Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 3 Episode 1

The Furies

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Sep 29, 1997 on
out of 10
User Rating
79 votes

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Episode Summary


At Ares' request, Xena is judged by the Furies for not avenging the murder of her father and is punished by persecution and madness, leaving Gabrielle to try and solve the problem and reverse Xena's insanity.

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  • Persecution and madness...

    You'd think by now Ares would realize he's never going to win over Xena with his nasty tricks and endless scheming. He simply refuses to accept that Xena has left her dark past behind her.

    Xena's father seems to be such a sensitive subject. This is not the first time Ares uses her father in one of his ploys. The first attempt was in the episode "Ties That Bind" when Ares disguises himself as the warrior princess' long lost father, gains her trust, and even goes as far as letting villagers lynched him, enticing Xena into attacking. In his second attempt, Ares convinces the Furies to inflict persecution and madness upon Xena. Even if the scene where Xena's loses her sword and it flies behind her and she must somersault to catch it is a bit over the top, the battle between Xena and Ares upon on the flagpoles is still incredible and skillfully choreographed.

    It could be a combination of LL's comedic skills and the writer's sense of humor to have Xena give such an entertaining display of being insane; reprimanding her out-of-control hands was a riot. In contrast, the scene when Xena comes to her senses after her verbal assault on a nearby village was painfully empathetic. Its the show's ability to mix clever humor with periodic seriousness and heart wrenching moments that attribute to a great episode or even a series classic.moreless
  • Twisted and rather confusing, "The Furies" jumps from truly dark moments to an almost slapstick comedic show. A great idea but an overall weak episode.

    We launch back into Season 3 with an episode that is not too bad, but definitely not a standout. One of the major weaknesses with Xena as a show was the general lack of strength of the season openers and closers. In terms of episode quality, the season closers do little to entice viewers to 'hang out' for the next season. They rarely present any kind of cliffhanger, nor do they leave you wanting more. Similarly, for casual viewers the season openers do not immediately draw you back into the series, compelling you to continue watching.

    If Xena was a show on television today, this would be a major weakness, as networks fight bitterly for viewers and depend on cliffhanger closers, and strong openers. As it is, the weak season openers and closers make little difference to the show's overall appeal, and for true fans, its just another one of those 'turn a blind eye' moments.

    'The Furies' is a rather unusual episode, and it leaves you hanging a little as you are not really sure what sort of episode it was; comedy or drama? As a dramatic episode it has some truly excellent, raw and harsh moments. As a comedy, it leaves a lot to be desired.

    The Furies are rather impressive, and at the very least are entertaining. The role they play is fairly limited, however, and the focus really is on Xena acting like a crazy person. I find this type of episode wears very thin on me quickly; I really can't stand Xena acting out of character, particularly as silly or crazy Xena. It is however, brilliantly acted by Lucy who shows just how versatile she is.

    The plot twist is very nicely executed, and Ares is used very effectively, as always. The fight scene between Xena and Ares at the end is quite excellent. The mother-daughter moments between Cyrene and Xena don't do a lot for me, but they are well acted.

    One moment really stands out to be as worthy of a mention, and that is the scene where a clearly tormented naked Xena confronts a village of women and children and threatens them with vengeance. This is a haunting and quite tragic moment, where it is only Gabrielle's influence, and Xena's deep down love for her, which is able to snap her out of her daze. It is sad to see that in the deepest throes of madness, Xena is perpetually haunted by such darkness, which presumably extends from her evil past and misdeeds. I thought this was a wonderful scene and very much overshadowed by the silliness of the rest of the episode.

    I think that this episode would have benefited enormously if it had been handled as a truly dark and dramatic episode. As it stands, it is a fairly weak part of what is an exceptional season of Xena, but nonetheless is still a fascinating and enjoyable ride.moreless
  • The third season gets underway as Ares convinces the Furies to persecute Xena and drive her insane for supposedly not avenging her father's death. Overall not one of my favourite episodes, and a disappointing season opener...moreless

    This episode contains moderate spoilers.

    The third season begins with this so-so episode that has some good moments but is not one of my favourites.

    It is actually a holdover from the second season, where (like the first) twenty-four episodes were made, but only twenty-two were required.

    With Ares convincing the Furies to send Xena mad, we get Xena running around and pulling a few silly faces. Although I know some fans will absolutely lap it up, I personally didn't enjoy these scenes at all.

    From there on, the story jolts awkwardly between 'comedy Xena' (complete with compulsory frizzy hair!) acting 'mad', and the darker tones of the story. One of the problems is that the episode cannot decide quite what it wants to be – it shifts awkwardly back and forth between the comedy and more serious elements, and the two do not meld together well.

    I think there could have been a far better story if it was played darker, without the silly 'comedy Xena' moments shoved in. Things take a darker turn when Gabrielle awakes in the night to find Xena gone, standing naked in front of a town in the middle of the night, driven further by her madness.

    As the story progressed, I found Xena's madness to be somewhat inconsistent, as she bounced back-and-forth between being out and out mad, and melancholy, able to plan her actions and eventually, how to out-do Ares and thus end her curse.

    This episode really toys with the notion that Ares may possibly be Xena's father. This is played upon in some episode, but rather contradicted in others, especially when Ares sees Xena as a possible love interest (well, this is Ancient Greece I suppose)! The producers have generally agreed that he is not her father, as this would make her half-God, and not really the direction they wished to take the character. Thimgs only really start to pick up late on in the story, capped by a great fight balancing on flag-poles between Xena and Ares.

    All-in-all, not one of my favourite episodes, to the extent that it is one of my least favourites up until this point. I was really looking forward to the new season, but for me, this episode opened it on a so-so note. Maybe I would have liked it slightly more if it were tucked a few episodes into the season.

