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Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 2 Episode 20

The Price

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Apr 28, 1997 on
out of 10
User Rating
84 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


After becoming the hunted prey of the vicious Horde, Xena must lead the local army against them, while Gabrielle tends to the wounded. But when bloodlust overcomes the hard won compassion that Xena has learned at Gabrielle's side, it's up to Gabrielle to find a way to stop the war before her friend is lost forever.


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  • Although an underrated episode, The Price is quite pivotal in a lot of respects - not to be taken lightly or watched without an appreciation of the enormity of what is actually taking place.moreless

    The Price is an excellent episode in all respects. Although it is not one of my personal favorites, it deserves a 9 out of 10 score because it is such a powerful episode. In the weak bunch of episodes that make up the final third of season 2, this is an outstanding episode which is a welcome change of pace.

    What really works so well in this episode is the strong use of contrast: contrast between a funny opening scene, and the brutal attack that followed; contrast between the spectacularly beautiful New Zealand scenery and the brutal, horrific (and graphic) battle field; and a contrast between the good, redeemed Xena we have come to know and love, and the driven, heartless and dangerous Xena who slips back in in a moment of fear and threat. These contrasts drive the episode home and takes season 2 to a new level.

    The opening scene was absolutely perfect for the episode - you think for a moment that things are normal, that this is going to be an easy episode, but the look of fear that crosses Xena's face when she realises the threat that they are up against snaps you out of the pleasant moment and into a reality where, for the first time, Xena just wants to run for her life. The Horde are an amazing enemy; watching them come out of the water, hide along the banks, and fight like animals is quite frightening, and is a real change to the foes that we are used to. On this note, an added point goes to the crucified soldiers along the banks - this is actually almost sickening and is very effective.

    And then we make it into the camp - which is awful. The whole place has a feeling of death and defeat about it. I couldn't imagine walking into somewhere like that knowing that the lost and defeated people within it were your only hope. I thought the half-crazed guard on the battlements was a perfect touch: he really drove home what Xena was up against within the army itself. Looking at what Xena had to work with, I can totally understand why she reverted back to Evil Xena for a while.

    The main strength of this episode, for me, as usual comes from our two leading ladies. I just adore the conflict between them, I love watching them fight and seeing new rifts develop to test their friendship. I love seeing Gabrielle be the strong, brave woman she is and stand up to Xena, which is not an easy move to make. It gives the episode such power and tugs at the emotions so strongly, the fighting between Xena and Gabrielle makes such a useful plot device.

    As we all know, I am a huge Evil Xena fan. There is nothing I love more than seeing her in action, leading an army and hearing them cheer for her. I also thought the moment where it all changes, where Evil Xena kicks in was perfectly handled. You can see the change in her eyes, and I have to admit it is a little bit frightening.

    The rest of the episode passes according to plan, Gabrielle saves the day, the horde is defeated (for now) and all is made good again. Two moments stand out as exceptional to me.

    The first is how Xena uses her killing of The Horde's leader to win the war. I thought the fight was excellent, and her confidence in walking away and trusting her instincts that The Horde would kill their leader in punishment was remarkable.

    The second moment, which is even better, is Xena and Gabrielle's conversation in the hospital where Xena apologizes. Gabrielle is such a mature, understanding person, she accepts Xena's apology for her behavior unquestionably. Xena then follows this with the comment: "You don't know how much I love... (you) that". While we didn't actually hear Xena declare her love for Gabrielle, we know that that is exactly what she was about to do, and it is a beautiful moment that just about had me in tears.

    Overall, I really enjoyed this episode and while I would not put it in my top 10, it deserves a lot of praise and appreciation. Again, another example of what a great season the whole of season 2 was.moreless
  • Xena and Gabrielle become rivals...

    Nothing makes Xena more alive like the smell of war and conquest in the air. The 'old' Xena has never been defeated up to this point and something of her past still resides within her. Xena shouts her old mantra "Kill them all!" and she is reborn. Xena reaches back in her past to become a warlord in an effect to stay alive when no other options exist.

    The dilemma is this storyline is the opposing sides between Xena and Gabrielle. For every one of Xena's bloodlust actions, there is Gabrielle's answer of compassion. It's Gabrielle's humanity that reaches out and brings about a truce. I find the 'old' Xena to be absolutely breathtaking in an awe inspiring way. She really becomes another person.

    There are some unanswered questions such as: 'Was there any damage to Xena and Gabrielle's friendship/relationship because their opposing actions?, 'Where was Ares when he was needed?'and 'What exactly were the Horde and Athenians fighting about anyway?'moreless
  • debut of horde,and the return of dark Xena.

    a true dark and brutal episode of Xena tht features a great peformance by Lucy and Renee.

    The Price just shows off what makes this show great, and its dealt in a way tht helps through the course of the show.

    Xenas contrasting personality is what makes this episode such a great watch and also makes it a genuine example of what makes it a classic is the fantastic eerie direction it takes tht wont be used again until the smashing season six episode The Abyss.

    it the best of the cannibal storylines and just shows how proffessiona;l the actors are.

    wow just wow.moreless
  • Xena and Gabrielle become the prey of the savage, barbaric Horde. They end up in a fort of demoralised soldiers, and Xena beings to revert to her old ways as she leads the men against the Horde. One of the series' very best episodes...moreless

    This is a truly great episode, and – in my opinion – one of the series' best.

