Following XENA: The Relationship (IV)

Welcome to another Xena Thursday! Today we’re continuing our last series of posts on this iconic action series, looking at particular themes/arcs/elements through a handful of accompanying installments. My hope is that this can be a resource, like so many of the other entries here, for those who are just beginning their adventure with Xena. So far we’ve looked at the best action episodes, the best offerings that feature Xena in an anti-heroic light, and all of the episodes dealing with Callisto’s arc. Today we’re looking at the episodes that are most impactful to the friendship between Xena and Gabrielle, the show’s most important relationship. So whether you’re a subber or a shipper, these are the episodes to watch . . .

 

01. Season 1, Episode 1: “Sins Of The Past” (Aired: 09/04/95 | Filmed: 06/26 – 07/05/95)

Xena journeys homeward determined to make amends for the sins of her past, but her efforts to begin a new life are challenged by the vengeful warlord Draco.

Story by Robert Tapert | Teleplay by R.J. Stewart | Directed by Doug Lefler | Production No. 876901

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Chosen for the first meeting of Xena and Gabrielle (and the former’s decision to allow the latter to travel with her), I featured this episode as #23 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

02. Season 1, Episode 6: “The Reckoning” (Aired: 10/16/95 | Filmed: 09/14 – 09/22/95)

Ares frames Xena with the murder of four innocent villagers in the hope that she will return to him and rule by his side.

Written by Peter Allan Fields | Directed by Charles Siebert | Production No. 876908

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Chosen for Gabrielle’s steadfast loyalty to Xena (even after her violent outbreak — Gab’s first exposure to anything like that), I featured this episode as #37 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

03. Season 1, Episode 19: “Altared States” (Aired: 04/22/96 | Filmed: 03/04 – 03/12/96)

Xena and Gabrielle agree to hide a 12-year-old boy who has run away from home after learning from his mother he was to be sacrificed in the name of a new “Supreme Deity.”

Written by Chris Manheim | Directed by Michael Levine | Production No. 876926

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This episode is chosen for the purposeful warming up of the Xena and Gabrielle relationship and the knowing introduction of subtext. Check out my thoughts on this episode, along with the opinions and recollections of the cast and crew here.

 

04. Season 1, Episode 21: “The Greater Good” (Aired: 05/06/96 | Filmed: 03/20 – 03/28/96)

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.

Written by Steven L. Sears | Directed by Gary Jones | Production No. 876924

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Chosen for Gabrielle’s having to reconcile what Xena has meant to her as the latter nearly dies, I featured this episode as #39 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

05. Season 1, Episode 24: “Is There A Doctor In The House?” (Aired: 07/29/96 | Filmed: 03/13 – 03/19/96)

Caught in the middle of a fierce war, Xena and Gabrielle aid the wounded inhabitants of a healing temple, then try to mediate talks between the warring factions.

Written by Patricia Manney | Directed by T.J. Scott | Production No. 876925

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Chosen for Xena’s having to recognize what Gabrielle has meant to her as the latter nearly dies, I featured this episode as #11 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

06. Season 2, Episode 1: “Orphan Of War” (Aired: 09/30/96 | Filmed: 05/29 – 06/07/96)

Xena comes to the aid of a community of centaurs menaced by a member of her former band, and upon her arrival is reunited with the young son whom she left in their care nine years earlier.

Written by Steven L. Sears | Directed by Charles Siebert | Production No. V0206

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Chosen for Gabrielle’s realization that Xena still has secrets, I featured this episode as #42 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

07. Season 2, Episode 15: “A Day In The Life” (Aired: 02/17/97 | Filmed: 01/06 – 01/10/97)

Xena has 24 hours to prevent a warlord from plundering one village and the world’s biggest giant from destroying another.

Written by R.J. Stewart | Directed by Michael Hurst | Production No. V0223

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Chosen for the fresh and unique depiction of Xena and Gabrielle’s day-to-day interactions, I featured this episode as #4 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

08. Season 2, Episode 17: “The Execution” (Aired: 04/07/97 | Filmed: 01/30 – 02/07/97)

Gabrielle is torn between her beleaguered hero Meleager, who’s accused of a murder she’s certain he didn’t commit, and Xena, who’s not so sure.

Written by Paul Robert Coyle | Directed by Garth Maxwell | Production No. V0218

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This episode is chosen for the discussion about putting people on pedestals and the fact that Xena and Gabrielle are first put in conflict. Check out my thoughts on this episode, along with the opinions and recollections of the cast and crew here.