    I think part of the reason that I don't like it is (as I said for the second season finale 'A Comedy of Eros'), I'm not really a big fan of the leads acting out of character for any great length of time.

    But although this isn't my favourite season opener, it is far better than 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' terrible season opener 'Beanstalks and Bad Eggs' – but then again, what isn't!!moreless
  • The Furies were 3 Goddesses who possessed the power to punish mortals with madness and/or prosecution for commiting a crime (the real mythological Furies were slightly different and better though). Xena's crime was not avenging the death of her father.moreless

    Though I think this was a very interesting season opener, at the same time, I thought it was mediocre overall. I did not like the jumps in between comedy and seriousness nor the way they portrayed the mad. (Xena was acting rather silly than "crazy" mostly.) They should of sticked to drama with few comedic scenes this would of made for a superb episode. The plot itself is good, the execution is close to terrible. The plot twist was interesting--it turns out if she were to kill her mother (who was the murderer) she would be punished for THAT death. Puzzling isnt it? This is another how-is-she-going-to-get-out-of that situation. Xena always comes through. The end is very fun and touching. Also like to add that The Furies in the real myth did not perform exotic dancing and did not wear skimpy clothing. If they had went with the original myth it would of made for a really great drama episode.moreless
  • Xena needs needs some medication...FAST!!!

    The Furies-At Ares' request, Xena is judged by the Furies for not avenging the murder of her father and is punished by persecution and madness, leaving Gabrielle to try and solve the problem and reverse Xena's insanity.

    Ares will never give up on Xena, now matter if it drives her crazy...which it does...in this episode. Xena is driven insane by by the Furies, because she needs to kill the murder of her father, too bad it's her mother!!! It's so funny watching Crazy Xena, calling Gabrielle "Mavas" and fighting like a monkey on crack. It was very shocking revelation that Cyrene is the killer. I know she was protecting Xena, but killing your husband and the father of your children is pretty extreme, no matter how much you love your kids. But I love how Xena and Gabrielle out smart Ares by using one of his old plans against him. Ares being th father, what a great idea since he need actually pretend to be Xena's father. Also the fight scene between Xena and Ares is great one and one of my favorites. All in All, a great season premiere episode with some interesting revelations and ideas!!!moreless
Asa Lindh

Asa Lindh


Guest Star

Graciela Heredia

Graciela Heredia


Guest Star

Celi Foncesca

Celi Foncesca


Guest Star

Kevin Smith (II)

Kevin Smith (II)


Recurring Role

Darien Takle

Darien Takle


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Ares: (to the Furies) If you've noticed, she is crazy.
      Xena: Yeah, I'm completely out of my gourd, and I might cut mommy up later just for fun, but not because she killed my father.

    • Priest: Ah, the Warrior Princess. Heard about the bounty, I take it?
      Xena: The price on my head? Oh, yes. Well, if it's my head you want... then take it, 'cause frankly, it's driving me crazy!

    • Xena: Did you know that sanity is just a veil the gods throw over our eyes to stop us seeing the truth?
      Cyrene: What is the truth, Xena?
      Xena: That life is a joke! It's a bar room joke, at that! And you know what the punchline is? The punchline- is that no matter what we do, we still end up as food for the worms.

    • Xena: I've cut off the flow of blood to your brain and other pertinent parts of your body... so tell me: how old were you when you lost your virginity?
      Gabrielle: (shocked) Xena?!
      Thug: Uhh... 14?
      Xena: (disbelievingly) Oh, come on!
      Thug: Oh, OK! 19!
      Xena: (to Gabrielle) See Mavis, all you have to do is ask nicely!

    • Gabrielle: Xena, you're acting really strange.
      Xena: Don't be ridiculous, Mavis.

    • Xena: I'm gonna use you as a shield, Gabrielle. Just kidding!

    • The Furies: Oh demons of the soul,
      Over Xena's reason role.
      Replace Heliades' sweet illusion
      With the poison of delusion.
      To Xena's head do not be kind,
      For it's your job to make her loose her mind.

    • Xena : (referring her decision to end her own life) I am a lunatic with lethal combat skills. If I stay around here much longer some innocent people are going to get killed. I'm doing them a favor.

    • Gabrielle: If I win you have to cook breakfast for me tomorrow morning.
      Xena: You call that winning?
      Gabrielle: Good point.

  • NOTES (4)


    • When Xena puts the neck pinch on the leader of the mercenaries, she asks the man what the capital of Assyria is. This is a reference to the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975). The exact same line is used near the end of the movie, where it is asked by a bridgekeeper.

    • In Greek mythology, Orestes was the son of King Agamemnon and Queen Clytemnestra. When Agamemnon returned from Troy, Clytemnestra killed Agamemnon in revenge for the King killing their daughter Iphigenia. Orestes later killed Clytemnestra, and was stricken with madness by the Furies for his crime. Eventually Orestes appealed to Apollo for healing, and was cured. This story is told in a trilogy of plays called The Oresteia by Aeschylus. It's this cycle of stories that gave birth to the name of the psychological condition "Electra Complex". Like the "Oedipus Complex", it's named after Orestes' sister Electra, who hated their mother Clytemnestra because of her plot to murder Agamemnon and that she took Agamemnon's cousin Aegisthus as her consort. Electra eventually pushed Orestes into killing their mother to avenge their father's death, but unlike Orestes and Xena, she was not persecuted by the Furies, since the primary guilt in this case was judged to be Orestes'.

    • When Xena says "I love the smell of warrior sweat in the morning" she is almost quoting from the movie Apocalyse Now, where it is the smell of napalm in the morning the speaker finds pleasant.