Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 1 Episode 0

Pilot: The Warrior Princess/The Gauntlet/Unchained Heart

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Mar 13, 1995 on
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Episode Summary

Pilot: The Warrior Princess/The Gauntlet/Unchained Heart

The Xena Trilogy of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
The Warrior Princess:
Aired: March 13, 1995
The warrior woman Xena wishes to secure complete control of the region of Arcadia, and decides that Hercules must die to make that happen. So she poses as a maiden in distress to lure lolaus away and trick him into turningagainst Hercules.

The Gauntlet:
Aired: May 1, 1995
For protecting a helpless infant, Xena is betrayed by her army and forced into a gauntlet where she is ruthlessly beaten. After dueling Hercules, Xena teams up with him to stop her former army and slay Darphus. However Darphus gains a powerful ally in death.
Unchained Heart:
Aired: May 8, 1995
Xena's former lieutenant Darphus rises from the dead to carry out Ares' evil plan. While working together to stop the marauding Darphus, Hercules and the warrior princess Xena take their personal relationship to a new level.


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  • Review for The Warrior Princess. Review for The Gaunlet

    The Warrior Princess:

    Xena. Xena. Xena. This episode is part 1 of the Xena Trilogy. In part 1 The Warrior Princess, we meet Xena. She seems like a nice, innocent girl. But we see that she is leading an evil army. She is looking to kill Hercules and goes through his best friend, Iolaus to get to him. Xena slowly begins to tear Iolaus away from Hercules. And makes him turn on her. Hercules gets attacked by Xena's warrior and he finds out that Xena is evil. The Xena has a way with words, that can persuade anyone to doing anything. Xena is an amazing fighter. Hercules and Iolaus, fight. Xena is baaad. The episode ends with Xena saying "You haven't heard the last of me..."

    The Gaunlet:

    From the beginning of this episode, we see that Xena is softening. She doesn't want to kill the women and children. Hercules encounters his cousin. Xena's fighting is amazing. You can see that she is angry after her warrior kills an old man. Chakram throw! Amazing. Salmoneus is hilarious. This episode was totally about Xena. The ass4ole killed women and children. That was wrong. Xena is pissed. The gaunlet :( that was tough. Salmoneus is standing up for Xena... good man :) Great Xena and Hercules fight. The fight scene in Parthis is pretty amazing. Ends amazing too.moreless
  • The Beginning of the series.

    So this is how Xena: Warrior Princess got her start.

    Xena is a warrior who started out looking for a way to protect her village, but due to the betrayel by Ceaser, she turns, well evil. There is no mention of this in Hercules,it is mentioned in XWP, season 2.

    Now, in Hercules,we met her as the villian,trying to split Isolias (sry if i missed spelled) and Hercules up and then kill them both.That's the Warrior Princess.

    In the Gauntlet is where her army destorys a villiage along with every body in it,execpt one. A baby. Xena,even when evil did not harm woman and children,her army did,in Seirra and this other village. So mad and with her few morals protects this child. Needless to say her army isnt very happy about it, but goes along with what Xena wants,until her second in command convinces them to go against her.

    The only way out is through the Gauntlet.Whoever goes through that usaully doesnt survive but Xena does and manages to escape.

    Finally we make it to the Unchained Heart, Xena now is alone and without an army.Well eventaully teaming on the side of good,know we know.

    I didn't give all the details, and heck even if u have only seen one episode u know that in the end she turns out good.A great way to start it out.

    Just as an after thought-

    Xena says her father and 3 brothers are dead, could just be a ploy, but she only had 2 brothers in XWP and her father was dead,but Xena just thought he left,untill her mother tells her different in Season 3,episode 1,the furies.

    So I guess when the writer who wrote xena forget those 2 lil details... But this happens before the show came out, and as we all know,not everything is what it seems.moreless
  • The beginning of Xena: Warrior Princess!

