|Norse By Norsevest|
The Asgardian Gods
|Series||Hercules: The Legendary Journeys|
|In-Universe Date||Year 3|
|Filming Dates||28 July to 6 August 1998|
|Original Air-Date||2 November 1998|
|Written By||Gary Conway, Paul Robert Coyle|
|Directed By||John Laing|
|Order in Series||87 of 111|
|Order in Season||6 of 22|
|Order in Franchise||188 of 304|
|Previous Episode in Series||"Render Unto Caesar"|
|Next Episode in Series||"Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bridge"|
|Previous Episode in Franchise||"Fame"|
|Next Episode in Franchise||"A Tale of Two Muses"|
A prophetic dream of a man's impending death sends Hercules traveling to Norseland, where he encounters the Asgardian gods. It turns out that Balder was the man from the dream, which he also had the same dream. He has been receiving other signs that he will indeed die – troubling him and his family. Unbeknownst to anyone else, Loki has formed a pact with a force of darkness to not just kill Balder, but to create even greater destruction. Even worse, they intend to use Hercules to set their plan in motion.
SummaryEditAn opening dream sequence has Hercules initially saving a man from a thrown dagger in the back, but it turns into an ominous nightmare as they are both the targets in a hail of more daggers and axes when Hercules as well as the man he was saving in the dream both wake up startled in their respective places (obviously they both had the same dream/nightmare).
Mabon says that this may be more than a dream--and that illumination brings visions to those who have that power, therefore that man may actually be in danger in the future, so Hercules decides he must leave Morrigan (a fact Mabon is sceptical to) and go north to help this man in (future) danger. However, Mabon also tells him that if he leaves, the power of speed will be lost.
In a cold and snowy land, Loki talks with a Norn about Hercules' arrival and Balder's fate.Meanwhile, Hercules does indeed land on Scandinavian shores where he rushes off towards the sounds of a damsel in distress. He stops two men who are throwing hatchets at an unlikely target -- a woman in stocks. After dispatching the men and freeing the maiden, Hercules is kicked by the maiden for having assaulted her brother and her father. As Hercules is surprised to understand why a woman whose life he had just saved would be upset with him, Thor appears and with his hammer strikes a lightning bolt throwing Hercules through the roof and into the woods. Thor is surprised to find Hercules still alive after being thrown so far and prepares for battle but after a quick tug-of-war over his hammer (he gets it back though) Balder appears and stops Thor from attacking again. Hercules and Balder recognize each other from in their shared vision/dream.
Hercules and Balder walk through a village where villagers are mostly engaging in some kind of activity always leading to violence, while Balder explains the woman was undergoing a trial of the axe to disprove her infidelity and that Viking people there do things differently than Greeks. They are joined by Loki and when Balder has to heal a wounded soldier, Hercules also learns Norse gods are also different than Greek gods as they can be caring and show mortals mercy and can also die as well--unlike the other gods he's encountered.After Hercules compliments Balder, Loki mentions how disappointing it is that Balder is prophesied to die as Balder found a page from the Norn's book of fate. Loki shape shifts into a wolf and runs off to a cavern and announces Hercules has arrived and that all goes as planned. A sinister figure gives Loki a dart and some of his blood and tells Loki that the bloodied dart will kill a god.
Back in a village tavern while looking for a place for the night, Hercules encounters more strange Norse customs particularly a ritual of headbutting which the supreme Odin respects as a sign of strength which in turn helps determine a Norseman's seat in Valhalla. There he finds the young maiden whose trial by axe Hercules foiled earlier and is challenged to a headbutting contest. Hercules avoids the contest (and the headbutt) and refers to the god Odin as an idiot if he honors such rituals.
In Asgard, Odin and his sons, Balder, Loki and Thor see Hercules insulting Odin. Thor wishes to kill Hercules for the dishonor but Balder objects and Frigga wanting to protect her youngest son Balder agrees -- so Odin forbids Thor from harming Hercules. Upset Thor storms off. Odin, wishing to further protect Balder, promises Frigga, for the sake of their son, that he will extract an oath from all things made by mortal or god so that no weapon will ever injure Balder.
We return to Hercules who finds an abandon cabin. Balder conjures a fire from the wet wood and also conjures food and drink before appearing and joining Hercules to discuss Norse way of life and how people in such a harsh land also need to be strong and harsh. Like Hercules, he doesn't agree that strength and brutality go hand-in-hand, but few others get convinced of that. He also says that every god has to battle darkness--and Thor is also needed to battle the darkness they find there at the edge of the world.
