Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 3 Episode 3

The Dirty Half Dozen

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Oct 13, 1997 on
out of 10
User Rating
75 votes

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Episode Summary


Xena, Gabrielle and four shady characters from Xena's past go up against a new protege of Ares' whose soldiers have weapons and armor made from the unbreakable metal of Hephaestus.

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  • Xena and the Metal of Hephaestus...

    In the "Dirty Half Dozen," Ares gives the stolen metal of Hephaestus to Agathon, so Xena recruits the best of the best… the best of thieves, killers and slave-traders for this single quest. It's an original concept to have additional members side with Xena and Gabrielle aside the typical characters used so far in this series. Perhaps one of the best scenes in this episode is when Xena ponders whether if she had met Gabrielle when she met Glaphyra maybe it would have been she who had changed. When Gabrielle tells her she was already on that path, Xena responds that without her, she never would have stayed on it. When Xena's sword is cut in half and only has her chakram for defense, how or when is the sword repaired or remade?moreless
  • Strong and original characters are let down by an overcrowded plot, in an episode that should offer more, but just doesn't get there.

    On the surface, this appears to be another average, run-of-the-mill Xena filler episode. The plot line has been done in similar ways, and overall nothing new seems to be introduced.

    However, I find this episode to be quite a fresh change of pace. While the story is average, the credit goes completely to the characters. Xena's recruiting of four mercenaries actually breathes life into a tired plot device - of the four characters, Darnelle and Glaphyra are fantastic. For new characters they are well developed, with plenty of background to play with.

    The scripting is excellent, particularly between the warring Darnelle and Glaphyra. I am generally a dialogue fan, and I will happily sacrifice endless battle scenes for some quality interactions, which we are rewarded with here.

    The episode has another fairly weak start, and doesn't really pick up momentum most of the way through. It relies very heavily on the character development to redeem the less than fascinating plot, and for the most part, the characters succeed. I like the way the four traitorous and completely untrustworthy murderers use their own tricks against one an another. I think that this side of it could really have been played upon more.

    This episode falls down in that too much detail is introduced and not followed through on. We have Ares, a new (original and quite watchable) warlord with unbeatable armor, 4 new characters, two of whom will be redeemed, plus an addition theme of soul-searching on the part of Xena and Gabrielle. It is just too much in an episode and, naturally, it becomes overcrowded and unsatisfying for viewers.

    The character development is about the only achieved plot line, all else fades into the background. This episode carries the overriding them of redemption, and justification for past actions that so many Xena episodes feature. But it is really only glossed over and, given the truly catastrophic events that occur from the next episode onwards, it really needed much more of a focus.

    Given that this was technically the season 3 opener, all of the above is justifiable. It is a shame that it couldn't have been taken further though, because (compared to the previous two episodes) I feel there was a lot to be going on with.

    These three episodes naturally pale in comparison to the rest of season 3. As of the next episode we are hit hard with the hugely significant Dahak storyline, followed by the powerful Chin story-arc. There is a lot to take in and these episodes are just a warm up for what comes next.

    Hold your breath...moreless
  • Ares is playing his evil ways again...

    Ares latest find is a type of Metal called the metal of Hephestus and has given it to a ruthless warlord and his army, who are planning to take over the world with the help of Ares and his new toy. But! Never fear! Xena and Gabrielle aren't far behind on Ares' destructive path.

    But this time, Xena is forced to team up with four ruthless murderers, who would kill anything or anyone that is unlucky enough to cross their pathes.

    Xena must use all of her mind and skill too defeat Ares, his new army and this type of metal.

    An action packed episode full of betrayal, lies, violent competition and death. A day in the life for the mighty Warrior Princess!moreless
  • Xena rounds up four leading mercenaries to take on Ares, whose latest protégé is developing an army armed with armor and weapons that cannot be harmed by mortals. An average episode that is nowhere as much fun as it should be...moreless

    This review contains moderate spoilers.

    With the previous two episodes of the season, 'The Furies' and 'Been There, Done That' being holdovers from the second season, this is the first true third season episode.

    With the move to third season-produced episodes, look out for Gabrielle's modified new top – to the casual viewer, it may appear to be the same as her second season one, but it is actually even smaller (!), and has different detailing on it.

    Ares' beard is also different, and his costume has (less noticeable) changes to it.

    Anyway... On paper, this episode sounds great. But the final result is decidedly average.

    Things start of with good potential, with Ares' keen new protégé Agathon hailing his successful new army, armed with the metal of Hephaestus, which cannot be harmed.

    Xena rounding up the four mercenaries also has potential, but after that, the story descends to a very average affair. Instead of the exciting, action-packed tale that we might have had, we instead get lots of standing around talking and camp fire scenes.

    Later on, we move into a standard castle infiltrating story, none of it meeting the excitement that might have been. We never get the final showdown with the indestructibly armed soldiers, as they are practically forgotten. The castle exploding at the end is fairly impressive, but that's about it.

    According to writer Steven L. Sears, the mercenaries we introduced to try out as potential new recurring characters. Of the four mercenaries, the two best ones are left at the end of the episode – Darnelle, the macho, bragging warrior (who reminds me out Autolycus much of the time), and Glaphyera, the anti-men female. Out of the four introduced, they are by far the best pair – the other two are quite dull and unmemorable in my opinion. The squabbling pair head off together, and are matched quite well. Sears says that the idea was that they might have been used to accompany Gabrielle in Xena-lite episodes, but as it turned out, it's the last we ever see of the characters.

