Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 2 Episode 1

Orphan of War

2
Aired Monday 8:00 PM Sep 30, 1996 on
8.4
out of 10
User Rating
85 votes
6

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT

When Xena tries to help the Centaurs protect a sacred stone that contains their evil, she encounters someone from her past... her son.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • First episode for Season 2, Xena and Gabrielle find themselves into Centaur Land. She soon finds out that Dagnine, a soldier in her former army, has attacked the Centaurs for the sacred Ixion Stone.moreless

    8.0
    In my opinion, this was not that great of a season opening. With the last few episodes in Season 1, I think that Xena: Warrior Princess was progressing, but this episode took a step back. The special effects in the episode were not all that great. However, it was still much better than those in Hercules: Legendary Journeys! And for only being on the second season, with not much of a budget, I guess it was alright.

    Great points of the episode is that we learn a little more about Xena's past. We learn about Borias and what he did to help the Centaurs. We also see that Gabrielle is becoming more of an important and trusting part of Xena's life. Although, I feel as if Gabrielle may have been stepping over the lines in wanting to tell Solan that Xena was his mother. That is something that only Xena should do, and for Gabrielle even to feel that she would tell Solan the truth was wrong. However, Gabrielle did realize that she was in the wrong, and admitted it to Xena, thus gaining more of Xena's trust. We also see how much better Gabrielle is getting with her staff!

    This was not one of my favorite Xena episodes, but it was still enough to keep my attention. Although like I stated before, this episode was a step back from the prior episodes in Season 1. However, it was very important for us to learn about Solan and some of Xena's past secrets. So with that, it made out to be decent viewing!moreless
  • A part of Xena's past is revealed...

    9.5
    Xena comes to the aid of the centaurs menaced by a member of her former army. It's revealed Xena had a child, which she left in the centaurs care after agreeing never to return to their lands.





    Although in the first season, it's revealed Xena became a warrior because of a warlord's decision to have her village destroyed resulting in the death of her brother, it wasn't explained why she embraced her dark side. The second season begins to generate more of her history beginning with the revelation she had a child which she gave up to the Centaurs after Borias' death. (In the scene after she hands the infant to Kaleipus, she is noticeable hobbling as she walks away. The reason along with the cause of Xena's 'fall from grace' will be revealed later in season two.)



    It's a second costume change for Gabrielle. She retains her staff and her peace loving ways. Mark Ferguson makes an appearance as Dagnine. He also played Krykus, the weapons dealer from "Hooves & Harlots. It wasn't hard to spot him even with that bad 80's metal band wig. :)



    The actor chosen for Solan was adorable, a perfect choice. The episode ends emotionally after Xena fails to tell Solan she's his mother.moreless
  • Xena reunites with her son, while fighting off another of her 'creations' - the twisted, ex-army member, Dagnine - in search of the Ixion Stone.

    8.0
    I enjoyed this episode a lot, but for different reasons to most other people. As a season opener, in my opinion, it works well, and is most effective at drawing us back into the season. It opens up a whole new chapter in Xena's life, and that is always worth watching. I find Xena's dark past to be the most interesting thing about her character, so any reference to her past deeds are fascinating.



    I am not a fan of the mother-child moments that occur throughout the series, mainly in the form of Xena-Solan, and later Gabrielle-Hope, and Xena-Eve. For whatever reason, I do not find these relationships particularly genuine or interesting, and the early Xena-Solan relationship is the same. Something about it feels very forced, and after a while the young Solan character starts to be fairly annoying. However, having said that, this does not mean that I don't enjoy the storyline itself. I think that writing a child into the series is a great plot twist, and for Xena to have given up her son the way she did is quite tragic and very much a reflection of how far Xena has come as a person.



    What I also like is how Xena's relationship with Solan has already created a rift between Xena and Gabrielle that, as we see in Season 3, eventually becomes a chasm that cannot be bridged by the pair. Having this (until this point, unknown) child suddenly become a part of Xena's life again takes Xena and Gabrielle's relationship to a different level, where suddenly the things that are left unsaid matter more, and the bigger picture starts to matter in a way it never has for the two.



    As an episode, Orphan of War contains a great flashback moment, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Dark Xena just has such spark and charisma about her.



