Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 1 Episode 14

A Fistful of Dinars

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Jan 29, 1996 on
out of 10
User Rating
89 votes

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Episode Summary


After running into an old friend, Xena learns that several different assassins are on a mission for four clues that lead to finding the lost treasure of the Sumerians. Not so much worried about the treasure itself, Xena knows that something more special lies where the treasure does, and with this you can find a special food of the Gods. Xena must prevent anyone from eating it, and on her journey she must confront a past lover and uncomfortably ask for his help.


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  • A former lover and a thief team up with Xena and Gabrielle...

    Xena and Gabrielle are confronted with the death of an individual who has one of the four clues to finding the lost treasure of the Sumerians... the Titan's Key.

    Xena and Gabrielle must side with the sneaky assassin Thersites and Xena's old lover Petracles in the race to find the Sumerian treasure, and ultimately the Ambrosia. In an attempt to sway Gabrielle to divulge what she knows, Petracles makes a play for her. Xena's intent is to keep the Ambrosia out of the hands of any mortal but Thersites has his own plans.

    Although, Xena succeeds in the safe keeping of the Ambrosia, Petracles dies sacrificing himself for Gabrielle's sake. "A Fist Full of Dinars" is an interesting episode and well written by Steven L. Sears. I loved the Thersites character. It's a shame that so many minor characters never resurface again or are killed off. Petracles is mentioned as Xena's former fiancé although it is not indicated when this occurred. Gabrielle and Thersites try to enter the temple of Demeter to steal the jewel from the Goddess' statue. When confronted, Gabrielle hands the priest the gold coin from the Sumerian treasure, I couldn't help but laugh when he retorts, "Ah, true believers!" Peter Daube as Petracles also appeared in Hercules' "The Gauntlet". He was Spiros, the father of the baby who is saved by Xena. Strangely enough, Gabrielle did not have her wield her staff in this storyline.moreless
  • First appearance of the food of the gods - ambrosia!

    When Xena stumbles across an old friend, she discovers that an assassin (Thersites) is following him and for good reason – he has one of four clues to the treasure of the Samarians. There is also another warlord in on it all but there is a catch – its Xena's ex-fiancé, Petricles.

    It is said that whoever finds the treasure will also find the titans key, which will unlock the door to the food of the gods (Ambrosia), which will make the consumer a god, themselves. Only Xena knows about the ambrosia and so she must prevent Petricles and Thersites from obtaining this.

    Xena has no choice, but to team up with the assassin, who would kill anyone who crosses his path and the warlord, who was able to trick Xena into marrying him!moreless
  • An outstanding episode - we say 'Hi' and 'Bye' to two of the most interesting guest characters of the series, and save the world from the possible effects of ambrosia, all in 40 minutes!moreless

    Everything about A Fistful of Dinars works - it is highly entertaining the whole way through, and is possible one of the best episodes of the first season, without a doubt a very underrated episode.

    Although it is clearly a filler episode, it is such good fun throughout that it never feels like it is just killing time. The characters who are introduced are outstanding in all respects, and Xena and Gabrielle's interaction with them works perfectly.

    We meet Petracles who is one of the most fascinating people from Xena's past who we meet. He is so much more interesting than, say, Marcus, it is very disappointing that this was the only real look-in his character got. Although he is neither an enemy nor an ally, he is so entertaining, with some brilliant one-liners. He is smooth and seductive, and wow - what a hottie! It is very easy to see how Xena fell for him, and how Gabrielle fell for him so quickly - I was falling for him just watching!

    Thersites is a fantastic enemy, one that you almost love to hate! He is fantastically acted, and the dialog that he has is so funny, and so clever, you can't help wanting more. He is such a downright dirty scoundrel that you know it is all going to end badly, but that doesn't spoil the fun for a second.

    The episode also has some really interesting themes introduced, including Xena's trust issues, particularly with Gabrielle, and, for the first time, we see a hint of jealousy in regard to Gabrielle's interactions with Petracles. What is less clear is whether the jealousy occurs because Xena is jealous of Gabrielle receiving Petracles attentions, or whether it is because Xena is jealous that Petracles is receiving Gabrielle's! Either way, it takes their relationship to a new level, which is always good.

