As the only thing that stands between the Persian Army and Athens, Xena wages war against substantial odds & time itself, while Gabrielle slowly succumbs to the strike of a deadly, poisoned arrow.
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Goof: In one scene Gabrielle slips up and calls Chin by its more modern title of China.
Goof: In a scene, numbers can be seen branded into Argo.
Goof: When Xena readies a pot of boiling liquid and drags it across the floor to place it, it's half empty. When Gabrielle empties it onto the invaders, it's full to the top.
Thermopylae is not only a place, but in the Herc & Xenaverse, it's also the name of Herc and Iolaus' special fighting move when Iolaus does a back roll over Hercules.
Gabrielle: A long time ago, I accepted the consequences of our life together. That it might one day come to this... it has. I'm not afraid.
Xena: You always said I was the brave one... look at you now! If this is to be our destiny, let's see it out together. Even in death, Gabrielle, I will never leave you.
Gabrielle: (delirious) Xena... you gotta take me with you. Teach me everything you know. You can't leave me in Potidaea. I wanna go with you - I've studied the stars, spoken with philosophers... I have the gift of prophecy. I can be very valuable to you. Take me with you... I want so much to be like you.
Xena: (whispers) I want to be like you.
Gabrielle: You know, it's occurred to me that this is just a clever diversion to make me forget about my boots.
Gabrielle: Go on, say it. We'd move a lot faster if I hadn't tried that.
Xena: Tried what?
Gabrielle: The flip.
Xena: Oh, the pass.
Gabrielle: The pass?
Xena: The pass at Thermopylae. That's the answer.
Gabrielle: What's the question?
Xena: But you're my source, Gabrielle. When I reach down inside myself and do things that I'm not capable of, it's because of you. Don't you know that by now?
Gabrielle: Be honest with me Xena. How bad is this poison?
Xena: It didn't hit a main artery. This poultice will delay then effects until we can get to Tripolis and treat it with a serum. By tomorrow, you'll be trying those flips again, with a staff.
Gabrielle: The first thing is the greater good. You taught me that. You taught me that there are things in life worth dying for things that hold a higher meaning than our own existence.
Xena: Not your existence.
Gabrielle: Why? 'Cause I'm your friend?
Gabrielle: Well then, honor my memory. We both know that I'm right. This is right. Xena, promise me, promise me that you will not leave this battle because of me.
Xena: Gabrielle, that's all in the past. All I want is to be with you right now. You're my best friend, my family. I love you, Gabrielle.
Xena: Gabrielle, before I tried the flip without the staff, I made 300 attempts with it.
Gabrielle: Slow learner, huh, Xena? I had that problem with basket-weaving.
In the original script, Xena found the medicine she needed for Gabrielle in the healer's hut and then accidentally broke it. This was removed because it made Xena look like too big a klutz. Interestingly, Lucy Lawless' nickname growing up was "Unco", which is short for "Uncoordinated".
Shooting Dates: November 20 through December 1 1997, 8 day shoot.
The toothpick Xena action figure was Renee's idea. She made it as an in-joke since Peter Bell, the stunt coordinator always used a couple of action figures to help block out the fight scenes for the actresses. The toothpicks came from Lucy's private stash, so there's no wonder why she grabbed it from Renee and started using it on her teeth!
This episode is regarded as one of the 10 classic Xena episodes of all time.
Producer Eric Gruendemann insisted that the Xena spit flame be done by CGI, so as not to put Lucy Lawless in any danger.
On the third day of shooting for this episode, a stuntman fell on and badly sprained Renee O'Connor's ankle. It was also the opposite ankle of the one Gabrielle injured in the script. The same stuntman broke his own leg two days later performing another stunt.
DISCLAIMER: Gabrielle's ankle was harmed during the production of this motion picture.
The Battle of Thermopylae
The Battle of Thermopylae took place in 480 BC. The Spartans, who chose to send a token force of 300 men to defend the pass held out along with 4,900 men from allied cities against over a million Persians for a week before they were all killed. When Pheidippides tells Xena that at Marathon the Persians had shot so many arrows they blocked out the sun, this is a reference to an actual story from the Battle of Thermopylae. According to the historian Herodotus, when King Xerxes ordered the Spartan King Leonidas and his 300 Spartan companions to surrender, saying that his men would fill the sky with so many arrows that it would block out the sun, Leonidas told Xerxes, "Good, then we'll fight in the shade."
Pheiddipides, the man who gives the warning to Xena about the Persians, was really the man who ran from Marathon to Athens to announce the victory of the Athenians over the Persians at Marathon. Stories vary, but they all agree that Pheiddipides dies after passing on his message due to exhaustion from his run.
The Battle of Marathon
The Battle of Marathon, fought in 490 BC on a plain northeast of Athens, was a triumph for the Greek forces as they repelled a major Persian invasion during the Persian Wars. Unlike the battle fought in the Xenaverse, at the real battle of Marathon the Spartans refused to fight alongside the Athenians to hold off King Darius' forces. They claimed that this was because it was the Spartans' holy month, so aid could not legally be sent until the new moon arose, which would have been long after the battle was over. According to the historian Herodotus, Sparta's real motive was that they wanted the line of Greece's defense to be drawn at the Isthmus, well south of Athens. It made tactical sense, but would have surrendered half of Greece to the invaders without a fight, including Athens. Athens therefore chose to fight by themselves, with only an allied force from the northern city of Plataea to assist them.
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