    The other excellent part of this episode is our villain-of-the-week, Dagnine. Apparently it is just me, but I just loved Dagnine! I found him to be funny, witty, exciting and anything but your typical warlord. His comment in the tent when asked by his seer: "Sir, if this doesn't work...??", to which Dangine replies: "If this doesn't work... One of you gets my tent, the other one gets my horse" had me in stitches! There is no doubt that Dagnine had all the good lines. As Xena said herself, he certainly is charismatic!



    This episode has good points and bad points, but the good points win out, making this a solid introduction to season 2. By no stretch of the imagination is this one of the season's best; Season 2 had many many fantastic episodes, but this one serves it's purpose and is thoroughly enjoyable along the way.moreless
  • The second season kicks off with an enjoyable adventure as Xena tries to help a community of centaurs save a sacred stone from an old member of her army, and is reunited with the young son she left with the centaurs years earlier...moreless

    8.9
    I remember being so exciting waiting for this episode episode here in the UK. I had fallen in love with the show over the first season, with it quickly becoming my favourite series. I didn't have the money (and didn't want to) fork out for Sky, and Channel 5 had taken an age to begin the second season, despite being over two years behind on the series!



    Renée O'Connor gets her name added to the opening credits, much due to the insistence of Lucy Lawless. And Gabrielle now wears a new green top, which she will wear until the third season, where it is replaced by a version so similar that casual viewers could easily mistake it for being the same one.



    We get a nice flashback of Xena leaving baby Solan with centaur Kaleipus, setting the template for many future episodes, in which Xena's dark past is interwoven with flashbacks and recollections.



    It seems a bit sudden that Xena reveals that she has a son, but it is introduced credibly, making it not seem too abrupt. Solan himself is well played by young David Taylor, one of the better child actors on the show.

    Lucy Lawless gives a good performance as she wins Solan – unaware that she is his mother, and initially hating her – over.



    The villain of the episode are fairly interesting, in a twisted but amusing way, thankfully not becoming the average 'warlord of the week'.



    This episode (actually the sixth produced for the season), is an enjoyable adventure that starts the second season off well. The plot moves along briskly and the pace only moderately slackens in a couple of places. A good start to one of the show's best seasons IMO.moreless
  • Xena's a mom.

    9.1
    Wow this episode wasn't an amazing season premier but it did it for me. This episode was emotional. I loved the flashback to when she gave up Solan and then started walking stagered or what ever. Xena gave him up for good reasons. It is sad to see how Xena loves the kid so much but she can't be his mom because people that don't like Xena might target him. The ending with the fighting was pretty good. I like how Borias hid the Xion stone in his sword. Xena's heart to heart with Solan at the end was very heart warming. This was a very big character deveolpment episode.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (6)

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Dagnine: (talking to the stone) Everything. All the strength and discipline of Ixion's creations, right here. With this I'll sweep the world like a rampaging wind... I'll kill Xena, I'll kill Hercules, I'll take Athens! I've got so much to do... I'll have to make a list!

    • (Xena is about to blow into a pipe)
      Xena: This is where all those music lessons come in handy. (Solan sighs) Just kidding!

    • Kaliepus: What is that?
      Gabrielle: If you don't know, then it must be Xena!

    • Xena: (in a flashback with Kaleipus) Take this child. He's my son, and the son of Borias. If he stays with me, he'll become a target for all those who hate me... and he'll learn things a child should never know. He'll become like me.

    • Gabrielle: No, I do understand. Any woman would. I just can't believe you did it. I mean, he's your son, for Gaea's sake.

    • Xena: (to Solan, who still doesn't know he's her son) We'll always be friends. Don't you ever forget that. Gabrielle and I have got to be going now.

    • Xena: You have things here I can only dream about, things I would want for my son.

  • NOTES (3)

    • This is the first episode to have a Flat Earth caption screen on the closing credits - episodes that feature heavy CGI work from this point onwards carry the caption.

    • Starting this episode, Renee O'Connor's name now appears in the opening credits instead of the first act, partly due to the insistance of Lucy Lawless.

    • DISCLAIMER: No Sleazy Warlords who deem it necessary to drink magic elixirs that turn them into scaly Centaurs were harmed during the production of this motion picture.

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • In Greek mythology, Ixion was the son of the River God Peneus. Hera fell in love with him and he sired the centaur race with her. Zeus, in his fury, sent Ixion to Tartarus and bound him to a rolling wheel for all eternity. There was no such thing as an "Ixion Stone", as it was shown in the episode. Some scholars call the giant stone wheel that Ixion was chained to in Tartarus the Ixion Stone, however.

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