The Lost City

A review by Martha

Episode:The Lost City
H:TLJ Season: Third

Michael Hurst (Iolaus)
Robert Trebor (Salmoneus)
Fona Mogridge (Moira)
Matthew Chamberlain (Kamaros/Karkas)
Marama Jackson (Aurora)
Amber Sainsbury (Regina)
Hannah Malloch (Lorel)

The Lost City is my favorite H:TLJ episode. It's well-written and clever, the set design and costumes are gorgeous, the director is good, and the plot is a nice balance of humor and action. Iolaus triumphs over the bad guys by using his wits as well as his fighting skills, and he's ably assisted by Moira, Regina and Aurora. I like Moira a lot. She's single-minded and stubborn, and while she's obviously affected by our Golden Hunter's charms, she doesn't let it stop her from irritating the hell out of him like a good heroine should.

Salmoneus is hilarious as always and the actor playing Kamaros makes him wonderfully evil. When he drops his disguise as the slimy religious leader and reveals himself to be Karkis, the Butcher of Thessaly, it's very believable. I generally prefer the episodes that feature both Iolaus and Hercules, but I rank this episode above Hero's Heart, Cast a Giant Shadow, Prince Hercules, and some of my other favorites for a few reasons:

One, it's got the one thing I love most in any H:TLJ episode: Iolaus in a swordfight! There's that moment at the beginning when Iolaus is holding Karkis at bay, crouching on his chest, and you realize just how big Karkis is. Then a little further in, we have the moment where Iolaus pulls Kamaros' wig off, revealing that he is Karkis, the Butcher of Thessaly. The wig removal bit is an unfortunate choice at such a dramatic moment, and both actors have fixed grins which suggest it was a little hard to get through without dissolving into hilarity, but I like it anyway. It's over the top in that H:TLJ way we knew and loved before the slow descent into the pit of the fifth season.

Two, the story has a connection to mythology: Kamaros uses lotus, along with the hypnotic mind-control effects (and we all know which original Star Trek episode that came from, right?) to control his followers. In mythology Odysseus encounters the land of the Lotus-eaters, or lotophagi, where anyone who ate the lotus forgot about returning to their own country.

Three, the blue outfit Iolaus ends up wearing. I don't know why, but I suspect it's the "wolf in sheep's clothing" effect. (I was blindsided by this in Richard Lester's Three Musketeers where Oliver Reed, Michael York, and many other delectable men wander around with long curly hair wearing silk and lace while having kickass swordfights and beating the crap out of their enemies.) I like the little gold dots they put on his forehead too. I don't know why. And then the shirt starts falling off during that wonderful swordfight and it just gets better and better. (And if anybody has any images or screen captures of Iolaus in this outfit that they wouldn't mind sharing, or better yet, photo stills they would like to sell, please contact me.)

According to The Official Companion, this script was originally written as a Hercules episode, but Kevin Sorbo had to do something else and so it was rewritten for Iolaus. Michael Hurst thought the fact that the lines were originally written for Hercules was obvious, but personally I can't tell. It's a wonderful Iolaus episode.

Disclaimer:No Hippy-dippy, Substance abusing, 60's Reject Love Children were harmed during the production of this motion picture.

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