Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 1 Episode 3


Aired Monday 8:00 PM Sep 18, 1995 on
out of 10
User Rating
111 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


When Gabrielle is kidnapped by Manus, the High Priest of the Dream God Morpheus, Xena learns that the only way she can rescue Gabrielle is to enter the realm of the dreamscape, and face the demons of her past.

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  • In "Deamworker", Gabby picks up a sword for the first time and learns that swords attract trouble.

    "Dreamworker" is one of my favorite season 1 episodes. Shockingly enough, it's a Gabrielle centered one. And as I say always, it was for Gabrielle I watched. But this episode is also showing some very early significant growth in the bond between the women. I like how this episode showed that Xena was very reluctant to turn the girl into a warrior (even though that's what she desires). There really is a prophetic line here, that takes another season and a half to come true for Gabby . When Xena says to her "the moment you can kill everything changes" with sort of a somber look upon her face. This turns out to be very prophetic not only to Gabby as a character personally, but to the girl's relationship. As Gabby's first huge betrayal of Xena comes soon after her first kill. I would say this is the first episode that really shows Xena returning Gabby's friendship in any significant way. Like I said before, Gabby declares them friends in the first episode and then works to make it true. Here Xena is not only referring to Gabrielle as her friend, but is willing to pretty much sacrifice herself to a mystical ritual in order to save her from her fate. In fact, any sort of man-of-the-week attempts are dropped this week (you know, beyond Gabrielle being forced to be Morpheus' bride). Whatever anyone thought of early Gabrielle, she was a very clever young girl. She once again demonstrates her brilliance at being able to talk her way out of almost anything. I like that Xena had faith in her ability to keep herself safe until she could save her. Not to mention, allusions to Gabby's future first and most well known weapon are in this episode as she beheads a spear and uses it like a staff to leap over a fire pit. Side note in re-occuring actor spotting, this episode also brings back Nathaniel Lees who is no rookie in the world of Hercules/Xena, even though this is his first time in the XenaVerse. He has already had a few significant roles in the Hercules' Universe. I love this guy, such a brilliant actor rather he's playing good or bad. He does both so well.moreless
  • Gabrielle's challenge...

    I have watched "Dreamworker " a few times before and wondered the last time I saw it if the episode could be a foreshadowing of Gabrielle's journey to become a warrior. Xena warns her that when you first kill, it changes everything and she is determined not to give into Gabrielle's desire to wield a weapon. Xena struggles to free herself from her dark past and faces her inner demon, herself, within the dream passage.

    Elkton is a fascinating individual, and unfortunately another character never used again.

    "Dreamworker" is an enjoyable episode and I don't think there is much to critique since it is still an early effort. Although it's not in my top 10, I can watch this one over and over again.moreless
  • Beating yourself up takes on a whole new meaning... Xena faces her past, while Gabrielle faces her future... a strong and meaningful episode.

    The third episode of Season 1 is a far improvement on the second, and a fantastic episode which stands on its own - a Xena highlight even compared with later seasons.

    The plot, action, and dialog are very strong in this episode. The dreamscape is a fascinating concept, which is used very strongly and to great effectiveness. The whole concept holds a lot of significance in relation to later events in the series - this episode could comfortably fit just about anywhere in the first two and a half seasons. The message is clear: moving forward is about coming to terms with your past, accepting your actions, forgiving yourself and continuing into the future being true to yourself. It is a strong theme of forgiveness and redemption, which has great significance for the rest of the series.

    Both Xena and Gabrielle have some fantastic witty dialog, and some really nice moments of friendship. The final scene by the river is very special; it is significant in terms of both of their journeys as individuals, and in terms of their developing relationship.

    The dreamscape has a significant point to note in terms of Xena's costume while in the dreamscape. Xena is dressed in an oriental costume, which can only hark back to her time spent with Lao Ma - who of course, at this stage, is a person of the distant future. For fans of the series, connections like this one are significant and special.

    This episode also begins to build strongly on the relationship between Xena and Gabrielle. Already we can see Xena's new role as guide and protector for the young Gabrielle, as Gabrielle starts to truly make a change in Xena's life. It is touching and very well acted by both stars.

    We also follow Xena's battle with herself - the scene where she literally fights her past self is incredible. The whole episode is powerful and emotional, and very well acted.

    Overall, this is a standout episode, well plotted, well acted, and well scripted. A great third episode.moreless
  • Xena must rescue Gabrielle when she is kidnapped by followers of Morpheus, who intend to dupe her into killing in order to become their God's bride. A notable episode that introduces the notion of Gabrielle's blood innocence, and some sparkling dialogue.moreless

    Well, we'd had the opening episode, the follow up second adventure, and with this third episode, the series really hits its stride.

    The plot device of Gabrielle being kidnapped is an obvious one, but it is given a great spin that prevents it from being the generic story that it might have been.

    Its fun to watch the opening of this episode, as Gabrielle (being rather adorable) struggles to cut wood with Xena's sword. It's amazing to see her early, naive self here when compared to the able fighter that she would end up as.

    The dialogue, particularly early on in the story before Gabrielle is snatched away, is really well written and very enjoyable to watch; even at this early stage, Lucy Lawless and Renée O'Connor had already learnt to really work well off of each other.