    This episode is funny in all the right places, touching in all the right ones, and the action scenes are excellent as always. The dialog is outstanding; the characters interactions with each other are funnier and more believable than we have seen so far. This episode is just a top show - if only we had seen more of the back story it would have been close to perfect.moreless
  • To try and stop Ambrosia – the food of immortality – falling into the wrong hands, Xena is on a treacherous treasure hunt that forces her to team up with a ruthless assassin and a cunning warlord, in this enjoyable adventure...moreless

    I find this episode a bit of a tough one to sum up. In terms of an all-out 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' adventure, bar maybe the collapsing bridge scene, it doesn't feel as much fun as it might be. But this is more than made up for in the character interaction, with some great moments.

    I particularly like Gabrielle's interaction with Petricles, as she slowly and helplessly falls for him. It's easy to see how he seduced even the mighty Xena.

    The aforementioned bridge collapsing scene is probably the action highlight of the episode, and is well shot. The scene at the temple, with Gabrielle and Thersites, disguised by blankets, tricking their way in is also very good.

    As over reviewers have said, I don't know why Petricles was never used again (in flashback form, obviously!), as he was an interesting character, and far better than several of his 'replacements'.

    It probably wouldn't scrape my top ten episodes list, but it is a very enjoyable episode in its own right.moreless
  • Under-rated episode indeed.

    This was a definete treat. Two note-worthy guest stars (Petracles and Thersites) help bring this episode to life with the perfect mix of drama, comedy and its plain entertainment at its best.

    Its a shame that the powers that be did not use Petracles again for Remember Nothing, and replaced him with another fiance. The other one is so forgetable I still dont know what his name was. Nor was he very believable as someone Xena would be interested in. Petracles was almost like a premature Borias for Xena, bearing similar traits. Both men did not start off as noble characters, but would soon turn out to show their true colors; unfortunately, death drove both of them apart from Xena. Both relationships started out in a similar way: Was it really love? Or just using each other? Wild, adventurous and young warriors who didnt really know themselves as much as they thought. I would of really liked to see him again. I'd also note that he was one of the few male characters Lucy had chemistry with.

    Overall, this is definetely a great episode (which I cant exactly say for quite a few Season 1 episodes!). Lots of funny lines and memorable scenes that would definetely get you tuned in for more.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Gabrielle: I can see how this would destroy the Ambrosia.
      Xena: It won't be destroyed, just returned to the Gods. We don't need it here anymore. I was wrong about Petracles. He was a good man.
      Gabrielle: He was.

    • Man: I know of no temple in No-Namia. I've never even heard of the land.
      Gabrielle: It's across the waters, big waters, huge waters! You see, we have come to honor the Goddess, and to offer a gift.

    • Xena: You all right?
      Gabrielle: Yeah, I'll be all right. That man scares me.
      Xena: Believe it or not, I'm more worried about Petracles.

    • Petracles: ...some people consider me the king sweet talker.
      Gabrielle: Well hand over the crown, because you've just met your match. When I was five, I talked my parents into giving me my own pony.
      Petracles: When I was fifteen, I talked a warlord into giving me his army.
      Gabrielle: I once talked a cyclops out of his dinner - and I was the dinner.
      Petracles: I talked Xena into marrying me. (Gabrielle concedes the contest)

    • Gabrielle: So what's this Petracles like?
      Xena: He's a warlord. He's an ambitious, ruthless, dominating, conniving liar. He'll say anything to get a woman to fall for him and then once he has her he uses her.
      Gabrielle: So you've met.
      Xena: We were to be married.

    • Thersites: The great God, Thersites. It's got a nice ring to it, don't you think?
      Gabrielle: Ah, definitely! If you let me go, I'll build a temple to you with my share of the treasure.

    • Thersites: Unless you're here bringing me food or maybe a nice back-rub-- huh? No? Go away.

  • NOTES (3)


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