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Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 5 Episode 3


Aired Monday 8:00 PM Oct 11, 1999 on
out of 10
User Rating
73 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


A warrior named Mavican decides to kill Xena to become the heir to Ares' Godly favor. Xena doesn't want to play, but Ares makes it interesting by magically trapping all three in a jungle, though Xena and Gabrielle have been merged into one person- one present during the day, the other at night. However, Xena must learn to stop underestimating Gabrielle when she finds out that Ares hasn't chosen Mavican, he's really after Gabrielle!


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  • A fascinating change of pace that nails it in one go. A very different episode that it beautiful shot, acted and plotted. A highlight of a mediocre season.

    "Succession" is an extremely clever and highly unusual episode, that stands apart as one of the most different and original episodes in the series. It has a completely different feel to the episodes which precede it and follow it, and yet has a clear theme and a pleasing resolution. Again, I am surprised that fans did not enjoy this one. We clearly got very different things from season 5.

    One of the most unique aspects of this episode is the minimal casting. Xena, Gabrielle, Ares and Mavican carry this episode entirely on their shoulders, yet you don't realise that this episode only has a 4 person cast. I can't think of any other episode which is as minimalist in terms of casting as this one (not counting the stock footage of bandits from the opening scene).

    The moral of this story is the fact that since their rebirth/reincarnation, (whatever you want to call it), Xena hasn't been showing Gabrielle the respect and recognition she deserves. It is clear that Gabrielle's fighting skills, tracking skills etc are streets ahead of where she was in season 4 prior to following the Way of Love, and yet Xena has not been expressing her appreciation of this to Gabrielle. Of course, clear and open communication has never been Xena's strong point.

    Interestingly, it is Ares who cottons on to Gabrielle's frustration. They have certainly formed a bond of sorts which lingers on despite their differences. Ares, never one to shy away from exploiting a situation for his own benefit, uses Gabrielle's concerns to entertain himself, whilst ridding himself of the pesky Mavican, who seems to believe she has earned the right to succeed Xena as Ares' chosen one.

    Ares' idea to send Mavican, Gabrielle and Xena off to fight it out was simple enough. The really entertaining part comes in the fact that he combines Xena and Gabrielle into one being: Xena has the day shift, and Gabrielle takes over the night. Although I imagine the writers chose this for practical reasons (Lucy's pregnancy) it feels natural and believable and is played out exceptionally well. Gabrielle is just outstanding in the environment. She is clearly focussed, tactically-minded and physically excellent.

    Mavican is an interesting woman who certainly does talk a lot, but is actually quite a formidable foe. Whilst not in the same league as Xena, she holds her own and provides a really nice suspense to the episode. The choice to split the scenes between night and day is highly effective, and I especially liked that Xena and Gabrielle passed on their injuries to each other.

    There is some really enjoyable scripting in this episode, most of which Ares is responsible for.

    Xena: All this to watch your new girlfriend fight?

    Ares: No, to watch my old girlfriend fight.

    I enjoyed watching Xena scheming rather than fighting, and especially appreciated the irony when she realised that it was her neglect of Gabrielle which had encouraged Ares to put them in the situation. There was also an interesting hint of competition, with the suggestion that Gabrielle may be becoming better than Xena. I wonder how that could be played out, but I'm also glad they did not follow that path in this episode.

    There is a nice conclusion to the episode involving Xena opening up to Gabrielle and expressing the fact that she has noticed the changes in her. However, there is a key moment in the final scene (blink-and-you'll-miss-it) where Gabrielle states "I know you Xena; I know what's in your heart. Sometimes though I wonder if you really know me". This statement has enormous significance and really demonstrates that despite all the trials and tribulations, and all the emotional and relationship milestones Xena and Gabrielle have reached, there is still that niggling suggestion that Xena takes Gabrielle for granted, and fails to appreciate her ability until it is too late. Gabrielle's loyalty is unwavering, as demonstrated in "Chakram" when she expresses to Eli her intention to protect the pure Xena at any cost. She broke her vow to follow the Way of Love for Xena, and willingly allowed herself to be crucified with Xena out of pure love and loyalty. Yet despite all of this, she still feels as if Xena doesn't really understand her. It is a crucial moment.

    This episode has it all going for it, and I rate it extremely highly, especially in regards to the rest of the season. 9 out of 10.moreless
  • shock value

    Mavican makes her debut for a one time only in a truely villainous role.

    this episode is very,very good and definately is one of the best episodes of the show.

    it shows off Gabys long lost warrior skills that havent yet(until now)been shown properly after her way of peace through the latter of season 4.

    it shows just how independant Gaby can really be and just how ferocious Xena is actually capable of...which reminds me tht this eppy features some truely fantastic chakram tricks.

    there are stunts galore in this episode...and Succession truely shows up what a standard filler episode can actually be like.

    its a corker and is very entertaining on many different levels.moreless
  • Ares transports Xena and Gabrielle, and Mavican – Ares' potential new right hand – to a land to battle it out to the death. But there's an extra twist: Xena and Gabby share the same body - Xena by day and Gabrielle by night, in this enjoyable episode...moreless

    Although a slight comedown after the previous two great episodes, this is still a very good story and I really enjoyed it.

    The sequence near the beginning, of Xena beating up the bandits, is made up entirely of stock footage from previous episodes (the bandit being thrown into the lake, for example, is from the first season's 'Altered States'). I got the impression this was done to save time in order to work around Lucy Lawless' shortened hours due to being pregnant.