    Determined to get a weapon of her own, Gabrielle buys a breast dagger from a local store. Xena soon finds it and confiscates it; but this breast dagger would turn up in a number of later episodes. I like Gabrielle's line "Ha, it's not like your breasts aren't dangerous enough".

    I like Elkton the seer, played by Desmond Kelly. In many ways, he reminded me of Tiresias, the similar seer from the first season 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' episodes 'The Road to Calydon' and 'The Festival of Dionysus'.

    The story as Xena enters the dream world to get to Gabrielle is rather psychedelic feeling and far out (and maybe not 100% clear, but still followable).

    When Xena enters the dream world, the sets in a way look a bit cheap and cheerful; almost like some camouflage netting thrown over some framing. It does the job, but they would probably have been more creative in later episodes.

    After being introduced in 'Sins of the Past', this is the first episode that really gives O'Connor chance to shine as Gabrielle, as she tries to talk her way out and outwit her opponents without killing them in the various "tests" that her capturers put her in.

    With both Xena having to face the ghosts of her past in the dream word, and Gabrielle using her wits to outdo her capturers, this is the first real character developing episode. It also introduces the notion of Gabrielle's "blood innocence", and how her whole life would literally change if she killed. (Of course, it did change in season three when she did just that, which really split the vote with fans, but that's for later episode review(s)).

    The final scene, with Xena and Gabrielle by the lake, is deep yet whimsical, as many of the first (and some second) season episodes were.

    When I think back the early episodes, this is one that I always think of. It has a fresh and enjoyable feel to it, and really feels that they were starting to tap into the full potential of the series. A very enjoyable episode.moreless
  • One of my classic favourites.

    "Dreamworker" was by far a great Xena episode, it showed how Gabrielle is really starting to learn from Xena. It's basically the start of Gabrielles development, imo. Sure, she's still not very good with weapons but she learns that you don't always need weapons to win a fight, you can use your wit. It's great to see character development in a show, which Xena has a lot of. The way Gabrielle deals with the situations she is put in is great, and it's great to see Xena has got faith in her that she'll make it out. A great episode.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • Gabrielle broke off the blade of a spear, effectively neutralizing its deadliness. This is possibly foreshadowing her acquiring her own staff by the Amazons later in the season.

    • Xena did not use her chakram once in this episode.

    • The scene in the teaser with Gabrielle bending over to pick up Xena's sword would be featured in the opening credits' montage sequence for the first five seasons.

    • Goof: In the teaser, when Xena spies the highwaymen approaching, she throws her dagger to the left side of a large boulder. Later, during the fight, she dives to the right of the boulder, retrieves the dagger and uses it to kill the lead robber.

    • Xena is wearing an oriental style outfit, foreshadowing later revelations of her experience with eastern mysticism.

    • The first person Xena ever killed was a man named Termin. She killed him by slitting his throat.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Highwayman: Now all things consider, I think a surrender would be a good start. Xena: I accept. Gabrielle, take their weapons.

    • Xena: The moment you pick up a sword, you become a target. And the moment
      you kill...
      Gabrielle: The moment you kill, what?
      Xena: Everything changes. Everything.

    • Mesmer: Xena, do you know me, Warrior Queen?
      Xena: Should I?
      Mesmer: This was my village. All gone now. Your people came and wiped it out. And me... As you commanded. Did you know I had a name?
      Xena: I didn't do this...
      Mesmer: My name is Mesmer. My wife's name...
      Xena: I'm sorry.
      Mesmer: Sorry? Sorry to know my name? Oh, that's right. Your victims were always faceless. You never knew much about them, did you? Or cared...

    • Gabrielle: (in Xena's Dreamscape) They're going to sacrifice me, they're going to sacrifice me not. They're going to sacrifice me...

    • Xena: See how calm the surface of the water is? That was me once. And then...(throws a stone into the water) That's what I became.
      Gabrielle: But if we sit here long enough it will go back to being still again. It would go back to being calm.
      Xena: But the stone is still under there. It's now part of the lake. It might look as it did before but it's forever changed.

    • Manus: You have no idea what kind of enemy you've made. Morpheus will not be denied. You think he's just going to let you walk out of here? (Gabrielle decks him)
      Gabrielle: Punching's all right?
      Xena: I'm impressed.

    • Xena: All right. The rules of survival. Number one. If you can run, run. Number two. If you can't run, surrender, and then run. Number three. If you're outnumbered, let them fight each other, while you run. Number four-
      Gabrielle: Wait, more running?
      Xena: No. Four is where you talk your way out of it, and I know you can do that.

  • NOTES (6)


    • Skanderbeg

      The weapons shop's owner shows Gabrielle a fancy sword he says is made from iron from the Albanian mines of the Skanderbeg. Skanderbeg, or Iskinder Bey (in Turkish), is actually the name of Albania's greatest hero, who fought against the Ottoman Turks in the 1400s.

    • Greek Mythology Connection: The god Morpheus appeared to dreams in human shapes. He is the son of Hypnos, God of sleep. Morpheus would later be played by Stephen Lovatt in the Young Hercules episode "In Your Dreams".