Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 1 Episode 24

Is There A Doctor in the House?

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

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


Crossing the path of a fierce war, Xena and Gabrielle end up inside a healing temple, where Xena uses her skills to aid the wounded and tend to pregnant Amazon Ephiny, whilst trying to put an end to the battle that is costing lives on both sides.


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  • Xena & Gabrielle r basically in the wrong place in the wrong.They r in Theisan & a war is going,while traveling they hear a noise in the bushes,& find Ephiny,9months preg & her husband dead.They run into a Montain.Besically,this is a old-time ER episode.moreless

    I said this was a great episode,because it is dramitic, and very sad.As I said in the reveiw,they are in a war.They find Epiny 9 months pregent and her husband,once her sworn enemy,dead,killed by Montains.Also like i said in the summary, it's basically an ER episode set in the 1500 or 1600s.

    I was never sure,when they show was.Gabrielle goes after a soliders son,and comes back wounded in the head, well, things go from bad to worse,after gabrielles been hurt the temple gets attacked,and Ephiny's labor is very close,and of course, like most things in this type of show,something goes wrong,its now a preached birth,so now xena has to give the first ever c-section,which of course works,but then gabrielle get worse.In the end,everthing turns out all right,but not before everything goes wrong and everyone in the audience is crying or has tears in their eyes and is hoping beyond what seems impossible for evrything to turn out all-right in the end.And thats why in a way,it's painful to watch,it's a tearjerker,a lil happi-ness,and way too much drama.moreless
  • Xena and Gabrielle find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time again.

    While traveling through a war zone, Xena and Gabrielle stumble upon a pregnant Ephiny, who was hurt and her husband Phantes killed.

    Xena captures the general, Marmax and all of them proceed to a temple for safety. Xena and Gabrielle tend the injured warriors. Xena performs crude surgeries which inspires the temple's servant Hippocrates to migrate towards the 'hands-on' approach to medicine rather than relying in the prayers and trust of the Gods. While redressing the General's wound, Gabrielle proceeds to tell him a story about a king, a great hunter, who was given the opportunity to learn about peace. Marmax observes the casualties of war and after Gabrielle endures injuries while trying to save a wounded man's son and subsequently appears to have died, the general issues an order to end the war and start peace negotiations.

    In the first season Gabrielle is already spreading the idea of non-violence. Her gentle ways of peace are a counterweight to the violence and anger that consumes the warrior princess. Xena is distraught when Gabrielle appears to have died and will not accept it. In "The Sins of The Past" Xena was determined to walk away from her evil past but without Gabrielle, she may never have succeeded. The idea of losing Gabrielle is too painful to endure. Xena's reaction was a real tear jerking scene and wonderfully acted. I really needed those tissues. Through Xena, Hippocrates was inspired to become a great healer, teaching medical techniques and ethnics. I find it amusing but wonderful that Xena not only has a place in history but has rewritten it.moreless
  • the thrilling end of season 1.

    Xena and Gabrielle find them travelling through a land torn by civil war. Gabrielle asks Xena how the war started between Thessaly and Mintoa and Xena tells her that both groups want control of the land the two women are passing through- it's the trade route to Athens. They hear a noise and when they check it out they discover the Amazon Ephiny, 9 months pregnant and wounded. They ask what she was doing there and she says that she and her husband Phantes the centaur had been on their way to Athens for the birth of their baby when they were attacked and Phantes was killed. They tell her that they will take care of her, and Xena says she knows of a healing temple nearby. When Gabrielle protests against the senselessness of war Xena says that once she gets them to a safe place she will stop this war.

    Xena captures a Mintoan general named Marmax. She stabs him in the shoulder and then takes him along to the temple but when he realizes that it is a Thessalian one he protests- they'll kill him! Xena removes any sign of rank on him and says they won't know he is- they'll just make him a slave.

    Once inside the temple Xena sees the man in charge is the priest of Asclepius Galen who knows nothing about healing, he just prays for the God to do it. Xena rebukes him for not doing what he can himself and begins moving among the injured herself. She draws the attention of one of the acolytes named Hippocrates and he begins asking her questions. She uses his help as well as Gabrielle and Marmax's to save a wounded Mintoan soldier.moreless
  • Season 1 draws to a close with the tearjerker of the season. Xena displays her 'many skills' in an impressive medical themed/redemption themed episode that holds your attention from start to finish.moreless

    Without a doubt, "Is There A Doctor In The House" is Season 1's tearjerker episode. Start to finish this is an emotional episode, touching on a number of different themes, but centering mainly on love, friendship and working together for a better future.

