Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 2 Episode 3

The Giant Killer

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Oct 14, 1996 on
out of 10
User Rating
73 votes

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Episode Summary


When Gabrielle defends a young Israelite named David, her life is threatened until Xena proposes to fight her old friend, the giant Goliath in return for their freedom from the Philistines.

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  • Xena is telling Gabrielle about her friend Goliath and how they made a pact on meeting there. We soon find out that Goliath is working as a guard for a city to save enough money to go after the giant who killed his family.moreless

    This again is not one of my favorite episodes. I don't have too much opinion on this one. Although I am not much of a religious person, there were too many Bible myths, and religious views in the episode for my liking. Few points that were great for me in the episode is Gabrielle having a bit of a crush on David. We see them talking, and she soon finds out that David is engaged to marry! She gets a little embarrassed and walks out hitting her head saying to herself "dumb, dumb, dumb…." I really liked seeing Xena react to her old friend and how she feels when she realizes that they have to go against each other in battle. She seeks Goliath out in the graveyard and tries to talk sense into him about working for the right side, but he is so full of hatred and rage, that he is blinded and still decides to continue working for the "bad" side. At the end of the episode, Goliath is killed, we see Xena walking through the graveyard thinking to herself …… "Goliath, I know you can hear my thoughts. I hope you are with your family. When I think of you I will remember Goliath: The Great Warrior, the loving husband, and my friend." Very touching moment to end the episode with.moreless
  • David & Goliath... and Xena...

    Embittered by the death of his family, a giant named Goliath whose only purpose is one of retribution sides with the army of the Philistines. Goliath saved Xena ten years previously, which resulted in the unexpected loss of his wife and children by another giant, Gareth. The army leader uses Goliath's revenge to keep him battling the Israelites.

    At first, Xena takes on Goliath herself (sans David) but in an effort to prove himself to the people, David insists on fighting the giant alone during the next battle in which he delivers the deathblow to Goliath. Xena later repays Goliath in the episode "A Day in the Life" when she exacts revenge on Gareth.

    During the first and second seasons, the storylines relied heavily on myths and ancient Greek history but this episode, "Giant Killer" is an adaptation of the biblical story, "David & Goliath". The storyline showed how the 'Greater Good' clashed with Xena's remorse by having to betray her friend. To create the effect of a giant, the cinematography of the character was shot at interesting angles. The music was fantastic and fit the scenes. It's a very good episode for an early effort, though probably would be more suited for season one.moreless
  • Xena slashes her way back into history: right into the life and death encounter between David and Goliath.

    Something about this episode just doesn't work for me. I'm not sure if it is the return of Gabrielle's Man-of-the-Week, the merging of the Bible story quite unbelievably into the episode, or the overly mushy and emotionally cheesy moments between Xena and Goliath, but this episode just left me feeling flat.

    I can't pinpoint exactly what I don't like about the episode, and overall everything seems to work solidly. Goliath is an unusual (but well acted) character, but I just can't work out if he is the good guy or the bad guy. Perhaps this ambiguity about who is the real enemy leaves the episode hanging a little?

    The clear foe, Dagon, is quite enjoyable. Although the purpose he serves is quite unusual, he has some good lines and is amusing, particularly when ordering Gabrielle's death!

    All the actors give solid performances. My main problem lies with the re-introduction of Gabrielle's so-called Man of the Week in David. I don't like this constant attempt to draw attention back to Gabrielle - Gabrielle is very interesting on her own, and I think that it takes a focus off the good points of her character by reducing her in episodes to a love-sick side-kick. As a character Gabrielle has so much more to offer: she is an exceptional fighter, a great story-teller, can talk her way out of anything, and in every scene with Xena is outstanding, it is just a shame to see her excluded again.

    The dying scene of Goliath at the end is well done and it is a nice, much more convincing moment of friendship between Xena and Goliath. Unfortunately, there just doesn't seem to be a lot else to say about the episode. It falls into the bottom echelon of Xena episodes in my opinion and after the really solid previous episode and the fantastic episode that follows, it does feel like a bit of a letdown.moreless
  • Xena finds herself on opposite sides to her old giant friend Goliath, who once saved her life in battle, as she helps a group of Israelites stand up to the Philistines. An interesting but ultimately average episode...moreless

    This episode has a novel concept, although winds up a pretty average outing.

