Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 1 Episode 11

The Black Wolf

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Jan 08, 1996 on
out of 10
User Rating
44 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


A village is being overtaxed by King Xerxes when the "Black Wolf" comes and gives them their money back. Xerxes arrests sympathizers to the Black Wolf. Xena comes to town and runs into an old friend, vowing to save her daughter from the dungeons. Xena then strikes a deal with Xerxes to find the true Black Wolf.


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  • Xena rescues a childhood friend from a king's dungeon.

    I really like this episode, not love it, but really like it. The saddest part about it is that "The Black Wolf" (which had a lot of potential as a return character) doesn't ever return in a future episode. Guess they aren't THAT close. That was the failing of a lot of implied Xena background in one shot stories, sometimes really good characters got loss in the shuffle known as progress. I do wonder when it was Xena knew this girl though as they imply she's like "the sister she never had" so it was quite in her youth though she's clearly got a few years on the young "Black Wolf". Salmoneus arrives in a Xena episode for the first time here and the scenes between him and Gabrielle are brilliant. Of course they meet without Xena around, adding to the comedy as they both discover they're friends of Xena. Salmoneus' line when he discovers this is really funny. When Xena says to him "She's my friend" (after he argues with Gabby about getting him locked up) and he responds "She's your friend... you have a friend?" Obviuosly the Xena he knew in "Gaunlet" and "Unchained Heart" has changed in some significant ways. Of course Gabby gets the best line, namely when she says to Sal "This wouldn't have happened if you kept your hands off my tomatoes" (and Xena gives him a look). The funny scenes slide perfectly into the drama of the episode without being a distraction from it. Gabby also proves herself to be more than a useful sidekick here, sneaking in Xena's faithful weapon (the Chakram) by dressing it up as a hat. The days of hiding young village girl Gabby away from the thick of things are fading into the background. This was the most brilliant part of the series to me, seeing this girl grow and change so much. And finally, on a sub-texter note, I do find it intresting that even at this point Gabby seems to describe Xena in a crush-like way. I mean when looking for her she describes her as tall and beautiful with peircing blue eyes. I just find that a little intresting is all. At the end of the day, entertaining little Xena romp and nice to see how clever the little Warrior-in-training is becoming.moreless
  • A gang of rebels are jailed and Xena attempts to free them...

    The Black Wolf strikes again only to find themselves jailed.

    Xena attempts to free the Black Wolf by exposing who it is.

    This is Salmoneus' first appearance in the Xena series. It's always a pleasure to see his character show up in the occasional episode. Personally, he is one of my favorites.

    This was a good episode though some of the lesser characters could have been more developed. A pity that no series was forthcoming from Xena, the Black Wolf perhaps could have been a decent spin-off. The story would have been more interesting if the majority of it had not taken place within the dungeon. We should have learned more of Flora's character and where she is heading; what her plans are and if she continues as The Black Wolf since her character is never seen again in the series.

    It is still a fairly decent storyline.moreless
  • I am the black wolf!

    The Black Wolf is a really solid and very enjoyable episode. It has a solid story line, great characters, and everything about the episode works.

    I found this to be a really good story line without the many usual holes that are to be found in filler storylines. Although most of the episode takes place in a dungeon, it has a really good feel to it, which does keep you guessing in all the right places.

    I like the way the episode was staged - it has a really nice comedic feel to it (which stands out against the many serious episodes preceding it) but it doesn't get bogged down in the comedy and totally override the whole story. We see Salmoneus in his first Xena episode and, as a character, he is always fantastic value! He really brings a great vibe to any episode, and works so well off the two leads.

    Gabrielle doesn't have a big role in this episode, but she is a great comedienne and her scenes work really well. Xena is definitely the star in this one, and she looks great throughout. Her "Great Escape" from the water pit in the dungeon is especially impressive, and her 'fake' fight scene with the chief guard is really funny.

    My only complaint about this episode is the relationship between Flora and Xena. As a character I found Flora very interesting, and it would have been great to pursue her story as the Black Wolf, but I just didn't buy into her childhood sister-relationship with Xena. The series often throws these moments in for emotional value, but I don't feel that they are needed. All the true emotion comes from Xena and Gabrielle's relationship, and it is so genuine and so moving that it overshadows these convenient 'blasts from the past'.

    Other than that, I give this episode top marks. The comedy works perfectly, the action is great, the story is solid and the chakram moment at the end is one of the best in the series. All in all a great episode.moreless
  • Xena goes undercover in a prison dungeon to try and help an old friend, one of a group of freedom fighters imprisoned by the evil King Xerxes when they refused to name their leader. Not one of the better episodes, saved only by the appearance of Salmoneusmoreless

    I have never been too keen on this episode. It seems very budget conscious, and the plot is not one of the most exciting in my opinion.

    This is another one of the occasions that the hero (in this case, Xena) conveniently arrives on the scene just at the moment she is needed. Well, this is television!

    The undoubted highlight of the episode is Robert Trebor appearing as Salmoneus.

    The scene as Gabrielle tries to get herself arrested to join Xena in the dungeon, only for Salmoneus to get arrested instead, is really funny. Trebor and Lucy Lawless had already worked together excellently in the Hercules episodes 'The Gauntlet' and 'Unchained Heart', and here Trebor and Renée O'Connor work just as perfectly together.

    I really wish Salmoneus had appeared more in the series, as he is a great character. Sadly, the powers-that-be limited him to just a couple more appearances, saving him to appear solely in 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys'. (The character of Joxer was brought in to take over his comedic role later in the season).

    Beyond Salmoneus, the only other real moment of note in this story is when Xena is put in the pit by the dungeon guards and flooded with water. She manages to break her way out, and even manages to give her battle cry underwater!

    All-in-all, this is hardly one of the show's greatest episodes. I found that once you've watched it once and know what happens, that's pretty much it; it's not really one that you'll come rushing back to.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

  • QUOTES (3)

  • NOTES (2)

    • This is the first appearance of Robert Trebor as Salmoneus. He was in four episodes of Xena, though only 3 as Salmoneus. He was also in 23 episodes of Hercules: TLJ as four different characters, playing Salmoneus in 19 of them.

    • Disclaimer: There is no disclaimer at the end of this episode, it is the last episode of the series to not feature one.


    • The Black Wolf
      The name of the rebel leader is a reference to the movie The Court Jester with Danny Kaye where the leader of the resistance was called the Black Fox.

    • Spartacus:
      When Xerxes' guards ask the villagers to give up the Black Wolf, one-by-one they each admit that they are the Black Wolf. In Spartacus when the Romans surround the slave army they demand Spartacus surrender himself. Instead, every man, one-by-one, stands up and declares "I am Spartacus."

    • Xerxes' guards can be seen playing Rock, Paper, Scissors (which they call Rock, Parchment, Dagger). RPS has migrated from a childhood game played in school yards to its use as a means to decide arguments or contests and finally to a national contest seen on ESPN. RPS is also known by other names such as Rochambeau (U.S. & France), Janken (Japan) and Gawi Bawi Bo (Korea). It has been played (or used) for centuries.