Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 4 Episode 13

Paradise Found

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Feb 01, 1999 on
out of 10
User Rating
74 votes

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Episode Summary


In India, Xena and Gabrielle wake up in a paradise where a mystical man named Aiden teaches Gabrielle the art of meditation. Xena tries leaving Gabrielle with him in a bid to save Gabrielle from her vision, but before she leaves Xena discovers he's actually feeding off Gabrielle's goodness to gain power for himself. The only way Xena can defeat Aiden is to become evil herself, but if she does so, will any of them, including Gabrielle, be safe?


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  • I'm blue dabadeedabadaaa!

    I was beginning to wonder whether or not Xena's fourth season had any good episodes left. 'Paradise Found' combines a healthy dose of character exploration with some rather bizarre imagery and inventive fight scenes.

    It's never a question as to whether to not Aiden is shifty, it's apparent from the start, but it's about how he works that makes it worthwhile. He taps into Gabrielle's inherent goodness and begins leeching off of her deepest thoughts. He's an interesting villain as for the most part, he offers the rather sinuous Gabrielle some stellar advice and he really does help fight some of her demons.

    I have a feeling he wasn't expecting Gabrielle to have company; his methods don't seem to work quite so well on our Warrior Princess. Xena literally jumps down a frickin dark pit on the off chance her partner fell down there, too. Xena, again, must enter her darkest realms in order to save her best friend. Her primal attack on Aiden is both hilarious and oddly terrifying. When Xena screams at Gabrielle it startled me a tad. Just a tad.

    The iridescent set designs, lively and fitting music, as well as some great guest work by Jeremy Roberts make this a much welcomed upswing in standards. Director Rop Tapart makes use of his limited surroundings commendably well and everyone is on top form. A dark, light-hearted, twisted and surreal episode…you know you're onto a good one when you have difficulty trying to sum it up into one specific genre.moreless
  • With shades of light and dark at every turn, this is a fascinating episode.

    This is a fascinating, dark, and visually beautiful episode which drastically lifts the quality of episodes and catapults us back into classic territory.

    What stood out to me the most in this episode is the way they used symbolism in the set and design to reflect the theme of the episode. This rarely happens and I don't think it is ever used quite as effectively again.

    The episode starts off typically enough, with Gabrielle further questioning their existence and paths in life, but takes a drastic twist when, by chance, they find themselves in Aiden's world. I'd like to take this opportunity to point out how bizarre it was that Xena chose to jump down that hole. 1. Gabrielle had not screamed as she fell, giving no indication that she had fallen down the hole; 2. Xena didn't see Gabrielle fall down the hole; 3. There was a pretty huge possibility that Gabrielle HADN'T fallen down the hole and yet, Xena just jumped right down after her. Bizarre!

    Putting that little glitch aside, Aiden's Paradise is a fascinating place. The tranquillity of the surroundings and the presence of the multi-dimensional Aiden appeals directly to Gabrielle's inner-self, given her path of soul-searching.

    Aiden is beautifully portrayed by Jeremy Roberts. His gentle and yet comforting nature is the perfect disguise for the darkness lurking beneath. Or is it darkness? The search for inner goodness and peace? The world he created is, in a sense, perfection. It draws out the truth in a person – goodness and evil.

    Which raises the question; we all know that Gabrielle is truly and completely good. Her soul is untarnished by her past, though her heart may be. But this episode suggests that Xena is essentially bad, that the inner core of her being is evil, and I don't think we can agree with that at all. Clearly others have seen the goodness in her – Lao Ma for one, who is referenced several times throughout the episode. Is it suggesting that Xena fights against the goodness within? That she forces herself to live in some kind of limbo where she only acknowledges the evil and disregards the good?

