Originally published in 2010.
Edited and republished at Sharonda.net on March 23rd, 2017.
This episode of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys originally aired on March 13th, 1995, just six months and 22 days before the premiere of Xena: Warrior Princess. This episode of Hercules was also the very first appearance of the Xena character. And what a character it was!
Xena’s primary goal in “The Warrior Princess” is to see Hercules dead. According to some old farmer whose name Xena appropriated for an imaginary evil warlord, this is because Hercules could be the only thing to stop her from getting what she wanted, which was “everything”. Mind, this is the same Xena who will soon be holding her own with the half-god’s full-god brother, but that’s OK. There’s worse.
Instead of just attacking Hercules, outright, Xena hatches a plan to injure her horse (thankfully, not Argo), so that she can fake trying to help her injured horse, so that Iolaus will notice as he’s walking along, so that he’ll then try to help her (especially since she’s so scared and all), so that she can seduce him, so that she can cause a rift between Hercules and Iolaus, so that Hercules will kill Iolaus, so that her army can kill Hercules while he’s still demoralized.
Yes, kids, that’s the brilliant strategist we all know and love!
Of course, Iolaus falls for the seduction. “Iolaus doesn’t know anything about this Xena,” Hercules says to his mom, while they discuss how Herc never gets to spend time with Iolaus. Apparently, Hercules doesn’t know anything about her, either, despite the fact that everyone else knows her well enough to either be in her army, angry with her, terrified of her, or some combination of the three.
In addition to seducing Iolaus, Xena is also messing around with Theodorus. She sends Theodorus to try to kill Hercules, while wearing her medallion, so that Hercules will come after her, so that… Ah, Hell, you see where this is going, right? Despite being a skilled warrior, this Xena is more inclined to use seduction, manipulation, and deception than her sword or chakram.
And, in the end, when her plan fails, Xena RUNS AWAY from Hercules. This isn’t even “evil” Xena. This is the anti-Xena. And I’m glad that, for my next re-cap/review/unwarranted opinion, I’ll be wading from the murky waters of Xena on HTLG and on to Xena proper.1
There are reasons to watch “The Warrior Princess”, however, if you’ve never seen it. One is to see her wallop her own army while wearing a red dress. Another is the occasional flash of ruthlessness.
Oh, and then there’s this:
1. I honestly don’t know which episode I covered next. These things were never done chronologically. Or any other sort of -logically, either, most likely.↩