 

09. Season 3, Episode 5: “Gabrielle’s Hope” (Aired: 10/27/97 | Filmed: 06/06 – 06/17/97)

Gabrielle must make a difficult decision regarding her allegiance to Xena after she gives birth to the daughter of Dahak, the Evil One.

Written by R.J. Stewart | Directed by Charles Siebert & Andrew Merrifield | Production No. V0404

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Chosen for Xena’s commitment to eradicating evil — even if it means killing Gabrielle’s daughter — and Gab’s refusal to comply (and accompanying dishonesty), I featured this episode as #27 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

10. Season 3, Episode 6: “The Debt (I)” (Aired: 11/03/97 | Filmed: 07/16 – 07/25/97)

As Xena and Gabrielle travel toward the Eastern kingdom of Chin, Xena recalls a kidnapping episode from her dark past involving two rival Chin clans.

Story by Robert Tapert & R.J. Stewart | Teleplay by R.J. Stewart | Directed by Oley Sassone | Production No. V0406

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Chosen for Xena’s decision to keep Gabrielle in the dark about some things from her past, I featured this two-part episode as numbers 5 & 6 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts on this episode (and the next) here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

11. Season 3, Episode 7: “The Debt (II)” (Aired: 11/10/97 | Filmed: 07/28 – 08/06/97)

Flashbacks recall Xena’s spiritual reawakening at the hands of her mentor. But in the present, the “Green Dragon” has captured Xena, and is breathing fire at her.

Story by Robert Tapert & R.J. Stewart | Teleplay by R.J. Stewart | Directed by Oley Sassone | Production No. V0407

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Chosen for Gabrielle’s betrayal of Xena and Xena’s final lie to Gabrielle, I featured this two-part episode as numbers 5 & 6 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts on this episode (and the prior) here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

12. Season 3, Episode 11: “Maternal Instincts” (Aired: 01/26/98 | Filmed: 06/18 – 06/27/97)

Xena and Gabrielle’s relationship is strained after Callisto manipulates Gabrielle’s daughter into killing Xena’s son.

Written by Chris Manheim | Directed by Mark Beesley | Production No. V0405

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Chosen for the obvious destruction the events of this episode have on Xena and Gabrielle’s friendship, I featured this episode as #13 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

13. Season 3, Episode 12: “The Bitter Suite” (Aired: 02/02/98 | Filmed: 11/05 – 11/19/97)

Xena and Gabrielle’s bitter conflict reaches its climax when both are transported to the dream world of Illusia to settle their mutual differences.

Written by Steven L. Sears and Chris Manheim | Lyrics by  Joseph LoDuca, Pamela Phillips Oland, and Dennis Spiegel | Directed by Oley Sassone | Production No. V0409

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Chosen for Xena and Gabrielle’s emotional journey to reconciliation, I featured this episode as #2 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

14. Season 3, Episode 13: “One Against An Army” (Aired: 02/09/98 | Filmed: 11/20 – 12/01/97)

Xena’s solo efforts to stop an approaching Persian army leave a poisoned Gabrielle to fend for herself after the duo are double-crossed by a Persian spy.

Written by Gene O’Neill and Noreen Tobin | Directed by Paul Lynch | Production No. V0413

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Chosen for Xena and Gabrielle’s renewed commitment to one another (and Gab’s holding Xena to the Greater Good), I featured this episode as #7 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

15. Season 4, Episode 8: “Crusader” (Aired: 11/16/98 | Filmed: 07/27 – 08/06/98) 

Xena and Gabrielle are attacked and then befriended by a radiant young woman who preaches about the light, but their budding friendship ends when she later competes with Xena for Gabrielle’s heart and soul.

Written by R.J. Stewart | Directed by Paul Lynch | Production No. V0613

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Chosen for Xena’s initial decision to “dump” Gabrielle to spare her from further pain, I featured this episode as #16 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

16. Season 4, Episode 15: “Between The Lines” (Aired: 02/15/99 | Filmed: 11/23 – 12/02/98)

The power of Mehndi sends the souls of Xena and Gabrielle into the future to protect their good karmas from a reincarnated Alti.

Written by Steven L. Sears | Directed by Rick Jacobson | Production No. V0616

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This episode is chosen for the introduction of the idea that Xena and Gabrielle are soul mates. Check out my thoughts on this episode, along with the opinions and recollections of the cast and crew here.

 

17. Season 4, Episode 16: “The Way” (Aired: 02/22/99 | Filmed: 12/03 – 12/15/98)

Still in India, Xena seeks the help of the god Krishna to rescue Gabrielle and Eli from the clutches of the King of the Demons.

