Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 4 Episode 4

In Sickness and In Hell

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Oct 19, 1998 on
out of 10
User Rating
91 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Xena and Gabrielle are plagued by a myriad of ailments, including rashes, food poisoning, and an infestation of insects as they try to help Joxer defend against the Scythian army. However things only get worse when the Scythian warlord captures Argo for himself.

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  • Xena gets frizzy hair, Gabrielle gets green stuff growing on her, Joxer gives everyone food poisoning.

    One of the comedy episodes, which are usually downright hilarious, however this one left me a bit flat. There were some good lines (Joxer saying the villagers agreed not to stone them was one), but overall not especially funny. It was watchable however.

    Basic premise is that Xena needs to get her horse back, and Joxer somehow managed to get a village to pay him to protect them. Joxer of course knows that he can't actually do this and gets Xena/Gabrielle to help.

    Humour mostly comes from the fact that Xena has lice, and Gabrielle fungus. This isn't actually that funny however.

    Food poisoning causing farts is childish, Argo not going back to Xena for reasons which remain a mystery seem contrived.

    Might have been better if they played it straight.moreless
  • Repulsive, and utterly silly; don't come to watch this episode with any expectations, because you are guaranteed to be disappointed. A pointless gross-out episode that lowers the standard of the comedy episodes.moreless

    This is episode is repulsive and utterly silly. It is not funny, it is just gross. I start itching in the first few minutes and scratch for the next 5 hours… who thought that this could ever be amusing?

    From scene one you can see that this one is purely for kicks – it has been a while since we have had a pure comedic episode and this one seems to have fans who love it, and fans who hate it. Personally, it really doesn't do much for me, I mean, the bunny scene? Come on, are we all 5 years old?

    Maybe I'm being a bit harsh… but Argo running off because she was jealous? The puking, the farting, the diarrhea?! It's all too silly for words.

    Toilet humour has never really been something that appeals to me, and so this episode really wore thin after about 10 minutes. I can understand that they needed a filler episode, but something about the quality of the fillers in season 4 was just not up to scratch at all, and it started with this less-than amusing episode. Joxer is even more pathetic than usual, and besides the constant itching/scratching/puking/pooh jokes, there is really no plot at all.

    I know that a lot of fans are really able to take these kind of episodes at face value, and see them as a lot of fun, and cute and clever. I have often said, however, that Xena was all about the drama, and the intensity, flashbacks etc., so I suppose it figures that I would have less patience for these kind of episodes. All the same, I really feel like a lot of fans need to give themselves and their taste a bit more credit because I truly can't see what could possibly appeal to anyone in this episode.

    I really don't have a lot else to say for this one: either you like it, or you don't. I don't.moreless
  • The Itchy and Scratchy show...

    Upon my initial viewing of this crazed episode, I had said that this was one of the worst episodes to come from Xena - bordering on Fish Sticks bad. Hrrm, perhaps it takes a second viewing to appreciate this inane and hugely entertaining episode, because, well, I've certainly had a change of heart.

    It's packed with gross-out humour, loads of in-jokes and most certainly has its proverbial tongue planted firmly in its cheek. There are plenty of out-of-character moments that would usually annoy me (sacrificing character for the sake of a few laughs), but it's taken to such lengths you can't help but laugh.

    Yes, some of the humour is a little stale and you have to wonder what the writers were smoking when they conceptualised this one, but when they hit the mark, its a laughing riot.

    I mean, honestly, who knew a killer rabbit would be so funny? I laughed quite a bit when the wear-rabbit attacked our lil Gabby. But what had me howling was Xena's reaction. "Yeah, sure it did".

    This episode would have fallen flat on its arse if it weren't for the spot-on comedic timing of the main cast. And little production quirks such as hearing the lice scream every few minutes added to the overall charm.

    So the toilet humour didn't really take and a few gags are drawn out a bit too much. But the randomosity of some of the jokes really work - Gabrielle's hair being attacked by a bush. Speaking of Bush, there's a joke in here as subtle as a sledgehammer to the face.

    "Find your own bush"

    "Now ladies, there's plenty of bush for both of you"

    Oh my.moreless
  • in a good way obv.

    never ever has tv made me itch to this extent,and made me laugh so much about the same topic.

    its a very sickening episode as you can imagine and it is very,very well made.

    i love this episode to an extent of saying tht it is also one of the best episodes of season 4.

    for a light hearted eppy it shows a great deal of progression from its previous episodes(wheres Argo,Found gaby etc.)and Joxer only extends this episodes humour value.

    In Sickness & In Hell is one of those episodes tht u really need to watch way more thn once and makes u really appreciate the direction its taken to a sheer brilliant and humourous level.

    this is a comedic episode of epic proportions and one of the funniest things ive ever seen.moreless
  • Xena and Gabrielle are plagued by fungus, head lice, and various other ailments, as they try to help Joxer fend off a Scythian army, whose leader wants Xena's horse Argo for his own. A like it or loathe it comedy episode...moreless

    After the high drama of the season so far, it could do with a good comedy to let off steam. So this episode comes along at just the right time.