    I love the symbolism depicted in the set. This is a world that is made up of shades of light and dark, which blur together in so many ways. The Yin-Yang bed with Gabrielle lying on the side of the light is a stunning image which I have captured in my mind's eye as one of the most beautiful of the series. The baths to 'wash you clean of your sins' are certainly suggesting the cleansing of the body and soul. Yet, like Aiden, there is a layer of falsity to their surroundings. Interestingly, Xena still fails to recognize and accept Gabrielle's need to find inner peace. After all this time you would think she would just accept the fact that Gabrielle needs to try everything possible to still the anguish within her. This is not a hard concept to accept and, frustrating as it might be for Xena, you would think she would stop fighting against it.

    There is, of course, a great deal of sub-text in this episode and I would love to find anybody who will argue with me on that point. From the opening scenes of Gabrielle walking nude around the cave, to the sensual massage Xena gives Gabrielle, to the steamy baths they take together, sub-text is becoming more and more main-text as the seasons progress. I would like to find anybody who could successfully argue that these women are still just friends after seeing scenes such as these.

    While this episode is not the strongest of the 3 in the India story arc, it is a very watchable episode. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and I think that it has many, many strong points which add to its overall presentation and appeal.moreless
  • Xena goes CRAZY!!!

    i find this episode truely remarkable start to the fantastic india quadrilogy,it plays on our characters developments and although not a classic it is very good and a recommended watch for all fans.

    Paradise Found is not your average filler episode.

    it delves deep into this seasons entire mytharc and touches nerves in Xena tht no other foe has ever been able to do on the show before(besides Callisto).

    this episode is certainly of its greatest possible writing on the series and has a uniue type of direction that definately is eye candy for watching.

    all in all Paradise Found is a unique mini masterclass of an episode although not the best episode ever it is a great watch and starts off the India arc with great power,and who doesnt love the reference Xena makes to Sacrifice...'What Is It With You and Holes Anyway?'.

  • In India, Xena and Gabrielle fall into a seemingly tranquil land of paradise, where the strange guru Aiden teaches Gabrielle about inner peace. But Xena detects that something is wrong. A strange and surreal episode...moreless

    Well, this is certainly a strange episode. It is very surreal, and hard to really sum up in words.

    It starts off with Xena and Gabrielle in a cave while journeying through India, starting the India story arc of the season.

    They fall (quite literally) into a deep hole and wake up in Aiden's strange land. With its bright, surreal appearance, for a moment it looks like Illusia (from last season's musical 'The Bitter Suite'), until Xena comments that she doesn't hear any singing!

    From the off you know that something will turn out to be wrong – obviously, else there would be no story.

    Probably the most memorable scene from the episode comes as Xena is massaging Gabrielle, and has a nosebleed, inter-cut with the scenes of Gabrielle being crucified that she's been experiencing all season. Again, hard to really sum up in words, you really have to see it.

    Despite its strangeness, and being quite slow in places, it is an intriguing story in that you want to find out just what this odd place is all about. However, things go a bit awry in the late third act and the fourth act, almost treading into 'Adventures in the Sin Trade' "What the heck is going on?" territory. I felt the final act really let the story down, and on the season four DVDs (Region 1), director Rob Tapert too says that he felt the final act didn't work.

    I'm not sure how to sum up and rate this episode. As I say, it is surreal, but intriguing. I think the real trouble is that it comes after a run of so-so at best episodes (and a couple of really bad ones). With stronger episodes surrounding it to hold it up, it might have fared better, but in a run of poor episodes, its harder to be more forgiving and take this episode as what it is – a surreal oddity.moreless
  • Freak Out!!

    Paradise Found-In India, Xena and Gabrielle wake up in a seeming land of paradise where a mystical man named Aidan, teaches Gabrielle the art of meditation, but Xena discovers he's just feeding off Gabrielle's goodness and must let go of all the good in her, in order to save Gabrielle.