    There are few really good moments that I can think of to pick out (the question of Gabrielle being what she is naturally or being what Xena made her, is done far more effectively in other episodes), this episode is decidedly average through and through.moreless
  • Ditry Man-hater!!!

    The Dirty Half Dozen-Xena, Gabrielle and four warriors go up against Ares and his new army who possess armor and weapons forged by the god, Hephaestus, which cannot be harmed by any mortal weapons.

    I love it when Xena recruits other warriors for missions, and this is a good example of that. Each one of the 4 characters has their own personality. But the most interesting pair are Darnelle and Glaphyra.....can you say sexual tension, LOL!!! I didn't buy Glaphyra's man-hating when she obviously liked Darnelle!! I also like the idea of the indestructable armor of Hephestius, and the costumes looked cool. I also liked how Xena and Gabrielle question how are you who you are or who some makes you. To Xena, Gabrielle is the reason she keeps fighting for good, and says on the new path on life she is on now. A great step up for these 2 friends!!! All in All, a good episode with a nice mission and storyline!!moreless
Roy Snow

Roy Snow

Arthenian Captain

Guest Star

Charles Mesure

Charles Mesure


Guest Star

Jon Brazier

Jon Brazier


Guest Star

Kevin Smith (II)

Kevin Smith (II)


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Nitpick: The Hephaestus armour and weapons can break the solid steel weapons of Xena's gang but seems to have no effect on Gabrielle's more fragile wooden staff. It makes sense, however, since his power involves metals, not organic stuff like wood.

    • Gabrielle and the convicts helping Xena up the wall is similar to a sequence from the Hercules episode "King for a Day", with Iolaus trying to climb into a castle.

    • Ares's more textured vest makes its first appearance (in airing order). This is the vest he wears for the rest of Xena and Hercules.

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Walsim: We want to discuss our agreement.
      Darnelle: Where's the cash?
      Agathon: The cash comes later, after the conquering and general mayhem, you know. In the meantime, chill! Pick out some hard-wear, go kill a peasant! Relax!

    • Darnelle: There's no proof that I did it...
      Guard: He was stabbed with a spear... you were holding it at the time.
      Darnelle: Well, if you wanna get all technical on me!

    • Gabrielle: I don't think I've ever been part of a true disaster before!
      Xena: You are such a cynic.

    • Glaphyra: I want you to know that when I kill you, it won't be because you're a man!
      Darnelle: Oh, really? Well, it should be! 'Cause I am A MAN! A red-blooded, two-fisted, 'we rule the world whether you like it or not' man!!

    • Gabrielle: I'm not a little girl. And I have met some good men. I married one.
      Glaphyra: Yeah? And how long was he good? I notice he's not with you now! Maybe he lost interest. Or maybe he decided to find another conquest!
      Gabrielle: (gets angry and pushes Glaphyra into the cell's bars, pinning her with her elbow at her throat) Maybe he was murdered!
      Xena: By Callisto... a woman.

    • Darnelle: Now, do I sense more then just a little anger toward me 'casue I'm a man?
      Glaphyra: And why not? Men are all the same. They use you, they betray you
      and they spit you out! They're only as good as what you can get out of them.
      Darnelle: Oh, as opposed to the sweet, ungrateful creatures of the earth that women are. We protect them, we feed them, we clothe them, we give them a purpose for being. And this is the gratitude?
      Glaphyra: You were born of a woman!
      Darnelle: I was born of a man. I was delivered by a woman.

    • Darnelle: Hey! That's not how a princess fights!
      Gabrielle: Amazon Princess!

    • Ares: What is it about me? You always seem to know when I'm around. I must have a certain... presence around you.
      Xena: You say presence, I say stench.

    • Xena: I've got the answer to your question. Are you who you are, or are you who I made you?
      Gabrielle: And?
      Xena: You're Gabrielle, bard, Amazon Princess, best friend. Nobody made you who you are, it was already there. Question is, who would I be without you?

  • NOTES (8)

    • Charles Mesure, who plays Darnelle in this episode, plays the recurring role of Archangel Michael in seasons 5 and 6.

    • The conversation between Xena and Gabrielle about their relationship is meant to foreshadow The Rift. The Rift is the name fans have given to the relationship trouble Xena and Gabrielle have after the events of the following episode "The Deliverer" and continuing until the episode "The Bitter Suite" later in the season.

    • When Charles Mesure was working on his character Darnelle, he envisioned himself as being a mortal version of the macho, swaggering God Ares, played by Kevin Smith. Charles and Kevin had gotten to be good friends while filming the show City Life, so he knew Kevin's very well and thought it would be perfect for his own character.

    • With "The Furies" and "Been There, Done That" being hold-overs from the second season, this is the first 'true' third season episode.

    • Darnelle and Glaphyra were written to be recurring characters that could join up with Gabrielle in Xena-lite episodes. Unfortunately, it didn't pan out and they are never seen again.

    • This episode's script number is 308.

    • This episode marks the debut of Gabrielle's even shorter outfit - her top is now even smaller, and has different detailing on it. (It could be mistaken for the same one as before by the casual viewer, but is different). She will wear it through the third season and through the first half of the fourth.

    • DISCLAIMER: No Convicts were reformed during the production of this motion picture.