Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 1 Episode 10

Hooves & Harlots

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Nov 20, 1995 on
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8.8
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  • A strong introduction to the Amazons and the Centaurs - who remain important parts of Xena for the whole series.

    9.0
    Hooves and Harlots is a strong episode, in terms of plot and characterisation, and a very important one in a lot of respects. It stands out as a special episode in Xena history, not due to the story line (although that is undoubtedly solid) but because so many significant and historic events occur in the episode.



    Firstly, we are introduced to the (Greek) Amazons, and the Centaurs, both of whom become quite integral parts of the XenaVerse, albeit for quite different reasons.



    As we will come to find out in later seasons, the Amazons (regardless of which tribe) always produce excellent characters, great costumes, and unique fight scenes. This episode solidifies the importance of the Amazons in Gabrielle's life, and sets the scene for many future interactions.



    The Centaurs too get a good look in in this episode, and they too play an important role in relation to Xena's dark past, as we discover in episodes to come.



    Which leads us to the next important point: the reference to Xena's dark past with the Amazons and with the Centaurs. At this early stage it is impossible to imagine how deeply embedded in Xena's past (not to mention in Xena and Gabrielle's future) that these two nations would be. Bit by tiny bit, we are slowly starting to unravel the mystery that was Evil Xena, whilst simultaneously writing the story of her future.



    Probably the most significant part of this episode lies in Gabrielle's significant transformation, symbolised externally by the changing of her costume. Already I find myself gaining more respect for Gabrielle's growth as a character, and I only come to be more impressed and more drawn to her character as the series continues.



    In this episode, Gabrielle receives her Amazon "Right of Caste", which is a big deal, and which remains a very important event throughout the rest of the series, right up until the end of Season 6. By being initiated into the Greek Amazon tribe, Gabrielle finds a part of herself that is hers alone - she does not share this sense of belonging with Xena. Gabrielle's initiation into the Amazon tribe helps to build on her as a character - we see her major costume change (despite continuity issues between this episode and the previous Death in Chains), and Gabrielle starts down her road to becoming a warrior, which I find an incredibly touching journey. She also begins fighting with her staff, a huge moment in her journey as she goes from being the naive and vulnerable tag along needing protection, to bring a warrior in her own right.



    The episode also introduces us to Ephiny, who proved to be a very valuable character throughout the series. She is most watchable, a strong, defiant and wild individual.



    There are some really excellent fight scenes throughout, and they are particularly varied (which is always exciting) ranging from fighting in the trees, to one-on-one, to an all out battle. Outside of the action though, there are some intriguing interaction, such as the conversation between Xena and Phantes in the stable, and between Ephiny and Gabrielle.



    Overall, everything in this episode works. The story is strong, the characters are great, and the backstory is laid for a long continuation of Xena and Gabrielle's journey with both the Amazons and the Centaurs. A winner, without a doubt.