Meanwhile, a pouting Thor is consoled by Loki who tells Thor of Odin's pact with all weapons so that Balder cannot be injured and cajoles Thor into proving it to Balder so that things can return to normal and they can ignore these foolish prophecies.Hercules finds he is not alone in the cabin but it is the home of the Norn who paints a new page of Balder getting assailed by weapons causing Hercules to run off to save him.
Hercules arrives in time to live dream and he blocks the first dagger then continues to block much of the hail of weapons as Balder urges him to stop as there is no need. But some of the weapons do make it through but they shatter leaving Balder unharmed. Hercules stops and watches as even Thor's hammer smites Balder ineffectively. They explain this and urge Hercules to try attacking Balder himself, but Hercules refuses. Thor and those assembled continue badgering Hercules until a little girl offers a small dart and Hercules finally relents but the dart kills Balder.Before Thor and the Vikings can do Hercules any harm (for the second round), Hercules is encased in stone by Loki, who then convinces Thor to take Balder back to Odin in Asgard for his funeral.
Hercules eventually breaks out of the stone, as well as now he's pretty miffed, but then sees the same girl who he had encountered in the beginning and in the tavern. She has come to give thanks and to tell him that she has taken his advice and is now 'thinking for herself' and refuse idiotic rituals. He thinks that's 'good for her' and keeps trying to escape and get to Asgard, after which he realizes he doesn't know how to get there so asks if she would know. Since dying in battle isn't so acceptable at the moment, she suggests Befrost-the rainbow bridge between Midgard & Asgard. He then finally 'escapes' after she asks him if he's married (she was previously accused of stealing someone's husband).
Back in Asgard, Hercules gets directions to Asgard from her and sets off to the Rainbow Bridge, but he is intercepted by Thor and the two finally have an all out battle. Hercules manages to defeat the enraged Thor and takes the unconscious Thor back to Asgard. Odin tells Hercules that the end is near and that two of three tragedies have already taken place and with a third prophesy would come Ragnarok -- the end of all things.
- No ram, stag or any other horned species was sacrificed for Thor's helmet during the production of this motion picture. Ve Svear it.
- Michael Hurst does not appear in this episode.
- The title is a reference to the Alfred Hitchcock movie, North by Northwest.
- This is the first of six motion pictures of the Xenaverse to be set in the Norselands, though the four episodes of XWP to be set her will not occur for another 25 years in-universe.
- Though it is never outright stated in this or the following episode, it is later heavily implied that the Darkness is actually Dahak.
- The form Dahak – or his minion – takes is similar in appearance to the Blue Priest, but this is either coincidental or an attempt at misdirection.
- Hercules and Balder's dream echoes Iolaus' death in "Faith".
- The story is largely based on Balder's death and Ragnarök from Norse mythology.
- Hercules's role as Balder's murderer is held in mythology by the blind god Höðr, who was also manipulated by Loki.
- Rather than the blood of a dark god, it is mistletoe which is used to kill Balder in the myth. Frigg made everything in existence swear never to harm Balder, except for the mistletoe which she found too young to demand an oath from.
- Hercules departs Eire.
- First appearance of Odin
- First appearance of Balder
- First appearance of Thor
- First appearance of Loki
- First appearance of Frigga
- First appearance of the Norn
- Dahak is revealed to continue to exist.
Links and ReferencesEdit
- Ben Reed as Thor
- Tamara Gorski as Morrígan
- Ian Hughes as Loki
- Rupert Cocks as Balder
- Peter McCauley as Odin
- Donogh Rees as Frigga
- Denise Snoad as Hilda
- Wade Jackson as Eric
- Yvonne Lawley as Norn
- Emily Hartley-Skudder as Little Girl
- Thomas McIvor as Dying Man
- Andrew Glover as Thief
- Bill Thomas as Healer
- Ann Baxter as Old Woman
- Stephen Papps as The Darkness
- Nicko Vella as Mabon
- Benedicta Joseph as Brigid
|<< Season 4||Season 5||Season 6 >>|
|#01||Faith||#09||For Those of You Just Joining Us||#17||The Academy|
|#02||Descent||#10||Let There Be Light||#18||Love on the Rocks|
|#03||Resurrection||#11||Redemption||#19||Once Upon a Future King|
|#04||Genies and Grecians and Geeks, Oh My||#12||Sky High||#20||Fade Out|
|#05||Render Unto Caesar||#13||Stranger and Stranger||#21||My Best Girl's Wedding|
|#06||Norse By Norsevest||#14||Just Passing Through||#22||Revelations|
|#07||Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bridge||#15||Greece is Burning|
|#08||Darkness Rising||#16||We'll Always Have Cyprus|