    I really loved the opening scenes of this episode, with Xena and Gabrielle travelling through the woods, with the view obscured and a real sense of danger and a strong emotional vibe surrounding. It sets the scene nicely for the rest of the episode.

    It is lovely to see the return of Ephiny, who is a great character, with some really good lines. Ephiny plays a good recurring role throughout the series, but in my opinion she deserved much more air time. Giving birth to Phantes baby was a very touching moment. I think that she did remarkably well to get through it all, I know how impossible it seemed to Xena that she could survive without Gabrielle, and it must have been just as hard for Ephiny, trying to see a future without Phantes.

    Marmax was a very effective character. He was well acted and served a useful role. I genuinely believed in his journey of awakening, or redemption or whatever you want to call it. His character was played with honesty and a sense of depth and he was a perfect choice for this episode.

    Although most of the episode is taken up with Xena healing, two particular scenes stood out to me. The first was the lovely scene between Ephiny and Marmax, where Ephiny helps him to see the error of his ways and why there needs to be peace. I felt that the lessons were real, and they were not overdone and did not have the cheesy feel that often slips into the really emotional lesson-filled moments.

    The second scene is, of course, Xena's frantic battle to save Gabrielle. I was in tears from the moment they brought Gabrielle in on the stretcher and didn't stop until they left the temple at the end. These moments always send me on a rushed journey through Xena and Gabrielle's time together - making it even more emotional. Any time one of them is mortally wounded (eg. Xena in "The Greater Good") I can't help but think of how the other woman must be feeling as her soul mate slips away. This scene (like the others) is a tribute to the acting skills of Lucy and Renee, in this case most particularly Lucy. Her grief and distress is so real and so sad, that you can't help crying with her.

    This is an excellent episode. However, I have to say that despite my enjoyment of it, it wouldn't make my top 10. Although there are some great moments, to me it just doesn't reach the standard of what I consider to be the series greats.


    So, for season 1 overall: There are some fantastic moments. It really is journey from start to finish. We start with a new, unsure series, not completely sure where it is headed and finish with a series that knows what it is all about and which (for me, and many other fans) was life changing.

    We start with two women, both lost in their own way, who happen to find each other in their time of need. We meet some fantastic recurring characters, including: Ares, Callisto, Autolycus, Joxer, Ephiny who, together, help to make the series what it is.

    There are definite high points, and some lower points, with some great splashes of comedy to lighten the emotional load. For me, my pick of the first season is "Callisto" - which is just an outstanding episode in every respect. It stays in your mind long after you finish watching and really changes the way you see the season. Runner up prize is a tie and goes to "The Reckoning" and "The Greater Good". Now, onward to season 2...moreless
  • Crossing the path of a fierce war, Xena and Gabrielle wind up in a healing temple, where Xena uses her skills to tend to the wounded, as well as tend to pregnant Amazon Ephiny. A well written and well acted close to the season...moreless

    This review contains mild spoilers.

    I'll start by sticking my neck out – when I first saw this episode, a decade ago now (is it that long already?), I'll confess that it didn't do all that much for me, to the point that I considered it over-rated. I guess being younger, I was more interested in choreographed fights and whatnot.

    But re-watching this episode more recently, I've come to appreciate the strength of it. It is a powerful episode, and an interesting break from the normal style of episode.

    It is like an Ancient Greece version of 'ER', complete with, at some points, shaky camera work and people walking in front of shot.

    Once again we see another side of Xena, as she displays her extensive medical knowledge, picked up on past battle fields, to save a number of lives. She also makes the tough decision of which ones will survive and which are beyond help.

    Ray Woolf is great as Marmax, who – witnessing Xena at work – slowly has his mind changed and eventually calls a halt to the war.

    Lucy Lawless gives one of her best, most intense performances as she almost literally goes crazy over the 'death' of Gabrielle.

    I still personally think that 'Callisto' would have made a better episode in terms of a season finale, but I now have quite a lot of time for this episode.

    I'll admit, it wouldn't make my personal top 10 (and I feel there are more worthy for the 'Best Of' DVD box set), but it is very good in its own way. (It's certainly better than 'Hercules'' cheap end-of-season clip show 'Cave of Echoes'.)moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • Chakram Count: 1
      1) To take out Marmax.

