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Tear Jerker / Hercules: The Legendary Journeys

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WARNING: Spoilers are unmarked.

  • In "If I Had a Hammer," Atalanta says what every women ever rejected by Hercules was thinking, as she admires the metal statue of Hercules which she made herself.
    Atalanta: [The statue] Can't disappoint me... Can't hurt me... Can't make me cry.
    • She then laments:
      Atalanta: Maybe it's my destiny to be a living, breathing sculpture of muscle and flesh, apart from everyone, alone forever.
  • In "What's In a Name?", Iphicles is impersonating his half-brother Hercules to win the love of a princess, but her warlord stepfather Gorgas is boasting that he has the Son of Zeus on his side. Hercules learns something is wrong and heads to Phlegra with Iolaus to investigate. Along the way, they encounter an old man whose daughter and son-in-law were killed by Gorgas's men.
    Hercules: Why don't you come with us? We're on our way to Phlegra. We'll find you some help.
    Old Man: Who from? Certainly not Hercules. We thought he'd be our salvation, but even he won't stand up to Gorgas.
    Iolaus: Wait a minute. I thought this Hercules was a good man.
    Old Man: So did we, but so far, he's done nothin' to prove it.
    Hercules: We'll tell the people in town that you're here.
    Old Man: Don't bother. Gorgas has left me nothing to live for.
  • Iolaus's death in "Faith":
    Hercules: Hang in there, buddy.
    Iolaus: Can't.
    Hercules: Sure you can. Come on.
    Iolaus: [smiles] Hercules... [dies]
    Hercules: [shaking him] Come on. Don't you give up on me. Come on. Come on! Don't you give up on me!
    • Earlier in the episode, Gilgamesh talks about how his family was murdered and that the gods did nothing to prevent it. Hercules can relate to both losing a family and having to learn the hard way that gods can let you down, so Gilgamesh remarks, "You know, I wish I had met you a long time ago. Perhaps you could've spared me some disappointment." It's doubly sad when the climax reveals Gilgamesh's tragedy made him a Fallen Hero who's willingly serving Dahak.
  • Herc's reunion with his dead family in "The Other Side":
    Ilia: Daddy, I missed you.
    Hercules: I missed you, too, Ilia. I missed you all so much.
    Ilia: Are you crying, Daddy?
    Hercules: No. The wind just blew something in my eyes.
    • "I wanna be as strong as you when I grow up, Dad."
  • In "Not Fade Away," Hercules visiting his family's graves for the first time in nearly two years:
    Hercules: I wish I had been here to take better care of you. From the day we met, that's all I ever wanted. It's hard to be reminded that I can't do it anymore. I guess that's why it's taken me so long to come back. Ah, I'm afraid to admit this, but sometimes I feel like, without you, I don't know why I keep on fighting. Oh, I know what you'd say. You'd say I did a-a great thing today, helping to save all those people, but tomorrow, Hera's just gonna destroy something else and the day after that. Things just seemed to make more sense when I had you and the children to hold. I miss you, Deianeira.
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  • In "The Fire Down Below," Salmoneus gets rich selling a treasure and a host of female admirers, but it was cursed, so he has to give back all the money in order to stay alive. The women quickly abandon him, and he ends up accusing the one who liked him for who he was of lying to him.
    Salmoneus: You don't have to care about me. I'm just—just go on with the others. I don't want you here. Find some other rich guy to use, huh? Get outta here.
    [She runs off, crying]
    Hercules: Well, that's one way to keep a woman interested. We've got work to do, Salmoneus.
    Salmoneus: I know they only loved me for my money, but it still hurts. And after this, there may never be another pretty girl in my life.
  • Hercules managing to change time so that Serena never died, but only by making it so they were never married (and in the new timeline, Serena is married to someone else and has a daughter).
    Autolycus: You gave Serena her life back. Too bad, to do it, you had to wipe out everything the two of you would have shared.
    Hercules: Yeah. The best thing that never happened to me.
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  • "Atlantis" deconstructs Cassandra Truth so hard that it hurts. Cassandra is an outsider among her people, everyone thinks she's crazy, and a mob burns her house down.
    Cassandra: [watching her home burn] My father built this house. I was born here. It's all just a cruel joke. It's a curse! I mean, the people just won't believe me. I never wanted this responsibility! Never!
  • In the Season 3 episode "The Lady and the Dragon", the villain of the week (Adamis) uses a dragon named Braxis to do his bidding. However, as we later find out, Braxis is only a child who's still mourning his mother's death. Even worse, Adamis lied to him and said Hercules had killed her when Adamis was actually responsible. Adamis even plans to kill Braxis because he's getting too big to control, even though Adamis has actually grown fond of him.
  • In "Armageddon Now", Hope sends Callisto back in time to the day Xena's army came to her village (though Callisto's journey there is later erased from time). Seeing and hearing the tentative hope in Callisto's voice when she says "Mother?" and catches a glimpse of her family pulls hard at the heartstrings. And then, a few minutes later in the barn, Callisto does her best to protect her family from Xena's soldiers...until she accidentally kills her own father. Realizing what she's done and seeing her mother's murderous face, Callisto utterly surrenders to her fate, incinerating her own mother and starting the fire that ravaged her village, leaving her younger self to die in the fire. The whole time, Callisto is sobbing. Even though that timeline later gets undone, so Callisto didn't kill her own parents after all, the whole scene and the implications for her character are just haunting.