    Here in these 3 episodes of Hercules, Xena: Warrior Princess was created! The Warrior Princess: This is the episode that we meet Xena. We find that she has an army, and can fight well. This episode was a little soft and lacked a great deal, but still entertaining. We had an opportunity to see Xena use her sexuality to lure people into doing her bidding. Xena trying to break up Iolas and Hercules friendship puts the two at odds and makes Iolas want to fight Hercules. Xena did not suceed in turning the two against each other and flees, but we can still see that she does have some sort of evil plan.

    The Gauntlet: Here is where we see Xena lose her army. This episode was much better than Warrior Princess. We get to see more into Xena's personality and what she wants. We also see Xena begin to realize she is heading in the wrong path in life and begins to regret her past. She saves a baby, and has her entire army turn on her for it. She faces going through the Gauntlet, and lives to tell about it. Xena has a battle within herself to make the change from evil to good.

    Unchained Heart: With Xena on the good side now, she is working with Hercules to defeat Darphus... her prior Army Commander. Here we see Xena's good side coming out. Although she is still weary about her new way, you can see her embrace it. With the help of Hercules of course. We see Xena finally change from evil warlord, to a hero, and one that will stay on the side of good.

    All in all, the 3 episodes were good. They do not compare to any episode in the Xena series, but was a great kick off point. I would definitely recommend any Xena fan to watch The Xena Trilogy....moreless
  • The journey begins, with a rocky start and many bumps along the way... but she is Xena, and that's what its all about.

    Given that the so-called 'pilot' is actually three separate episodes, I'm going to review each of them separately.

    The Warrior Princess

    This is only the second time I have ever seen this episode; the first time was 13 years ago when it first aired on Australian television. I have to say that I viewed it from a completely different perspective this time, and have taken away an entire new set of opinions on the episode.

    Originally, like all fans, I saw this episode as a Hercules fan. I hated Xena for who she was, and for what she did. Now, watching from the Xena-perspective, and considering my life-long allegiance to Xena, I have to say that I found it very hard to watch.

    Knowing what we now know about Xena's life and past, we cannot take this as an accurate representation of Xena at this point, so I'm not going to go on and on about the inconsistencies and problems, I'm going to focus on what we see here.

    This Xena is wild, younger and beautiful; yet she is a cold, hard and bitter woman, damaged (perhaps irreversibly) by a life of hatred, abuse, violence and betrayal. Xena is as much to blame for who she became as anybody else, but there is no doubt that this is a damaged woman.

    Xena in action is not the Xena we know. Rather than simply using her fierce fighting skills, she is able to switch her act between femme fatale and commander; she is able to read people and tap into their fears, and their weaknesses. She uses her manipulative abilities to turn Iolaus away from his best friend, something we all thought was impossible. Watching her in action is incredible, she is so precise in her scheme. She disposes of those that don't matter as soon as blinking. It is hard to watch her use her body and her skills for such evil purposes; to take someone that she almost despises such as Iolaus, and let him use her body in order to treat him like her own weapon. There is something much more bitter about her here, than in the spin off.

    Given that this is Hercules, and not Xena, the fights and dialogue are very 'Hercules-ish'. Xena almost doesn't belong in this setting, and there is clearly so much more to gain from her as a character. So, roll on "The Gauntlet".

    The Gauntlet

    In many ways, this is by far the darker of the three episodes. What became instantly clear to me when I made the 'switch' from Hercules to Xena, was that Xena was about emotion, relationships, darkness and light. Hercules was never able to capture this, and unfortunately, this episode reflects that.

    This should have been an unforgettable episode, and it has its moments; but they are the Xena moments only. These few powerful scenes are overshadowed by the rest of the typical Hercules style.

    What I love about this episode is the way it highlights the evil and goodness in Xena. This is a woman torn between two paths in life, two ways of being. All her life prior to this moment she had been in a tug-of-war with herself, between being the warrior she knew how to be, and being the woman she was destined to be. It took years of Xena (the show) to truly define who Xena was, and who she used to be, as Evil Xena. However, I think this episode truly captures it. She is the ruthless fighter, the woman so scared to face up to who she is and what she has done, that she fights to black out her past, present and future.