    This episode really seems to split the vote (reading other reviews, I was surprised at just how much); some love its offbeat and occasionally gross humour, whilst others didn't like it at all.

    I personally think it is quite amusing to see Xena and Gabrielle suffer their various ailments – after all, they always look so perfect, even though they are usually seen sleeping rough and out in the open in all weathers.

    The episode starts off with a sort of 'A Day In The Life' feel to it (a mood also seen last season in 'Fins, Femmes and Gems'), with there being little real plot, as the Warrior Princess and Gabrielle squabble and bicker, and try to put up with their various complaints (physical and otherwise!). However, unlike those two episodes, later in the episode more of a plot starts to take over, as the head of the Scythian army that they're trying to stop captures Xena's horse Argo for himself.

    We get a bath scene, which (after being introduced in 'A Day in the Life') becomes a standard scene to be featured once per season. I also like Xena's nickname for the fungus-covered Gabby – "Scabrielle".

    My favourite scene comes after Gabrielle accidentally drinks a potion that is supposed to be used on her skin, causing her mouth to go numb and her to dribble everywhere.

    After a would-be assailant breaks into their inn room in the middle of the night, Xena puts "the pinch" on him before having to shoot off for a call of nature, leaving Gabrielle to drool and dribble over the poor soldier as she attempts to extract information from him!

    The series probably couldn't have got away with such and episode as this in earlier seasons, but now, the series and its characters are so established that they manage to pull it off (rather like Gabby's scabs – eww).

    The only thing I would say about these comedies is that after a while, the novelty of them starts to wear off, as we've all seen Xena and Gabrielle act 'hilariously' out of character in previous such examples. But I personally still find them mostly enjoyable.

    All-in-all, whilst some loathe this episode, I quite like it. It makes a refreshing change of pace from the heavier going episodes of the season.moreless
Timothy Lee

Timothy Lee


Guest Star

Andrew Kovacevich

Andrew Kovacevich


Guest Star



Campbell Cooley

Guest Star

Ted Raimi

Ted Raimi


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • No real explanation was ever given as to why the rabbit which attacked Gabrielle was mutated with fangs and a violent demeanour.One possible explanation is thatGabrielle fed the rabbit the same hallucinogenic berries that Xena warned her against. This would explain the rabbit's odd behavior, but not the fangs, unless Gabrielle had some berries, too. She is shown holding them up to her mouth just prior to feeding the rabbit, but it is unclear if she actually eats them.

    • This is the last alternate version of the Joxer the Mighty song to appear on the series (not including Annie's version in "Deja Vu All Over Again").
      Oh Joxer the Mighty / Never gets a fever / He's eager as a beaver / He's Joxer, Joxer th...

    • This is the last time Joxer sings his song until his last episode, "Soul Possession".

    • Goof: When Joxer goes looking for Argo, he calls the horse "he". Argo is actually a female horse. Of course, the role of Argo was played by multiple horses, some of whom were male.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Xena: What are you drinking?
      Gabrielle: Linseed root. You said it was good for my skin.
      Xena: On your skin. You're not supposed to drink it.

    • Xena: That's strange, Argo seems to be deliberately avoiding me. Something's wrong.
      Gabrielle: Yeah, you're telling me. Xena, it's red, it's green, it's on the move.
      Xena: Something's bothering Argo.
      Gabrielle: Hey, human suffering here. Xena, my fungus is spreading like wildfire.

    • Joxer: Great news! I've spoken to the villagers and they've decided not to stone you.

    • Joxer: Your trail was too easy to follow. Any idiot could find you.
      Xena: Evidently.

    • Joxer: Hey, wait a minute. Those villagers hired me, and only Joxer the Mighty is going to stop the Scythians.
      Xena: Joxer, I once knew a warrior who tried to stop them. They buried him in Sparta, Athens and Carthage.
      Joxer: What do you mean?
      Xena : They buried him in Sparta… Athens… and Carthage… think about it, Joxer.

    • Xena : I don't ask for much. I just want my pony back.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor both said they had problems watching this episode because it makes them itch and want to scratch all over.

    • The role of Argo was played by a number of different horses over the years. The main riding horse was Tilly, and she also did the tricks: sitting down, laying down, and bowing. Early on her stunt doubles were Honey and Mr X, but they were later replaced with Barbie and Mac. Whenever Xena and Gabrielle rode doubled up it was Mac, and he was also good around explosions. Barbie's tricks were nodding, counting, rearing, and back kicking.

    • Renee actually was bitten by the Bacchae Bunny in rehersal because they made it with hard teeth. After the accident they pulled its teeth and gave it safer rubber teeth.

    • DISCLAIMER: No Leapin' Lice were beaten, whipped, smashed or scratched during the production of this motion picture.


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