    Talking of Xena, she has a new costume in this episode, one that is clearly designed to try and hide the fact that Lawless is pregnant.

    As with the previous episode, 'Chakram', we see that Gabrielle has really developed into a courageous warrior, a far cry from the naïve young girl that we saw in the earliest episodes of the series. She really stands up to Mavican and gives her a run for her money.

    I really like the relationship between Ares and Gabrielle in this episode. It has been touched upon in a couple of previous instalments, and here is really developed.

    I also got the impression that Gabrielle was given a lot of screen time was again due to Lawless' pregnancy. But more Gabrielle is fine with me!

    At first, I thought that Ares was sending the trio into the alternate universe seen several times in 'Hercules', as the vortex that whisks them away looks identical. But we are never really given any clue as to the exact location, and there is nothing to suggest that it is indeed the parallel world.

    One paper Mavican might just seem like a slightly generic opponent to Xena, but is brought to screen well and is a good thorn in Xena's side (pun? I guess you have to see the episode!).

    For some reason, this episode reminded me of several episodes of the original 1960s 'Star Trek', with Captain Kirk stranded on baron planets and without his usual weaponry to defend himself.

    The episode takes it's time to really get going, and is maybe a little over-wordy in the first act, but it winds up as a really enjoyable adventure.moreless
  • A great episode to show off Gabrielle's warrior skills.

    Gabrielle in her new found warrior way, wants to be part of more fights and Xena will not let her. Gabrielle gets upset that Xena still views her as the young naive "bard".

    In the mean time, a new warrior named Mavican wants to rule with Ares, and she figures the best way for him to love her is to kill Xena. She wants to be Xena's Successor to have Ares' child.

    Ares sends Xena, Gabrielle and Mavican to another realm, where we find out that Xena and Gabrille are not in the same time. They are trapped in solitude away from each other. Xena has daytimes, while Gabrille has night times.

    We see Gabrielle being able to use her knowledge that she has learned from Xena to fight and defend herself fom Mavican, who is a very skilled warrior. Without the help of Xena, Gabrielle gets the upper-hand on Mavican, but still choses to spare her life, showing us that even though she found the Way of the Warrior, she still has the compassion and morals of the young girl that we all love.

    This is a great thought-out episode that shows off Gabrielle's warrior skills and teaches her new things to be aware of. Xena learns to trust Gabrielle to be able to take care of herself and knows that she no longer has to be her protector. Another great episode that takes our "Traveling Bard" into our "Battling Bard".moreless
  • Big Boob Mavican!!

    Succession-Ares decides to pit Mavican, Xena, and Gabrielle in a fight to the death in an unknown arena. One catch, Xena and Gabrielle share one body and Mavican is determined to fill-out her destiny of the one who kills Xena.

    If you mix Callisto and Najara together, then giving them a double D breast size...you get Mavican! I lowe the opening action sequence with Xena throwing her chakram and Mavican dodging the split chakrams, it's really well choreographed! Also I love how Gabrielle contiunes to develope as a fighter. When she beat Mavican, I was shocked and impressed! The character has come a long way, and defeating an opponent like Mavican by herself in a big development for her. I also like how Ares saw Gabrielle as Xena's successor, it's funny considering how Ares use to find Gabrielle irritating. I also like the idea of both Xena and Gbarielle sharing one boyd because it gives each woman the time to focus and strategize against Mavican in their own way. I felt bad for Mavican, she was just a stupid and foolish warrior who got what she deserved(The actress who played her went on to Charmed after this). The episode ends with Xena finally trusting Gabrielle as a fighter and an adult. All in All, a great episode with a good storyline! and developmentmoreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • The location of the place that Ares sends Xena, Gabrielle and Mavican to is never really stated. The vortex that carries them there looks the same as that which leads to the alternate universe in Hercules, but there is nothing else to suggest that they are in the parallel universe.

    • Goof: At the beginning, when Xena and Gabrielle are tossing around the bandits, when you see Xena kick one of them, you can see the old chakram on her hip instead of the new one! (This is due to the entire sequence being made up of stock footage) It's only for a second, but it's definitely there!

    • Goof: When Mavican throws the first spear at Xena in the cage, the shot from behind shows it embedding above Xena's right shoulder. When the camera changes to the front, the spear is under Xena's arm.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Ares: (to Xena and Gabrielle) No- don't say it. Have a little respect for me, will ya? You won, already!

    • Xena: The next bad guy we come across is all yours. The next seven little bad guys we come across- they're all yours.
      Gabrielle: Is that a crack about my height?
      Xena: No, they're just harder for me to reach.
      Gabrielle: I guess that makes sense.

    • Xena: (to Mavican) You know what, Sweetie? You talk too much.

    • Mavican: (speaking to Gabrielle about Xena) I wanna kill her- and I understand that killing you is the best way to meet her.

    • Mavican: My destiny is to kill you.
      Xena: Wrong, your destiny is to be forgotten.

    • Ares: What in the name of... me do you think you're doing?

    • Gabrielle: (complaining to Ares about Xena's over protectiveness) There were five bandits- five of them. She could have handled four and I would have been happy with just one. But, no-no, she had to take them all.

  • NOTES (2)

    • The bandits fight near the beginning of the episode is made up entirely of stock footage. Some of the bandits tossed in the off camera fight with Xena at the beginning of the episode were actually from a clip of a Hercules episode originally. Another shot, of the bandit being thrown into the lake, is from the first season Xena episode "Altared States".

    • DISCLAIMER: Ares' Libido was not harmed during the production of this motion picture.