    Things start off light-heartedly enough, with Xena and Gabrielle enjoying a spot of fishing. But then things turn nasty as they find themselves hunted by the Horde, and from there on, it is non-stop drama and battles, with no humour at all – quite a rarity for the series at this point.

    This is one of the most graphically violent episodes of the entire series. Although we are used to Xena's almost cartoony fighting, this is something different. The danger is very real, and the Horde pose a very savage and barbaric threat. You know it's not a run-of-the-mill enemy when Xena – who will normally fight anybody or anything – says their only hope is to run.

    As Xena and Gabrielle desperately escape along the river, there is the rather haunting image of one of the Horde slowly rising from the murky waters. As they make their way along the river, more and more Horde faces appear on the shore, complete with crucified soldiers.

    The Horde are one of the most powerful enemies seen on the show (almost like a 'Xena' version of the Borg in 'Star Trek'). They are presented as brutal and savage warriors, but, as the story progresses, we learn that they do have their own code of honour.

    As Xena goads the demoralised soldiers into an able army, we see her start to her revert to her old ways. Good job Ares wasn't watching, he'd have had a field day! We begin to see her old, really dark streak, where she will stop at nothing to achieve victory.

    Gabrielle, meanwhile, takes position as nurse in the fort hospital to tend the wounded, having learnt a lot from Xena in the medical first season finale 'Is There a Doctor in the House?'. But she comes into conflict with Xena over which soldiers to treat and which can still fight. It is the most conflict that we have seen between Xena and Gabrielle up to this point.

    Another almost haunting scene is as Gabrielle sneaks out of the fort onto the smoky battlefield, to offer the wounded (from both sides) water.

    I rate this as one of the show's very best episodes (dare I be controversial and say that it deserved a place on the Best Episodes DVD more than the good but slightly overrated 'Is There a Doctor in the House'? – gasp!). Definitely one of my top 10 episodes.moreless
  • Xena goes back to her old ways, Gabrielle experiences war, and proper enemies are revealed!

    With a lot of Xena episodes the feeling of tension is limited. Since we have already seen too many fight scenes where Xena emerges as the winner all too smoothly, it's easy to underestimate a potential "bad guy".

    Not so here. The introduction to the Horde was powerful - a seemingly peaceful river choked with bodies and Xena all too eager to run. The revelation that she would rather run than fight served a good device to show the audience that these were not your run-of-the-mill warlords.

    Great performances throughout and a thorough insight into what Xena was like in the past - as well as Gabrielle's reactions.

    Well written and well executed plot - and one of the best this season.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Goof: when Xena is in the boat, escaping from the Horde, the boat obviously doesn't move because the background is stationary!

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Garel: How can we kill them, if we can't see them?
      Gabrielle: (hearing injured Horde warriors chant Kaltaka) Who's Kaltaka?
      Garel: Probably their God of War. Even when they die, they call for him. Kaltaka, Kaltaka! Drives you crazy!

    • Xena: Don't you ever question my methods or authority in front of my troops. I told you I'd do whatever it takes, and if that means killing him later, I'll do it!
      Gabriell: Your troops? I don't understand.
      Xena: We didn't ask for this; if they want a fight to the death, they're gonna get it! What part of that didn't you understand?!
      Gabrielle: You! Who are you Xena? What happened to the Xena I know?
      Xena: That Xena can't help us now. If losing her is the price for saving us all, I'll pay it. It's just a part of me I didn't think I'd need anymore.

    • Gabrielle: Well fought, friend fish. Know that I don't do this for pleasure, only to live.
      Xena: Don't talk to your breakfast!

    • Athenian warrior: Tell us what to do, Xena!
      Xena: Do? We're going to KILL 'EM ALL!!!

    • Xena: They'll be back. Maybe not this year, but someday.
      Gabrielle: Can anyone stop them?
      Xena: Yeah. But it won't be warriors, it'll be someone like you. I just hope that, wherever the Horde is from, they have a Gabrielle.

    • Xena: You can't reason with dead men.

    • Xena: No food and water for the seriously wounded, only the men who can fight.
      Gabrielle: You expect me to decide who lives and...
      Xena: I want men outside, Gabrielle. You figure it out.

    • Xena: I let my fear and hatred blind me to everything.
      Gabrielle: Sometimes the past can do that. If I had been through...
      Xena: No. You understand hatred, but you've never given in to it. You don't know how much I love that.

  • NOTES (7)

    • Charles Mesure and Tamati Rice both play Athenian soldiers in this episode, and will later be teamed up as the Archangels Michael and Raphael in a number of fifth and sixth season episodes.

    • Sam Williams, who played the Hordemaster, was Kevin Sorbo's main stunt double.

    • Steven L Sears wrote Xena as searching for a live prisoner in the nude, covered in mud, blood and sand, as camoflage, but also to show in a visceral way Xena's full committment at that point to the concept of Total War.

    • According to Steven L. Sears, the Horde killed their leader not because he lost to Xena but because he meant to attack her while her back was turned, thus displaying their code of honor.

    • As originally written, the Horde warriors who come to reclaim their dead are unarmed, emphasizing that they exhibit a code of arms and peaceful intent at that moment that Xena should be able to see but can't.

    • When writing "The Price", Steven L. Sears had Xena walking away from the Horde prisoner with him still under the pinch. Gabrielle tries to undo it herself but fails.

      To show sympathy for the Horde, "kaltaka" was only served upon request during the production of this motion picture.