    Xena wants to command loyalty of her troops, yet this lost woman is no leader. She is broken, and alone and hated by all, and her fighting, her desperateness makes this all the more real.

    This episode possesses two of the darkest moments of both shows. The first comes in the destruction of the village, where all living souls are destroyed. There is something harrowing about this scene, the shades of lighting, and the ruthless killing of innocents. For a few moments you are there feeling those emotions.

    The second comes, of course, in the gauntlet. Watching from a Xena-perspective now, changes everything. I cried, watching the woman I know so well get beaten to the ground by those she trained and trusted. To know what Xena suffered in her past, and what she went through on her path to redemption changes the way anybody would see her – no matter what else she was or is, she was a hero in her own right.

    Unchained Heart

    And finally we reach the end of the Trilogy, the positive and almost uplifting "Unchained Heart". This is a very solid episode, possibly the best of the three as far as I'm concerned. For once, Hercules (the show) handles the emotional side even better than the action. Don't get me wrong – there are some great fight scenes here, Xena looks hot and her costume is great, and the Hercules-style is still there, but this episode also manages to encompass the incredibly important emotional overhaul that Xena is experiencing, and that is most satisfying of all.

    I have to say that this episode surprised me. After the previous two I was expecting a lot less. In terms of acting, this one is streets ahead of the others – Kevin Sorbo is actually really really good, and works with Lucy Lawless exceptionally well, so much better than Michael Hurst did. It really helps that Kevin and Lucy had genuine chemistry – they are great together.

    I was absolutely over-the-moon to see the emotional scenes handled sensitively, realistically, and (obviously most important) emotionally. The one-on-ones here are excellent, easily Xena-quality, and space out the action and move the episode along very nicely.

    I have very few problems with the episode. Obviously the sub-plot of the resurrected Darphus is very weak, especially the inclusion of the ridiculous dog. Xena is also still a little sickly-sweet for me, just a little too 'redeemed' for a woman only days out of the cycle of hatred and violence. I would have expected a little more difficulty adapting to the path of good, but this is a minor complaint.

    Special mention goes to the beautifully acted and shot love scene between Hercules and Xena. The show really doesn't go too far into the sexual/relationship side of things very often, and by the time we are in full swing of Xena, they are going out of their way to keep relationships in the subtext. Here, however, we see Xena's genuine attraction to Hercules as a symbol of her redemption; this is a woman who has found the goodness within herself and, once she has tapped into it, finds a whole new world open to her. This world contains, probably for the first time, the possibility of building relationships and even love with good people; not ambitious, or powerful, but simply good people.

    The love scene is really nice, and is just done with the right balance of realism, emotion and sex. The final image of Xena and Hercules sitting together, simply enjoying the touch, warmth and presence of the other is one of the most touching images of either show – it will stay will me.


    So, all in all, for better or worse, this is where it all started. These episodes must hold a special place in any Xena fan's heart, for this is our Warrior Princess and there is no doubt that she has had a very rough journey through life. We can only respect her more for who she was, and what she overcame. In terms of the episodes themselves, they are strong episodes, especially considering the overall Hercules standard. I have to say that I can clearly see why I was so easily converted to Xena from Hercules; the shows are undeniably different in every sense, and cannot truly be lumped together in one category.

    This is powerful stuff, and can be appreciated for what it is: the beginning of a life-changing journey for all involved.moreless
  • Obviously this is a pivital 3 episodes, it began the series!

    I loved these 3 episodes. I thought they brought the Xena character up well and it was a perfect beginning to a great show. My personal favorite was the Gauntlet. It was raw and gritty and really made you believe in the change Xena made. I also liked how they romatically linked Xena and Herc and it made more sense for them to be together than her and Iolus. God I hope I spelled his name right. But all in all, these episodes were a great set up to a great series and are worthy to watch. I love this show!moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • In "The Warrior Princess", Xena mentions that her father and three brothers all died in battle. However, during the entire run of the series, only two brothers are ever mentioned, meaning she either lied, or they changed the number of brothers Xena actually had.

