to help him fight Dahok if Iolaus is still in the body, and for a moment it seems that Iolaus is speaking to him, so the hero stops his attack. But Dahok laughs, saying he knew Hercules couldn't kill his friend, and says he'll see Hercules in Greece. Then he vanishes through the floor. Morrigan and Nebula vow to go to Greece with Hercules to kill Dahok or die trying.
Boy, it was good to see Michael Hurst again in the opening credits, even if it was painful to see him as Dahok. We got some humorous Exorcist behavior and a great demented laugh out of him, but, like Hercules, I really want the old Iolaus back...not that I want them to rush this arc, because I think they're doing a superb job with it. I'm not crazy that Morrigan's seemingly more committed to Hercules than to finding out who she is, but she's a colorful character and I'm just as glad she traveled south; I also look forward to seeing how she and Nebula interact. Dahok made a nasty crack to Hercules about how they should get those two beautiful women and double-date; can't see that right now, but I could imagine the two women with Hercules and Iolaus, since they're both very strong characters and quite capable of keeping busy while the boys are off fishing.
Dahok isn't as scary now that we've seen him in the flesh as he was on Xena when he was a dark primal force, and it's interesting that they're making him so much like Hope...like daughter, like father. First he takes the body of the hero's best friend, then he makes knives fly across the room and uses nasty sexual innuendo...I think I prefer the metaphysically terrifying Dahok to this earthy incarnation. Next week this series is back to reruns, which bites, because I really want to know what will happen when Dahok hits Greece again.