Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 4 Episode 5

A Good Day

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Oct 26, 1998 on
out of 10
User Rating
77 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


Teaming with a desperate Greek soldier whose home is about to become collateral damage in a battle between Rome's two remaining triumvirs, Xena plots to make Caesar and Pompey lose their armies to prevent either from achieving sole power over Rome.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • A good episode.

    A bit of a blockbuster, this one, as Xena takes on Pompey and Caesar in a battle of wits. This is a fairly action packed episode, but it also manages to have enough of an emotional impact to rank it above your typical Xena outing. Although, I have to say, it got a little bit too slow mowy towards the end, milking the dramatics a bit too much, me thinks.

    For a show that doesn't exactly have that big of a budget, it certainly manages to carry a visual flare. While no battle for a certain middle earth, the extras-heavy battle scenes were pretty darn cool, if I may say so myself. And that FX shot at the end, with both armies demolished, looked really cool.

    I enjoyed Gabrielle's subplot with that archer fella regarding what it's like to kill someone. It leads to an intense mislead, as you genuinely begin to believe Gabrielle is going to take another life – all of it in slow mo – and flips it on its head with Gabby being a crap javelin thrower and the archer kid having to take the life. Nicely played, writers.

    It's also an episode that doesn't exactly end on a happy note, and come to think of it, the hour starts rather deathly, too (I did enjoy Xena's intro, mind you, quite funny). Again, it contains all of those blockbuster elements to keep you entertained – explosions, fight scenes, really cool Xena scenes, sympathetic characters, deaths and coming of age subplots. It's candyfloss viewing, at the end of the day. Interesting, however, that Xena let Caesar go, knowing her fate and that of Gabrielle's.moreless
  • A strong overall episode with some important themes, and the vital ingredient: Caesar.

    After two particularly lackluster episodes preceding, finally "A Good Day" gives us something to sink our teeth into. While not a season classic, there are some strong moments in this episode.

    At first this episode just appears to be another battle-heavy, emotion-lite saga, and for the most of the episode that is all that is delivered. But in the last few minutes, a couple of important scenes make this a much more meaningful episode than it otherwise would have been, with far more significance for the rest of the season than was to be expected.

    We see the return of Caesar and Pompey here, and, while they are excellent as always, their role is really as token players in this episode. They are there as convenience – they needed two armies, and who better than our old friends and enemies, Caesar and Pompey. I find it to be a real waste when there is an episode with Caesar where we don't get the Xena-Caesar interaction that is so effective, but this episode really served a different purpose, and it needed to be much more about Gabrielle's struggle than Xena's.

    There are several key scenes that stood out to me throughout. The first was the burning of the village, where Xena stands and watches as lowly villagers burn their entire world on her orders. The similarities to villages she has ordered burned in her dark past must have seemed, at that moment, quite overwhelming, and if that doesn't raise the question of where the line between good and evil is blurred, I don't know what would.

    The point of this episode comes about when it begins to touch on a whole new issue between Xena and Gabrielle that has only recently arisen: their differing views on what is required to fulfill the greater good. Xena has spent years teaching Gabrielle, bit by bit, what she knows, so that she can take her place where needed. In this episode Xena calls on Gabrielle to lead the army of villagers in her absence, and yet Gabrielle is unable to do so, based on her own values and beliefs. Xena is well aware of how affected by war and killing that Gabrielle has always been, and it is almost selfish that she still fails to see how asking her to do things that go against who she is tears Gabrielle up inside. This issue extends much further into this season and encompasses Gabrielle's main character development for the season. Again it raises interesting questions about how Xena truly sees Gabrielle, and whether she genuinely understands her.

    And yet, Gabrielle proves Xena right in taking control of the army at the critical moment, showing herself that she is capable of more than she knows. Again, Xena has seen something in her that she couldn't see in herself; Gabrielle's decision to lead the army and, in the heat of battle, to attempt to take a life indicates that Gabrielle truly has the inner strength to survive and succeed in combat. But what it costs Gabrielle is perhaps where Xena's insight grows thin, because even Xena couldn't have predicted where Gabrielle's guilt would lead later in the season.

    Of course, the additional message is to be found – the utter futility of war, and the cost that such mindless fighting and killing has on the innocents. In this day and age we have all become desensitized to violence and fighting, and in war there is always an enemy, but this episode seems to stand to remind that war has a price and when there seems to be no reason to the fighting, there probably isn't. It is a subtle message, but an effective one nonetheless.

    For me, the power in this episode really comes from the last scene, a beautiful and touching moment where Xena consoles Gabrielle for the emptiness and guilt she feels over the loss of lives in battle. As Xena says, sometimes, when it all comes down to it, the most you can say was that it was a good day of fighting. But underneath it all the hope has to remain because you are suffering through it all, fighting through it, for a reason – there has to be a reason. It is a very meaningful scene, and one which made me think a little more carefully about the episode itself. Often the most powerful moment or message in an episode can be found in a simple conversation between our lovers in the closing moments of an episode.

    Overall, this is a solid but fairly unremarkable episode in terms of storyline. Caesar and Pompey are there for conveniences sake only, and the battle itself is nothing remarkable. What is important about this episode is the character development/crisis that Gabrielle is heading towards, and the important final scene. These moments only really come into the full appreciation of their importance later in the season.moreless
  • intense

    season four has gotten off to a more thn fine start and this episode just goes to show how powerful a fantastically written episode under superb direction can actually be.

    One Against An Army had the same power in season three now this is whats happened for our beloved 4th season of the show.

    A Good Day is one of the few episodes tht show a sense of pregression from previous episodes and lay the seeds for plot twists in future episodes to come.

