I did not feel the version of Xena in her first episode of the trilogy, The Warrior Princess, reflected who she truly was (and neither did the follow up episode Unchained Heart, for that matter). When you think about it, all 3 episodes we're almost like 3 different Xena's: a result of Lucy Lawless still developing the character she had been given to who was originally Vanessa Angel's (needless to say, thank God Lucy go to play Xena!) and of the uncertainty of a role a female should play in a male dominated envirnment. In The Warrior Princess, Xena is the typical femme fetale, standard female villian. The Gauntlet is where we see a real woman warrior, the one would continue to see on in the spin-off show. And finally, a revert back to the typical female character -- a fluff, Hercules Cheerleader girlfriend to make her more 'likeable' it seemed; as though they were scared that they had possibly made her too rough. Interseting to note that TWP and UC we're both written by the same person, whereas TG was by another (and how evident was that?!)
The Gauntlet is easily the best out of the 3 Xena episodes, and although a lot of Lucy's acting was a bit hokey and inconsistent (as a lot of Season 1 of Xena would be), it is still enjoyable. The gauntlet Xena has to walk through was extremely well down, and the beautiful music that was accompanied by it, inplace of plain hitting effects, (Joseph LoDuca is a genius!) is what makes that scene. Somehow with the punching effects muted, the haunting music seemingly made it harder to watch.
Some minor nitpicks would be Lucy's war-cry, which was rather...underdeveloped at this time. This and that horrid 2nd outfit Xena would wear at the end, but I s'pose thats not really important lol :)