Written by R.J. Stewart | Directed by John Fawcett | Production No. V0617

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Chosen for Gabrielle’s decision to stay with Xena — even though their paths may diverge, I featured this episode as #40 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

18. Season 4, Episode 21: “The Ides Of March” (Aired: 05/10/99 | Filmed: 03/09 – 03/18/99)

When Xena learns that Caesar has put a six-million-dinar price on her head, she decides to go to Rome and kill him. Meanwhile, Caesar sends Brutus to capture Gabrielle and Amarice. Complicating matters is Callisto, who has been released from Hell and put on a double mission.

Written by R.J. Stewart | Directed by Ken Girotti | Production No. V0624

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Chosen for Gabrielle’s choosing friendship over peace (and the jail conversation), I featured this episode as #1 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

19. Season 5, Episode 3: “Succession” (Aired: 10/11/99 | Filmed: 04/29 – 05/07/99)

Ares merges Xena and Gabrielle into the same body and force them to fight Mavican, Ares’ new potential right hand.

Written by Steven L. Sears | Directed by Rick Jacobson | Production No. V0902

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Chosen for both Xena and Gabrielle’s having to adjust to the latter’s return to violence, I featured this episode as #58 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

20. Season 5, Episode 4: “Animal Attraction” (Aired: 10/18/99 | Filmed: 05/25 – 06/02/99)

Xena, Gabrielle, Joxer, and Amarice travel to the town of Spamona where Xena is shocked to learn that she is pregnant.

Written by Chris Manheim | Directed by Rick Jacobson | Production No. V0905

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This episode is chosen for Gabrielle’s decision to be supportive of Xena’s big pregnancy announcement, which will change both their lives. Check out my thoughts on this episode, along with the opinions and recollections of the cast and crew here.

 

21. Season 5, Episode 17: “Kindred Spirits” (Aired: 03/20/00 | Filmed: 12/13 – 12/17/99)

Joxer breaks Amazon laws that force Queen Gabrielle to choose between settling down in the Amazon village and life on the road with Xena.

Written by George Strayton and Tom O’Neill | Directed by Josh Becker | Production No. V0918

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This episode is chosen for the potential breakup of Xena and Gabrielle due to differing obligations. Check out my thoughts on this episode, along with the opinions and recollections of the cast and crew here.

 

22. Season 6, Episode 5: “Legacy” (Aired: 10/30/00 | Filmed: 06/12 – 06/22/00)

On their travels through the North African desert, Xena and Gabrielle intervene to help two tribes of warring nomads unite against their Roman enemies.

Written by Melissa Good | Directed by Chris Martin-Jones | Production No. V1405

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Chosen for Xena’s belief that her love for Gabrielle is more important than the Greater Good, I featured this episode as #59 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

23. Season 6, Episode 6: “The Abyss” (Aired: 11/06/00 | Filmed: 06/28 – 07/07/00)

Xena and Gabrielle are forced into a deadly confrontation with cannibals when they go in search of Virgil.

Written by James Kahn | Directed by Rick Jacobson | Production No. V1406

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This episode is chosen for an honest conversation about Hope in which Xena gets a window into how Gabrielle’s been hurt in the past. Check out my thoughts on this episode, along with the opinions and recollections of the cast and crew here.

 

24. Season 6, Episode 9: “Return Of The Valkyrie” (Aired: 11/27/00 | Filmed: 08/02 – 08/11/00)

Xena battles to regain her memory and reverse the curse of the Rheingold ring.

Written by Emily Skopov | Directed by John Fawcett | Production No. V1410

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This episode is chosen for the re-introduction of the soul mates theme (and because I think, if any episode is the “coming out” story, it’s this one). Although not among my lists of either the best or the worst episodes, I dedicated a whole post to the Norse trilogy, which includes this installment and the preceding two. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

25. Season 6, Episode 19: “Many Happy Returns” (Aired: 05/14/01 | Filmed: 02/26 – 03/07/01)

While on their way to deliver Hermes’ helmet to Thebes, Xena and Gabrielle save a young virgin from being sacrificed by a group of religious zealots.

Written by Liz Friedman & Vanessa Place | Directed by Mark Beesley | Production No. V1426

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Chosen for the fun and beautiful place this installment leaves Xena and Gabrielle’s relationship, I featured this episode as #19 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

 

Come back next week for another installment of Following Xena! And tune in tomorrow for another Pre-Code Film Friday!

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