    This episode begins the India Arc of the season where Gabrielle and Xena search for their ways in life. Xena and Gabrielle fall down a hole and wake up in beautiful land where they meet Aidan, who owns the place. Aidan is a rather mysterous character and Jeremey Roberts gets the role down perfectly. What makes this episode unique is how Xena's darkness in this place is growing, and causes her to hallusinate!! The scene with Xena hurting Gabrielle are so creepy, and the scene where Xena's wound appears and re-appears gives me goosebumps everytime. The interaction between Gabrielle and Aidan is an interesing one as their yoga scenes are both well-directed and acted, with Gabrielle reliving her pain. But then the truth about Aidan is revealed and Xena has to become pure evil to stop him and save Gabrielle. The final fight is most bizarre battle, with Xena now horrible disfigured and Aidan sucking the goodness out of Gabrielle. All in All, this is great episode because it's so unique and visually bizarre!!moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Goofs: There is a scene where Xena is walking into the courtyard where those blue yoga statues are. If you look closely you can tell that the film image has been reversed. The Chakram and sword are on Xena's left, but usually they are on Xena's right as she is right-handed. You can also spot reversals by looking at Gar's face: he has a distinctive scar on one cheek, and in different scenes the scar appears on each side of his face.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Gabrielle: I just wonder if maybe your fighting for good has more to do with the fighting part than the good part.
      Xena: Think my fighting for good is a cover for something darker? I don't know.
      Gabrielle: It's funny, we come to places like this- you know, spiritual places, looking for some sort of answer. Makes you wonder.
      Xena: Wonder what?
      Gabrielle: Instead of reaching out, maybe we should be looking in?

    • Gabrielle: What happened? Xena, I fell down a-- a hole.
      Xena: Yeah, what is it with you and holes, huh?

    • Gabrielle: (to Xena) I sometimes talk about your darkness like it's some kind of disease. But without it, neither one of us would be here.

    • Gabrielle: It's beautiful, don't you think?
      Xena: Yeah, in that yucky, 'I'm in paradise' kind of way.

    • Xena: (giving Gabrielle a massage) We've come a long way, the two of us.
      Gabrielle: A long way.
      Xena: And you've taught me a lot about kindness and mercy and love.
      Gabrielle: Love. (Gabrielle falls asleep)
      Xena: You've got a good heart, Gabrielle. It's pure and it's honest and no one should ever hurt you. No one should ever hurt you. Goodbye, Gabrielle.

  • NOTES (7)

    • Jeremy Roberts has appeared before on Xena, playing the untrustworthy assassin Thersites in "A Fistful of Dinars".

    • Almost all of Aiden's backstory was removed from the story. He was trapped in that perfect land and realized that he could absorb the goodness out of people to gain powers. He killed his wife and child, then any body else who became trapped there. And once he broke free of his imprisonment, he intended to use his abilities to try and rule the world.

    • The greensman who was hired to lay out the garden for this episode was a certified tai chi instructor. He took it upon himself to instruct Lucy in proper tai chi.

    • Rob Tapert had big plans for Gabrielle's new yoga practice. She was supposed to teach it to Xena, and then when they died in "The Ides of March" their spirits were supposed to do pair yoga to demonstrate their togetherness even after death and their serenity in that state. But when they realized how much time and money that would cost they had the angels do it instead in the beginning of "Fallen Angel".

    • The idea for the episode came from Milton's poem "Paradise Lost" and was intended to include the Archangel Michael and the Garden of Eden, but when Rob Tapert said they needed a bottle show (5 days filming instead of 9) they cut it down to what we have now.

    • Durng filming, as Xena makes her entrance and sees Gabrielle in Aiden's arms Rob Tapert (the episode's director), to help Lucy find her motivation, told her "She's in another man's arms! Lucy promptly collapsed into laughter, since she had never quite considered Xena the "man" in Gabrielle's life!

    • DISCLAIMER: Paradise was found but not necessarily embraced during the production of this motion picture.


    • When Xena and Gabrielle first wake up in Aiden's paradise, they comment that it looks like Illusia 'but without the singing'. This is a reference to the parallel world they travelled to in Season 3's "The Bitter Suite".