    • In Part 2, Callisto succeeds in killing Alcmene's younger self, thereby altering history. Pursuing her through time, Iolaus ends up running afoul of Xena during her Destroyer of Nations phase. He tries to appeal to Xena's inner goodness while she tries to kill him. The way he gets through to her has quite an affect, and it takes on some extra connotations in light of what happened a few weeks before this episode aired.
      Iolaus: I know about your son, Solan.
      Xena: Solan? Nobody knows about Solan. Who are you?
    • After all that happened in this alternate version of events, it's actually Iolaus who saves the younger Callisto from the fire.
      Iolaus: You know, if you cry, it might help.
      Young Callisto: No. I will never cry.
  • The framing device to "Twilight" is Alcmene dying and Hercules coming to terms with not being able to save her.
    Hercules: I feel so useless. She's the one doing all the comforting.
    Iolaus: Ha. I'm not surprised. You may have the blood of a god, but your real strength comes from her.
    Hercules: I can't just stand by and do nothing.
    Iolaus: Hercules, you know you're the best friend I... and I've seen you do some things which I thought were impossible, but maybe there are some battles you just can't win.
  • The main setting of "Love Takes a Holiday" is a village that Hephaestus cursed to disappear 50 years ago. When it reappears, the locals are unaware that any time has passed, including Leandra who is looking for her missing son. Iolaus soon learns that the young boy was Skouros, his own father, who escaped the curse by playing at a nearby brook. He convinces Leandra of their relation, but he also has to tell her that Skouros died years ago in battle.
    Iolaus: You'd have been very proud of him.
    Leandra: If only I could be with him just once more.
    [Iolaus hugs her]
    • Hephaestus proves to be a Jerkass Woobie: Disowned by his mother, thinking himself ugly, and believing everyone looks down on him. He wanted Leandra because she reminded him of Aphrodite.
  • "Once a Hero" shows Jason as a broken man after Medea murdered their children. He took to drinking to calm his nightmares, which we see a little bit of early on.
    Daughter: Help me, Daddy! [screams]
    [Jason wakes up, panicked]
  • "Doomsday" shows Daedalus dealing with the fallout of Icarus's death. The episode opens with him having a nightmare about it, and he later recounts to Hercules what happened.
    Daedalus: The day he died, he-he came into my workroom as I was struggling with a new invention. He wanted me to go flying with him. "Later," I said. After a while, I noticed how quiet it was. I went to look for him. I-I heard a voice far up in the clouds. It was Icarus, crying out for me. I had warned him against flying too close to the sun. There was nothing I could do except watch him fall. Or I could have gone with him! Instead of being so busy with all my inventions.
  • "My Fair Cupcake" is a Pygmalion Plot, where Autolycus tries to pass off a dancer from "Men In Pink" as a princess so he can steal the priceless Sapphire of Antioch. The King of Thieves soon falls in love with her and regrets that they're not going to get together. He remarks he's only been in love one other time and that that didn't work out, either.
  • "War Wounds" sees Iphicles struggling with Rena's death, while Ajax (an old friend of Hercules and Iolaus) struggles with not being a soldier anymore and tries a fair shake for those coming back from Troy. Iphicles blames the soldiers for keeping him from Rena's side as she was dying and brought the hammer down on them, so Ajax ultimately resorts to kidnapping Iphicles. His final speech highlights how both of them jumped off the slippery slope.
    Ajax: Hercules is right; it's over! I went too far. A good soldier never surrenders, but he always recognizes the enemy when he sees him. Sometimes, that enemy is within.
  • "The Mother of All Monsters" takes Monster Is a Mommy to its logical conclusion, as Echidna wants revenge against Hercules for the deaths of the Hydra, the She-Demon, and the Stymphalian Bird. She's full of rage when talking to others, but by herself in her cave?
    Echidna: Ohhhh, my children, I miss you so. There's an emptiness in my life that can never be filled. But this I swear: Hercules will die for what he did to you and to me! To all of us!
    • Then in "Cast a Giant Shadow," Hercules meets Typhon, who's portrayed as a friendly giant as well as a loving husband and dad. Herc struggles to find the right way to explain what's happened with Echidna and the monsters, but it eventually comes out.
      Maceus: Hercules must be punished for what he did to your wife and to you.
      Typhon: He never hurt me. He set me free, after I was held prisoner by Hera for all those years.
      Maceus: So what? He didn't do it until he trapped Echidna down there in the bowels of the Earth. And I'll tell ya something else: he killed all your kids, too.
      Typhon: My kids?
      Maceus: That's right. Every last one of 'em.
      Typhon: That can't be true.
  • Salmoneus is mostly a comic character, but his complete terror while the gang is buried alive is heartbreaking, as is the way he beats himself up about it afterwards.
  • "Redemption": Herc and Iolaus's farewell, complete with Man Hug and Manly Tears.
    • "Goodbye, Iolaus."


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