1.23 - The Mysteries of Life

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Title The Mysteries of Life
Episode # Season 1, Episode 23
First aired November 5, 1998
Directed by Andrew Merrifield
Written by John Loy
Summary A grown-up Ruff is a prisoner of a freak show. Iolaus and friends break him out.

FoxKids Spoilers

  • The fire-breathing Basilisk, Ruff, returns to Corinth as the star attraction of a traveling sideshow. When the boys see their mistreated, malnourished friend, they are overwrought with concern and inadvertently free him. Once again, it's a race against time to get Ruff to safety before he is captured by the evil sideshow barker or a mob of angry townsfolk.
  • Hercules, Jason and Iolaus learn that their former pet serpent, grown to monstrous size, is being kept by a freak-show operator who refuses to release the creature.

TV Guide Promo

  • The trio discover that Ruff, their monstrous former pet, is being held by a freak show owner. When the ringmaster refuses to sell him, Iolaus and Hercules sneak in and free Ruff, who then escapes and runs rampant threatening Corinth.


Title card - End credits can be found here.

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Characters (mention only)




Plot Arcs

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Television Tropes


Hercules: Hi, Prince Jason, hi. So let me kiss your feet, baby. Let me kiss your feet.
Iolaus: Ah, let me wipe the sweat from your royal brow.
Hercules: Whoa, hold on, wait a second. Are we sure we know what we're doing?

Iolaus: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I can handle him.

Hercules: Okay... Hold on a second. Now why doesn't that make me feel better?
Iolaus: I think you would have been okay. I think he kinda likes ya.
Jason: Yeah, medium rare.

Trivia & References

Pop Culture References and Greekisms - The Barker's line of "But you can't make a moussaka without cracking a few eggs, huh?" is a Greekified version of the quote You can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, a quote commonly attributed to either Joseph Stalin or Lazar Kaganovich.
Reality Check - Iolaus says that he thinks Ruff is a vegetarian. But would he have even know what a vegetarian was back then? According to Wikipedia, the earliest records of vegetarianism as a concept and practice amongst a significant number of people concern ancient India and the ancient Greek civilizations in southern Italy and Greece. In Greece during classical antiquity the vegetarian diet was called abstinence from beings with a soul (Greek ἀποχὴ ἐμψύχων). As a principle or deliberate way of life it was always limited to a rather small number of practitioners belonging to specific philosophical schools or certain religious groups.

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