Beauty and Strength Break Up
"Love, Amazon Style" Plot Summary:
While trying to trap rabbits, Iolaus sees Aphrodite out riding Lady Godiva-style. Greeting his sister, Hercules learns that she's out and about in the buff to try to lighten her aura because she's depressed. The goddess takes off, gets thrown from her horse, and comes across a tribe of Amazons chanting praise to Artemis, who keeps them free from men. Rolling her eyes, Aphrodite attempts to cast a love spell on the women...but the spell doesn't work quite right, and the tribe winds up working for Damos, the nasty but stupid god of terror, who suddenly gains the power to make them obey his orders.
When Hercules and Iolaus discover the Amazons working as barmaids and Rockettes, they realize that something is very wrong. Damos pleads innocence, saying he saw the goddess of love slinking away from the newly passive Amazons, and tries to get Iolaus to team up with him while Herc rushes off to see his sister. Aphrodite sadly confesses that ever since she broke up with Hephaestus, her powers haven't worked right. Hercules suggests that maybe she misses him and should consider getting back together with her lover, but she rolls her eyes and leaves. Meanwhile Iolaus tries to help the enslaved Amazons, offering assistance to a woman named Kayla, but she sneers and threatens to kill him once the spell is lifted.
Hercules visits Hephaestus, who has just invented the electric clothes dryer but is suffering from depression and malaise like Aphrodite's. Though he claims he likes being single because he can belch whenever he wants to, he laments that the magic has gone out of his life. When Hercules mentions the god of the forge's ex-girlfriend, Hephaestus flies into a rage, chasing Herc with a saw before being subdued. The hero offers to help, bringing Hephaestus to Aphrodite's temple and feeding him romantic lines to lure Love.
But Damos, who has most of the Amazons digging for a mysterious object near the town with the bar, is afraid Aphrodite could regain her powers and sets out to foil her reunion with Hephaestus. He sends an Amazon to claim to be the older god's lover, which disgusts Aphrodite, who is revolted that her boyfriend slept with a mortal. Meanwhile, Iolaus has gotten close enough to hostile Kayla to learn that Damos wants the fragments of the Chronos Stone, which Artemis gave to the Amazons to protect them from evil men. If Damos finds the stone, he will have powers greater than Zeus'.
Hercules suggests to a despairing Hephaestus that the god go back to the forge and wait. Then he convinces Aphrodite that the Amazon was part of a plot by Damos, whom the goddess of love confronts but finds that she can't defeat in her weakened state. Kayla tells the god of terror that the Amazons will defeat him even if he finds the Chronos stone, yet he only laughs maniacally. Aphrodite visits Hephaestus, but when she orders him to apologize, he screams that she was the one who left and they begin to argue again. When they appear to Hercules and Iolaus, Hercules listens to their banter and sticks a pair of Hephaestus' super-strong handcuffs on them, binding them together until they can get along.
Hearing that his cousin is coming for him, Damos sends the Amazons to kill Hercules, but the resourceful son of Zeus manages to disable the attack force without really hurting anyone. He reaches Damos just as the smirking little god finds the Chronos Stone, which gives him the power to create giant thunderbolts - but his aim is so poor that he doesn't manage to hit the hero, instead flying between Aphrodite and Hephaestus, knocking the handcuffs apart.
The god of the forge sniffs that his lover always looks beautiful, the goddess of love sniffs that her lover's a genius, the two kiss and make up. The spell over the Amazons is broken. Kayla decides to forego revenge against Iolaus, since he's one man she thinks they can trust.
Hercules brawls with the god of terror and the stone falls loose. After a brief game of volleyball with the deadly relic, Hercules knocks the stone - and then Damos - away. Damos vanishes as the Amazons arrive, so they prepare to attack his sleazy assistant, but Hercules has a better idea. When we next see the tribe, they're patrons in the bar where Damos had them working, and the men are serving them. Kayla thanks Iolaus for showing her that there are some men who can be trusted. Iolaus loses his lucky dinar gambling.
I'll keep this short because this episode was trivial and rather offensive - a story in which a group of independent women get sidetracked by Love and can only be rescued by A Good Man when Terror has them in his grip. At least I don't really think it's a cautionary tale. The story was too fluffy for that, with jokes about Aphrodite's horse Secretarious and Salmoneous going to jail for tax fraud. But it's a big step backward for this generally feminist-friendly series.
Damos is proving that the now-dead Strife (played by the same actor, in the same whiny voice, with the same annoying laugh) could have been a lot worse than he was. Strife merely caused famine and plagues, whereas Damos forces people to listen to his jokes and expects women to be attracted to him. Then again, Iolaus came across pretty darned patronizing to the woman who later sniveled her gratitude. And Hercules' ultimatum to his sister to get back together with her boyfriend with the violent temper was pretty obnoxious as well.
Given that there are only eight episodes this season before Hercules goes off the air, I'm pretty disappointed in what we've gotten so far this abortive season. Maybe I won't miss it as much as I thought I would.