  • QUOTES (15)

    • Xena: I don't run from my problems. I confront them!

    • Xena: We are warriors, not barbarians.

    • Xena: You know, I've been in a hundred other battles, and the only thing that's ever come over me before them was a cold rage... but now? Is this what it feels like to be you, Hercules?
      Hercules: I think you're just finding out how good it feels to challenge the forces of evil.

    • Xena: Hard times breed hard people, Iolaus.

    • Villager: Did you take care of her yet?
      Hercules: I don't know who you're talking about.
      Villager: Xena, the Warrior Princess. Who else? She just wants to write her name across history in big, bloody letters. She won't rest until she's wiped out everybody and everything that's stopping her from conquering Arcadia!

    • Hercules: You know, a true warrior attacks from the front.
      Theodorus: My commander says you attack from whatever side suits your purpose.
      Hercules: So, he's a coward too?

    • Xena: I'm Xena.
      Hercules: Hello Xena, I'm...
      Iolaus: (interrupts) This is my best friend in all the world, that's who he is!
      Xena:But does he have a name?
      Iolaus: (sheepishly) Oh, yeah, yeah... this is Hercules.

    • Xena: Are you a biographer or a comedian?
      Salmoneus: How about love slave? I'm versatile!
      Xena: You're delusional!

    • Iolaus: (to Xena during a fight in "The Warrior Princess") You sure know how to show a guy a good time!

    • Xena: (to Hercules) Let me go. There's so much in my life I have to make amends for. I've got to get started.
      Hercules: I with you'd let me help.
      Xena: You already have. You unchained my heart.

    • Iolaus: Come on, do I look dangerous?
      Xena: Looks can be deceiving.

    • Salmoneus: (captured by Xena) Please don't kill me! Please, I beg you!
      Xena: Give me one good reason.
      Salmoneus: It would be very unpleasant for me. We haven't even been been introduced. My mother would cry...?

    • Salmoneus: You need someone to trumpet your victories, but you don't want to seem overbearing, or merciless. You need a theme song. Wait a second. (singing) Xena, coming to your town. Xena, don't you wear a frown. (talking) Don't talk about destruction, talk about collateral damage. Be like a tax collector- tell people you're doing it for their own good.

    • Salmoneus: (coaching Xena on creating the right image) Well, an army such as yours, with such a beautiful leader like you, you need publicity. Public relations.Xena: Hah! I prefer my relations to be private!

    • Xena: (in "The Gauntlet") Come here, little man. You amuse me.
      Salmoneus Amusing? You like amusing? Guy goes into a bar walking a duck. Owner says, 'What are you doing with that pig?'
      Xena: Cease! I'll let you know when I want to be amused again.

  • NOTES (6)

    • Before these three episodes, Lucy Lawless had appeared twice on Hercules, playing different characters- the Amazon Lysia, and Lila.

    • The episode "The Warrior Princess" was responsible for the funny disclaimers used in both Xena and Hercules. The disclaimer, the statement that no animals were harmed filming it, was real, because Xena supposedly lames her horse to get Iolaus' attention. From that beginning Liz Friedman's sense of the ridiculous blossomed, and she had fun coming up with absurd disclaimers for each episode.

      No vicious beasts intent on taking over the world were harmed during the production of this motion picture.

    • As originally conceived Xena was supposed to die at the end of the third episode titled "Unchained Heart", but when the studio decided they wanted to do a spin-off from Hercules Rob said that Xena was the best choice, and the rest is history. The studio wanted to do Jason and the Argonauts, but Tapert said that show would have too much of the same feel as Hercules.

      No animals were harmed during the production of this motion picture.

    • The Pilot Episodes: These 3 episodes were originally Hercules episodes, but are regarded as pilot episodes to the Xena series. They are sometimes referred to as the Xena trilogy, and they were sold individually under that name. The episode "Unchained Heart" had an extended love scene between Xena and Hercules for this special video release.