    Gaby is dealt with care here which shows off in Renees acting as she is slowly progressing to her way of peace,and preventing killing in a war.

    Xena also has major character development too Lucy again shines.

    A Good day is fantastic from its grand scale start all the way through to its dazzling concluding battle.moreless
  • Xena leads a group of villagers as she manipulates a plan to outwit both Caesar and Pompey, who are at war with each other, and who both have their sights set on Greece, in this well plotted episode...moreless

    The episode greatly reminded me in many ways of the second season's excellent (and much underrated) 'The Price', in that it presents a grim image of war, with none of the series' trademark humour.

    The serious side of Gabrielle shines in this episode as, with Xena caught up with battling Caesar and Pompey, it is left to her to lead the ramshackle of soldiers and give the orders. She has come so far from the naïve young peasant girl that we first saw in 'Sins of the Past'.

    Xena, meanwhile, is at her most cunning as she plays Caesar and Pompey off against each other.

    The episode is well filmed and directed, with war ravaging all around at the climax, with fire and explosions and bodies flying everywhere.

    [spoiler] I fully expected Tamecula, that irritatingly good-looking archer that Gabrielle befriends, to have kicked the bucket by the end of the episode. But I was wrong. Instead, he has to live with the knowledge of having taken a life for the first time. [End of spoiler].

    One of the amazing things about this series is how you can have a comedy episode (such as the previous episode, 'In Sickness and in Hell') and then onto a very serious one such as this. But somehow, it works.

    Although not one of my all-time favourites, a good episode in itself.moreless
  • A Good Day for Funerals, LOL!!!

    A Good Day-Teaming with Greek Soldiers, Xena plots against Caesar and Pompey, whose war between one another has spilled over from Rome to Greece, and Xena plans to send them both back to where they came from.

    This is one of my favorites from this season, again the writer successful put Xena in the middle of an actual event in history and do it so well. First, I love Xena's entrance in this episode when saving those town's people. The way her chakram appears and she does an amazing flip to the ground then introduces herself to Phlanagus is so classic. I love Xena's strategy, and how she plays with Ceasar and Pompey's heads. I also like the conflict Gabrielle goes through in the episode, Gabrielle has to lead these greek soldiers into battle against both Ceasar's army and Pompey's army. Xena understands where Gabrielle is coming from, but Gabrielle has no choice. The major battle scene in this episode is very well done and you really get a sense of what war was truly like in those times. The scene where Gabrielle looks around in the middle of the war is perfectly done!!! Then comes the powerful scene of Gabrielle watching Phlangas being killed by a soldier when she could have saved him by shooting the spear, but she misses!! But then Temecula kills the soldier with an arrow...that was really well directed and written!!! I love how Xnea and Gabrielle end the episode with an emotional conversation about the good day of fighing and how everything happens for a reason. All in All, not really a good say with all those guys dieing but great episode and on of the best this season!!moreless
Jeremy Callaghan

Jeremy Callaghan


Guest Star

Darren Young

Darren Young


Guest Star

Caleb Ross

Caleb Ross


Guest Star

Karl Urban

Karl Urban

Julius Caesar

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Xena's strategy for the villagers to raze their own town is similar to what her Trifolis militia did in "One Against An Army". This was actually a fairly common tactic used against invading armies, though usually ordered by the land's ruler, rather than done by the local villagers themselves willingly.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Gabrielle: I could have saved him. How do I get over that?
      Xena: I can't answer that question maybe because there's nothing
      I can say that can take away that feeling you have. You wanna know that what you did was for all the right reasons, but with that pain in your gut and the weight on your shoulders, the best you can come up with is that it was a good day of fighting.

    • Xena: Burn it, raze it to the ground! Kill all the cattle and poison the meat. We must leave nothing for the Romans to use. This land must be worthless to them. I know this is not an easy thing to do. It's where you grew up it's your home, where you married where you raised your families. But it is the only way. You can rebuild when you come back. It is the only way.

    • Xena: I understand Caesar and Pompey have moved their armies here. They've brought their filthy civil war from Rome to Greece into our land.
      Phlanagus: That's right. And with respect to your legendry abilities, Xena, there's nothing you can do to stop this war from happening.
      Xena: Stop it? On the contrary, I'm here to guarantee that it happens.

    • Xena: I don't care what anyone else says about you, Caesar, you're not so stupid yourself.
      Ceasar: That's what I admire about you, Xena, even when you've lost you just can't allow someone else the satisfaction of knowing it.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Part of the scene where Xena and Gabrielle are looking over the Roman armies the night before the fight was cut. Xena asks Gabrielle to tell her what she sees (much as she will later in "A Friend in Need") and Gabrielle gives her a complete analysis of their troops' positions. When she points out a trick she sees in their troop placements she realizes that she has learned a great deal from Xena over the years. Xena was testing her, and this proved to her that Gabrielle should be leading the troops instead of Phlanagus, since she'll see things that Phlanagus won't.

    • When Gabrielle leads her men into battle she yells "Take the walls!" They had intended building a wall but couldn't fit it into the budget and neglected to change the line.

    • In case you are wondering, Renee was playing the javelin throwing scene as if Gabrielle missed accidentally, not that she missed on purpose because she still refused to kill. It was made to look more ambiguous in the editing because they wanted her decision to kill for Xena in "The Ides of March" more powerful.

    • DISCLAIMER: No permanent battle scars were inflicted during the production of this motion picture.


    • The battle between the two Romans was based on a composite of two battles from history. As far as the setting it was based on the Battle of Pharsalia which occured in Greece and where Caesar defeated Pompey, but the ending was based on an earlier battle that ended in a stalemate as this one did.