Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 1 Episode 21

The Greater Good

Aired Monday 8:00 PM May 06, 1996 on
out of 10
User Rating
94 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Xena helps Salmoneus, when a warlord wants him dead. However, when a mysterious warrior woman shoots Xena with a poison arrow, Xena is dying and Gabrielle is forced to pose as Xena to clear everything up.

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  • Xena helps thwart an attack on a village...

    A young woman on behalf of Lord Seltzer asks Xena and Gabrielle to save their village from a pending attack. They discover the Lord Seltzer is none other than Salmoneus. He had cheated a warlord in a business transaction and now pleads Xena for protection.

    During a skirmish, a mysterious blond woman fires a poison dart at Xena. At first it does not affect her until she later clashes with the Warlord. With weakness, blurred vision and the paralyzing effects of the poison, Xena is unable to continue. Gabrielle impersonates her to trick the invaders in believing there is nothing wrong with the warrior princess. Eventually, Xena recovers and the attackers are defeated.

    Gabrielle's character has finally taken off! She kicks some butt. I was so impressed. Her character is gaining dimension and expressing a range of emotions.moreless
  • Although it truly is about the The Greater Good - there is never an easy way to say goodbye, no matter what the cause.

    The Greater Good is dramatic from start to finish, and stands out as easily one of the best episodes of the first season, and one of the most outstanding episodes of the whole series.

    Every scene in this episode is carefully planned and plays out beautifully. There are so many incredible moments that it is difficult to know which to pick out to discuss.

    Salmoneus, as always, is good fun. He made the transition from Hercules to Xena perfectly and while he exists solely for comedic value, in this episode he is so much more. His care and compassion during Xena's brief "death" is very touching and shows a depth to his character that is rarely touched upon.

    From the moment when Xena is hit by the poison dart, this episode changes in pace and feel. From this moment every scene has value and tears at you emotionally. There are some very disturbing scenes, such as a seriously ill Xena collapsing mid-fight and barely escaping her attackers. This leads onto some of Lucy's most exceptional acting of the whole series, during the scenes in the barn when an obviously mortally ill Xena tries her best to remain strong for Gabrielle and the villagers. During this part of the episode we see a 'mostly dead' Xena (another tribute to The Princess Bride!) fight off two attackers in one of the most heart-wrenching shows of bravery, strength and will that we will see. With the beautiful background music, the amazing shots and Lucy's exceptional acting, my heart was breaking.

    The aftermath of the discovery of Xena's lifeless body is equally powerful. Watching Gabrielle's controlled and yet desperate reaction is a tribute to Renee's acting skills and brings home the deepness of Xena and Gabrielle's relationship.

    There are many many great moments that I could continue to comment on, however, I think the message is clear - this is a powerful episode. Two final moments that have to get a look in, however, are Gabrielle's fight for Xena's body, and our mystery dart thrower. In my opinion, there are three utterly incredible moments of Gabrielle fighting the series. Without giving too much away, it is suffice to say that one of these moments occurs in The Ides of March, another occurs in A Friend In Need II, and the first of these moments occurs in this episode - when Gabrielle fights with all she has to defend Xena's body.

    Finally, I have to say that being the huge Callisto fan that I am, I loved the teaser introduction to her character, as the mystery dart thrower who was the cause of the drama of this episode. It is perfectly handled and I remember being absolutely desperate to know who she was.

    All in all, an outstanding episode, very nearly a 10. Had it not been for several (in my opinion) perfect episodes that occur later in the season, this episode would have gotten the score from me.moreless
  • Xena agrees to help Salmoneus protect his seltzer business against a warlord, but is hit by a poisoned dart. With Xena out of action and near death, Gabrielle tries to take her place and stop the warlord, in one of the series' very best episodes...moreless

    This review contains spoilers.

    This episode is, in my opinion, one of the series' very best offerings.

    I feel that it often gets slightly overshadowed by the following episode, but it is a very strong story, one of the first season's best.

    Lucy Lawless gives a very powerful performance as the incapacitated Xena, slowly dying.

    Reneé O'Connor also shines as Gabrielle. She is great as, when it seems that Xena has died, she automatically takes control of the situation. Then, off by herself, she takes her anger and upset out by beating her staff against a tree trunk.

    It is also a very strong episode for Robert Trebor as Salmoneus. As with Salmoneus' best episode, such as the great 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' first season episode 'As Darkness Falls' (in which Herc is blinded), it shows that beyond all his scheming and chatter, he is actually a very caring and kind man.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again here, I really wish Salmoneus was in more 'Xena' episodes. Trebor is a great performer, both with comedy and serious material, and works really well with both Lawless and O'Connor. His replacement of sorts, Joxer, would be introduced in the next episode.

    Asides from those listed above, it is also a very strong episode for someone else – Xena's horse Argo. We learn quite just how faithful she is to Xena, and also start to take to Gabrielle. A few episodes ago, one of the things that I felt about 'The Prodigal' was that it couldn't make up its mind whether it wanted to be a comedy or serious, and that it hurt the episode as a result. Here is the absolute opposite – despite the seriousness of the story, we get some very funny scenes, as Gabrielle dons Xena's armor (in a great spoof of the opening credits) and tries to fend off the warlord and his men disguised as the Warrior Princess.