    Xena and Goliath's relationship is an interesting one, as despite being on opposite sides, they continue to have respect and sympathy for each other, and neither really wanting to fight. (Goliath is only working for the Philistines in order to learn the whereabouts of giant Gareth, who killed his family)

    Gabrielle falls for David, handsome-male-guest-star-of-the-week (the first time this season), only for it to turn out that he has a fiancée.

    The night scene, with Xena at the window watching the distant storm, whilst contemplating probably having to kill Goliath the following day, is suitably moody.

    There are some reasonable effects around giant Goliath, particularly as he chases Xena though some old stone ruins, knocking chunks flying everywhere.

    [Very mild spoiler]The final battle is satisfying (I particularly like the Israelites blinding Goliath with their shields, forcing him to remove his protective helmet to see, leaving him vulnerable), and it is a shame to see Xena's old friend fall in battle. [end of spoiler]

    I have heard a number of fans say that they don't care for this episode, rating it one of their least favourites. I rather like it in its own way, but its one of those that just winds up slightly average overall.moreless
  • David and Goliath....and Xena...Wait a Minute?

    The Giant Killer-When Gabrielle defends a young Isrealite named David, her life is threatened until Xena proposes to fight her old friend, the giant Goliath in return for freedom for the Philistines.

    Well, Xena knew Hellen of Troy, why wouldn't she know Goliath! The writers take the old testament story form the Bible and put Xena into the mix and it works well. Turns out Goliath save Xena a few years back when she was injuried, but at the cost, The Gareth, the meanest Giant ever, killed his family. Even though Xena and Goliath are pit against each other, the 2 continue to show much respect for each other even when they shouldn't. Their friendship is really complex and realistic. It's funny how Gabrielle and David become really close, than when Gabrielle wants to get closer, David actually has a finacee. I love how Xena comes up with the mirrors reflecting th light on Goliath's helmet, than David giving the final blow to his head. All in All, A nice little version of the bible story!!moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Chakram Count: 2
      1) To realese Gabrielle and David from the Executioner.
      2) To take out the soldiers.

    • Goof: In the scene where the executioner is about to chop off Gabrielle and David's head; the executioner falls back, breaking a table set with loaves of bread on the side and a white sheepskin. Later in the fight, Xena arrives with sword and a guard falls through a table with the same exact layout for the food and sheepskin.

    • Goof:When Gabrielle visits David and the Israelites in the prison, her hands jump back and forth from being on the cell bars, to down by her side, between different shots.

    • The poem David recites for Gabrielle will eventually see print in the Holy Bible. It will come to be known as "Psalm 23", found in "The Book of Psalms" Chapter 23.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Gabrielle: (Running to protect David from the executioner) You're gonna have to kill the both of us!
      David: Are you out of your mind?!
      Gabrielle: I know what I'm doing.
      Dagon: All right.
      Gabrielle: What?!
      Dagon: I said all right, we'll kill the both of you!

    • Gabrielle: (trying to talk Dagon our of executing the Israelites) Don't you think they've learned their lesson?
      Dagon: (thinks about it) Perhaps... I'll just kill one. The little one!

    • Xena: Goliath, I know you can hear my thoughts. I hope you're with your family. When I think of you, I'll remember Goliath, the great warrior... and the loving husband... and my friend.

    • Gabrielle: Stories are meant to be told. Stories tell us who we are.

    • Xena: (to Goliath as he lays dying) Go, now. Your war is over.

    • Xena: Judging by the scorch-marks, I'd say he got in an argument with Zeus and wound up on the business end of a thunderbolt. Here, take a look.

  • NOTES (3)


    • Story: David & Goliath The story of David's fight against the giant Goliath is taken from the tale depicted in the Holy Bible, in "The Book of 1st Samuel", Chapter 17.