    • Nitpick: Near the end when Gabrielle starts to flip out, when she stops you can see she's breathing. Yet two seconds later the guy says she's dead and Xena is yelling at her to breathe.

    • The operation performed on Ephiny is known as a Caesarian section because Julius Caesar was the first to make it a law that a child could be surgically removed from the mother in order to save the life of the child.

    • Gabrielle has her first close encounter with dying, only to be revived by CPR from Xena.

    • Goof: Spot the thin gold chain around Xena's wrist that slips from under her gauntlet during the revival scene with Gabrielle!

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Gabrielle: I wanted to thank you for saving my life again. You always seem to be doing that.
      Xena: It was your decision to come back.
      Gabrielle: Well, how could I leave you. We have so many wars to stop and despots to foil. You're gonna need my help.
      Xena: I couldn't do it without you.

    • Gabrielle: I can't bear to think of all the innocents who suffer because of this madness. Someone has to stop it. Come on Xena, not even you can stop an entire war. (Xena gets a determined look) All right, well look, I did not mean that as a challenge!

    • Gabrielle: Life is only what you make of it.

    • Gabrielle: You know, you're not gonna believe this, but, I had the most amazing dream when I was on the other side. There was this green, peaceful pasture, with the most beautiful trees. And I saw my Grandmother and my Uncle Morose, and... you wanna hear about it?
      Xena: I can't wait.
      Gabrielle: And Talus was there. Oh, he says hello by the way.

    • Hippocrates: Xena, stop it. She's dead now. She's in a much better place.
      Xena: Get out of my way! You don't know anything! Don't you listen to him, Gabrielle ... C'mon, I know you're in there, prove it ... you can show them ... C'mon, wake up and breath ... you never ran from anything in your whole life ... C'mon, fight!

    • Xena: No. No! Come on, Gabrielle. Come on. Come on. Don't leave me. (pounding on Gabrielle's chest) Don't you leave me! Don't leave me! Don't leave me! Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! (Gabrielle comes back to life)

  • NOTES (8)

    • One odd bit of trivia about this episode is that prosthetic umbilical cord used for Xenan was reused by Danielle Cormack a short time after she filmed the episode when she was doing another birth scene in the critically acclaimed movie Topless Women Talk About Their Lives.

    • This episode is Lucy's personal favorite.

    • According to the Charkram Newsletter, when being briefed by Rob Tapert on what he needed for this episode, he told writer Patricia Manney, "4 1/2 days shooting, one location, ER, and kill Gabrielle." She says he left it up in the air how (or whether) they would bring Gabrielle back at the end.

    • Danielle Cormack was really pregnant during the filming of this episode, but she was only a few months along.

    • This episode's script number is 124.

    • This episode marks the return of Danielle Cormack (Ephiny) who gave birth to her Centaur son Xenan in this episode. She would later return in Season 2's "The Quest". Xenan would return in "Maternal Instincts".

    • The original cut for this episode didn't pass sensors, deeming it too bloody for airing (like the leg amputation scene). Rob Tapert, Lucy Lawless and Eric Gruendemann fought for the episode, proving that most of the gore is off-screen. In the end, only about 60 seconds was cut from the episode. Thisis why it aired in July.

    • DISCLAIMER: Being that war is hell, lots of people were harmed during the production of this motion picture. But since television is a dramatic medium of make believe, all casualties removed their prosthetic make-up and went home unscathed.


    • The revival scene bears a close similarity to the revival scene in the film The Abyss (1989) where the Ed Harris character revives his wife who has "died" from asphyxiation. Several of the lines, actions and the reactions from the other characters who are watching are almost identical.

    • Democritus was a famous philosopher, and developed the atomic theory.

    • Galen was also a famous ancient physician. He was one of the first to use cadavers to explore the human internal systems and wrote a manual that was used throughout the ages by physicians. His writings were based on the teachings of Plato, Aristotle, and above all Hippocrates (who lived about 500 years before him).

    • Hippocrates (c. 460-377 BC) was a Greek physician, whose name became associated with a number of medical writings (the Hippocratic Collection). The Hippocratic Oath, a code of ethics defining a physician's relationship with his patient, survives to this day.

    • Asclepius was the half God son of Apollo, and after the death of his mortal half, he became the Greek God of Medicine.