    This is one of the most powerful episodes of the show, especially from its early seasons. Ever since I first saw it, it has been one of my most favourite and most watched episodes. The scenes as Xena, slowly dying, fights off her would-be killers are both very intense and very creative.

    I am absolutely amazed that this didn't make the tenth anniversary 'Best Episodes' DVD. I actually think it is far more deserving than season finale 'Is There A Doctor In The House?' (ohh, controversial!)

    I've met more than a couple of people who have said that the very first time they watched this episode, they really did think that Xena was dead and it was effectively the end.

    And just who did fire that poisoned dart? We'll have to wait until the next installment to find out...moreless
  • You never know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

    When Xena is incapacitated and left near death after being struck by a poisoned dart, Gabrielle is forced to impersonate the Warrior Princess in order to protect a group of innocent villagers. This is the first sighting we get of Callisto, mysteriously perched up a tree, face hidden. This was a nice dramatic episode. The Warrior Princess dies (temporarily) and Gabrielle has to carry on regardless. I do love Salmoneus; he has so much heart under all that Salesman's hype. Gabrielle looked real cute dressed as Xena. It almost broke my heart when she was beating up on the tree.moreless
  • She can't be dead already!!

    The Greater Good-Xena helps Salmoneus, aka Lord Seltzer, when a warlord wants him dead, due to a bad transaction. Meanwhile, a mysterious blond woman is stalking Xena.

    It's hard to see Xena in a weak postion, but that what this episode is already. When Xena is helping a village from the warlord Talmadeous, she is hit by poison dart by a mysterious warrior(see the next episode to find out!!) While Xena is ill, Gabrielle disguises herself as the warrior princess to fool Talmadeous and his army. It was so funny hearing Gabrielle attempt the war cry. Also Salmoneous returns and now is called Lord Seltzer. But so the episode goes to sadness when Xena is found died. It a real emotional moment when Gabrielle sees Xena dead, Renee did a great job with her breakdown scene with her hitting the tree continously. Also Gabrielle has a kick ass scene when she's fighting the soldiers for Xena's body. It was a great moment when Xena is actually alive and stops the soldier from hitting her horse. All in All, this is a good episode that shows that helping people is the most important thing no matter what.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Chakram Count: 2
      1) To take out the soldier's weapons.
      2) To realese the water on the soldiers.

    • Goof: Even though Xena's body is completely shut down, or temporarily dead, you can see her breathe in the scene where Gabrielle is by her side, having a quiet moment, and then kissing her goodbye. You can also see the pulse in the side of Lucy Lawless' neck.

    • Even though it was common knowledge Xena's brother died, this episode finally gives him a name: Lyceus.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • (Xena whistles and Argo runs off, dumping Gabrielle on the ground)
      Gabrielle: You stupid conniving four-foot daughter of a... mare.

    • Xena: It's not about me, it's about these people. That's why we're here. People like this used to be my victims. I keep that in mind every time we come up against a warlord like Talmadeus. It's the greater good.

    • Gabrielle: Argo doesn't like me.
      Xena: (petting Argo) Sometimes you have to have patience with things that annoy you.
      Gabrielle: Oh, I never said she annoyed me.
      Xena: I wasn't talking to you.

    • Salmoneus: If you want them done right, you have to buy the right people.

    • Xena: Don't you ever touch my horse again.

    • Talmadeus: I'm glad you're not dead. It would have robbed me of this.
      Xena: Well, it would have saved me from your breath.

    • Gabrielle: Hah! Hmm? Wanna try it again? OK. Hah! (Xena whistles, and Argo kicks Gabrielle's staff out of her hands) Uh-oh. I hate it when you do that. I have to practice. Xena: Not on my horse. I wish the two of you would just get along.

  • NOTES (9)

    • Although we don't see her face, Callisto makes her first appearance of the series in this episode.

    • Gabrielle tells Salmoneus that she was going to go looking for Iolaus but never does so. There was a scene cut where Gabrielle overhears a couple of Talmadeus' men say that the battle is over because they have Xena's body. Gabrielle knew that she no longer had time to go looking for help, so she goes to Talmadeus' camp instead.

    • Steven L Sears stated in an interview that Argo was supposed to be present when Gabrielle took her anger and grief out on the tree with her staff. Argo was supposed to nuzzle her. This was meant to show the bonding of the two. Unfortunately, they were going to make it look like Argo was nuzzling her by giving Tilly hay, and no matter how they tried to film the moment it became a "I love you Gab... Oh! Happy treats!", as Steve said in the interview.

    • They wanted to make Gabrielle's staff collapsible, since they thought it was awkward for her to always be carrying it. It was written into the script and if you watch carefully there is footage of Gabrielle putting it into Argo's saddlebag. But the staff wasn't strong enough to take the punishment that Renee was doling out with it. You can even see the staff bend when Xena tosses it back to Gabrielle after Argo kicked it away.

    • The prop department made two different targets for Talmadeus to throw axes at, one of Salmoneus, and one of Salmoneus realizing he's been hit. Everybody loved the gag, but they regretfully decided they couldn't use them both.

    • This episode's script number is 124.

    • This episode marks Xena's first near death experience on the show.

    • This episode is someting of a prequel to the next episode, "Callisto".

      Excessive belching can cause brain damage and social ostracism. Kids, please don't give in to peer pressure. Play it Safe.