Hercules: The Legendary Journeys

Season 1 Episode 17

The Gauntlet

Aired Monday 5:00 PM May 01, 1995 on USA

Episode Fan Reviews (4)

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  • Warrior Princess Xena is betrayed by her lieutenant, Darphus, and forced to walk "the gauntlet", before she ends up fighting alongside Hercules, in this classic episode that sets Xena on the part to redemption...

    After Xena's so-so introduction in 'The Warrior Princess' three episodes ago, here we get to see her in all her powerful glory, in this excellent episode.

    The teaser scene, as Xena leads her army into battle, is impressive and breathtaking, and gives a much greater sense of her leading a formidable army than the events of 'The Warrior Princess' did.

    After the rather out-of-character Xena seen in 'The Warrior Princess', here we are introduced to the more human side to Xena. Although a definite villainess, she is shown to have some moral compassion, in giving targeted villages chance to buy their escape, and letting women and children escape her wrath. (Of course, all this helped the fact that her own television series was well in the pipeline by this stage!)

    Robert Trebor as the captured Salmoneus is excellent and really funny, and plays off Lucy Lawless very well. Salmoneus had a couple of appearances in 'Xena: Warrior Princess' before Joxer was brought in to effectively fill the role, but I always longed to see more of the Xena-Salmoneus pairing, as it is very watchable. In fact, I would rank this episode as one of Salmoneus' very best.

    The gauntlet scene itself is one of the best shot and most powerful of the series.

    As she reappears, Xena is dressed in an unusual gold armor uniform, the only time she was ever seen wearing this.

    We also see that Hercules is one of the few people able to escape the throw of her chakram (complete with a rare effect of following it as it hurls towards him).

    [spoiler] At the end of the episode, Darphus is resurrected, making way for the season finale. This is a two-parter in all but name. [end of spoiler]

    The acting, and the story-line, and the general presentation make this great episode one of the very best of Hercules' first season, probably even of the entire series.
    I would probably rank this as the best of the original Xena trilogy, and the most consistent with what the character would develop into in her own series.